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Japan Subculture Research Center

A guide to the Japanese underworld, Japanese pop-culture, yakuza and everything dark under the sun.

NHK Bans Yakuza-Backed Enka Singers But Japanese Media Refuses To Name Yakuza Backer


Oct 9, 2008

IMPORTANT UPDATE: As a result of Goto’s birthday party and other factors, including my articles in the Washington Post and the Japanese press–Goto Tadamasa was excommunicated from the Yamaguchi-gumi on the 14th of October, 2008. 

  NHK, the BBC of Japan, banned from their programming several singers who had taken part in a birthday party (September 17th) for Tadamasa Goto, one of the most powerful bosses in the Yamaguchi-gumi. The ban was made and announced after the weekly newsmagazine, Shukan Shincho wrote an article about the birthday party and those attending. NHK checked with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department and the singers before making their decision.

 However, while the Japanese media reported on the scandal and the names of all the entertainers involved, none of the mainstream media reported Goto Tadamasa’s name. I can’t figure that one out but it sounds like sheer cowardice. I find it hard to believe that they didn’t publish his name out of respect for his personal privacy.  I used to be a part of the Japanese media. I thought we were better than that.  I’ve learned the hard way that there are some people in Japan way too powerful for people to write about and Goto Tadamasa is one of them.  I’m amazed that fellow journalists and publishers will tell me straight out, “we can’t publish this article (or that book) unless we can be sure that Goto or his people won’t retaliate. He’s scary.” 

 I wish they’d just lie to me about it. I’d feel better. Anyway, here is a comprehensive article about the scandal. 



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