Yakuza ties to Japan’s showbiz

Six months ago, Shinsuke Shimada, a comic who hosted several big primetime shows on Japanese TV, admitted ties to organized crime and resigned from showbiz. His abrupt departure caused a media sensation as it shone a harsh light on the mobs influence on the industry, and new ordinances went into effect in Tokyo and Okinawa in October making it a crime to pay off the yakuza — Japans mafia — or profit from dealing with them.But if anyone expected these “startling” events to bring significant changes, theyve since been disappointed.”The yakuza Japans equivalent of the mafia have run Japans entertainment industry since the end of WWII,” says Jake Adelstein, a crime reporter for the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper for 12 years. While many in the industry disavow any connections to the yakuza, Adelstein — who also authored “Tokyo Vice” about his underworld adventures — sees no real lessening of gang ties.

Read the rest of the story: Yakuza intractable in Japan showbiz.

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