The introduction of stricter anti-gang laws in recent years has forced the yakuza, Japan’s underworld organisations, to diversify and seek new sources of income.
That change in direction has meant more criminal involvement in the boardroom.
The Japanese authorities have stamped out sokaiya – mob-sponsored racketeers who threatened to disrupt shareholder meetings unless they were paid off.
Read the rest of the story: Japan fights yakuza efforts to make it a nine-fingered economy.
Talento Shimada Shinsuke (55) and Yoshimoto Creative Agency president Mizutani Nobuhiro held a sudden press conference on Tuesday night to announce that Shimada is retiring from the entertainment industry, effective immediately.
According to the announcement, it was recently revealed that Shimada has been close friends with multiple gang-related people for a few decades, maintaining communications with them over phone and email. They also frequented the restaurant that Shimada manages. Although Shimada’s connections with them are not illegal and are not financial in nature, Shimada is withdrawing from the entertainment industry as his social responsibility.
Yoshimoto’s president Mizutani said that in mid-August, he received information that Shimada had been in close communications with gang members between 2005 and 2007. He directly asked Shimada, who acknowledged the relationship.
Despite Shimada’s popularity and ubiquitous presence on television and in the media, Yoshimoto Creative Agency determined that such actions could not be overlooked.
Shimada debuted in the 1970s and gained popularity as part of a comedy duo with the late Matsumoto Ryusuke. Up until his resignation, he was a regular host on shows like “Gyouretsu no Dekiru Houritsu Soudanjo” and “Quiz! Hexagon II.”
Shimada also caused trouble in 2004 when he physically assaulted a female employee of Yoshimoto Kogyo. He was fined 300,000 yen at the time, though the case continued up until last year when the Tokyo District Court issued another fine for over 10 million yen.