Veteran Yakuza Actor Makes North Korean Missile Joke During Yakuza Studio Presentation

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This past weekend, Sega’s internal Yakuza Studio announced a bevy of new titles, including the expected Yakuza: Kiwami 2. During the presentation, a returning voice actor made a joke (via Kotaku) that got a lot of South Koreans angry.

Veteran Japanese actor Susumu Terajima joked that “there are…several of the people up on this stage are Koreans, truly… I only hope no missiles come flying from Korea.”

To put things into perspective, North Korea literally fired three short-range missiles into the sea between their peninsula and Japan, earlier that day.

Terajima’s remarks came after series creator Toshihiro Nagoshi asked him for the last word before they closed out. Following his joke, Japanese comedian Yuichi Kimura, who also makes an appearance in Yakuza Kiwami 2, accurately predicted “there’s going to be a public apology after this.”

Sega Korea later issued the following apology:

Apology for the comment made by a speaker at the Sega sponsored event

There was an inappropriate comment from the speaker at the Yakuza Studio’s new title announcement event, which took place on 8/26.

We sincerely apologize for the anger it has caused everyone due to the incident.

Sega group is working hard to deliver emotional experience to the players worldwide and deeply regretting about this incident.

We will assure that such incident will not happen in the future.

Once again, we truly apologize.

Popular South Korean online forums have had a multitude of negative reactions to Terajima’s comment, some even having concerns over whether the game will still be released in the region.

Things get a little bit interesting when you consider Terajima voices the character Jiro Kawara (pictured above from his appearance in Kiwami 2) or “Killer Kawara,” a hard-boiled detective on the pursuit of a violent Korean crime gang.

Some further context: the word “Chousenjin” was used by Terajima, which officially can be used for “Korean person.” However, there’s no distinction here between whether or not this means North or South Korea-born people. Used by itself, it can be considered as a pejorative.

Yakuza: Kiwami 2 is launching for PlayStation 4 on December 7th in Japan. In related news, Sega is running a survey polling fans whether or not they want a western release for the game, as well as: Yakuza Online, and their new Fist of the North Star title – you can read more about that here.

Brandon Orselli

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Big Papa Overlord at Niche Gamer. Italian. Dad. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. I also write about music, food, & beer. Also an IT guy.

  • Makoto

    I don’t even see any harm in what he said: he was talking about North Korea missiles, with South Korean assistance i suppose, and only made a joke based on recent news.

    It may have been put in an awkward manner, or that’s the confusion between North and South that triggered South Korean anger… ?

  • Mechonis

    Grow a pair. It was a joke

  • Uncle Ocelot

    What’s the issue here?

  • Renaissance_nerd

    i hope no missiles come flying from Korea too. Whats the big deal?

  • Kiryu

    Jeez,we are really a society of oversensitive babies nowadays.

  • SuuLoliBoob

    Well on one hand i do say this is a pretty dumb thing to get mad at, he just didn’t clarify he meant North Korea even though it’s quite obvious he was. and on the other hand, this was a pretty dumb joke, not because it was “offensive” but because it kinda just falls flat in my opinion. Just hopefully nothing really comes out of this other then the apology, would really hate if a VA would be fired for making a joke.

  • darkgamer001

    Over in the West it’s the usual PC bs, and over in Asia you literally can’t mention anything regarding history or current political situations.
    What a wonderful snowflake-filled world we live….

  • frauleineule031

    What was offending about that?

  • Snorlaxation

    what society are you talking about ?
    It says south koreans were the ones that got upset.

  • Snorlaxation

    when it comes to what feels like an actual everyday fear, I can understand people getting upset. Especially when it’s a japanese person with their usual level of not quite caring about nuance and subtlety

  • Mighty No. 56008

    I’ll never understand South Korea’s hypocrisy when it comes to this nonsense, where they constantly slam Japan any chance they get but they get outraged when Japan does anything similar. And this is a perfect example: getting upset over a “joke” that wasn’t even really about them

  • Kiryu

    I’m talking in general.In case you haven’t noticed in the West too people now have to apologize for every nonsense,we are constantly walking on egg shells in fear to not offend anyone.

  • SevTheBear

    Jesus some of them lack humor

  • tBanzai

    “Chousenjin”on its own is pretty much a racial slur derived from WW2 era terminology only used in far right ubernationalist circles in Japan nowadays. Calling it a “neutral” term between North and South Korea is a massive understatement and I’d even say it comes close to calling someone of darker skin color the N word. No wonder there was an outcry. If this were a joke just between the voice actors that would have been fine, given a bunch of them are of Korean descent as it is, but this was a public broadcast…

    http://www.rsdb.org/slur/chosenjin

  • tBanzai

    People in this comment section seem to be ignorant of the connotations of what he said. To “localize” it so that Westerners would be able to understand the kind of joke that was, he basically said “Hey I hear there are a bunch of negroes on this stage, sure hope none of them steal my bike!” but with more international politics shoved in there. Hardly appropriate for a public broadcast for a videogame.

    He might have thought he was being clever as the character he plays is exactly the kind of character to throw racial slurs about Koreans, but again, doesn’t look good when you do it yourself on a public broadcast.

  • Alistair

    Fear is one thing, being offended at every turn is the left way of life.

    As it was a joke, even poor tasteless jokes should be allow.

    You can’t even do the joke about the English man, Scottish man & Irish man with out offended someone.

    Besides as Japanese culture I think they more lay back then we are. Look at the niche market to see that.

  • Alistair

    Sometimes the poor tasteless jokes is the best comedy too.

    Follow though with a cop out of a sorry as there was no need for one.

  • David Curry

    And look at that, a missile comes flying from Korea.

  • David Curry

    And what’s the proper term in Japanese to refer to a South Korean?

  • generalt

    And look at that, a missile comes flying from Korea.

  • luggage lad

    He was speaking to South Koreans, which have nothing to do with the NK tests… His comment kinda comes across to them as some Japanese dude lumping NK and SK together

    kinda surprised someone out there doesn’t understand that

  • Cyberxion

    Right on. I changed my name on Twitter to Figurative Hitler precisely because people are hyper-sensitive about shit. I figure if I’m going to be labeled irrespective of the totality of my opinions and the quality of my character, I might as well stop giving a shit and just own it.

  • tBanzai

    Ignoring your previous comment that you edited and assuming you’re asking now in good faith, 韓国人 is pretty much exclusively used to refer to South Koreans nowadays in Japan. North Koreans specifically would be 北朝鮮人.

    Reasons being are explained better than I can here:
    https://japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/25411/doesnt-japan-call-north-korea-北朝鮮-why

    But it basically just boils down to what each individual country prefers to be called and the fact Japan’s previous name for the country as a whole under Japan’s colonial rule was “朝鮮”. It’d be a little weird if someone were to call Americans British Colonists in this day and age, no? Add in Japan’s atrocities from the era, and you get a bunch of uncomfortable connotations added to the term on top of it being a little more than outdated.

    If you’re doubting whether “朝鮮人” is used as a slur by ubernationalists, you can go to any given anti-foreigner protest (somewhat topically sometimes organized by yakuza as a money laundering front) and you might see people shouting “朝鮮人帰れ!”. It’s also used constantly in message boards like 2ch or any political matome blogs when talking about Koreans negatively. I’ve seen it for sure. But then again, that’s allegorical.

    That aside, I’m not really sure referring to the voice talents of korean descent on that stage “朝鮮人” really applies as a whole as it is, given they’re all naturalized Japanese citizens and even second generation at that. Can’t even call them “在日” at that point.

  • Snorlaxation

    japanese culture is wacky and untroubled by life because japan is a mess for the every person. Strict and oppressive in various ways, they deal with it all by not really dealing with it. That’s more avoidance than laid back.

  • Snorlaxation

    In some cases yeah, but there’s no need to add that here when it concerns a country that is scared of the big baby next door with access to missile weapons, being joked about by the japanese (surprise surprise).

  • David Curry

    Japan didn’t make the name Joseon, it came from the name of the Korean dynasty, and as a result all Koreans north and south are referred to as people of Joseon. It kind of sounds like a trap to get a Japanese person (with all their messy history) to think it’s okay to call Koreans 朝鮮人, since calling Korea 朝鮮 is apparently not offensive. I understand there’s nuances to derogatory terms, but it sounds “selectively” offensive, otherwise everyone would be clear that 韓国人 is okay and any mention of 朝鮮 and 朝鮮人 is banned.

  • luggage lad

    It, like… was about them. He addressed them directly, lol

  • Mighty No. 56008

    Unless those Koreans on stage were from the North, the joke/remark wasn’t “about them”.

  • Makoto

    Thought so, but i can’t help to think that was just an awkward joke and not intentional, and amplified by geopolitical context. In that case the joke was made upon recent news, and like i said South Korean should not be offended in that case.
    Even if not concerned by this, I just think people in this comment section are a bit more thoughfull that’s all.

  • Alistair

    You are right to a point, but the fact we are here today, with trigger happy SJWs to deal with is why we have censorship now.

    But I blame myself and others because we ignore them and they grow in numbers by giving them the edge. Now everything is bad and offensive.

    So staying in silent mode isn’t a option and what about the other side do they ignore us no they call us names. and bully Devs.

    When someone have to say sorry or made to when they no need too it a cop out. I think it was sega of Korea that had press to say sorry.

    and now the game is in dispute not because he made a tasteless joke. If nobody kick up a stink about it I wouldn’t and others be writing about it and the game would turn out fine.

    There are other people out there that don’t have faith in games and nip pick what is questionable and which isn’t. Besides it done now can’t be help.

  • luggage lad

    They were from South Korea and he addressed them as if they had a damn thing to do about what NK does so yeah it was about them. It was alittle tasteless and professional.

  • Mighty No. 56008

    Sure, North and South Korea were both mentioned in the same breath, but he clearly wasn’t implying that the South Koreans were connected to the missile threats.

    I agree that the joke was rather tasteless. And just plain unfunny too, but maybe something was lost in translation or due to not having the full context.

  • Mr.Sixes

    Terajima is savage.

  • MusouTensei

    South Korea is pretty much the asian version of California, full of whiny and humorless bitches.

  • 📈📉📈

    Honestly knowing how unpredictable north korea is it’s better to not feed the trolls to begin with but it’s not like it’s gonna lead to the end of the world…or does it :D

  • Gravelord

    Gosh, people are pussies nowadays.