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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.