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Japan’s entertainment industry has extremely strict regulations on actors and performers getting involved with illicit – or illegal – activities. Most recently, Sega had to recast Pierre Taki from their latest game, Judgment, under suspicions he was arrested for cocaine use. Now, a popular Japanese talent agency is suspending several comedians for attending parties hosted by real yakuza.
The talent agency, Yoshimoto Kogyo Co., is suspending (via The Mainichi) eleven popular performers, including: Hiroyuki Miyasako, 49; Ryo Tamura, 47; Razor Ramon HG, 43; Yoshinari Fukushima, 41; Masashi Kumada, 46; Punch Hamasaki, 38; Takuhiro Kimura, 43; Moody Katsuyama, 39; Hiroyuki Yasoshima, 35; Hiroshi Tsunemichi, 36; and Diego, 41.
The above performers admitted to being present at the parties, which yakuza members had allegedly arranged, however they deny the parties were in fact organized by yakuza. They initially denied being paid for their appearances at the parties.
At first, Yoshimoto was simply going to reprimand the actors, however following an in-house probe, they found the performer did receive payment.
Following this, Miyasako and others have admitted to receiving money. Shinya Irie was let go earlier for arranging the 11 other comedians appearing at the parties, without going through the agency.
The scandal is so severe NHK is set to replace programs that feature Ryo Tamura and ‘Hard Gay’ Razor Ramon, as a temporary measure. TV Asahi, however, is still airing “Ame Talk,” which features Miyasako, on June 27th.