The latest scandal to surface around “national idol” group AKB48 may be the most damaging yet – it has emerged that the group’s founders apparently enjoyed close relations with the yakuza, leading to the profoundl...
The latest scandal to surface around “national idol” group AKB48 may be the most damaging yet – it has emerged that the group’s founders apparently enjoyed close relations with the yakuza, leading to the profoundly unsavoury conclusion that the Japanese government has been using public funds to subsidise a yakuza-connected idol group in order to promote Japan’s image overseas…
According to a report just published in Shukan Shincho, the AKB48 founders – Yasushi Akimoto, Yashushi Kubota and Kotaro Shiba – enjoy close ties to Japanese organised crime.
The magazine initiated an investigation after being sued by AKB48′s management for claiming they had yakuza connections, and soon uncovered a decade old photograph affirming their claims – showing Shiba enjoying the company of the wife of a top Yamaguchi syndicate boss at a hotel banquet.
Also identified in the picture was a top racketeer associated with the Goto syndicate (in this case a specialist in the yakuza speciality of threatening to disrupt stockholder meetings unless protection money is paid), along with several other leading members of the Yamaguchi syndicate.
When the magazine confronted him with its findings, Shiba issued a statement in which he admitted attending the party, but claims rather lamely that he “did not associate with the yakuza.”
Online there is surprisingly little surprise at the news that Japan’s biggest idol group and the core of what is left of its recording industry is involved with the nation’s foremost criminal organisation:
“This is appalling.”
“They only just realised?”
“Everyone already realised this. But what will they do now it is exposed?”
“So the government has been funnelling our taxes into the the yakuza by funding AKB48.”
“I recall talents with yakuza connections were immediately dropped from TV – so will they do the same with AKB48?”
“AKB48 stinks as much as ever.”
“All you AKB otaku – I hope you enjoy knowing you have been funding the yakuza with all your CD purchases.”
“I think they’ll get away with it.”
“The mass media are just going to completely ignore this as usual.”
“This is weak. They should at least have got a pic of one of these girls in bed with a gangster.”
“It’s amazing to think parents entrust their young daughters to *48 groups like this all over Japan.”
“Our ‘national idols’ were as black as coal all along…”
“Was this group funded by the yakuza all along? Come on cops, do your job.”
“AKB48 really is scary stuff…”
“This is bad. They funded this group in the Cool Japan program, and the US is starting to make an issue of the yakuza.”
“The yaks run our show business industry, the only surprise is that they lasted this long without being exposed.”
“How many of these AKB girls have yakuza lovers, I wonder?”
“What does anyone expect? AKB48 were always basically hostesses, it only follows that they would be backed by the syndicates.”
“Their business model barely differs from prostitution, why would anyone think the pimps weren’t the same people?”
“They cannot get away with having funnelled tax money into this group now they are revealed as yakuza-connected, surely?”
“This is the worst scandal to ever affect them. I cannot believe they will ever get away with this…”
“Pachinko supports NK and AKB supports the yakuza… wonderful.”
“AKB CDs, AKB on TV, AKB CMs, AKB tax subsidy in the ‘Cool Japan’ program – all funding organised crime.”
“The world should take note – this is ‘Cool Japan’!”