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Gryphon reacts to the yakuza story

By Zach Arnold | April 17, 2006

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By Zach Arnold

Gryphon, one of the top Japanese internet writers on the MMA scene, has posted his thoughts on the Shukan Gendai article series. It is interesting to read because it will give you a clear perspective on where the battle lines are going to be drawn.

Added to this post is the reaction from some posters on the 2ch message board.

Sunday, April 16th

In an article posting on Sunday (4/16), Gryphon is in a bit of a depression. He uses a lot of boxing/fight references in his posting, but this is just a summary of the points he made in the article.

Gryphon talks about Shukan Gendai going after the TV networks (Fuji TV & Nippon TV), and how this is like going after a soft target with a body blow. He feels that it will be very sad if DSE is destroyed as a result of this article series.

Gryphon is not sure what the best response to this media onslaught is, but he does note that DSE & Fuji TV have no made any responses yet. If they do not respond, he feels it will be a major problem and that they must respond publicly. He doesn’t want to believe that everything in the article series is true.

Gryphon notes that Sakakibara’s threats to respond with legal action against Kodansha & Kawamata is a good response, but he doubts that Sakakibara can be successful in a lawsuit against Kodansha.

He closes out his posting by stating that the one common response from supporters will be that everyone knows about the yakuza being involved in the fight business, but states that there will be a double-standard at work here because it is impossible for the TV networks to admit to this.

Gryphon asks readers to wait for DSE’s rebuttal on their official home page (which they have not posted after a few days).

Tuesday, April 18th

In an article posting for Tuesday (4/18), Gryphon talks about Fuji TV not showing any intentions of responding to Shukan Gendai’s open questionnaire. He feels that this is the most appropriate response, but does have some questions about the issues of accountability and social responsibility (two things that Fuji TV President Hieda talked about during Livedoor’s hostile takeover attempt of the network last year).

Gryphon doesn’t think that the story will spread despite Gendai’s efforts. He does note, however, that there is a concern with what may happen at Fuji TV’s shareholders meeting and whether people will use the yakuza story to cause trouble. (Gryphon does note that Fuji TV is not a stranger when it comes to trouble at the shareholder meetings).

In relation to Nippon TV, Gryphon thinks that their situation is different because they are currently in a lawsuit with Seiya Kawamata. Gryphon thinks that Kawamata will probably win his lawsuit because Emelianenko Fedor was an appropriate replacement for Mirko Cro Cop on the Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2003 show (and the judge will probably feel the same way).

2ch message board(s) reaction

Liked or disliked, the 2ch boards in Japan continue to talk about the Shukan Gendai series of articles accusing DSE of having ties to the yakuza. Here is a sampling of some of the reaction.

With DSE President Nobuyuki Sakakibara threatening legal action against Kodansha (Gendai), the feeling amongst the posters is that Sakakibara has no choice but to take legal action or else he will be sending the message of admission to the charges made against him and the company. However, the sentiment on this board is that most people doubt he will follow through with a lawsuit and think it’s a bluff. One item noticed is that Sakakibara’s legal threats were noted in Nikkan Sports and Sports Navigator (Yahoo Japan), which are friendly outlets, but that other outlets chose not to talk about it. One poster wrote, “Maybe Sakakibara will get an injunction against Gendai, just like he got one to try to stop Royce to fight for K-1.” The non-response from Fuji TV & DSE has also been noted (over the past month).

Some of the online posters are bringing up the suicide of Naoto Morishita (the first PRIDE President) and what Sakakibara’s reaction was at the time when he took over. While openness and transparency is valued with the public, Sakakibara’s quick response to make very detailed comments about Morishita and the circumstances regarding his death (re: an affair with a young woman) created a PR problem because Morishita left a wife and child behind. Some of the posters are trying to use the current yakuza scandal to link to PRIDE’s past with Morishita, and are interested in exactly how Sakakibara came into power and why the company’s stock shares were transferred to Mr. I (Ishizaka) instead of Morishita’s wife.

One chord being struck by various posters is that they feel Fuji TV & Nippon TV have a duty to respond in detail to Gendai’s open questionnaire, with one person pointing out Fuji TV’s denials of involvement in the matchmaking process being false (because Fuji TV regularly holds matchmaking matches with the fight groups when their shows are aired on the network). The question on the mind is what will the networks say in response to shareholders about the yakuza story and possible yakuza connections at the stock meeting in June.

There are some people defending DSE online, stating that “all fight promotions have yakuza connections in Japan”, “as a weekly magazine, Gendai cannot be trusted,” and “it is only Kawamata’s word against Sakakibara’s word.” Some posters have noted that the weekly magazines have a lot of power in Japan, noting that Antonio Inoki was driven from elected office by an expose in Shukan Shincho (based on some of his activities).

Topics: All Topics, Japan, Media, MMA, PRIDE, Yakuza, Zach Arnold | 3 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

3 Responses to “Gryphon reacts to the yakuza story”

  1. makoto says:

    in japan many people know pride is yakuza company. but we cannot see this story usually in the public. maybe we cannot trust the word of gendai and kawamata 100%, but when we read everything we can see that it is basically true story. if it lie,then definitely sakakibara and fujitv will make claim for gendai, but already this story is public for more than 1 month and nothing from pride and fujitv.

  2. fighter says:

    people being apologists for pride’s yakuaza connections pisses me off. if sakakabara did what it looks like he did, he should spend some time in jail

  3. […] Based on previous discussions I’ve had with insiders on the court case, I didn’t hear one person even bring up the possibility of Kawamata losing his court case against N-TV (even Gryphon didn’t think Kawamata would lose). It was almost considered a foregone conclusion by insiders that Kawamata would win, despite the fact that the same district court trashed Kawamata’s credibility in the lawsuit lien filed by former Fedor & Cro Cop agent Miro Mijatovic. Mijatovic’s lien was entirely dependent on Kawamata’s winnings in court from Nippon TV. […]

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