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Sakakibara & Kiyohara targeted by Gendai

By Zach Arnold | April 23, 2006

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By Zach Arnold

Today, Gryphon said that Shukan Gendai’s article about DSE, Fuji TV, and Nippon TV being tied to the yakuza was a declaration of all-out war.

After reading the latest article series in Monday’s magazine, I would agree with him. The heat is sure turning up on Sherdog. More at Burning Spirit (Japanese).

The cover of this week’s Shukan Gendai magazine has blue text on white background, with the yakuza story remaining on the right side of the front cover. The heading and sub-heading talk about PRIDE (Sakakibara) and what Fuji TV’s alleged ties to the yakuza are.

The first page of the article has a picture of Ogawa vs. Yoshida (from the 2005 New Year’s Eve show) and the magazine responds to threats DSE President Nobuyuki Sakakibara made over a week ago (on 4/13) about taking legal action against them, claiming that his threats are a “joke.” A review of the charges that Kawamata and Gendai have made against Sakakibara, Mr. I (Ishizaka), and other yakuza members (Sakamoto and his two understudies) are reviewed.

On page two of the article, a goofy Fuji TV screen capture (from SRS on 4/14) of Nobuyuki Sakakibara is used, with a picture of Fuji TV’s headquarters with Fuji TV President Hieda’s face circled.

The publication fires back at Sakakibara by claiming that both he and Fuji TV producer Kunio Kiyohara (labeled as “A” producer throughout the article) are currently being grilled by the Kanagawa Police, specifically in connection to what kind of alleged relationships they have with the yakuza.

The heat is turned on Kiyohara (a very powerful man for Fuji TV), as Shukan Gendai claims that Kiyohara has admitted that he not only knows Mr. I (Mr. Ishizaka aka Mr. Kim, the South Korean owner of PRIDE), but actually socialized with him before (such as going out for drinking). The magazine notes that they have tried to interview Kiyohara (including visiting his home), but that nobody is answering the doorbell despite their persistent ringing. It is mentioned that Kiyohara is in Las Vegas right now focusing on the upcoming K-1 4/29 event at the Mirage Hotel. (Editor’s note — Will a local press member find Kiyohara and question him about these charges made against him?)

Gendai focuses on the upscale home that Sakakibara has in Roppongi Hills, Tokyo (a place where renting an apartment can be over 5 figures in USD a month), and how the police have a very close interest in the lifestyles of both Sakakibara & Kiyohara (with the theme being that police are following the money).

One interesting aspect of the new Gendai article is that the magazine is shifting gears, as they are now quoting police sources (as opposed to using promoter Seiya Kawamata). This would implicate leaks from the police to Gendai for information. The article concludes by saying that Fuji TV is guilty of funneling money directly to the yakuza and it intends to make them take responsibility for this. The article notes about looking at sponsors who are paying for time on the “Golden Time” broadcast of PRIDE and where that money is being directed to.

Gryphon’s response to the new article

As a PRIDE fan, Gryphon continues to find himself conflicted with the “all-out war” between Shukan Gendai and PRIDE. He notes that it is almost impossible to imagine a weekly magazine running a long campaign, as the nature of a weekly magazine is to quickly move from story to story (especially considering that the broadsheet newspapers are not touching the story). Gryphon says you would have to look back at least 20 years to find long-term campaigns of this nature. He feels that the response from the readers of Gendai is positive and that sales of their magazine are pretty good based on this current campaign against DSE & Fuji TV.

He noted that he was going to head to the convenience store and check it out. His review notes that the story is full of details already known publicly based on Kawamata’s interview series, but goes on to point out some of the new claims.

  1. This story is not just an interview between Kawamata and Shukan Gendai, but also facts formally submitted by Kawamata to the police.
  2. Mr. I (Mr. Ishizaka aka Mr. Kim) has escaped to South Korea.
  3. In response to Sakakibara’s comment that Shukan Gendai has not approached him directly for a response to their article series, Gendai calls Sakakibara a liar. Gedai notes that they published DSE’s PR department’s response to the first story and since then, DSE has ignored them. This is something that can be checked, so this is one of the most important factors.
  4. Fuji TV has refused interviews, and Nippon TV has officially declined to be interviewed.
  5. Shukan Gendai has various comments from the police investigating the case, but we cannot take these comments as official comments (so let’s not spread these comments too much).

Gryphon’s personal commentary

He says that Gendai is mixing both actual facts and some things that aren’t proven yet in their attacks. Gryphon notes Gendai’s claim that it is a fact that Fuji TV, Nippon TV, and DSE have yakuza relations and this on its own is a big enough problem.

In response to the article series, Kunio Kiyohara is refusing to do interviews and based on this, what is the best response to this story? There has been a connection to the yakuza since the days of Rikidozan, and this fact makes a response very difficult.

Was Mr. A (Kiyohara) questioned by the police or not? Maybe the police were just checking some of the allegations with him. If this is the case, it seems that the best course of action is for DSE to make a criminal complaint against Gendai about these stories.

We should support Sakakibara’s stance when he says that he will take legal action against Gendai, even though we know that he cannot win. However, in response to these comments by Sakakibara, Shukan Gendai can make a story and so, it is proving to be a difficult time.

Topics: All Topics, Japan, Media, MMA, PRIDE, Yakuza, Zach Arnold | 7 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

7 Responses to “Sakakibara & Kiyohara targeted by Gendai”

  1. Taizo says:

    Zach, why don’t you just admit that you are white ninja?

  2. Zach Arnold says:

    You’re referring to “white ninja,” the poster on Sherdog talking about the DSE/Gendai situation.

    Sad to say, but I’m not white ninja (nor do I have a Sherdog account). If I had a Sherdog account, I’d be using it to advertise the radio show.

    Plus, white ninja commits bad grammatical errors sometimes in his posts. Bad grammar is not a way to get on my good side. 🙂 I do admit, he is a funny character (whoever he is).

  3. Taizo says:

    Bad grammar is easy to fake. Maybe he is your ungrammatical alter ego. At any rate, what he is doing is tantamount to advertising your site. I admit, it would be pretty pathetic for you to go through all the trouble of creating another personality with different punctuation habits, etc., just to redirect traffic to this lonely place, but it’s not out of the question.

    What’s interesting is that, once upon a time, white ninja wrote, “I have lived in japan i read japanese and i used to work in the media.” But if white ninja reads Japanese, why the hell does he have keep linking to this site? Can’t he just translate news and articles himself?

  4. Zach Arnold says:

    [I admit, it would be pretty pathetic for you to go through all the trouble of creating another personality with different punctuation habits, etc., just to redirect traffic to this lonely place, but it’s not out of the question.]

    Insulting the site and me is pretty drastic on its own merits, although you sure don’t seem to find this place lonely. 🙂

    [What’s interesting is that, once upon a time, white ninja wrote, “I have lived in japan i read japanese and i used to work in the media.” But if white ninja reads Japanese, why the hell does he have keep linking to this site? Can’t he just translate news and articles himself?]

    I suspect that linking to someone else writing about the story is easy to do and has many reasons, on various levels.

    There are a lot of insiders in the business in Japan who post on Sherdog (fighters, agents, etc.) Too bad I never hear from any of them, but what can you do.

  5. Erin says:

    Zach can’t possibly be White Ninja as even one gramatical error would cause him to break out in hives. I’ve seen it, it’s not pretty.

  6. […] On Monday, we posted a brief summary of the latest Shukan Gendai article about DSE, Fuji TV, and Nippon TV in relation to allegations of ties to the yakuza. […]

  7. […] No, Fuji TV dumped PRIDE not because of allegations simply from Shukan Gendai. There was a formal police investigation from the Kanagawa police on this matter. As has been noted before, some Fuji TV employees had been questioned by the police in the past over business dealings with PRIDE. More importantly, two investigations (one from the Kanagawa police and one internal Fuji TV investigation) pointed out that chief TV producer and friend of Sakakibara, Kunio Kiyohara, had a lot more involvement than initially suspected in PRIDE. It was reported that Kiyohara had social meetings with PRIDE’s alleged backer, Mr. I (Ishizaka), and that this open admission of associating with a top underworld boss (who had rumoredly made his name in loan sharking circles in Osaka) was shocking considering how high of a profile Kiyohara had publicly. His father, Takehiko Kiyohara, became chairman of Sankei Shimbun (a major newspaper) and his name helped his son land his position in the FujiSankei conglomerate. Furthermore, Gendai wrote that Kiyohara was investigated over accusations of him transferring money from the conglomerate to fund other business projects that questionable people were involved in. By no means was the investigation into PRIDE simply based on magazine reports, although the public spotlight did provide some momentum. The red flags raised came from police questioning about Kiyohara. Fuji TV President Hieda wanted to clean the conglomerate from scandals (2005 was quite the year between Livedoor’s attempted takeover bid and the Murakami Fund scandal) before having to address 1,000 stockholders about corporate accountability. […]