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Gambling Scandal: Hidden Background

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There's an update on Adelstein's blog with some more juicy morsels, including a link to a Japanese newspaper article that explicitly states the Yamaguchi-gumi Kodokai connection, and also a press release from this May put out by the head of the NPA that called for a crackdown on the Yamaguchi-gumi Kodokai and explicitly mentioned the Sumo Kyokai.

And more guilty pleasures that I dare not mention.

http://www.japansubculture.com/2010/07/wei...e-sumo-scandal/

Thanks for that. Now I'm SURE it's a load of rehashed half truths and unsubstantiated nonsense, which caters to the media- circus seeking paranoid casual non-fan.

Even this discussion itself is rehashed and will self-destruct momentarily.. I really hoped there was finally some meat in our elusive quest to see what really goes on in those back rooms. I'll leave all you believers with this - have fun - I have more interesting bones to pick...

Mork - Over and out!

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Mr. Adelstein is as knowledgeable and measured a source as we're going to get. He was a serious crime reporter in Japan for a good number of years and Tokyo Vice has been very well received.

Why is it that I am hearing Mr. Adelstein's name for the first time? which paper/media outlet was he working for? I have known two other journalists who claimed to have an inside on the yakuza. I freely admit that this is out of my line, but I am not totally out of the loop. (Remember, just a few posts above, I blew the gaff on the yakuza at Chiyo's wedding -- thanx for all the details, Jonosuke -- I'm a Big Picture person)

Google has turned up several things about Mr. Adelstein. I was most interested in an article he wrote in 2008 for the Washington Post, in which he talks about his background as a crime reporter for Yomiuri Shimbun (1993-2005), the many businesses the yakuza are involved with inside (and outside) of Japan, his relationship with the police and why they don't (or can't) do anything about organized crime, and how in 2001 the FBI arranged for Tadamasa Goto (the "John Gotti of Japan" according to some US federal agents) to get a liver transplant in the US. It's titled The Mob Is Big In Japan

Thanks for posting the article. It seems like a decade since I wrote it. All the comments on the forum have been very interesting and helpful. I could be wrong but I think my sources are good. One thing I definitely know that's true is that the police have long known about yakuza ties to the Sumo world and only have made an issue of it since they began their campaign to cripple the Yamaguchi-gumi Kodokai. I was in the Metropolitan Police Press Club for several years and I'm also very aware that the police are good about manipulating public opinion before they tackle a controversial investigation. They often use the press to do this and we often complied. Usually, the promise of "a scoop" is enough to get a minor story major coverage and the police are also aware that the weeklies will run stories that the mainstream Japanese media won't touch. I've added more source materials/links to the post, including an English article about the Suruga Corporation debacle and NPA head, Ando Tokuharu's press release from May. I've also referenced a February post I wrote about the Japanese government crackdown on the Yamaguchi-gumi Kodokai. I'm probably not going to log on to this forum more than once, mostly because I'm not a huge sumo fan, although I like to watch it, and also because I'm pretty much done writing about the story until the first arrests are made.

Finally, I don't know how to clarify this in the article but the Yamaguchi-gumi (roughly 36,000 members currently) is a strange beast. There are many different factions, each with its own agenda and each with their own areas of earnings (shinogi). Even within one faction, there may be smoldering conflicts. The major factions are the Kodokai, the Yamakengumi, Takumi-gumi and in the past, the Goto-gumi, which was split into two groups after Goto Tadamasa was expelled from the organization on October 14th, 2008. It's not completely unknown for one faction to rat out another faction to the police to seize power from their rivals within the Yamaguchi-gumi itself. Not to mention rival organized crime groups like the Inagawakai and the Sumiyoshikai, also are willing to cooperate with the authorities when its in their interests and hurts the opposition. Before the Yamaguchi-gumi took over half the yakuza market around 2005, the police were adept at playing the various organized crime groups against each other. While the Inagawakai has cordial relations with the Yamaguchi-gumi, the Sumiyoshikai, our Tokyo based local yakuza (12,000 members) does not like the Yamaguchi-gumi at all and resents the incursion on their turf. There are rumors that the Sumiyoshikai also shared information with the police on the baseball betting run by the Yamaguchi-gumi but I have not been able to verify them. However, here's the final point I wanted to make: the National Police Agency has focussed on the the Yamaguchi-gumi and Sumo world ties since September of last year and this current scandal should be considered not as a random case but the result of a long-term investigation into those relationships, and part of the war on the Kodokai.

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There's an update on Adelstein's blog with some more juicy morsels, including a link to a Japanese newspaper article that explicitly states the Yamaguchi-gumi Kodokai connection, and also a press release from this May put out by the head of the NPA that called for a crackdown on the Yamaguchi-gumi Kodokai and explicitly mentioned the Sumo Kyokai.

And more guilty pleasures that I dare not mention.

http://www.japansubculture.com/2010/07/wei...e-sumo-scandal/

Wow, this must mean that there are people reading the blog. Thank you. I've put a link to this forum at the end of the article. I have a feeling that Sumo fans who come across the japansubculture.com article will want to know more about how the case is developing and since I'm done posting about it for a while, I hope that you guys will pick up the slack.

It would be great to see the Yamaguchi-gumi removed from the Sumosphere, but I don't think they will ever really be completely gone. If Sumo, as Japan's national sport is the equivalent of baseball, then the Yamaguchi-gumi are the equivalent of hot-dog vendors and ticket sellers. It's hard to imagine one without the other.

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Thanks for responding directly.

here's the final point I wanted to make: the National Police Agency has focussed on the the Yamaguchi-gumi and Sumo world ties since September of last year and this current scandal should be considered not as a random case but the result of a long-term investigation into those relationships, and part of the war on the Kodokai.

I have no doubt about this main point based on your reporting.

But the sub-plot about Asashoryu being framed -- the details do not jibe, and I think that tends to increase suspicion of your entire story. Also I think probably most readers will focus more on the Asashoryu story because they have a great interest in him, but not much interest in the NPA or the Kodokai.

Anyway I will be watching how this develops.

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Thanks for responding directly.
here's the final point I wanted to make: the National Police Agency has focussed on the the Yamaguchi-gumi and Sumo world ties since September of last year and this current scandal should be considered not as a random case but the result of a long-term investigation into those relationships, and part of the war on the Kodokai.

I have no doubt about this main point based on your reporting.

But the sub-plot about Asashoryu being framed -- the details do not jibe, and I think that tends to increase suspicion of your entire story. Also I think probably most readers will focus more on the Asashoryu story because they have a great interest in him, but not much interest in the NPA or the Kodokai.

Anyway I will be watching how this develops.

I don't doubt Asashoryu was provoked into that fight and that the details were leaked to the press to get him fired. And its a matter of public record that he was interrogated by the police about the incident before the baseball gambling scandal broke. There are formal interrogation and informal ones and the informal one was much earlier.

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Had enough baseball gambling yet? Have no fear, the next Shukan Shincho promises to not only talk about Chiyotaikai's illegal baseball gambling, but also his illegal underground casino gambling too!

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Had enough baseball gambling yet? Have no fear, the next Shukan Shincho promises to not only talk about Chiyotaikai's illegal baseball gambling, but also his illegal underground casino gambling too!

That was known and even mentioned last week in a few articles online. His danpatsushiki is looking shaky now as well..

Edited by Kintamayama

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It would be great to see the Yamaguchi-gumi removed from the Sumosphere, but I don't think they will ever really be completely gone. If Sumo, as Japan's national sport is the equivalent of baseball, then the Yamaguchi-gumi are the equivalent of hot-dog vendors and ticket sellers. It's hard to imagine one without the other.

I am pleased to see you joining our forum and providing us with your expertise in Yamaguchi-gumi as just like many Japanese oyaji, I find them as fascinating as scary.

What I would like to know about is a behind the scene story of Kenji Mori's recent arrest. He was arrested for a minor real estate fraud charge, not like that of Shinobu Tsukasa who was charged and released and charged and finally convicted with contraband weapon possession. By the time Tsukasa reported to the police, he was no longer with Kodokai and gave up his head post of Tsukasa Kogyo to Kenji Mori. It indicates that he fully trusts Kenji Mori and considers him to be his right hand man. He is now losing his best man within Yamaguchi-gumi (I am sure they can come up enough money to have him released shortly) but both Tsukasa and Mori do not have "ostensibly" direct influence within Kodokai. So why is the police going after Mori anyway if they are going after Kodokai? And why now?

I find it interesting also that with so many showbiz, business and even politicians as well as friends attending Asashoryyu's party, why is it we are now finding out the number two or three man from Yamatuchi-gumi was also there? Almost every place Asashoryu has gone, he was chased by reporters last year, this implies that this was already known among certain reporters (especially those weekly photo mags). As well Mori has been interested by the police as well, so he must have been trailed by the police. So the question is that why didn't the police tipped the media or why the media did not report it? If this was known at the time, Asashoryu got kicked out of Ozumo long before his punching incident?

Mori is well known even outside of the organized crime unit of Nagoya Police. His activity and conduct will be interest to the police any time. But he wasn't actively a part of Kodokai as far as I can tell. But Mori obviously had certain touch points with Ozumo. Is it the objective of Nagoya Police to crack down Kokokai by tracing their activities from Ozumo perspective? I doubt the police may find one or two minor guy but most rikishi didn't even know the guy so it's rather not as efficient way of going after them.

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Had enough baseball gambling yet? Have no fear, the next Shukan Shincho promises to not only talk about Chiyotaikai's illegal baseball gambling, but also his illegal underground casino gambling too!

Apparently, the accusation is gambling in an Internet casino. "I have nothing to do with that. It's all fabrications and lies! ", he said. The article says he has been gambling on the Internet for four years.

Edited by Kintamayama

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In this morning news, the police acknowledge that they found direct links with the Yakuza in some phones that they confiscated earlier, from several heyas.

However, they did not name the owners of these keitai, yet!

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In this morning news, the police acknowledge that they found direct links with the Yakuza in some phones that they confiscated earlier, from several heyas.

However, they did not name the owners of these keitai, yet!

A story being denied by the police themselves.

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In this morning news, the police acknowledge that they found direct links with the Yakuza in some phones that they confiscated earlier, from several heyas.

However, they did not name the owners of these keitai, yet!

A story being denied by the police themselves.

Sorry, just reported a clip from the police, on the MinoMonta show, about an hour ago, saying that some confiscated keitais had links with the yakuza.

I am not sure which report is the latest!

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In this morning news, the police acknowledge that they found direct links with the Yakuza in some phones that they confiscated earlier, from several heyas.

However, they did not name the owners of these keitai, yet!

A story being denied by the police themselves.

Sorry, just reported a clip from the police, on the MinoMonta show, about an hour ago, saying that some confiscated keitais had links with the yakuza.

I am not sure which report is the latest!

I don't think they themselves are sure, with all the crazed frenzy that they seem to be in..

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The problem with anti-conspiracy theorists like Kintamayama is that they're even more cocksure than the conspiracy theorists. When something is even remotely plausible (Asashoryu being provoked is quite plausible and the Yamaguchi-gumi's involvement in Sumo is definitely plausible), for the sake of good information, a thorough and public investigation is to be carried out to determine the extent of the alleged crime and then document the results in a publicly available report. Bashing people for daring to suggest that there's more to the story is anti-intellectual. Accepting press-statements by the authorities as the complete, unfiltered truth, is also very naive. Right now we're dealing with plausibilities, and potentially - with people who want to keep things from being publicized. At the very least we should respect those who are doing the job of the authorities and the inactive prosecution to make things more transparent. Mister Adelstein's work is incredibly brave, because he continues to investigate the Yakuza despite threats on his life and attempts to intimidate him. He doesn't have the same access or power as the police, so his investigations can't be as conclusive. To bash him for that is simply missing the point by miles. His findings have been more revealing, informative and useful to the public than what the Japanese prosecution and authorities have ever dared to show.

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The problem with anti-conspiracy theorists like Kintamayama is that they're even more cocksure than the conspiracy theorists. When something is even remotely plausible (Asashoryu being provoked is quite plausible and the Yamaguchi-gumi's involvement in Sumo is definitely plausible), for the sake of good information, a thorough and public investigation is to be carried out to determine the extent of the alleged crime and then document the results in a publicly available report.

While I agree that much in Maxim's post is reasonable, I feel that he is as much over the edge on the one side as those taking the opposite view are on the other (and I would not include Kintamayama in those). To take one small point: Asashoryu being provoked is plausible (though against this we have the report of an older Mongolian who was present in the bar outside which the alleged incident took place several hours later, that Asashoryu said to him, "Get out of here: I'm going to drink till morning." In this case we might say that "provocation is plausible" but other reports indicate otherwise.

In the case of the Yamaguchi-gumi being involved in sumo, this is not "plausible" -- it is a fact. We are not talking "plausibility" here. Yesterday (Day 14) I invited my usual guest to share my koenkai seats. He has had a long career as a respected Japanese journalist on the economic side and at one point he asked me about the yakuza involvement -- to which I replied that top yakuza wear very nice suits, are highly respectable men living highly respectable lives. Unless you know the background, how can you tell? He smiled and nodded.

Adelstein really is on the ball -- sorry I'd never heard of him before all this came up, but it was outside my beat. Foreigners working for Japanese media are outside my purview.

Orion

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The problem with anti-conspiracy theorists like Kintamayama is that they're even more cocksure than the conspiracy theorists. Accepting press-statements by the authorities as the complete, unfiltered truth, is also very naive. l to the public than what the Japanese prosecution and authorities have ever dared to show.

Yes, I'm cocksure. As you probably know, there are quite a few publications out there (weekly rags) that are just waiting in the wings to get their teeth in this sort of thing. The reason they don't (some do occasionally, and pay the fine for writing unsubstantiated but not necessarily untrue stuff) is that there is no proof. They get sued. They lose. Mr. Adelstein, unless I'm mistaken, caters to the gaijin who live in Japan, as he writes in English, and hence isn't worth the bother of getting sued, from the Kyokai or whoever's point of view, since his reading audience is not substantial. Why doesn't he go , say, to the police with all he knows? I'm sure the police would love to act on these kind of tips, given the latest occurences. Because he can't prove it. I'm not an anti-conspiracy theorist at all-I think a lot of shady stuff goes on behind the scenes of our Kyokai. But in this specific matter, I think there is not much to go on.

"Press statements by the authorities"- that sounds really paranoid and 1950's -ish to me, sir.

Edited by Kintamayama

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IIRC, he wrote for the Yomiuri Shimbun (not the English language translation) for 12 years. Most of those years were spent on the crime beat. It was his book Tokyo Vice that introduced him to an English reading crowd, along with the Japan Subculture Research Center. His interest in sumo seems to extend only as far as his subject of expertise has infiltrated the sport.

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IIRC, he wrote for the Yomiuri Shimbun (not the English language translation) for 12 years. Most of those years were spent on the crime beat. It was his book Tokyo Vice that introduced him to an English reading crowd, along with the Japan Subculture Research Center. His interest in sumo seems to extend only as far as his subject of expertise has infiltrated the sport.

I stand corrected, but, as you write in the second part of your post, it doesn't change the gist of what I'm saying.

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There are high level Yakuza guys and low level "chinpira" types. Generally the top guys never get caught just because some chinpira guys get arrested. So nothing written about chinpira guys will expose top honchos and the top guys will take no action to any reporter who writes such a story.

However once top guys are threatened, it really does not matter who you are (unless you work for organized crime units of police), you will not be safe. By chance, if any top guys get caught, they never say a word to anyone and they just go to a prison in silence for 5 or 10 or whatever years and do their time in style. It will be simply unimaginable for any top yakuza guy to ask to write a memoir for his kids or whoever. All will go to their grave with what they know.

All reports point to a major yakuza behind this baseball gambling thing involving Ozumio but so far the only guy got charged is a former rikishi who played a role of go-between. No one (or writer or police) has proved the direct connection to the top members of any yakuza group, all mentioned are more or less glorified chinpira. And that is the way it is with these guys.

Weekly magazines feature one yakuza story after another but it rarely touches the core of any group. No national newspaper has ever done any deep investigative reporting on them (that is the Yomiuri included) though half a dozen years ago a regional Asahi edition reported some of their ongoing activities in Osaka that have touched their nerves and promptly some guys came over to their office with a sword and demanded to see the editor. I also remember some of their retail stores got bombed. Nothing of this sort has happened to our writer so it basically means his reporting was considered to be pretty harmless or more or less rehash of articles that have been published elsewhere.

However there is one thing he is absolutely right, that is how the police is serious about the Kodo-kai branch of Yamaguchi gumi. These guys are so ferocious as they are not even afraid to go after police officers. Whenever the police raided their branch office, they found pictures and bulletin boards of the officers with their names and families and where they lived posted. The gang even went so far as to identify all the close relations, friends and colleagues of these police officers. The police is really afraid these members could easily take over the whole Yamaguchi gumi and other affiliated groups to garner enormous influence and become a major force that could even threaten the national security.

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Weekly magazines feature one yakuza story after another but it rarely touches the core of any group. No national newspaper has ever done any deep investigative reporting on them (that is the Yomiuri included) though half a dozen years ago a regional Asahi edition reported some of their ongoing activities in Osaka that have touched their nerves and promptly some guys came over to their office with a sword and demanded to see the editor. I also remember some of their retail stores got bombed. Nothing of this sort has happened to our writer so it basically means his reporting was considered to be pretty harmless or more or less rehash of articles that have been published elsewhere.

It was my impression in reading the author's works and interview that he had indeed been threatened.

In Tokyo Vice, there is a price placed on your head by a certain yakuza faction. Can you travel freely in Japan today?

I wish I knew the answer to this one. I

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