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Umigame

Gambling Scandal: Hidden Background

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Jake Adelstein has an interesting (to say the least) angle on the gambling scandal. Includes an interesting take on who was behind Asashoryu's final fall from grace.

It's a fascinating read, but how much of it is true?

I don't know that much about Adelstein, but his credentials as an authority on the Japanese media, police, and yakuza look unimpeachable.

Jake Adelstein, author of Tokyo Vice and an authority on organised crime in Japan, said the scandal was connected with a fresh crackdown on a notoriously violent faction within the Yamaguchi-gumi that also had strong ties to the sumo world. "The media haven't suddenly decided to expose the relationship between sumo and the yakuza," Adelstein said. "The details were leaked to them by the police.

<snip>

The current scandals involving Japan's organized crime groups, the yakuza, and the Sumo Association, and the sport of Sumo itself shouldn't be seen as an aberration in Japanese society or something that has never existed before

Edited by Umigame

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I love a good conspiracy theory, but honestly I can't find any holes in this one and it explains a lot of things that were until now unexplained. So I'm taking it as truth until someone pokes some holes in it.

When the scandal first broke, I noted with glee that there are NO foreign rikishi involved, and that Asashoryu must be enjoying it. Well it seems that this was no coincidence. In fact this scandal can in a way be seen as "Asa's Revenge". <- (Ed.: I retract this comment based on subsequent info.)

Edited by Umigame

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Extremely interesting story and as you say it makes much of what happened to Asa much more understandable. I am unsure however why you left out the following paragraph from the story you copied. It goes in front of the second to last paragraph:

The "sumo wrestlers betting on baseball" story was leaked to Shukan Shincho by the police. Just as in October of 2008, the police leaked to the same magazine the story of how Japanese gang boss Goto had a lavish birthday party attended by celebrities, including famous Enka singers. The mass media then picked up the story, the Shukan Shincho article turned out to be correct, and NHK banned the attending singers (Kobayashi Akira etc) from appearing on television. Just as NHK is now not broadcasting the Sumo tournament. In Goto's case, the scandal resulted in his fall from power. In the case of the Kodokai, top level executives will be forced to resign or be arrested for their part in the baseball betting operations. In fact, the arrest of yakuza crime boss, Mori Kenji, (Yamaguchi-gumi Tsukasa Kogyo), on gambling charges, several weeks ago may be part of the current investigation as well. In his hotel suite, where he held a traditional gambling session, sumo wrestlers, celebrities, and some corporate executives were also alleged to be in attendance. One part of t he Sumo-yakuza-gambling scandal that may never come to light is that not only were sumo wrestlers were participating in the gambling but so were some executives from the Japanese companies sponsoring the sumo tournaments. For those reasons, the investigation is likely to be cut off at a predetermined point before it becomes an international embarrassment. Established connections between gambling, yakuza, sumo and major Japanese corporations wouldn't reflect well on the business image of Japan. There is already a proposal to "pin the crime" on low-level yakuza boss who died of natural causes last year, designating him the "puppet master" who ran the show. Dead men make the perfect fall guys and don't say things they shouldn't.

This makes the NHK's decision to not broadcast the Nagoya basho again much more understandable. The allegation that some of the executives of the sponsoring companies were also involved in the gambling might help explain the rush of many sponsors to distance themselves from this mess as well. They may be hoping that their involvement will not be publicized.

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Oh, hey, isn't Kenji Mori the guy whose birthday party Asashoryu supposedly attended?

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This makes the NHK's decision to not broadcast the Nagoya basho again much more understandable. The allegation that some of the executives of the sponsoring companies were also involved in the gambling might help explain the rush of many sponsors to distance themselves from this mess as well. They may be hoping that their involvement will not be publicized.[/i]

And let us not forget that in Japan we currently have yet another flagrant example of past police/prosecutors' malfeasance; two men accused of murder and robbery and convicted over 40 years ago have finally got their case retried; as in an increasing number of other recently reviewed cases, it is quite clear that their interrogators lied to them as well as otherwise pressuring them into false confessions (which at the time were essential to get a conviction). At this time it would do the police a whole lot of good to be seen to be actuallly on the case of some real bad guys.

Orion

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I am unsure however why you left out the following paragraph from the story you copied.

The point about NHK canceling singers with yakuza connections has already been made on this forum.

But I agree with your point about why the sponsor companies involved in the gambling would want to distance themselves from it as much as possible.

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Put me down with the silent "conspiracy theories always come out AFTER the facts are disclosed and are quite easy to 'stitch'". I don't believe a word. I wish it were true, but it's , as are all conspiracy theories, conjecture and rumormongering plus a dab of fact, regardless of who is telling us about it and how "knowledgable' he is about the underworld. If he knew all this, why come out with it now and not two weeks ago?

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Put me down with the silent "conspiracy theories always come out AFTER the facts are disclosed and are quite easy to 'stitch'". I don't believe a word. I wish it were true, but it's , as are all conspiracy theories, conjecture and rumormongering plus a dab of fact, regardless of who is telling us about it and how "knowledgable' he is about the underworld. If he knew all this, why come out with it now and not two weeks ago?

He never claimed to have known about this in advance. The scandal blows up and it's related to his beat, so he does his research, interviews his police sources and yakuza sources, fits all the pieces together and publishes it on his blog. I see nothing fishy about that.

Oh, hey, isn't Kenji Mori the guy whose birthday party Asashoryu supposedly attended?

Now this seems more like a possible hole in the theory to me.

Yes, this Kenji Mori is the Yamaguchi-gumi guy whose birthday party Asashoryu attended, according to Shukan Bunshun.

But if they framed Asa, why would Asa be socializing with them?

Edit: Unless the birthday party took place _before_ the frame up...

Edited by Umigame

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Actually there is a hole in the story.

Fact 1: The "victim" was not a total stranger to Asashoryu. He has been acknowledged by Asashoryu, his manager and others as Asashoryu's close acquaintance (some reported as his friend or even a business partner).

Fact 2: Asashoryu or his manager wanted to hide the incident or even the identity of this man from the media and others by claiming the manager was the one who hit or beat him. It all occurred in Asahoryu's car. Knowing his personality, if the man kept bothered him that much, before even hitting the man, Asashoryu would have kicked him out of the car but it was the man who "escaped" from the car and run over to the Police.

Fact 3: It has been already established that the man was not a member of Yamaguchi group but what they commonly known as "Chinese Mafia" though the man himself is a Korean Japanese. The man is well known to the police. If he was a member of the Yamaguchi, that is the last thing he would have done as he would be investigated but he has volunteered to talk to the police or even threatened to sue. The last thing any member of Yamaguchi would do is to talk to the police or go public.

Fact 4: It is also established that baseball gambling has been rampant in Ozumo for at least the last several years and if Asashoryu "has talked" to the police complain and then this is the last thing Yamaguchi group wanted to do if they are the group behind baseball gambling. If huge baseball gambling is going on in the corporate world, entertainment industry as well as in sports, there are tons of money flowing into Yamaguchi, now if they want to keep this revenue intact, they will do everything in their power to have this kept from publicity. They certainly not to getting themselves in caught up in squabbles within Ozumo as the money from relatively small number of Ozumo rikishi is a pittance compared to what they can get from corporate and show business worlds.

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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.

Never mind this, please don't cover your ears, don't be blind, some stuff is just undeniable. There are threads, there are links, there are leaks, and leaks do not happen unintended. This story blew up in 2010 for a reason, do you think there wasn't gambling within the sumo world in the 90s? The 80s and 70s? Ha. I love sumo but I know there's a lot of goings on behind the curtain.

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Hey, I merely am pointing out discrepancies. I don't know his story as a whole is based on facts or conjectures based on related incidents but linking this latest baseball gambling to Asashoryu getting kicked out of Ozumo is a stretch.

For instance, I already mentioned what he wrote (the first part) but I'd like to know which bosses are ex-rikishi:

Edited by Jonosuke

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Put me down with the silent "conspiracy theories always come out AFTER the facts are disclosed and are quite easy to 'stitch'". I don't believe a word. I wish it were true, but it's , as are all conspiracy theories, conjecture and rumormongering plus a dab of fact, regardless of who is telling us about it and how "knowledgable' he is about the underworld. If he knew all this, why come out with it now and not two weeks ago?

He never claimed to have known about this in advance. The scandal blows up and it's related to his beat, so he does his research, interviews his police sources and yakuza sources, fits all the pieces together and publishes it on his blog. I see nothing fishy about that.

Proof and names. Places and dates. Come on.. Give me ten minutes and I'll give you a better theory.

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[ megasnip] My point is not about Yakuza and Ozumo connection which has always existed but having all linked to Yakuza activities. So what this Kenji Mori showed up at Asashoryu's 29th Birthday party at a posh Daikanyama restaurant? Does that mean Asashoryu is a member of Yamaguchi gumi?

And let us not forget the prominent yakuza who, it turned out shortly after the event, attended Chiyonofuji's wedding reception. Of course the teflon yokozuna could not be associated with this, so his boss (then Kokonoe is now better known as Kitanofuji) had his salary docked for some months.

Orion

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Proof and names. Places and dates. Come on.. Give me ten minutes and I'll give you a better theory.

Of course you can write your own conspiracy theory. The point is that nobody would have any reason to believe it, because you're not a professional journalist and you don't have sources within the Japanese police and the Japanese mob.

There are sometimes legit reasons for keeping information sources confidential. Woodward and Bernstein never gave away the identity of Deep Throat, but that doesn't mean Watergate was a lie. Wikipedia has a decent summary of journalism sourcing if you wish to get acquainted with the fundamentals.

Jonosuke, on the other hand, has pointed out several discrepancies that make the Asashoryu part of the story seem very dubious.

Come on.. Give me ten minutes and I'll give you a better theory.

Now this I doubt. True or not, this is a damn good story. (In a state of confusion...)

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And let us not forget the prominent yakuza who, it turned out shortly after the event, attended Chiyonofuji's wedding reception. Of course the teflon yokozuna could not be associated with this, so his boss (then Kokonoe is now better known as Kitanofuji) had his salary docked for some months.

I believe the man who was invited to Chiyonofuji's wedding reception was a good acquaintance of his shisho at the time, Kitanofuji, so it was right that he got his salary cut. Actually the story was that both Kitanofuji and his shisho former Yokozuna Chiyonoyama were both connected not only to a yakuza group but they were reportedly actual members. In fact Kitanofuji was said to have carried the casket of the second Yamgaguchi-gumi boss Kazuo Taoka.

Ostensibly both Kitanofuji and Chiyonoyama did not get to have a good post-active job at the Kyokai and one of the reasons both were kicked out of Dewanoumi Ichimon were their connection with the mob. Subsequently Chiyonoyama never got to become a riji and Kitanofuji was more or less kicked out of the Kyokai.

Chiyonofuji was known to have dined with yakuza members during his active days and I recall a weekly magazine once took a photo of him eating with a prominent yakuza member in Fukuoka. It's no wonder Chiyotaikai, former motorcycle gang head in Kyushu wanted to follow his footsteps and joined his heya.

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I might correct what I wrote about Kazuo Taoka. He was Yamaguchi-gumi's third boss (the current boss Shinobu Tsukasa is the sixth).

While working for Noboru Yamaguchi, Yamaguchi-gumi's second boss (the eldest son of Harukichi Yamaguchi, the founder), Taoka became instantly well known after almost killing then Tomozuna Beya's Maegashira Takaragawa. Takaragawa and the 32nd Yokozuna Tamanishiki came from the same place in Kochi Prefecture. During Osaka junyo in 1932, Takaragawa saw Tamanishiki refusing to accept a gift from Kochi supporter and got so upset and started fighting.

What Takaragawa did not know was Tamanishiki was a Sha-tei of Noboru Yamaguchi (in the current Yamaguchi-gumi, after the boss, there are only seven sha-tei with the membership totaling somewhere around 35,000. Incidentally one of the seven is Kenji Mori, invited to Asashoryu's birthday party). Taoka hearing what Takaragawa said to Tamanishiki, went berserk and started going after him with a sword. Initially Tamanishiki thought Taoka was just trying to scare Takaragawa but realized how serious Taoka was and tried to stop him from harming Takaragawa. Takaragawa ended up getting a deep gush in his head and lost two fingers but thanks to Tamanishiki, his life was spared.

Edited by Jonosuke

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Of course you can write your own conspiracy theory. The point is that nobody would have any reason to believe it, because you're not a professional journalist and you don't have sources within the Japanese police and the Japanese mob.

This guy is so good and his theory so deeply rooted in the truth that not one single other source (Japanese) has picked it up. This is a time when even something remotely true would surely be lapped up by the local yellows. But nothing.

Skeptical. Again, I hope this is true, but beware of journalists bearing rumors at a convenient time..

Edited by Kintamayama

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I might correct what I wrote about Kazuo Taoka. He was Yamaguchi-gumi's third boss (the current boss Shinobu Tsukasa is the sixth).

While working for Noboru Yamaguchi, Yamaguchi-gumi's second boss (the eldest son of Harukichi Yamaguchi, the founder), Taoka became instantly well known after almost killing then Tomozuna Beya's Maegashira Takaragawa. Takaragawa and the 32nd Yokozuna Tamanishiki came from the same place in Kochi Prefecture. During Osaka junyo in 1932, Takaragawa saw Tamanishiki refusing to accept a gift from Kochi supporter and got so upset and started fighting.

What Takaragawa did not know was Tamanishiki was a Sha-tei of Noboru Yamaguchi (in the current Yamaguchi-gumi, after the boss, there are only seven sha-tei with the membership totaling somewhere around 35,000. Incidentally one of the seven is Kenji Mori, invited to Asashoryu's birthday party). Taoka hearing what Takaragawa said to Tamanishiki, went berserk and started going after him with a sword. Initially Tamanishiki thought Taoka was just trying to scare Takaragawa but realized how serious Taoka was and tried to stop him from harming Takaragawa. Takaragawa ended up getting a deep gush in his head and lost two fingers but thanks to Tamanishiki, his life was spared.

Geez-your stories are the best, sir.

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And let us not forget the prominent yakuza who, it turned out shortly after the event, attended Chiyonofuji's wedding reception. Of course the teflon yokozuna could not be associated with this, so his boss (then Kokonoe is now better known as Kitanofuji) had his salary docked for some months.

I believe the man who was invited to Chiyonofuji's wedding reception was a good acquaintance of his shisho at the time, Kitanofuji, so it was right that he got his salary cut. Actually the story was that both Kitanofuji and his shisho former Yokozuna Chiyonoyama were both connected not only to a yakuza group but they were reportedly actual members. In fact Kitanofuji was said to have carried the casket of the second Yamgaguchi-gumi boss Kazuo Taoka.

Ostensibly both Kitanofuji and Chiyonoyama did not get to have a good post-active job at the Kyokai and one of the reasons both were kicked out of Dewanoumi Ichimon were their connection with the mob. Subsequently Chiyonoyama never got to become a riji and Kitanofuji was more or less kicked out of the Kyokai.

Chiyonofuji was known to have dined with yakuza members during his active days and I recall a weekly magazine once took a photo of him eating with a prominent yakuza member in Fukuoka. It's no wonder Chiyotaikai, former motorcycle gang head in Kyushu wanted to follow his footsteps and joined his heya.

You're telling us that the NHK point-man for sumo broadcasting for some time is mob-connected, or a mobster? That makes their reaction to the scandal somewhat...interesting.

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I just say again.... it is everywhere....... past & present.. I'm not surprised about any of it!

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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)

Orion

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beware of journalists bearing rumors at a convenient time..

Yes! With this statement we are in agreement 100%!

Which brings us back to the beginning of the story: we should beware of the journalists at Shukan Shincho and ask why they broke the story at a convenient time.

If the gambling and the mob connections in sumo were so widely known, why write about it now? This is what Adelstein's story provides an answer for: it was leaked by the police as part of their current war on one of the mob groups. I haven't seen this key question addressed anywhere else, and I haven't heard a better/more believable answer yet. Strange innit?

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I haven't seen this key question addressed anywhere else, and I haven't heard a better/more believable answer yet. Strange innit?

Because, as in most things in life-stuff happens, and it just happened-Kotomitsuki (or Ootake,whoever you choose to believe) was blackmailed. If he hadn't been blackmailed, this whole thing would have never happened, since gambling sumotori are not news and the weekly wouldn't have gone with the story. But blackmail? An Ozeki? Juicy. In the initial report, was the underworld even mentioned? In any case, not as sexy as the underworld web of deceit, just bland, boring truth.

I think..

Edited by Kintamayama

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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

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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/

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