Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Farewell Shimada Shinsuke!

I'm not a huge Japanese entertainment/celebrity buff as I live a typical Salaryman family life here in Japan, watching the Japanese news, morning shows and occasionally, when I'm too tired to check out a real TV channel, bits and pieces of a Japanese Variety Show. So, after more than ten years here I know my way around the basic celebrities.
Wada Akiko and Shimada enjoying the spotlight!

In the Japanese world of so celebrities, there are a few chosen ones that have achieved almost God-like status in the Japanese world of TV. A few that comes to mind are singer/actress/whatever/tv host Wada Akiko, Tamori, Beat Takeshi, Sanma Akashiya and Shimada Shinsuke (I just noticed I wrote the names Japanese style - family name first, can't be bothered to link information about them, if you want to know more you can just google the names). There are probably a few more that could be added to that list of the "elite" and grand-old-men/woman of the Japanese TV entertainment industry, people that up-and-coming celebrities are expected to pay proper respect to.

Of the people above, I've always strongly disliked Shimada, he seemed like an arrogant asshole that got off on making fun of people, using his status as celebrity to put other people down while trying to uphold an image of a upstanding man who places importance on proper manners and respect, if a little mischievous. However, a few years back, the first cracks in the facade started to show when he physically abused a female staff during the shooting of one of his shows (if I remember correctly, it involved slaps in the face, pulling of hair, general shouting and face-spitting, all generously handed out by Shimada). He got a slap on the wrist with a few months of being quarantined from his shows, but the Japanese people seemed to forgive him as he made a comeback and reclaimed his fame. 

However, this morning, I awoke to the pleasant news of an urgent press conference (those urgent ones always signal that something entertaining has happened) where Shimada announced his retirement from the entertainment industry due to connections with the Yakuza. From the official story, it doesn't sound particularly exciting, apparently an old friend of his joined the Japanese mob (after they had become friends) and through the friend, Shimada had occasional contacts with a high ranking Yakuza and after this coming to the knowledge of the agency he works for (the power of these "agencies" is another completely different story, but there most be real and researched articles about it out there) they came to the agreement that it's not suitable for him to have those type of contacts and therefore they came to the "agreement" that he should retire from the entertainment industry. As I strongly dislike him, I'm all for that and never again having to worry about turning the TV on and be met by his arrogant looking mug.

But... there must be much more to this than the official story and it's getting me really curious. I have severe trouble imagining that only this would cause the agency to take such drastic measures, particularly as he's such a heavyweight and moneymaker for them. During the press conference there came some vague hints from Shimada that at one point the Yakuza had "helped him" solve a problem that he had. Maybe it's only me, but I'm getting quite curious on the nature of this "problem" and exactly how the Yakuza could "solve" it for him... I also suspect that there was some blackmailing involved in some form...

Well, post the Noripi deal followed by the Kabuki Actor turned-violent-ashtray-drinking-beat-up-victim deal it's been quite dull on the celebrity scandal front, but this has potential to become more amusing. I'm just a little worried that the press has too much respect for Shimada to dig deeper in it (the Yakuza friends probably doesn't encourage it either...). Well, in any case, good riddance and you will not be missed by me Shimada!


blukats said...

So that is her name! Saw her on tv last time I was in Tokyo.

You might want to read this...

or this from the man who knows quite a bit about the Yakuza

Sounds like you are right that there was a lot more going on than the brief excuses made.

Chris said...

I always thought he was a piece of shit. Even b4 coming to Japan from Hawaii I had already grown to be annoyed by his smug mug. I would love to slap his face like the bitch he is.

I didn't even know about this?

Jeffrey said...

Count on Adelstein to have the goods, especially if it's anything involving his arch nemesis, Goto.

aimlesswanderer said...

Gee, and he sounds like such a nice guy. I guess there are so many "variety shows" of dubious quality that he will not be missed.

Momotaro said...

I thought his show on Sunday nights was funny sometimes, but I used to hate the bullying and rubbish he used to do, especially to that poor women who got a divorce and they all laughed at her.

He did have a thumb stuck up his arse patriarch type of attitude though.

He reminds me of a lot of religious and/or right wing people who have this facade of upstanding moral righteousness; but are really just scumbags out for your soul.

I wonder who will fill in for him?

jlpt2kyu said...

Wada Akiko is a man really though...right?

Sarahf said...

I didn't know much aout him, variety stars in Japan all become one in my mind, but it does bug me that he didn't "retire" after smacking an assistant around. But, meh, that's Japan for ya.

Mr. S. said...

Wonder if the agencies want the buck to stop with him, rather than anyone having to look into what everyone suspects: mob connections to the agencies. There's far too much money in entertainment for the mob NOT to be in every niche of it.

aimlesswanderer said...

Even made it into the paper here, probably because of the underworld connections.

Mr. Salaryman said...

Blukats - Thanks for the links and I'm not surprised! Akiko Wada is an institution here in Japan, but I don't hate her, Shimada was on top of my list ;)

Chris - Yeah, doesn't he just radiate some form of aura saying "punch me in the face"? And I'm not surprised that you haven't heard about it, before I got married, moved into the house, had the baby etc. etc. I didn't really watch the news the same way as I do now, it's the kind of routine that comes with living with a Japanese girl I think :)

Jeff - Well, can't say I know much of either Adelstein nor Goto, but good for them!

Aimless - At least not missed by me! But I doubt that he'll be able to make a comeback... If it only had been this, maybe, but not with the physical assault and other stuff he's been up to, this was probably just too much

Momotaro - Well, I reluctantly agree, that Sunday legal show was quite entertaining a few years back (when it was actually "realistic" cases with infor that might be useful) but he was just pissing me off (and you as well it seems like) ;)

Jlpt - Yep, she's definitely a man!

Saraf - I agree, you'd think that physically abusing a female staff would be enough to get cut loose...

Mr. S. - We'll see who they will try to push through the ranks now with Shimada gone, hopefully someone less smug!

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