The Curse Of The Yakuza Games

Image: Sega,Image: Yakuza Fandom

The Yakuza games and their spin-offs have long starred some of Japan’s biggest celebrities. Now that some of those celebs have ended up in trouble, there are rumblings of a Yakuza curse. Dun dun dun.

Earlier this year, actor and musician Pierre Taki, who appeared in the Yakuza spin-off Judgment, was picked up on drug charges. The arrest resulted in Sega removing him from the game and Sony Music terminating his band’s contract.

Taki isn’t the only celebrity in a Yakuza game (or its spin-offs) ending up in trouble. He isn’t even the only one this year! Perhaps there is a reason why it’s now being said that the Yakuza games are cursed.

According to website Re:Geinou, there are rumblings of a Ryu ga Gotoku no noroi (龍が如くの呪い) or “Yakuza curse”, with Ryu Ga Gotoku being the Japanese name for the Yakuza games.

Last year, actor Hiroki Narimiya was replaced in the Yakuza 4 remaster. In late 2016, he was photographed allegedly using cocaine, causing the actor to announce he was leaving the entertainment industry.

But the most recent celebrity to fall victim to the Yakuza’s nefarious power is comedian Hiroyuki Miyasako, who lent his voice for Tsuyoshi Kanda in Yakuza 3 and played Tsuyoshi Nagumo in Yakuza 6 (above).

Miyasako came under fire for appearing at a party held by a rather unsavoury group of people. In Japanese, this sort of group is known as a hanshakaiteki seiryoku (反社会的勢力), which is typically translated as an “anti-social organisation”. These groups are fraudsters, attempting to swindle folks out of money.

They can be members of organised crime groups known as bouryokudan (暴力団), literally meaning “violent group” but colloquially referred to as yakuza. They can also be connected to those criminal organisations or be their own independent group.

In short, they’re the kind of thing you’d see in Sega’s popular crime games.

Miyasako was one of over 10 comedians who appeared at an event hosted by an anti-social organisation. Also included in those comedians wrapped up in the scandal is Yoshinari Fukushima, who was Mr Moneybags in Yakuza 0.

Image: Sega,Image: Yakuza Gamepedia

At first, Miyasako said he didn’t know that such a group was hosting the event and that he was not paid for attending. However, it was later revealed that he had been paid. The fee he received would, thus, be considered dirty money.

His talent agency, the powerful Yoshimoto Kogyo, has temporarily banned Miyasako from appearing on any TV shows. The future of Ame Talk, the long-running variety show he co-hosts, seems uncertain as sponsors no doubt have concerns about Miyasako’s accepting payment from a criminal enterprise.

Considering how many celebrities are in the Yakuza games and considering the historical connection between the entertainment business and illegal activities, Yakuza’s track record isn’t too bad. As with Madden, I don’t really believe there is a curse. However, I will not be surprised when more of its stars run into trouble. You shouldn’t be, either.


    Meanwhile our boy Kiryu (Takaya Kuroda) has been in them all and is clean as a whistle (for now...)

    It's kinda stupid and Japan is shamefully backwards into human attitudes towards altered states of mind. Celebrities do drugs. Why effectively celebrate the not-get-caughting-part by intitiating shame once they have?
    (The answer is Japan).

      Different cultures & morals in different countries. It's isn't that hard to understand.

        I think you get that I understand that. You're just trying to be a cool internet dude. It's just backwards AF. The rest of the world is busy trying to be inclusive, and they're busy acting like they are still semi-isolationist in places.

          I'm just looking at it from my personal point of view as someone who deals with two different kinds of cultural ideologies & morals from both my Samoan side of the family & my Australian side. The isolation aspect isn't an act though, it's genuinely how the world works. As hard as it is to believe for most people but the world does not conform to a universal ideology. Thinking that the rest of the world is trying to be inclusive is incredibly delusional and far from the truth.

            Accepting what is and liking it are two different things that are not mutually exclusive. If soemthing doesn't fit in with what I've come to know as good humanity, I don't pretend to dig it.

              So people doing drugs is good humanity?

                Yes. It is. This is the FIRST period in human history where humanity has been restricted from seeking altered states of mind. It is in our genetic framework to tickle parts of our brains we can't otherwise reach. Life is in't all as simple as "Drugs are bad". That's an American notion we all adopted in our lifetime. I used to think the same, but it isn't as simple as all that.

    It's no huge surprise that actors cast because they evoke particular criminal archetypes sometimes actually have personalities similar to the characters they are cast to play. People could talk about the 'Sopranos' curse for the same reasons.

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