In July, Yakuza executive director and producer Toshihiro Nagoshi used slang to disparage puzzle-game pro players during a livestream. Sega soon apologised, and now, nearly a month later, so has Nagoshi.
As previously reported, Nagoshi had said that Puyo Puyo esports players seemed like they eat beef bowls with cheese. The term chiizu gyuudon gao (チーズ牛丼顔) or “cheese beef bowl face” has been circulating online. Shortened to chiigyu (チー牛) or “cheese beef,” this slang term is used to refer to people who live in rural areas, look very young, wear glasses, and don’t have much ambition. It’s a negative, mocking term to deride people who might not be considered “cool.” Nagoshi was clearly making fun of Puyo Puyo players.
“I would like to start with an apology,” Nagoshi started in the newly released pre-recorded statement (below) that appeared before the livestream. Continuing, he added that in the stream’s last instalment he made an “unsuitable remark” regarding esports and wanted to say he was sorry for that.
“As the remark was directed at players who are giving their all playing a Sega title, Puyo Puyo, and as it soiled all of esports, for that, I am very sorry. It was truly inexcusable.”
Nagoshi underscored Sega’s continued commitment to esports, including Puyo Puyo, and players.
“Once again, I am truly sorry,” said Nagoshi, half-bowing his head at the end of his remarks in the pre-recorded statement. When the livestream started, however, the Yakuza exec then said he had been scolded, seemingly by Sega, after making those remarks.
Some fans, however, didn’t seem satisfied.
“If you are going to bow your head, bow your head correctly,” wrote one commenter on YouTube. Other comments thought that the apology was too informal and that Nagoshi should have apologised while wearing a suit.
There is a firmly entrenched culture of apologising in Japan. When companies fuck up, the execs hold a press event to offer a formal apology. They are decked out in suits and then stand, bowing deeply after repeatedly sorry they were sorry. In Japan, saying “I’m sorry” might not be enough. When it’s not, people in Japan, especially online, do pile on.
So, in comparison, yes, Nagoshi’s effort did seem rather casual, especially considering he is a Sega executive — the company’s Chief Creative Officer — and not your typical employee. Others didn’t think he was serious enough, upset that he was half-smirking soon after the livestream started.
On YouTube, the livestream was peppered with comments, seeming to call Nagoshi “cheese beef bowl face”, saying they wanted to eat a beef bowl with cheese, or generally showing their displeasure.
Some commenters on 2ch, Japan’s largest online bulletin board, also seemed upset, saying they wouldn’t buy any Sega games or that considering his position at Sega, Nagoshi shouldn’t have joked about Puyo Puyo players. Not everyone, however, knew this slang, saying they had to Google it. Others, however, did appear satisfied, adding in jest that Nagoshi should make a Yakuza Cheese Beef Bowl Face game.