Aaron Gerow gerow
Fri Jun 23 00:01:27 EDT 2000

The newspapers reported that a sokaiya with links to organized crime was 
arrested the other day for threatening one of his employees with a knife. 
 (Sokaiya, by the way, are figures who extort money from major companies 
through such means as "ensuring" peace during yearly stockholder meetings 
(kabunushi sokai).)  What is interesting from a film angle is that this 
sokaiya was also involved in getting money from several construction 
contractors over the construction of a film company's office building in 
Chuo-ku.  The newspaper reports don't state which company, but with 
statements in the articles like, "A new management took over in January 
1998," it is not too difficult to deduce that it was Shochiku.  How much 
Shochiku was involved is unclear, but it seems to be a fact that the old 
management (i.e., the Okuyama era) had met with this fellow.  Anyone know 
any more specifics?

Japanese film industry involvement with organized crime is an open secret 
(for instance, some of Nikkatsu's promissary notes got into the hands of 
the mob before Nikkatsu underwent reorganization), but not too many 
specifics have been made public.  I just wonder what was going on here.

Aaron Gerow
Yokohama National University
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