Matsumoto announces suspension of work-related activities

https://www.yoshimoto.co.jp/info/1371/
In some weekly magazines released today, there is an article about Hitoshi Matsumoto (hereinafter referred to as the Talent), a talent belonging to our company, having sex with a woman in 2015, eight years ago.

However, there are no such facts, and this article significantly lowers the social reputation of the talent in question and damages his reputation. Our company will strongly protest this article, including the manner in which the interview was conducted, such as persistent questioning and filming on the Shinkansen, and plans to consider legal measures in the future.

We apologize for the content of this article, which has caused great concern to fans and related parties, but as stated above, this article is contrary to objective facts, so we ask for your understanding.

https://www.yoshimoto.co.jp/info/1374/

https://www.jprime.jp/articles/-/30467#goog_rewarded

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Matsumoto’s decision to suspend his entertainment activities is believed to be an action to determine the specific amount of damages he will claim.

If Matsumoto wins the lawsuit, Shukan Bunshun will have to pay a huge amount of compensation.

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Ernie-san, my dear friend. What is you opinion on this matter? If you don’t want to give your opinion, that is totally valid, but in that case what is the general feeling of the japanese people? Here in the west, it only takes a random accusation and they find the man guilty and they are asking the death penalty. So I would like to know how people over Japan feels about this

In Japan, divided into those who criticize Matsumoto-san and those who defend him.

I think Matsumoto-san has an excellent lawyer.

I don’t want Matsumoto-san to disappear.

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I totally agree with you. I still miss Miyazako. Thank you so much for this inside, my dear friend.

Hey guys–huge Downtown/Matsumoto fan over here. I watch Gaki no Tsukai, WDT, and Knight Scoop every week. This news has been really hard for me to swallow. I speak Japanese and live in Japan, so I can perhaps give some insight as well.

As Ernie mentioned, Japan is certainly divided on the matter. As Arlekin said, cancel culture is in full swing in the US, so one accusation can ruin (at best tarnish) someone’s career (anyone remember Louis CK? or Aziz Ansari?). My fear was that the initial accusation would spell the end of Matsumoto and Downtown as a TV presence. Hamada and Matsumoto both turned 60 last year (the traditional “retirement” year in Japan), and with that milestone approaching I feared a retirement announcement. It’s easy to fathom how an accusation like this could push someone teetering on that decision into that direction.

But Matsumoto mentioned on his X account that he intends to fight, and denounced the claims as “baseless.” This tells me not only that he believes he can win, but that he had no intention of quitting entertainment anytime soon–making the suspension of activities all the more frustrating. An expert opinion I viewed said that if the case proceeds smoothly, we could expect Matsumoto back on TV in 1 year AT BEST, but that it could easily take 3 (!!) years.

The Japanese public’s opinion on the matter seems much more forgiving than the prevalent attitudes in the US. I’ve certainly seen some who are saying he should quit, that he’s despicable, and that this is finally an opportunity for lesser-known geinin to rise in his absence. (Side note: I do not share this opinion. While I like many other geinin, I do not believe ANYONE to be on the level of Matsumoto. He is one in a billion. He is irreplaceable.)

Most people, however, seem to take a more rational approach. “Let’s figure this out. Once it’s resolved and if he’s not culpable, let’s get him back on TV,” is a sentiment I am seeing a lot of.

And, many social media commenters have spoken out in his defense, called the claims ridiculous, and have even wondered if Japanese TV/ratings can “survive” without Matsumoto.

As far as I’ve seen, most other geinin have been outwardly, or at least implicitly supportive of Matsumoto. Kanpei Hazama said he has “no clue what this is all about”.

Personally, I want to see this put behind us and Matsumoto back in the saddle. 1-3 years without him seems too hard to bear.

I haven’t heard definitively about what they are doing for Gaki or WDT in the meantime, but there was talk that Hamada may continue them without Matsumoto for now. The Matsumoto-centric shows will be put on hiatus. For Knight Scoop, I read that the segments they previously recorded with Matsumoto WILL broadcast as planned on 1/12, but they haven’t decided what to do with the next batch of segments (originally scheduled to be recorded on 1/19), or what to do after that (in terms of replacing Matsumoto as Kyokuchō, proceeding without him, or putting the show on hold, etc…) I read a comment saying it’d be cool if Hamada took his place for the interim. I actually think that would be cool :smile:

Here’s hoping this gets resolved soon.

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A quick update on my reply.

For Gaki no Tsukai: it was just announced that they will be airing the “already-recorded w/Matsumoto” 1/14 and 1/21 episodes as planned. From 1/28, they will be continuing the show without Matsumoto.

Today (Wednesday) they aired Wednesday Downtown with Matsumoto. My guess is they will do the same as GnT and continue WDT without Matsumoto for the time being.

松本人志「ガキ使」収録済み14、21日は本人出演で放送 28日以降は松本抜きで番組継続へ

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Hi Katanasoul, I just want to say thank you for all the information and the opinion provided. Your scope on this was very insightful and the info about Gaki, something that had me and pretty sure many others worried, has been a relief. Sure, not great without Matsumoto, but at least they will still be around. Thank you tons!

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You are quite welcome! I also was relieved to hear they will be proceeding with the shows. There will definitely be a void without Matsumoto, but the other members will surely keep it interesting. And something is better than nothing!

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As someone who has watched Gaki almost every day for the passed god maybe around 20 years?? This news in shocking to say the least. I will keep my views to myself as i have seen else were people have been personaly attack on there views on this.

Only thing i will say is what i have seen to date would not be enough to convice me so far.

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Update on Knight Scoop:
It was announced yesterday that starting from February, they will continue broadcasting Knight Scoop with the regular tantei members filling in as kyokuchō for the time being.

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https://news.yahoo.co.jp/articles/ad7c899e6bfcdda7c551fda969aff259fcc42ac5

The first oral argument in the lawsuit will be held on March 28 at the Tokyo District Court

deepl translate

"Hitoshi Matsumoto, 60, of the comedy duo “Downtown” who was allegedly sexually assaulted by Bunshun Weekly, has filed a lawsuit against Bungei Shunju, the publisher of Bungei Shunju Weekly, and others in the Tokyo District Court seeking approximately 550 million yen in damages for defamation and other claims. On March 15, we learned that the first oral argument in the lawsuit will be held on March 28 at the Tokyo District Court.
According to sources, Matsumoto’s side is seeking compensation for damages as well as correction of the article, claiming that he suffered indescribable emotional damage in response to the Weekly Bunshun article released at the end of last year.
Matsumoto announced last month that he would temporarily suspend his entertainment activities in order to focus on his trial. Masanori Hamada (60) has already begun recording his regular Downtown programs by himself.
Matsumoto’s representative has released the following statement: "We would like to clearly assert and prove that there is no sexual act or coercion as described in the article, and that there is no fact that constitutes “sexual assault” in any way.
In response to this announcement, the editorial department of Shukan Bunshun also commented, “We are fully confident in our series of articles. We are still interviewing new accusers and carefully conducting corroborative interviews. We will not be intimidated by the lawsuit, and if there are matters that need to be reported in the future, we will continue to report them as before.”

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If it was Hamada (with his pervert and sadistic actings lol), i would be like : “hmm…maybe…”, but for Matsumoto i doubt that happened, no, i strongly believe it was a lie. I watched almost every videos of Gaki since theirs debut (of course videos are not an universal truth), but from my perspective, everytime Matsumoto met or did a video with a guest or a non-gaki member, he was always very shy, restrictive, sometimes curled up and often hated to receive too much attention outside of his humorous actions.

Also, in general, when there is an accusation of this scale, the company doesn’t try to support so much the artist even if they worked with him so long (references to European artists similar situations), but here, they even said : “there are no such facts, and this article significantly lowers the social reputation of the celebrity and damages his reputation. Our company will strongly protest this article”. I don’t know if it’s a Japanese cultural spirit or behavior but they decided to totally support him i this case.

So i have no fear for Matsumoto, i believe it’s just a question of time, an unfortunate time for him, but everything will be ok.

“Bunshun Weekly” always did in the sensational for theirs articles to attract more readers, it’s not the first time they accuse someone like that. But if the comments above, really relate “Bunshun Weekly”'s words perfectly, then this : “We are fully confident in our series of articles. We are still interviewing new accusers” is a very daring thing to say, are they gonna try to pay for false testimony to defend themselves at any cost ? This case is going to last much longer than I thought.

One of the girls mentioned by Bunshun calls the article complete bullshit

https://twitter.com/shimoruna/status/1764229320292405597

GTranslated:
Regarding Hitoshi Matsumoto’s case, I am writing this because I cannot forgive the content of the article, which is full of lies.
I was attending a drinking party at the Ritz Carlton in Osaka. The gal-like AV actress mentioned in the article is me.
I have been good friends with Tamuken for some time, and he invited me to a drinking party.
I had a boyfriend at the time, so we had talked about it beforehand, and he was perfectly fine with me having a boyfriend, and he wanted me to tell him about the drinking party.
First of all, the article says that Tamuken invited the gravure idol to a drinking party, but that is not true.
I invited him because he was my friend.
I had heard in advance that there would be a drinking party with Mr. Matsumoto.
And I was never told that my phone would be confiscated and I was prohibited from using it. There was no such statement. During the drinking party, I had informed my then-boyfriend about the approximate time I would be returning home, and I was on my cell phone as usual.
Also, there was no Tamuken time. Lol lol I don’t drink alcohol at all, but I was never offered alcohol and I was able to enjoy the soft drinks, so it was a really fun drinking party.
I can’t keep quiet when I see such a bullshit article. I love Hitoshi Matsumoto, I want him to continue to be active, I want to save him, and I hope that my words have some meaning. I just wrote this.

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My problem with the storys is they say the phones were confiscated, But if that was true how was the photos of Matsumoto just laying down on his phone that were printed took? And in the pictures the other girl also had her phone?

Also i understand they are now beening sued by Lady Dewi. Over clams of charity embezzling allegations.

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I honestly hope the rest will continue in their own way I just noticed Hamada is doing fresh commercials and I saw Tanaka on a tv show not too long ago but most of all hope to see Matsumoto again he’s a creative genius like Shimura Ken rip