Yakuza Push Back as Rigged Boxing Match Makes Waves in the Japanese Internet

Kameda Hide.jpg
I haven’t been following this issue too closely, but here’s a quick rundown:

On August 2, star Japanese boxer Koki Kameda fought Juan Landaeta of Venezuela for the World Boxing Association’s light flyweight championship. The match, which I naturally missed since I live outside Japan (but you can see some clips on Youtube here), was said to obviously have gone to Landaeta in terms of both points and the match’s momentum. However, at the end of the day Kameda was awarded the championship 2-1. The Japanese blogosphere (which scored its first political touchdown amid last year’s earthquake safety scandal) cried foul, the rumor being that the match had been rigged as a “present” for mob boss Goro Hide Hanabusa‘s birthday. Pictures of the two together (see above) soon surfaced, putting Kameda’s career in jeopardy not just for participating in a rigged match but for acquiring a dirty image in what is supposed to be a family sport.

Marxy, who has been following this story, has noted that the story has broken much faster on the Internet than in weekly magazines, Japan’s usual outlet for yakuza-related scandals. While diffusion of the Internet into daily lives in Japan has lagged behind the US (your aunt Ikuko still can’t book discount flights online, for instance), the more popular uses of the net (anonymous message boards, then blogs, and now Youtube) have proven effective tools in getting around the notorious disinformation found in traditonal news media (case in point). Japanese wiki, for instance, contains frank passages on taboo subjects such as the real identities of TV stars, exposure of staged events on TV, and now the role of organized crime in fixing boxing matches.

That is, it did until a few hours ago. Marxy just clued me in that Hide Hanabusa’s wikipedia entry was recently deleted due to “copyright issues”. Wikipedia will apparently instantly delete any entry that a rightsholder alleges contains a violation of his/her copyright. I have no idea whether that is the case in this instance, but it’s interesting to see that the yaks may have realized they’re being humiliated online and decided to take action.

Will the Japanese yakuza expand its Internet savvy beyond cheap cons in order to protect its image? Well, as far as this blogger is concerned, I figure I’ll be safe as long I keep writing in English.

3 thoughts on “Yakuza Push Back as Rigged Boxing Match Makes Waves in the Japanese Internet”

  1. In this case it isn’t so much “copyright” as “personality rights” or whatever they’re called, right? I can’t imagine this aging criminal had too many publications or other creative works that were being referenced on the J. Wiki page.

    I didn’t see the fight and can’t really comment on it, but I have heard people argue both sides of it: Kameda was on the mat early, he lost the last few rounds, he was clearly the loser, vs. Kameda performed well in the middle rounds, and a rule change has made it so judges *have* to award a round to one fighter or the other, and he ended up with more rounds than the Venezuelan. And then I’ve also heard that the whole thing was orchestrated by the boxing industry and/or Dentsu to get Japanese people interested in the sport once again and drum up some eyeballs for the sponsors. Hey, it’s the Internet, we need a profusion of wild theories. 😀

  2. I saw the fight. I was watching it with my friend’s parents, both aged 60 +, and both Japanese. When the winner was announced. My friend’s father hung his head and then announced that the result brought shame to all Japanese, and that he suspected ‘outside influence’ straight away.

    It was clearly rigged. Despite Kameda regrouping and making a fight of it in the middle rounds, he was clearly outclassed, and does not deserve the belt.

    Note; Daiki Kameda, Koki Kameda’s brother, tonight won a slightly dubious points decision in his fight against Valerio Sanchez, who is ranked 156th in the world. The Mexican, at age 36, tagged Kameda throughout the fight with Kameda sustaining a heavy cut over his left eye and was also bleeding profusely from the nose. Yet, when the decision was handed down, Kameda was victorious. The fight was admittedly way closer than the Koki Kameda title fight, and a Daiki Kameda victory was in the realms of possibility. But it does make you wonder..

Comments are closed.