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.