New Yakuza spin-off yanked from shelves over actor’s arrest

Joanna Estrada
March 14, 2019

Taki-san plays the role of Yakuza officer Kyohei Hamura in Judgment, and you can read a description below from the game's official western website.

Taki is an actor and musician known for being a member of the band Denki Groove and the voice of snowman Olaf in the Japanese dubbing of Disney's Frozen. While Japan has a robust domestic show business industry, the country tends to be far less lenient regarding celebrity drug use than many other countries, and whenever a well-known entertainer gets in trouble for narcotics use or possession, media distributors are quick to distance themselves from the figure at the center of the scandal.

The actor was arrested for reportedly using cocaine, which apparently violates Japan's drug control laws. This will affect both physical and digital sales.

At least for now, it seems like Judgment may be done for in Japan, but what about the game's upcoming Western release? The western release has a different cast of voice actors providing the English version of the game.

A PR company that works with SEGA on "Judgment" did not immediately respond to Variety's request for comment.

Sega will make an announcement regarding its future course of action as soon as a decision is made. Narimiya retired from the industry shortly after these allegations cropped up, and his likeness and voice were erased from the new version of Yakuza 4, which delayed the game's release in Japan by three months (it's yet to be released over here). According to the Japan Times, Taki is now being detained after a positive drug test and could face a prison sentence of up to seven years.

According to Wall Street Journal reporter Takashi Mochizuki, Sega is now discussing how this situation regarding the Japanese retraction of Judgment will affect the western release of the Yakuza-spin off, which is now scheduled for release on PS4 June 25. "In Japan, getting caught using drugs is a career ender". "Video game fans are nothing if not diligent, and bootleg translations of foreign games crop up fairly frequently", says games journalist Elliot Gardner.

Sega already has seen an issue with drug use in Yakuza games.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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