Japanese pop star Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, centre, is led into a police vehicle in Tokyo today
A Japanese pop star was arrested today for public indecency after being found drunk and naked at a Tokyo park, police said.
Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, a member of hugely popular group SMAP, was arrested on the spot after neighbours complained a drunk man was making a fuss in the park, a Tokyo Metropolitan Police official said.
"I caused trouble to many people. I am deeply sorry," 34-year-old Kusanagi was quoted by public broadcaster NHK as saying.
His arrest was the top news item in Japan with major TV networks repeatedly reporting the arrest and broadcasting footage showing Kusanagi being escorted to a police van.
The pop star, sitting on the grass, resisted the arrest, saying, "What's wrong with being naked?" public broadcaster NHK reported earlier. His clothes were bundled in a ball near him.
Police questioned Kusanagi shortly after his arrest and later raided his apartment. Police declined to give further details. Nippon TV said police seized nothing from his Tokyo apartment.
Kusanagi surged to stardom following his 1991 debut as part of the five-member SMAP, which dominated Japan's pop music scene, and starred in TV dramas and films. Kusanagi, fluent in Korean, is also popular in South Korea.
The government has used Kusanagi as a promoter of digital terrestrial TV broadcasting, which replaces analogue broadcasting in Japan in 2011. The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry supports the promotion, and its minister voiced outrage over Kusanagi's arrest.
"I'm really angry. This is really outrageous," Kunio Hatoyama told reporters.
Kusanagi's TV commercials promoting digital terrestrial TV broadcasting will be taken off the air, the ministry said, and posters featuring Kusanagi for the campaign will be withdrawn.
TV footage showed media and fans swarming outside the park and the police station where he was taken for questioning.
Toyota immediately suspended its rental car commercials featuring the star, company spokeswoman Rie Takano said. Several other companies with contracts with him were expected to follow suit.
Public indecency carries a penalty of up to six months in prison or a fine of up to 300,000 yen (£2,100).
Kusanagi Tsuyoshi from SMAP arrested for public obscenity
SMAP member Kusanagi Tsuyoshi has been arrested on the charge of public obscenity for walking around nude on 23 April 09. Kusanagi was under the influence of alcohol and is yet to sober up according to reports this morning. However, he has admitted his guilt to the police.
According to the Akasaka Police Station, they received a call from someone living near Hinoki-cho Park which is just beside Tokyo Midtown, at around 2.55 am on 23 April that a man was creating a disturbance there. When policemen reached there, they found a naked Kusanagi making trouble, shouting words which didn't mean anything and was apparently intoxicated. Even though the police were trying to get him to calm down and stop screaming, he refused to do so and even said that there was nothing wrong for him to be naked. It is also reported that he hit the policemen when they were telling him to stop creating a din. As such, the policemen arrested him on the spot. He resisted arrest at one point so the police had to handcuff him and wrap him up in a sheet before sending him to the police station. Kusanagi's clothes were folded neatly and placed somewhere within the park which were found later. At the moment, he is still under custody in the Akasaka police station. He has been made to undergo the alcohol test and it is found that he registered a reading of 0.8mg of alcohol/1 litre which is 3 times the limit for drink-driving offences.
Kusanagi has been a member of SMAP and was known for his quiet and gentle personality. He was selected as Best Jeanist for 5 years in a row and was well-known for having mastered Korean in a short period of time. He also made his debut into Korea some years ago. He is now the CM character for the digital broadcast campaign which starts in 2011. In a survey among single people in their 30s, Kusanagi was named the No.1 representative for "Soushoku Danshi" i.e. guys who are caring towards friends and family but are not too keen on romance. Kusanagi was known as someone who loves to drink and was seen drinking beer in a number of TV programmes in the past.
This is not the first time that a SMAP member has run into trouble with the law. In Aug 2001, Inagaki Goro was caught for illegal parking and causing hurt to a female police officer who tried to stop him. He was sentenced to probation as he was deemed to have no malice in his actions. This led to Inagaki having to take a break from work for 143 days. His CM deals were terminated and his dramas had to be shown at a later date. Given the nature of Kusanagi's offence this time, it is expected that he will suffer a greater punishment especially if he did hit the policemen who were there to stop him from creating a disturbance. If he is found guilty under the public obscenity charge, he stands to be jailed for under 6 months and/or a fine of under 300,000 yen.
Due to the arrest of Kusanagi, everyone is sent into a frenzy as to how to deal with the situation. FujiTV has 4 TV programmes which feature Kusanagi i.e. Waratte Iitomo, SMAPxSMAP, Bokura no Ongaku and Chonan Kan. According to insiders there, the management is having a meeting about this issue. Likewise in TV Asahi, Kusanagi's programme "PuSma" has an upcoming episode on 28th April thus they are also deciding what to do with it.
At Toho's side, Kusanagi has an upcoming movie, "BALLAD Na mo naki Koi no Uta" due to be shown from 5 Sept. Although filming has already ended, this is the first time that a cast member in their movie was arrested before the roadshow thus they are in a fix as to what to do. There is a SP featuring this movie to be shown from 25 April to 18 May over the weekends but TV Asahi is deciding whether to axe this too.
As Kusanagi is involved in many CMs, the impact of his arrest is even bigger. According to the Digital Broadcast Promotion Board, the current CM was slated to be shown till July but they will remove Kusanagi immediately and choose another artiste as a replacement immediately. They are currently in plans to liaise with TV stations to remove the CM. As for other sponsors like P&G and Yamasa Soy Sauce, they are taking the CMs off for the time being and deciding what to do when more details of the case are released.
SMAP's recording company, Victor Entertainment released a statement saying that there are no plans for a new SMAP song at the moment. Further action will be taken once they have more information of the case.
At Johnny's Jimusho, about 100 members of the press are there currently waiting for further updates to the situation.
Report above comes from a number of articles published in Sankei, Mainichi and Yomiuri.
This has got to be the biggest headline today! And it's so shocking that I do not know how to react. Honestly. I really thought that my eyes were playing jokes on me. This is because Kusanagi has always been portrayed as one with a healthy image and to be arrested for public obscenity is a big blow to what he has built up over the years. And coupled with the fact that he was said to have hit the policemen will make it worse. I believe he will be in a worse shape than what happened to Inagaki in the past and his road to redeeming himself will be even tougher. What a pity! He's a good actor and such a hardworking guy...非常に残念！
Why did he drink so much? Why was he alone in that park? Why did he decide to go naked and make noise? Under stress? Under the influence of alcohol?
This incident will deal another big blow to the management of Johnny's Jimusho. Another incident due to the influence of alcohol. Honestly speaking, someone of Kusanagi's age should know better. It's not as if he's drinking as an underaged. However, people will think that JJ is now powerless in controlling how their artistes behave outside of work. A mockery of their well-known iron-fist management style. And everyone in JJ will be pressed for comments on this issue when they appear in public, especially the SMAP members. Inagaki will be haunted once again as news of his past offence is dug up again to compare to what may happen to his fellow teammate. Deja vu...what a nightmare!
It remains to be seen what will happen next since Kusanagi is under custody. I guess we will know more details as the day progresses. Keep checking here for more updates. Posted by Chiaki at 9:04 AM 0 comments Labels: Artistes' News
Kusanagi Tsuyoshi from SMAP arrested for public obscenity - Update 1
At around 11.10am today, a male employee (67) from Johnny's Jimusho appeared at the entrance and was immediately surrounded by members of the press which numbered around 100. The employee said that full details of the incident were still unclear to the company as yet and they will release their comments latest by this evening. When the media asked if the company is sorry for what has happened, the employee said in an affirmative tone and apologized for the trouble this incident has brought to everyone. According to this employee, the company only heard about the incident when they watched the news and another employee has been sent to the Akasaka police station to find out more on the situation.
NHK's PR department has announced that they will be removing the 15-sec CM for the Digital Broadcast PR campaign from this evening onwards. This is in response to the arrest of the CM personality, Kusanagi Tsuyoshi being arrested today for public obscenity.
At the same time, NHK has also anounced that Kusanagi will be dropped as narrator for the children's programme, "Pitagora Switch" with immediate effect. The TV station has yet to confirm when the ban on Kusanagi's appearances in TV programmes and CMs will end.
The news of Kusanagi Tsuyoshi's arrest has now spread to the world with Bloomberg carrying the news with the headline "Japanese Pop Star Arrested". Kyoudou Tsushin also has an English bulletin of the news on their newswire.
At 12.56pm today, Kusanagi Tsuyoshi left the Akasaka Police Station and was sent to the Harajuku Police Station for further investigations. Picture from Mainichi Shinbun.
As the Akasaka Police Station is undergoing renovations at the moment, they do not have a facility to hold people in custody. That is why Kusanagi has been sent to the Harajuku Police Station instead. Kusanagi was seen sitting in a wagon's backseat between two policemen and dressed in a blue T-shirt.
Kusanagi Tsuyoshi revealed in the investigation that he was drinking beer and shochuu with 2 of his friends at a nearby Akasaka izakaya (drinking place) before he went to the park, However, he could not remember why he was naked and said that he was sorry for what he had done.
At 2.55am, a resident living near the Hinokicho Park called the police saying that a drunk man was making noise there. Police came to find Kusanagi drunk and sitting cross-legged on the grass while shouting words which did not make sense. When the policemen wanted to take him into custody, Kusanagi shouted that there was nothing wrong in him being naked and refused to cooperate by resisting violently. As such, the police wrapped a sheet around him and bundled him into the police patrol car. They also found some clothing including a pair of jeans and his wallet containing his driving license in the park. The intoxication reading taken in the morning showed that Kusanagi's intoxication level was 5.3 times over the legal limit for prosecution of drink driving.
General Affairs Minister Hatoyama Kunio expressed anger when asked about the arrest of Kusanagi Tsuyoshi who is the character for the digital broadcast awareness campaign. Hatoyama said that he feels embarrassed at the fact that Kusanagi was chosen to be the ambassador and that he finds the behaviour unacceptable. He also ordered the removal of all posters containing Kusanagi's picture. Kusanagi was named the ambassador in 2006 and is featured in many related CMs, events and posters for this campaign.
According to the Akasaka Police Station, 3 policemen arrived at the Hinokicho park and found Kusanagi naked, sitting cross-legged on the grass about 80m away from the entrance of the park, His jeans and denim jumper were put together with a pouch containing his wallet and handphone. As he was too drunk, Kusanagi put his head down on the table most of the time when he was under questioning.
Toyota has announced that they will be terminating the CM contract with Kusanagi Tsuyoshi with immediate effect after news of his arrest broke. Kusanagi had been the CM character for Toyota's Rental Lease since April 1998. Toyota is set to change their advertising strategy as a result of this change.
According to the residents at the nearby condominium complex in Tokyo Midtown, they heard shouts of "Wah! Wah!" at the time when Kusanagi was reportedly there and thought that someone was making noise there to relieve stress.
A 75-year-old male resident woke up at around 3am and saw a drunk man i.e. Kusanagi shouting in the park for about 15 minutes. Initially, he thought that the man was asking for help but later realized that he was just drunk. Another 42-year-old lady said that the voice of the man was very high-pitched and said that she could still hear him even though she closed her windows. She expressed surprise at the fact that the man in question was Kusanagi because she thought that some foreigner was making noise there again as it was quite common in that area.
Source: Sankei Posted by Chiaki at 12:12 PM 1 comments Labels: Artistes' News
Kusanagi Tsuyoshi from SMAP arrested for public obscenity - Update 2
Akasaka Police Station conducted a search of Kusanagi Tsuyoshi's apartment after he was arrested earlier this morning on the suspicion of public obscenity. The urine test conducted on Kusanagi had tested negative for any drugs.
According to the statement of a female friend of Kusanagi who was with him at the izakaya before he made trouble, the two of them had left the drinking place at around 2am on foot. However, Kusanagi then walked to the Hinokichou Park alone instead of heading home. Subsequently at around 3am, he was reported by a resident for causing disturbance while naked and in a drunken state.
According to witnesses who were there when Kusanagi Tsuyoshi was arrested by the police, he was screaming "Shingo, Shingo" when the police tried to suppress him. It is believed that he was shouting for his fellow member cum buddy, Katori Shingo from SMAP who wasn't present at the scene. Kusanagi is now in custody at the Harajuku Police Station for further investigations.
According to investigation officers, Kusanagi Tsuyoshi was in such a drunken state that the whole interrogation reeked of alcohol. In addition, as he was not sober, he was not able to give comprehensive answers throughout most of the interrogation process. The alcohol test was taken about 5 hours after his arrest where he registered a high intoxication level of 0.8mm per litre of breath.
According to Kusanagi Tsuyoshi's agency Johnny's Jimusho, he was off work for the whole of yesterday thus the agency had no idea what he had been up to and where he was. When news of his arrest broke, his female manager was so upset that she kept crying.
The South Korean media reported today that as a result of Kusanagi Tsuyoshi's arrest, the promotional plan for the Korean version of "Hana Yori Dango" may be severely affected. Initially, there were plans for the Korean F4 to make an appearance in SMAPxSMAP during their stay in Japan now but with the arrest, plans for the filming may be cancelled. If the promotional plan is not completed in full, this could mean that the Japanese version of "Hana Yori Dango" may face problems when the parties concerned wish to promote the drama in South Korea.
Kusanagi Tsuyoshi expressed his apologies for what he had done through his lawyer who met him during the interrogation at Akasaka Police Station. According to the police, they conducted a 30-minute search of Kusanagi's apartment in Akasaka which ended at around 4pm today but did not take anything away from his place. The reason for the search was said to find out the reason why Kusanagi committed the offence.
Kusanagi had been drinking with a male friend and a female friend at an izakaya in Akasaka before he left the place on foot with his female friend. However, they parted ways near the park so his female friend had no idea why he went to the park and did such a thing.
Source: Sanspo Posted by Chiaki at 6:14 PM 0 comments Labels: Artistes' News
Kusanagi Tsuyoshi's case - Update 3
Johnny's Jimusho released a fax statement to the media with an update to the situation and the announcement that Kusanagi will stop all his work activities for an undecided period of time:
"With regards to the case of our talent Kusanagi Tsuyoshi being arrested, we would like to provide an update to the facts that we have now known.
Our corporate lawyer met Kusanagi today and was told by him that he was actually drinking alone at the izakaya near his house. Subsequently when the shop closed for the day, he continued to drink with the people working there. In the middle of the night, he was walking home alone when the incident took place.
As Kusanagi was very drunk at that time, he cannot recall why he did such a thing. However, he did admit that he was conscious of the act of removing his clothes out of his own will thus we believe that this is something which he did at the spur of the moment.
Our corporate lawyer passed on the message that Kusanagi is very sorry for the worry and trouble caused to fans, CM sponsors, TV station personnel etc as a result of this case. Our company is also sorry about this and would like to offer our sincere apologies.
As for Kusanagi's work activities, he will undergo a period of self-restrain for the time being."
With regards to the search of Kusanagi Tsuyoshi's apartment after his arrest, Akasaka Police Station is now swarmed with phone calls from angry fans who demand to know the reason for the move. Although the police are unable to reveal details of the investigation and stress that Kusanagi is treated fairly in accordance with the law, the phones have been ringing off the hooks.
FujiTV has announced its actions to handle the programmes related to Kusanagi Tsuyoshi after he was arrested this morning. From tomorrow onwards, the 4 programmes affected will remove any scenes or voiceovers featuring him.
For the 24th April live broadcast of "Waratte Iitomo", Kusanagi will not appear while for the episode of "Bokura no Ongaku" on the same night, they will use another voice personality to do the narration. As for the 26th April episode of "Chonan Kan 2", a SP on Korean artistes will be broadcast instead. Likewise for 27th April's SMAPxSMAP, there will be a best-scenes SP which will omit Kusanagi's footage.
With regards to the programmes from next week onwards, FujiTV said that they are in discussions with Johnny's Jimusho as to what they should do.
TV Asahi will cut scenes of Kusanagi Tsuyoshi from the programme, "PuSma" due to be shown on 28 April and is planning to produce another programme in replacement for the SP.
WOWOW has announced that it will be replacing the movie starring Kusanagi which was planned to be shown on 5 May with another movie. They are not planning to show other Kusanagi movies in the near future.
Source: Sports Hochi Posted by Chiaki at 8:42 PM 0 comments Labels: Artistes' News
Friday, April 24, 2009 Kusanagi Tsuyoshi's case - Update 4
The Public Advertising Corporation who engaged Kusanagi Tsuyoshi to appear in an environmental CM with Korean actress Chae Ji Woo, has decided to terminate the CM with immediate effect. The original term for the campaign was from 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009. At the same time, their Korean counterpart also issued a statement about the termination of the campaign and expressed regret about this incident as Kusanagi is a popular artiste in South Korea with a high level of fluency in the language.
Kusanagi Tsuyoshi is well-known for liking alcohol. As seen in an episode of PuSma in the past, he became extremely chirpy and striked weird poses once he was drunk. This led his co-host Yusuke Santa-Maria to remind him that he was still at work. Kimura Takuya also said before that Kusanagi becomes very lively once he drinks.
During drinking sessions, Kusanagi is usually the fastest at finishing his drinks. Even when people are just starting on their first glass, he is already done with the second. During the celebration party of SMAP's concerts, he is one who never stops drinking and would even continue after his members have gone home. He is widely known as the drinker in the group.
However, when he is in the midst of a concert tour or has lots of work to do, he would abstain from alcohol altogether. During press conferences and interviews, Kusanagi always knows what to say and do and exhibits a clear-headed and calm personality. When he drinks, his personality undergoes a major change. He becomes very hyper, cracks jokes and laughs loudly.
Kusanagi is known for separating alcohol from his work so as to deliver a professional performance and even quit smoking once he hit 30. As such, people working with him are wondering if he has been harsh on himself all the time thus leading to this outburst.
Kusanagi Tsuyoshi has been sent to the Prosecutors' Office at 9am today for the prosecution procedure of his alleged public obscenity offence. He had spent the night at the Harajuku Police Station after the initial investigation at Akasaka Police Station. About 100 members of the press were gathered at the Harajuku Police Station.
SMAP is set to continue with their work activities without Kusanagi since their agency has announced that he will be going through a period of self-restrain.
SMAP was scheduled to do the recording of SMAPxSMAP at FujiTV on 23 April and couldn't cancel it because they had to do a singing segment with Richard Carpenter from The Carpenters who was in Japan for a limited period of time. As such, the four of them went through the recording and took over the parts which Kusanagi was scheduled to sing. According to insiders, the four of them were visibly shocked by the news but tried to behave as per normal during the filming. The 27th April episode of SMAPxSMAP will be a best-scenes SP which will omit Kusanagi's scenes.
At the same time, Kusanagi's name has been removed from the official website of "Waratte Iitomo". He was the regular for the Friday programme. In addition, FujiTV announcer Takashima Aya will take over the narration for "Bokura no Ongaku" for the time being. The 25th April episode of "Chonan Kan 2" will be replaced with a last-minute SP on Korean artistes.
Kusanagi was also scheduled to act in a summer drama showing via FujiTV where filming begins in Saturday. However, he will now be removed from the lineup. This drama is scheduled to be shown right after the current offering "BOSS" ends its run.
Over at TV Asahi, the promotional SP for his movie, "BALLAD" will be replaced with a SP of "Red Cliff Part 2".
As SMAP is now down to 4 members, it is expected that they would not be doing the national concert tour this year.
Sponsors who have engaged Kusanagi Tsuyoshi for their CMs are now cancelling the campaigns one after another or suspending the airing of the CMs for the time being. According to advertising insiders, the production fees of a CM is usually 30 million to 40 million yen. Coupled with the fact that Kusanagi charges a fee of 50 million to 60 million yen for an endorsement deal and that the sponsors must now remake all CM-related items, damages may run up to 100 million per deal. Sponsors now have the choice of requesting for damages on a pro-rated or full basis.
In addition, NTT East Japan has a deal with SMAP since Jan 1995 which is scheduled to stop at the end of this month. Although Kusanagi is not appearing in the current set of CMs, the sponsor is watching the situation before deciding.
Source: Sponichi Posted by Chiaki at 9:30 AM 0 comments Labels: Artistes' News
The media have been busy for the last day or so analyzing the aftermath of Kusanagi Tsuyoshi's arrest. Some big numbers are being thrown around as estimates of the cost to the companies that have a financial stake in him. At the time of his arrest he had 7 commercial contracts, 8 regular TV and radio shows and a movie due for release in September. Columnist Himura Masaaki (59) said, "With SMAP being probably Japan's top talentos, Kusanagi alone would get about ¥50 million for an ad. As a group, their guarantee would be ¥120-150 million. Even just a music tie-up would bring in ¥50 million at a bare minimum." He estimated that the cost to Johnny's Jimusho agency just in terms of this lost income would add up to about ¥420 million. But on top of that, with the cost of posters, TV, magazine and newspaper ads, those companies would be looking at losses of ¥500 million each. So Johnny's could easily be faced with having to compensate sponsors to the degree of ¥5 billion. And then of course there's disgruntled TV networks and the ongoing effect on future earnings as well. All in all, it turns out to have been a pretty expensive naked romp in the park.
Meanwhile fans and commentators have been questioning why police decided to search Kusanagi's Tokyo apartment after the arrest. As he tested negative for drugs and the incident took place elsewhere, the search should not have been part of the investigation. Lawyer Osawa Takayuki said, "It's very unusual in such a case. As he's a celebrity and the impact of the arrest is very wide, they may have decided to do it just in case." Nihon University law professor Itakura Hiroshi said, "The prosecution of this case may be unexpectedly harsh. But I think he will be released soon. Even if he's indicted, he should face a fine of les than ¥300,000. I certainly don't see him getting a prison sentence."
It sounds like a TV stunt gone wrong, but SMAP member Kusanagi Tsuyoshi (34) has actually been arrested for public indecency. The popular talento and singer was detained by Tokyo Metropolitan police in the early hours of April 23 after residents in the central Tokyo area of Akasaka called them around 3am to complain about someone making a racket in Hinokicho Park near the Tokyo Midtown complex. Police arrived to find the drunk Kusanagi stark naked and running around shouting abuse at anyone and everyone. Normally under such circumstances, the person would be taken into police custody rather than arrested. So it can be assumed that Kusanagi was violent in resisting arrest. Like the other four members of the perennially popular SMAP (profile), Kusanagi appears in a wide variety of TV and commercial roles and the impact of his arrest is likely to be huge. One casualty will probably be the movie "Ballad Namonaki Koi no Uta," which is scheduled to open in the autumn. Misbehaving celebrities usually get their names and credits quietly removed from TV shows and movies, but as this movie actually stars Kusanagi it's not a matter of a bit of cutting and pasting. Fellow SMAP-ite Inagaki Goro disappeared from the scene for a while after he got himself arrested for turning a simple parking violation into an attempted hit and run in August 2001.
The media have been in a frenzy all day today about the arrest of a drunk and naked Kusanagi Tsuyoshi (34) in a Tokyo park last night (photo above). Residents of an apartment building next to the park were interviewed by reporters. One elderly man said, "At about 3am I heard someone screaming 'Waa, waa" and at first I thought it was someone shouting for help. It was really loud and lasted for about 15 minutes." A female resident said, "I heard a high-pitched scream. It sounded like someone was letting out their stress. I could hear it even with my windows closed. But we often have foreigners making a racket in the park so I didn't make much of it. I was very surprised to hear it was Kusanagi-san." Another person said they heard him shouting "Shingo! Shingo!" no doubt referring to fellow SMAP member Katori Shingo (32). The star's management agency, Johnny's Jimusho, said that he had the day off yesterday and they had no idea of his whereabouts. They faxed out a typical bland apology addressed to fans and anyone affected by the scandal, while the woman who works as his manager was in tears when questioned by reporters. It sounds like it'll take more than that to appease the Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications. Always a grandstander, Hatoyama Kunio blasted the celebrity, saying, "It makes me boiling mad. He's the lowest kind of human being. Unforgiveable." He added that he couldn't understand why such a low life had been given the job of media point man for the government's plan to switch to all digital broadcasting by 2011. He has been promptly removed from that post, and all posters and TV commercials featuring him will disappear. NHK has already cut him from one show on their educational channel and four regular Fuji TV slots - "Waratte Iitomo!," "SMAPxSMAP," "Bokura no Ongaku" and "Chonan Khan" - will undoubtedly be affected. Meanwhile, Kusanagi has been transferred from the Akasaka police station, which is being remodeled, to the one in Harajuku.