Japan’s Talk Show King Quits Over Yakuza Connection

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Kotaku has the story of Japan’s Shinksuke Shimada retiring from showbusiness yesterday over links to yakuza, pretty scandalous business considering that the comedian currently hosts six TV shows and is basically the equivalent of David Letterman or Jay Leno, with a splash of Ryan Seacrest.

Allegedly Shimada’s company Yoshimoto Creative Agency Co. found out via text message records that the popular host was close friends with a high-ranking crime boss. While technically being best buds with a powerful criminal isn’t in and of itself illegal, Shimada opted to retire when the news broke. “I did not feel that I was doing something wrong. To me (the relationship) was ‘safe,’ but I learned the day before yesterday that it was ‘out,’ ” Shimada said, describing the friendship in baseball terminology at his retirement press conference. Shimada was also suspended in 2004 for attacking a female employee, which I hope would get a Letterman or a Leno kicked permanently off the air, or a Seacrest put in stocks in the town square.