Since 2008, LDH has won the top prize at the Japan Record Awards in six years thanks to the dominance of EXILE and Sandaime J Soul Brothers, the latter of which are also favorites again for this year’s award. However, according to a report by Shukan Bunshun, the awards they’ve been winning are illegitimate, as evidence has been uncovered that shows bribes were given by LDH to JRA in return for awards.
The publication has evidence that LDH bribed officials at the Japan Record Awards to guarantee Sandaime J Soul Brothers’ win last year for their song “Unfair World.” The amount of ¥108,000,000 was paid for the win by Burning Productions for the benefit of LDH. The Japan Record Awards have long been accused of shady dealings but this is the first time that there is conclusive evidence of such activities.
That’s about $1 million, for those keeping track at home.
Shukan Bunshun obtained a copy of the bill pictured above which is on Burning Production’s stationary. It is labelled “end of year promotion business expense.”
As of the writing of this article, LDH, Burning Productions, and Avex have yet to respond to the allegations of bribery.
Speaking of Burning Productions, you may not have heard of them. They’re just a talent agency, after all … or at least that’s what they’d like you to believe. However, most seem to know there’s something else at work with the company.
The firm has had issues. Bullets were fired into their office in May of 2001, in what appeared to have been part of a gang war. In 2007, police files mistakenly leaked onto a file-sharing site by a Tokyo Metropolitan Police Officer, Burning Productions was listed as a “client company” of the Yamaguchi-gumi Goto-gumi.
So the obvious conclusion we’re being led to there is a direct association with organized crime (yakuza).
Furthermore, the kind of dealings found in the report are assumed to be commonplace, but it’s rarely talked about by so-called respected journalism outfits in Japan.
Japan’s major media depends on access to talent agency controlled celebrities for content, commercials, and entertainment and any firm reporting negatively on the agencies risks being the odd man out. An entertainment reporter for a major Japanese newspaper explained the general silence of the press as follows, “Mr. Shuo is like the Voldermort of the Japanese entertainment world. Everyone knows who he is and is terrified of him but no one wants to say his name. Everyone knows that he and Mr. Taniguchi are close. The costs of pissing him off are huge, in terms of loss of access and revenue, and the benefits of taking Ms. Yoshimatsu’s side are not much. It’s sad but that’s the business.”
So while this certainly seems like a terrible look for LDH if the report is proven to be legit, it’s not that people are surprised bribery is happening, it’s that people are surprised it actually got exposed.
It’s, uh, it’s a mess, to say the least.