Comedian Matsumoto Hitoshi to go on hiatus amid sexual assault allegations

Around couple of weeks ago, Shukan Bunshun printed a story in which two women accused comedian Matsumoto Hitoshi of rape/sexual assault. The comedian’s agency, Yoshimoto Kogyo, denied the claim and said they would sue the publication, and they now say Matsumoto is going on hiatus while the legal battle goes on so he can focus on it.

“I would like to go on hiatus as I will not be able to dedicate myself to comedy as I currently do while simultaneously engaging with the trial,” Matsumoto, one half of popular comedy duo “Downtown,” said, according to the entertainment agency.

Matsumoto has expressed his wish to “confront various articles and focus on litigation,” the company said.
He is concerned that if he continues his entertainment activities, he will cause a lot of trouble and burden to many people concerned, according to Yoshimoto Kogyo.

Despite facing legal threats, Bunshun has not backed down. While details on the allegations were difficult to come by before due to them being paywalled, a version is now available to everybody and so are said details.

Obviously this allegation also implicates comedian Ozawa Kazuhiro as well.

In the meantime, Matsumoto has been trying to win the case in the court of public opinion by highlighting a conveniently-leaked screenshot of one accuser sending him a thank you message.

As many have pointed out already, that doesn’t mean much considering the power dynamics at play, but for fans of his who want to believe him, it provides enough fodder for them to take his side.

Not gonna pretend to know exactly what happened here, as it’s taken over a week for me to even find a loose summary of what the exact allegations were and it’s even harder to get info on the case when the mainstream media in Japan seems reluctant to cover it. Granted, that’s part of the problem in itself.


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