He is not suited for management.
On May 17, Hiroshi Osaki, 69, of Yoshimoto Kogyo, suddenly announced that he will step down as chairman. He will then assume the position of co-chairman of the “Osaka-Kansai Expo Event Study Council” to be held in 2013.
Mr. Osaki is a man of action, known for having discovered “Downtown” in 1982, his fifth year with the company, and for having navigated a difficult situation as vice-president during the “family riots” that erupted in 2007. After the “black market riots” of 1919, he introduced reforms, including a review of contracts with his comedians, and prevented the Yoshimoto brand from being destroyed.
On May 22, we visited Mr. Osaki at a building in Tokyo to find out why this man of absolute power, known as the “founder of the Yoshimoto family” and the “Don of Yoshimoto,” decided to step down so abruptly.
–Mr. Osaki, this is Friday, how do you feel about resigning from Yoshimoto Kogyo after 45 years of service?
Mr. Osaki: “The more days pass, the lonelier I feel. Hahaha.”
–In past interviews, you have said that you were not suited for management.
I don’t think I am that suited for it, and President Okamoto (Akihiko) is probably much better suited for it. ……
–Is there anything you have left to do?
No, well, …… it’s a turning point. I am also the same for myself, and for the industry. It’s the same for me personally and for the industry. I have a lot of sad feelings, but I think it’s good timing. In the end.”
According to Mr. Osaki, this is the 14th time he has been interviewed directly by this magazine. Until now, Mr. Osaki has answered our questions clearly, no matter what the topic, but he seems a bit brusque about the “reasons for stepping down. In fact, rumors are spreading in the industry that he may have been forced to step down due to the unprofitability of the “Live-in Geisha” program, the Okinawa International Movie Festival, and other measures that were the chairman’s key initiatives.
Referring to Hamada’s “daddy’s affair”.
–Sanma Akashiya said on the radio that he was stopped by President Okamoto when he raised his hand and said, “I’ll be the chairman! but was stopped by President Okamoto.
President Okamoto stopped him. I’ll ask Sanma-kun to be the chairman and I’ll do all the TV regulars that Sanma-kun does instead (laughs).
–Thank you very much for your lip service.
But I think that would be good too (laughs).”
–Hitoshi Matsumoto, 59, of “Downtown” fame, said at the time of the black market racket, “If Mr. Osaki quits, I’ll quit too. What did you and Matsumoto, your close ally, discuss about your resignation?
I did mention it in passing. I told him that ‘I will step down at the general meeting of shareholders in June,’ which was decided internally, and that what was decided had already been decided. …… (Matsumoto said), ‘You’re betting on the Expo, aren’t you? That’s about it.”
At the end of the interview, I asked him about Masanori Hamada’s (60) “daddy’s love affair,” which this magazine reported in February of this year.
–The woman with whom he was having the affair said, ‘Mr. Hamada looked lonely.
When the reporter waved her off, Mr. Osaki cited his book, “A Place to Stay,” in which he wrote about his own experiences for “people who feel lonely inside. He cited his book, “A Place to Be,” in which he wrote about his own experiences for those “who feel lonely inside,
I’ve already asked Hamada-kun to read my book “A Place to Be” at least eight times. I need you to read my book “Where I belong” at least eight times! Please promote it!
Please promote me!” he said with a smile.
Mr. Osaki always responded sincerely to our direct inquiries. If his resignation was not of his own volition but due to “company circumstances,” it would be sad to see him go.
From the June 9, 2023 issue of FRIDAY
PHOTO： Takayuki Ogawauchi