Hiroshi Mikitani, Chairman of the Board of Directors, “The day when he will let go of Rakuten baseball team”, which is likely to be hastened by Tomohiro Anraku’s “harassment issue”. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Hiroshi Mikitani, Chairman of the Board of Directors, “The day when he will let go of Rakuten baseball team”, which is likely to be hastened by Tomohiro Anraku’s “harassment issue”.

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Chairman Mikitani is happy after his company, Vissel Kobe, wins its first J1 championship. However, behind the scenes, there is a harassment issue involving Yasura…

Tomohiro Anraku, a key pitcher for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles professional baseball team, has caused a stir by reportedly “harassing” several young players.

One player complained that he was made to stand on his back in the locker room, with his lower body exposed while he was unable to move, and that he was even made a laughingstock by having a sock placed over his nether regions. There are other players who have been similarly victimized.

Some players also testified that Masahiro Tanaka laughed at them in the locker room. There are also reports that the people around him did not listen even when he was warned. ……” (sports newspaper reporter)

(Sports newspaper reporter) After admitting that there have been reports of damage, team president Masayuki Morii will hold hearings with Yasura himself and the players. In addition, the team is planning to cancel all of its events, including the year-end party.

The furor has only escalated, with a video spreading on the Internet and other media showing him kicking a junior player in the back and making fun of him during a commemorative photo shoot. Some sports newspapers reported that one player confessed that he had been fined money.

The team, realizing the seriousness of the situation, placed Yasura on house arrest. The team has postponed his contract renewal indefinitely, and in the worst case scenario, he may be “fired.

(Sportswriter) “In the midst of all this, Chairman Hiroshi Mikitani, the “general manager” of the Rakuten Group, has remained silent.

He has left it up to the team to decide on the disposition of Yasura,” said a sportswriter. However, this is quite unusual for Rakuten, where the owner’s wishes are very strong…” (source from the baseball world)

Rakuten is also the owner of the J-League soccer team Vissel Kobe, which won its first J1 championship on March 25, and the Anraku issue has put a damper on that.

Although there is a difference between baseball and soccer, this is the worst possible time for the owner, Chairman Mikitani, to have his face smeared with dirt. Moreover, not only Yasura, but other players’ names have been brought up for harassment, and the team’s own compliance awareness has been called into question. There is no doubt that he is not at ease inside.

When he first took over as owner, Mikitani was so enthusiastic about baseball that he is rumored to have even interfered with the starting order on the day of the game. However, his passion for baseball has been on the decline, and the current “harassment issue” seems to have put a damper on his enthusiasm. The “sale” of Rakuten’s baseball team has come under close scrutiny.

In fact, the Rakuten Group has been burdened by the losses of Rakuten Mobile, its subsidiary. The consolidated financial results for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2010, which were announced in February of this year, showed a final profit of 372.8 billion yen, the largest loss ever since the company was listed on the stock exchange. In the third quarter of the fiscal year ending December 31, 2010, the company’s operating loss was 179.6 billion yen, still in the red.

Chairman Mikitani was aggressive in lowering players’ annual salaries when the COVID-19 crisis caused a series of no-show games. In recent years, it is said that the passion for investing money has shifted from baseball to soccer, and a good example of this is when he left it up to the baseball team to deal with the Yasuraku player. There is a good chance that the team will be inclined to “sell itself off” after the revelation of this problem.

In June of this year, businessman Takafumi Horie, known as “Holliemon,” who has a history of involvement in professional baseball, mentioned the topic of Rakuten “selling itself” on his YouTube program. He referred to the financial situation of the group,

I don’t think soccer and baseball will be worth much,” he said. At best, baseball and soccer will be worth 200 million yen combined. At the most, the baseball and soccer teams combined will cost 20 billion yen. 20 billion yen won’t even last a month.

He was analyzing the situation at …….

The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles are the only professional baseball team in Tohoku. Next season will mark the 20th anniversary of the team’s founding, but it seems certain that the team is at a major crossroads.

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  • PHOTO. Naoki Morita/Afro Sports

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