Matsumoto Hitoshi’s Surprising Self-Restraint Lifestyle Revealed by Insiders | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Matsumoto Hitoshi’s Surprising Self-Restraint Lifestyle Revealed by Insiders

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Matsumoto Hitoshi, who had been talking about his daily exercise routine even before the hiatus, continues to do so during his self-restraint period.

“I feel like there’s no one who can replace him. Until he comes back, I’ll do my best with what I can. I’ll do what needs to be done now and wait patiently. I’m cheering him on.”

Downtown’s Matsumoto Hitoshi (60) has suspended his entertainment activities after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct were reported in “Shukan Bunshun” magazine. While his partner, Hamada Masatoshi (60), has maintained silence since the scandal broke, he broke his silence on the 26th during his radio show “Gobugobu Radio” (MBS Radio), making the aforementioned comment about Matsumoto for the first time. A sports newspaper entertainment desk will explain the latest developments in the scandal.

“On January 25th, Shukan Bunshun magazine published a follow-up report featuring an interview with a former female talent who was 19 years old at the time and claimed to have been asked for a physical relationship by Matsumoto, revealing her real name and face. Additionally, the magazine published allegations from an eighth woman who is a non-celebrity. There is a possibility of further testimonies and developments in the future, and sponsors, advertising agencies, and television stations are closely monitoring the situation.”

Matsumoto has announced a suspension of his entertainment activities. Since the scandal broke, he has not appeared in public at all. What is his current situation? Entertainment industry professionals will reveal his current status.

“He no longer has work, but other than that, he’s living a relatively unchanged life. He hasn’t experienced any loss of appetite due to stress, and he eats properly. He’s said to be diligently exercising every day and is generally in good spirits. However, he avoids watching news about himself on TV, magazines, or the internet entirely. He has reportedly told those around him, ‘I’m leaving everything to Lawyer Tashiro for now.'”

Matsumoto has consistently maintained that there are no facts that constitute sexual misconduct. He has filed a lawsuit against Bungeishunju Ltd. and the editor-in-chief of Shukan Bunshun, seeking damages and the publication of corrective articles for defamation, with a compensation claim of approximately 550 million yen.

On the other hand, there have been changes in the response from Matsumoto’s agency, Yoshimoto Kogyo. Initially, when Shukan Bunshun first reported on Matsumoto’s allegations of sexual misconduct at the end of last year, Yoshimoto swiftly aligned itself with Matsumoto, stating that the allegations were baseless and indicating their intention to pursue legal action for defamation. However, their stance gradually softened thereafter. In a press release posted on their official website on January 24th, they completely reversed their initial aggressive stance. They admitted to initial missteps and announced plans to conduct a hearing investigation with the involvement of external lawyers, receiving advice from compliance advisors and a governance committee.

An employee of a key station reported the current situation at Yoshimoto.

“This issue is being handled by a dedicated team consisting of former Downtown manager and president, Akihiko Okamoto (57), vice president Hiroshi Fujiwara (55), and other directors and chief managers within the company. The details of their actions are kept top-secret. Information sharing and decision-making are conducted exclusively within this dedicated team, even within the company. As a result, frontline staff and affiliated talents are completely unaware of the entire situation. Therefore, they often learn about it for the first time through media reports, leading to confusion within the company.”

A person from a major advertising agency also expressed his concern about Yoshimoto’s current situation and future.

“I’ve heard that the formation of this dedicated team was largely prompted by a simultaneous warning from top-tier comedians affiliated with Yoshimoto about the agency’s stance. If Yoshimoto were to fully support Matsumoto, it’s been suggested that, similar to the sexual misconduct issues at the former Johnny’s Entertainment (now STARTO ENTERTAINMENT), there could ultimately be the possibility of organizational dismantlement. Matsumoto’s cancellations of CM contracts and program appearances entail cancellation fees estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of yen, placing a significant burden on the agency.”

Shingo Fujimori (40) of Oriental Radio, who left Yoshimoto at the end of December 2020, appeared on “Sunday Japan” (TBS) on January 28th and commented on the recent series of scandals, saying,

“I think it’s important to firmly change our mindset, and the larger our position and power become, the more responsibility we feel, so it’s crucial to behave in a self-disciplined manner.”

It remains to be seen whether the concerns and sentiments of those who worry about Matsumoto and Yoshimoto will reach the parties involved.

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  • PHOTO Yasuko Sakaguchi

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