The Impact of Ms. A’s Shocking Memoir on Hitoshi Matsumoto’s Influence on the Trial | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The Impact of Ms. A’s Shocking Memoir on Hitoshi Matsumoto’s Influence on the Trial

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On March 28th, at the Tokyo District Court, “Downtown” Matsumoto Hitoshi (left) and the attendant comedian Kazutaka Ozawa kicked off the courtroom battle.

On March 28th, the first oral argument of the lawsuit filed by “Downtown” Matsumoto Hitoshi against Bungeishunju was held at the Tokyo District Court. A total of 691 people gathered in the 19-seat observation gallery, indicating a remarkable attention with a ratio of 36 times more attendees than available seats.

As it was the first session, the trial concluded in about five minutes. Matsumoto himself did not attend.

Although the courtroom battle has finally begun, the real climax is expected to occur when Matsumoto himself, likely at the end of the year, undergoes questioning. According to legal sources,

“We don’t know his intention to attend, but unless Matsumoto himself takes the stand, the odds of winning this trial are slim.”

At the current stage, the lawsuit targets only the initial report published by Bungeishunju at the end of last year. It detailed former talent Ms. A accusation of sexual misconduct by Matsumoto at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo.

Present at the scene were also “Speedwagon” Kazutaka Ozawa, who was reported to have attended to accompany women, and X, a close aide to Matsumoto who was a significant figure in his circle. Considering Ms. A’s readiness to testify through Bungeishunju, Matsumoto’s side would likely hope for support from X and Ozawa, who were present at the scene, for their defense strategy.


“There’s a high possibility that both X and Ozawa will be perceived as individuals associated with Matsumoto’s side, which may sway the judge’s impression. On the other hand, Ms. A herself faces risks by testifying in court about her painful experiences. However, if she does testify despite these risks, there’s a high chance of substantial evidence being recognized.” (Same legal source)

This is why many media outlets conclude that “Bungeishunju has the advantage.” After all, Ms. A’s goal isn’t necessarily to stun Matsumoto in court.

“It was Matsumoto’s side that initiated the lawsuit. Ms. A had hoped that Matsumoto would acknowledge the Bungeishunju report from last year, apologize publicly, and be done with it. However, Matsumoto declared it ‘baseless’ and took a fighting stance. This left both parties in a difficult position.” (Sports journalist)

In court, it is necessary to thoroughly expose the events of the day. Matsumoto has consistently

“There was no coercion involved.”

Matsumoto has consistently claimed that there was no coercion involved, but there’s a possibility he may admit to getting undressed in the bedroom beforehand, implying a potential intention to engage in physical intimacy.

“Some may judge this as adultery at that point. Others may express disgust at such vulgar behavior. Matsumoto has shown no intention of retiring, as indicated by some media sources, expressing a desire to continue comedy as soon as possible. However, if it turns out he was indulging in extramarital activities while married, television networks, especially those with sponsors, are likely to distance themselves.” (Television network insider)

The testimonies of X and Ozawa, who were expected to provide favorable testimony, are now dubious. Before the first oral argument, Bungeishunju published Ms. A’s account, in which she clearly stated that,



“I have been sexually harassed by Ozawa and Mr. X.”

“It was just a brief mention, but it caused a stir in the industry. If this turns out to be true, both X and Ozawa may face scrutiny in court. For X, it might not be as critical, but for Ozawa, it could be devastating. There’s no doubt that his career as a comedian would be in jeopardy.

After the trial, Matsumoto’s lawyers hinted at the possibility of both Matsumoto himself and junior comedians testifying. If that’s the case, Ozawa’s testimony could be crucial in court. Therefore, Ms. A’s confession at this timing could have a significant impact on the trial.” (Same sports journalist)

Ozawa, who is currently on hiatus, is reportedly gradually regaining his spirits, according to his partner, Idota Jun.

“Idota wants to continue as ‘Speedwagon’ with Ozawa. However, if Ozawa gets involved in Matsumoto’s trial, his return may be delayed. They’ll have to discuss it thoroughly within their comedy duo.” (Comedy insider)

The legal battle between Matsumoto and Bungeishunju seems far from over after just one trial. It remains to be seen how it will be resolved.

  • PHOTO. Shu Nishihara (Ozawa)

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