Agency Bans Key Figure Ozawa Amid Matsumoto Hitoshi Trial | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Agency Bans Key Figure Ozawa Amid Matsumoto Hitoshi Trial

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In Matsumoto Hitoshi’s (left) trial, the key figure said to be involved is Kazuhiro Ozawa from Speedwagon.

In a lawsuit, Downtown Matsumoto Hitoshi demanded 550 million yen in damages from Weekly Bunshun, which reported allegations of sexual misconduct. At the June 5th pretrial conference, he indicated the possibility of increasing the compensation for business closure beyond 550 million yen. 


Matsumoto was accused of sexual misconduct by Weekly Bunshun at the end of last year, leading him to announce a suspension of his entertainment activities on January 8th. Ten women testified to Weekly Bunshun about being victims, some openly revealing their names and faces while recounting their terrifying experiences.


“It’s estimated that Matsumoto consistently earned around 1 billion yen annually. While he’s seeking 550 million yen in damages, such high compensation claims have never been granted in Japan before. This amount likely aims to highlight the severity of the harm to public perception.


Initially, he claimed to enter a hiatus ‘to focus on the trial,’ but in reality, sponsors started withdrawing from his shows one after another in January. The commercials he appeared in also disappeared. It seems he took a break before his pride and social standing could be irreparably damaged. Even if defamation is proven, with such specific testimonies, a full return to his previous status seems highly unlikely.” (television station insider)


Certainly, even if no sexual misconduct occurred, the stigma of infidelity can stick in public perception. Many celebrities have taken breaks due to infidelity allegations, but it’s rare to hear of cases where they seek compensation from weekly magazines. More often, they face penalties for breaching contracts with TV shows and commercials. 

On the other hand, surprisingly, Kazuhiro Ozawa from the comedy duo ‘Speed Wagon’ has maintained absolute silence since suspending activities on January 13th.

He was mocked as a “female pimp comedian” by Bunshun and reported to have hosted a party at a hotel. If Matsumoto says it’s groundless, why doesn’t Ozawa support him and try to prove Matsumoto’s innocence.

“His partner, Jun Idoda, revealed on TV that he occasionally keeps in touch with Ozawa. However, last month’s ‘FNN Prime Online’ reported that Matsumoto’s side had lost contact with Ozawa. It’s puzzling why Ozawa, as Matsumoto’s senior, doesn’t use social media or provide testimony to dispel the suspicions.


There’s speculation that Ozawa leaked screenshots of LINE messages claiming gratitude from female victims after the party, but this backfired severely. Despite Yoshimoto’s announcement that ‘such incidents never occurred,’ the contradiction sparked controversy over whether the party actually happened. Perhaps Ozawa decided that maintaining silence until this issue is resolved is better for his own future in comedy than clumsily trying to assist Matsumoto.” (sports journalist)

Sanma Akashiya also mentioned on his radio show ‘Youngtown Saturday’ last month:

“I’ve been told not to contact Ozawa’s side right now by people from their company.”

And revealed that there is a “no contact” directive in place.


Many fans are hoping for the comeback of the “genius” Matsumoto. However, on the other hand, there are voices in the television industry suggesting that everything is running smoothly even in Matsumoto’s absence.

  • PHOTO Shu Nishihara (Ozawa)

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