Gossip YouTuber Yoshikazu Higashatani Verbally Attacks Go Ayano from “Old Rookie” | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Gossip YouTuber Yoshikazu Higashatani Verbally Attacks Go Ayano from “Old Rookie”

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Go Ayano’s new drama “Old Rookie” is off to a good start. He is giving his all in filming even under the scorching sun.The drama series “Old Rookie” (TBS) starring Go Ayano got off to a good start and aired its second episode on July 10 due to election coverage. The drama had been attracting a lot of attention from the public.


YouTuber Yoshikazu Higashitani, a.k.a. “Garcy,” had alleged that Ayano had “forced underage drinking” and “underage lewd acts” in the past. Since Ayano had decided to ignore the allegations, he was subjected to the relentless verbal abuse of Mr. Higashitani.

Furthermore, Mr. Higashitani went after Ayano by having a former idol, who was underage at the time, appear on “Garcy” to testify against him. The president of Ayano’s office was also involved in the verbal attack, and there was much attention on how he would respond, but on June 13, his office announced on its official website,

“We will not tolerate this kind of false posting. Therefore, we are taking appropriate legal procedures and other measures.”


In the meantime, there were concerns that the new drama would not be aired and that sponsors would pull out. There were also suspicions that airing in June was moved up for fear that the program would be cancelled in the middle of the broadcast. However, it is believed that the drama was moved up in anticipation of the House of Councillors election and the World Championships in Athletics.

The drama overcame the concerns of those around it and aired as scheduled. The first-run ratings were not so high, with an average household rating of 11.2% (Video Research, Kanto region), but the Internet was full of positive feedback.

“Ayano’s acting is truly amazing.”

Many comments of praise were seen, such as, “I was really impressed.”

As for the show’s sponsors, Suntory, Kao, Nippon Life Insurance, and Subaru, who were originally sponsors of the Sunday drama, will continue to be sponsors of the show. In particular, it was thought that Suntory, a sake brewer, might drop its sponsorship in response to Ayano’s “forced underage drinking”.

However, it turns out that rather than dropping out, Suntory’s only commercial for alcoholic beverages was for Kin–Mugi in the first episode of the Sunday drama “My Family,” but in the first episode of “Old Rookie” it was for Kin-Mugi, Tris, Lemon Sour, Green Half (Chu-Hi), and Premium Malt’s. Green Half (Chu-Hi), and Premium Malt’s were played a total of five times.

“In response to Garcy’s accusations, viewers called TBS to complain. Some viewers also called Suntory. But TBS, Suntory, and the other sponsors must have seen no problem.”

“Even if Mr. Azumaya’s story were true, it was seven years ago, and the girl who said she was underage was a celebrity at the time, and it does not appear that she was forced to drink alcohol. Many people are wondering if only Mr. Ayano is to blame one way or the other.”

The woman in question, now a civilian, went to the Middle East, where Mr. Azumaya was staying, to appear in a video and respond to a “witness statement,” but the public’s reaction was not positive.

Some said, “Go Ayano is terrible.”

“Why is he talking about something that happened seven years ago?”

“If she thought that it was unforgivable, why didn’t she report it to the police?”

While Koide Keisuke and ex-TOKIO member Yamaguchi Tatsuya have been referred to prosecutors, there is no indication that the police will pursue Ayano, and the public’s perception of the other woman seems to differ.

Frustrated by his failure to inflict any damage on Ayano, Higashitani announced that he would drop a major bomb that would force the cancellation of the second episode, causing TBS and others to shudder, but his focus turned to his new target, Hiroshi Mikitani, chairman of Rakuten Group, Inc. The TBS and other people concerned were horrified.

At the same time, the bomb was postponed due to the upcoming House of Councillors election in which he was running for office. Thanks to this, the second episode could be aired without incident, and the viewer rating remained in double digits at 11.2%.

Although the numbers are subtle, it is true that more and more people are giving high marks to Ayano’s performance and saying that the drama itself is interesting. Some are even cheering him on, saying, “It’s pitiful to blame him so much.”

“To begin with, Mr. Ayano is not an actor with a clean and fresh image. He is attractive and he seems to have a quirk, a delinquent-like quality. Rumors are spreading that he is a playboy, but I don’t think his image has been ruined by this incident and I don’t think his fans will leave him. Also, since Mr. Garcy is relentlessly aggressive, there is a movement to rebel against him and protect Mr. Ayano.”

Ironically, Garcy played a role in creating a buzz, and the sympathy for Ayano seems to have given him a tailwind. If things continue as they are, the drama will continue to air and viewer ratings are expected to grow, but there is still no relief in sight.

In the Upper House election held on July 10, Higashitani was reportedly “certain to win”. However, in a live broadcast, Mr. Higashitani said, “Winning the election is not the end. Please be prepared. What kind of bombshells will be dropped in the future? Those involved in the drama are nervously waiting to see what will happen.”

  • Interview and text by Hiroyuki Sasaki (entertainment journalist)

    Born in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, Hiroyuki Sasaki became a reporter for FRIDAY at the age of 31, reporting numerous scoops during his time at FRIDAY and later working mainly for weekly magazines. Currently, he also appears on TV and radio as a commentator.

  • PHOTO Yusuke Kondo

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