It was a long time. ……
Kento Handa (38) muttered in direct response to FRIDAY’s direct question, and looked at the sky with a faraway look in his eyes. His expression was somewhat refreshing.
Handa, who is known as a masked rider actor, was involved in a lawsuit over money with his former entertainment agency, and in May of this year it was revealed that he had been ordered to pay approximately 7 million yen.
Handa was selected as a finalist in the Junon Super Boy Contest in 2001 at the age of 17 and entered the entertainment industry. In 2003, he was selected to play the leading role in “Masked Rider 555” and made his breakthrough. He has a deep knowledge of railroads and Showa-era songs, and is also active as a TV personality, appearing on “Tamori Club. She is now also focusing on her singing career and made her major label debut in 2004.
The conflict between Handa and his agency began 11 years ago.
In 2005, after his breakout role in “Masked Rider,” Handa signed a management contract with the agency, which was automatically renewed every year. According to court documents, Handa’s monthly salary at the time was 555,555 yen. This is a salary that can truly be described as “Rider love,” in reference to “Masked Rider 555,” in which he starred,” said a judicial reporter for a national newspaper.
Handa and his office had been working together in the entertainment business. However, the relationship between Handa and the agency fell apart when the management contract was changed in 2010.
In 2010, Handa told the office that he wanted to save his work, and the office agreed. The management contract, which had been renewed for one year, was changed to a six-month renewal. However, after six months had passed, Handa claimed that the contract itself had ended. On the other hand, the agency claimed that the contract was not terminated merely because of the change in content, and the two sides continued to argue. In the end, the two sides could not come to an agreement, and in 2011, the office became frustrated and filed a lawsuit in the Tokyo District Court over the existence of the management contract.
The following year, in 2012, the district court dismissed the lawsuit, upholding Handa’s claim that the contract had been terminated. In effect, Handa won the case. However, from this point on, a further legal battle ensued.
The office claimed that it had paid Handa all living expenses, including salary, apartment rent, utilities, cell phone bills, and even resident taxes, from October 2010, when the contract was supposedly terminated, to 2012, the year the court ruling was issued. In October 2008, Handa filed a lawsuit again with the Tokyo District Court, demanding the return of over 8 million yen in expenses. Handa argued that “the office had explained to TV stations and event organizers that the contract was still in effect even after the contract was terminated. It was truly a bogged-down legal battle.
Finally, the second round of the trial was decided. On May 16 of this year, the Tokyo District Court accepted the firm’s claims and ordered Handa to pay more than 7 million yen in expenses.
We asked Handa directly after he came out of a record store in Shibuya on an early July evening what he thought of the huge sum he had to repay.
–Mr. Handa, this is Friday, and I would like to ask you about the trial with your former agency that ended in May.
In a word, it’s already done. (The president of the office where the trial took place) is a person who has been a great help to me, and I originally had no intention of fighting with him, but I had no choice but to settle the case this way. If the case has been concluded under the law, then we both agree with each other.
–Eleven years have passed since the first lawsuit was filed.
It’s been a long time. …… It has been 11 years since the first lawsuit was filed. “I want to end it now, and I hope the other side will be satisfied with this. I think we both have to look forward to the future.
–Do you hope to make further progress with your rider power in the future?
Yes, I think so. I would like to put more effort into my singing from now on. I am planning to visit one more record store from now on. See you soon!
Handa said with a smile and disappeared into the Shibuya crowd. Even though he was ordered to pay a huge sum of money, Handa’s heart seems to be at peace now that the 11-year long battle is finally over.
From the July 22, 2022 issue of FRIDAY
PHOTO： Takayuki Ogawauchi