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1. Top Prosecutor Retires after Mahjong Scandal

Hiromu Kurokawa, chief of the Tokyo High Public Prosecutors Office, is moving to step down from office after his involvement in playing mahjong for money with news reporters was uncovered. Kurokawa reportedly played two different games of mahjong on May 1 and May 13, right in the midst of a nationwide state of emergency. While there are some loopholes with institutions such as pachinko, public gambling is technically illegal in Japan in all forms. Kurokawa’s retirement will not be a good look for Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, who was said to favor Kurokawa or his party.

A photo of prosecutor Hiromu, taken earlier in February this year.

Kurokawa was also heavily involved in last week’s story about raising the retirement age for prosecutors. He was allowed to keep his position, despite turning 63 this year, which is the standard age of retirement for prosecutors. Following a large number of celebrities coming forward to voice their opinions on this, Prime Minister Abe and his party have since retracted the proposal.   

2. Demon Slayer Continues to Rise in Popularity as the Manga Finishes Up

A Popular Manga and Anime Series, Kimetsu no Yaiba or Demon Slayer in English.

The extremely popular manga and anime series Demon Slayer, also known as Kimetsu no Yaiba in Japanese, currently has over 60 million volumes in circulation around the world. The story focuses on a young boy named Tanjiro Kamado and his sister Nezuko, who was turned into a demon after a demon slaughtered their family. These events spur Tanjiro to take action, and he vows to find a cure for his sister and rid the world of demons by becoming a demon slayer. While sales numbers continue to increase, the manga itself came to an end this week, finishing with chapter 205. The controversial ending divided fans, leaving some grateful to the author for her hard work and others upset with the way things were left.

However, all fans are in mutual agreement that they want more Demon Slayer, and fortunately for them, they did not have to wait long for the announcement of a spin-off series. “Kimestsu no Yaiba: Rengoku Gaiden” is currently in the works and will center around the fan-favorite pillar of flame, Kyojuro Rengoku. No official date for the spin-off has been announced.  

3. Softbank Group’s Market Value Continues to Plummet

Softbank has reported $23.6 million dollars in quarterly operating income, a whopping 99% plunge from last year’s income. Softbank’s Vision Fund, which includes Uber, is primarily being blamed after a continued loss of investors and profit has led to a drop in overall market value now reaching $22 billion dollars.  One prominent board member, Alibaba founder Jack Ma, announced his retirement this week as well, which led to more negative outlooks for the tech giant. Despite the negative results of Vision Fund, CEO Masayoshi Son is already working to gather outside investor support for a successor to Vision Fund. The first Vision Fund, whose investments into untested startups led to revolutionary results such as Uber and WeWork, helped to change the technological world permanently. Son remains hopeful for Vision Fund 2 and the direction of the company and is planning a massive buyback campaign to strengthen stocks for the teetering company.

4. Gamer Grandma Awarded Guinness World Record

90-year-old Hamako Mori poses with her Guinness World Record.

After years of consistently putting out gaming content, one kind grandma has been recognized by Guinness as the oldest video game creator on YouTube. 90-year-old Hamako Mori has been playing video games for almost 40 years and has been making content on YouTube since 2015. Her channel, Gamer Grandma, boasts a comfortable 278,000 subscribers and counting. Do not let her age or appearance fool you, Hamako is a serious gamer, delivering witty dialogue and impressive skills in her gaming playthroughs. On games she particularly likes, she claims that she will stay up late into the early hours of the morning playing nonstop. She makes a variety of gaming-related videos from playthroughs to unboxings. She has recently made a video expressing her thanks to all of her viewers, saying that it would not be possible without them and that she never imagined being number one in the world at anything. 

5. A concert is at “Max Capacity” with only 15% filled

The reality of attending a live show under the influence of Corona virus is shown in a nearly empty theater (Image from Ginoza-mura Bunka Center Facebook Page)

A recent simulation depicting social distancing in a theater was considered a “full house” with only 15% of the available seats filled. The theater has been closed since April 7th due to the Corona virus, but as time continues, measures to open under Corona are being considered for sustainability reasons. Out of the 398 seats available, 60 seats were determined to be the limit in order to follow the “mitsu” social distancing guidelines. This mainly-empty room could soon become the norm for all concert halls, movie theaters, and live shows. This raises several new concerns about the reality of live entertainment, including how high ticket prices will likely rise now that only a select number of seats will be available. With more and more live shows and concerts continuing to be canceled, people will have to learn to cope with a lack of live performances, which is sure to affect stress levels.

Hosts of Ryu Tokyo Podcast

Julian Domanski

Born in England, Julian is a writer, videographer & musician living in Tokyo. When he’s not drinking copious amounts of English Tea, he can be found studying Japanese or trying to master the surprisingly complex basics of the Jiuta Shamisen.

Yasuharu Matsuno

Founder of Ryu Tokyo. Japanese-born entrepreneur. Yasu spent his life around the globe – Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, Australia, and the U.S. He hopes he had more time to play Japanese RPGs. MBA from Columbia University in the City of New York.