On March 13, multiple Japanese news outlets reported the arrest of Pierre Taki for the use of cocaine, and how he has admitted the charges against him. Pierre Taki, whose real name is Masanori Taki, is a multi-talented star in Japan. He has been part of the Japanese showbiz industry for more than thirty years since his debut as part of the techno group Denki Groove. Pierre Taki has acted in many movies through his career, including dubs, such as the Japanese voice of Olaf in Frozen and Kingdom Hearts 3.
— 音楽ナタリー (@natalie_mu) March 13, 2019
Following his arrest, multiple companies affiliated with Pierre Taki have decided to cut all ties with him and suspend the commercialization of products related to him. For example, the sales of the 30th anniversary CD of Denki Groove has been suspended, and Sega also stopped new shipments and digital sales of Judgment, Yakuza Studio’s newest game, where Pierre Taki appears as yakuza member Kyohei Hamura. I strongly recommend reading our previous story on the case to get a better grasp of what’s going on and especially what could happen soon.
— 佐藤大輔@龍が如くスタジオ/龍が如く4 好評発売中！ (@satod_cs1) March 13, 2019
A few hours after Sega’s statement, Yakuza Studio’s Producer Daisuke Sato tweeted that he will definitely not let things end this way, that he refuses for Pierre Taki’s contribution to the game to be completely erased, and vowed to bring him back.
With how the Japanese language is structured, he actually didn’t mention either Judge eyes, Judgment’s Japanese name, or Pierre Taki, but he’s obviously talking about the case. Depending on your interpretation, he could also be talking about bringing Judgment back along with Pierre Taki, and some fans are hoping for a Judgment 2. A sequel is definitely likely seeing Yakuza Studio’s past way of doing things, and Judgment‘s commercial and critical success.
— 松山洋＠サイバーコネクトツー (@PIROSHI_CC2) March 13, 2019
Meanwhile, CyberConnect 2’s President Hiroshi Matsuyama commented on the case as well on Twitter. He criticized companies who cease the commercialization of all products the person charged is related to in cases like these.
Personally speaking, while I don’t want to adopt a “foreigner and his superior culture criticizes Japan” kind of standpoint, I agree with Matsuyama and I don’t think charges such as cocaine use should have such an effect. Unlike say, murder charges, it’s not like Pierre Taki caused harm to anyone but himself by taking cocaine, as far as we know anyway. I don’t think there’s some kind of separating art vs artist kind of debate to be had here. But well, there are circumstances as to why Japan is so strict with drugs, and especially with cocaine, Japan’s stance is much harder when compared to most western countries. With that said, I actually don’t care that much either if Pierre Taki does get removed from the game forever. While he’s a great actor, and the game will suffer from his removal, it’s not like that change will make all of Judgment completely worthless. Then again, I did buy a Japanese copy of the game today, just in case, and as I was planning on getting it anyway.
Judgment released in Japan on December 13 and should release outside the Archipel on June 25, exclusively on PS4. The game will include subtitles in multiple languages, including French. As for how this turn of events might affect the release of the game outside of Japan, we still don’t know yet, and Sega hasn’t decided anything yet according to Takashi Mochizuki of Wall Street Journal.