Fuji Television Network Inc. said Wednesday it will scrap plans to use Sean McArdle Kawakami, a popular radio and TV personality, as emcee of a major news show slated to begin in April, after he admitted “errors” in his publicized academic background.
Kawakami, also known as “Sean K,” apologized in a message posted online Tuesday about the “gross misunderstanding” he caused over his resume. He said he had never obtained an “M.B.A. from Harvard Business School” or “tertiary education at l’Universite de Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne,” as had been stated in English on his website.
The 47-year-old also admitted he actually never “received his B.A. in Business Administration from Temple University” in Tokyo, saying he dropped out of the school shortly after entering.
The confession by the commentator, who claims to have an Irish American-Japanese father and a Japanese mother, came after Shukan Bunshun — a weekly magazine that has uncovered a number of scandals related to Japanese politicians and celebrities in recent months — printed an article, titled “Sean K’s lies,” in its latest edition, which hit newsstands Wednesday.
Kawakami has also said he will quit his other roles as a radio DJ and TV commentator.
The magazine alleges that in addition to lying about his education, Kawakami might have also lied about his professional career as a management consultant. Kawakami denied the allegation in the message on his website.
The article also carried a photograph they claim is of Kawakami when he was a student in high school in the city of Kumamoto, which said that he looked more Japanese than he looks now.
The magazine said it contacted a number of high school classmates by telephone, but none realized that the Sean McArdle Kawakami on TV is actually Shinichiro Kawakami — his real name according to the magazine — the boy they studied with.
Fuji TV, which has been struggling with ratings in recent years, says on its website that “Your Time,” the new program Kawakami had been scheduled to host, will be a new type of news show that will “defy the boundaries of standards and common sense of a regular news program.” It is slated to run each weekday late at night.
Kawakami had been cast as an emcee, along with Saya Ichikawa, a 29-year-old model.