• Kyodo News

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The head of a rightwing organization was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of attempting to pressure Shochiku Co., a kabuki producer, into banishing Ichikawa Ebizo from the stage over the actor’s involvement in a violent incident, Tokyo police said.

Akio Hayakawa, 73, visited Shochiku’s Tokyo office on Dec. 6.

He then presented a card bearing the name of his rightwing group and told two officials: “The latest incident (involving Ebizo) has tarnished the reputation of kabuki, which is part of Japan’s traditional culture. Cast him off,” according to the investigation.

He was apparently referring to the scuffle the kabuki star got into after drinking in November, which left him badly beaten.

Shochiku, the organizer of performances at the Kabuki Za theater in Tokyo, has canceled all of Ebizo’s stage appearances for an indefinite period of time.

Hayakawa also reportedly said, “If he vows never to drink, I will settle for him just staying away from the stage for a long time.”

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