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‘Yakuza’ Spinoff Voice Actor Replaced After Cocaine Scandal

Yakuza” spinoff “Judgment” is getting a character model and Japanese voice acting replacement for its western release due to “unforeseen circumstances,” SEGA announced Friday via Twitter.

“Due to unforeseen circumstances, the character model and Japanese voice for the character of Kyohei Hamura will be adjusted for the Western release of Judgment, launching on June 25, 2019,” SEGA stated. “Screenshots and trailers featuring Hamura have been temporarily removed from all of SEGA’s official channels. Updated versions of these materials will be made available at a later date.”

Kyohei Hamura is modeled after the character’s voice actor, Pierre Taki, who was arrested for cocaine use earlier this month. Taki is an actor and musician, perhaps best known in Japan as the front man of synthpop group Denki Groove.

Taki’s arrest resulted in SEGA halting sales of “Judgment” in Japan, as drug use in the country is comparatively more controversial to the public (and drug laws more strictly enforced) than in some western countries.

The arrest also caused Disney a bit of a headache, as Taki provides the voice of Olaf in the Japanese version of “Frozen.” Disney stores in Tokyo have opted to pull blu-rays and soundtracks for the movie from its shelves and Disney issued a statement that it has halted production of “Frozen” blu-rays and DVDs, according to Japan Today.

Thankfully, it doesn’t seem the controversy will delay “Judgment’s” June release here in the west, but stay tuned. Also, be sure to take a peek at Variety’s first look at the upcoming “Yakuza” spin-off, which seems to be a more refined and narratively compelling addition to the series.

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