Yesterday, Pierre Taki, a Japanese voice actor involved in projects like Kingdom Hearts III, and Judgement was arrested on suspicion of cocaine use. The actor and musician, whose real name is Masanori Taki, admitted to using small amounts of cocaine in Tokyo earlier this week. Cocaine use and possession carries with it a maximum sentence of up to 7 years in prison within Japan.
The Japanese star’s arrest has led to a host of complications for the industry. Square Enix, the developer behind Kingdom Hearts III, has announced that the Japanese version of the game would be updated to replace Taki’s portrayal of the popular Disney character Olaf. As of right, Square Enix hasn’t provided any other information on the subject, including an idea about who will replace the actor.
Earlier, news also broke that SEGA had halted all sales of Judgement, the Yakuza spin off that featured Taki in a prominent role. It’s still unclear who will replace the actor, and whether or not the western release will be affected.
After Taki’s arrest SEGA released a statement saying that “the release of Judgment overseas this year is currently under consideration. We have not yet made a formal decision on the matter.”
Compared to the West, it’s clear that Japanese culture has been far less lenient to drug use, especially considering this hasn’t been the first time that a Yakuza character was recast due to cocaine use. Hopefully the situation is resolved as quickly as possible and Pierre Taki will be free to return to his career.