To mark the publication in English of his best-selling autobiography, Toppamono, author Manabu Miyazaki held a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo on September 30, 2005.
Edited highlights appear below:
I wrote Toppamono, my autobiography, in 1995. Thanks to the efforts of friends, the book is being published in an English version, which you see before you today. I guess a point I want to emphasize is that I was born in 1945, the year World War II ended. I wrote this book ten years ago, exactly 50 years after the end of the war. I really wanted to look back on my own life and get a personal perspective about how I had lived through the post-war period.
I was fortunate enough to have been on the ground in Japan during this postwar period. It is what I saw and heard and felt during this period that I wrote about very honestly in this book. When I say that I wrote about everything that I saw, I particularly emphasized what we call the "outlaw" part of Japanese society. This is something that I have been very heavily involved with ever since I was born. I have therefore observed very closely what has happened in this world.
Of course, one of the things that I write about was the famous Glico-Morinaga crime case. Again, I was on the ground - or rather, my company was located very close to this incident - so I certainly did see a lot of things.
Q. On the Glico-Morinaga case, which you mentioned, is that your picture on the book or not? It is a police sketch of the criminal who was involved in the case. The statue of limitations is now expired, so please don't hold back . . .
A. This is actually a montage sketch that was released by the police when they were trying to find the criminal for this case. When my mother, who was alive at the time, saw it, her first reaction was, "Manabu, what did you do?" Later, though, she said, "You're much more handsome than that!"
Q. Regarding this case, Mr. Ezaki of the Glico company was kidnapped from his bathtub, but he managed to escape about three days later and no harm was done to him. A man in a baseball cap went to a convenience store and put some Glico chocolate on the shelf. His picture was taken by a security camera. No one ate the chocolate with the poison and no one died. The gang tried to blackmail I believe a total of nine companies. There is no evidence that any of these companies paid money to the gang and no real evidence that anyone died. So you had one of the most notorious crimes in Japanese history, with no victims. What was the purpose? Was the gang simply out to embarrass the police? Or do you think that they benefited in some other way?
A. I think that one comment I can make -- and this holds true not only for Japan but for every other country of the world - is that the primary cause for a crime generally involves money.
As you have pointed out, in regard to this particular incident there is no direct evidence of any money actually being transferred from one party to another. I speak hypothetically, but the price of Glico stocks fell dramatically and when the police official declared that this incident was closed the prices shot up - so although no money was actually extracted directly from Glico, if a person or party with ample funds were to have advance information about this incident they would be in a position to legally and safely get a great deal of money.
Also, in respect to another point that you made, which was that a man wearing a baseball cap went into a supermarket and was photographed, it was said that person resembled myself. That is simply not true. The reason is that I am a great fan of Hanshin Tigers and the gentlemen was wearing a Giants baseball cap. Regardless of what happens in my life, I would never be caught wearing a Giants cap!
Q. When you wrote your book, what period of your life gave you the most pleasure to recall?
A. 1968. This was the time during the Vietnam War when throughout the world there were anti-war demonstrations and movements by students. I think that was the most pleasurable time of my life when I look back on it.
For a full transcript of the press conference-- including Mr. Miyazaki's comments on the romantic image of yakuza, the new leadership of the Yamaguchi-gumi, and many other topics are coming soon.