Gangster film star Hiroki Matsukata reels in giant tuna

Friday Dec. 11
Friday Dec. 11
TOKYO (TR) – TV personality and yakuza gangster pic star Hiroki Matsukata (“Yakuza Tai G-Men” and “Battles Without Honor and Humanity” series) snagged a 2.73-meter-long, 325-kilogram black tuna in a bluefin fishing contest off the coast of Yamaguchi Prefecture in southern Japan on Sunday.

Sold at auction at the famed Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo on Wednesday, the tuna netted Matsukata 4.37 million yen, which he split with the captain of the boat. That day he also brought sashimi samples for the guests on a Fuji TV variety show.

Matsukata, 67, fought the big fish for an hour and a half before landing it — far longer than any of his on-screen battles with bad guys. He looks likely to win the contest, which runs to November 27. The first prize is an unspecified quantity of two local specialties: rice and sea urchin eggs.

Weekly tabloid Friday (Dec. 11) caught up with Atsushi Sasaki, a former competitive fisherman and instructor for Matsukata who has become an advocate for environmental conservation. “Up until 10 years ago, we were able to catch tuna in the 20- to 30-kilogram class as well as much larger ones,” he explained. “However, with ships equipped with sonar and special drag nets, more fish capable of giving birth are being caught. This has led to a dramatic decline in tuna stocks. Unless we regulate net fishing we will not be able to fish with poles any longer.”

Matsukata agrees with these sentiments. “Pole fishing, which relies on human strength, is ecologically friendly to marine life,” the actor said. “Other countries have adopted regulations regarding ships equipped with nets, but Japan allows unlimited catches. Unless volumes are regulated, there won’t be any fish to catch.” (C.J.)

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