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Tobita Shinchi: Supermarket founder leased brothel to yakuza

OSAKA (TR) – Osaka Prefectural Police last week revealed the arrest of the founder of the Super Tamade supermarket chain for leasing an establishment in a brothel quarter in Nishinari Ward while knowing it was operating in violation of the law, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 4).

According to police, Takuji Maeda, 74, received 1.35 million yen in rent payments over a three-month period while knowing that Ginga (Milky Way), located in the Tobita Shinchi quarter, was supplying male customers with full sex (honban), which is a violation of the Anti-Prostitution Law.

The matter emerged in May after police arrested Toshio Asano, an upper-level member of the Kyokushin Rengo-kai, an affiliate gang of the Yamaguchi-gumi, worked with his common-law wife, who managed Ginga, on suspicion of providing prostitution.

Police previously said that the establishment accumulated about 4 million yen in sales each month. It is believed that a portion of the revenue was used to fund the Kyokushin Rengo-kai.

Super Tamade in Osaka
An outlet of Super Tamade formerly existed in the Tobita Shinchi brothel quarter of Nishinari Ward (Twitter)


Tobita Shinchi consists of alleys of brightly lit two-floor ryotei structures. In the first-floor doorway of each establishment sits a woman attired in revealing clothing. Next to her is an elderly female proprietor who verbally solicits clients.

Ginga was formerly an outlet of Super Tamade, which is known for its colorful and gaudy storefronts and low prices. The space was sold in July, according to the Tobita Shinchi cooperative union.

The name used to register Milky Way with local authorities and the cooperative union was that of a 61-year-old woman. Police later determined that the common-law wife of Asano was the actual proprietor.

Police suspect that Maeda received a total of 20 million yen in rent from Ginga. Police are now investigating whether the suspect was aware that the gang was involved in the operation of the business.

Employs 1,600

Founded in Osaka in 1978, Super Tamade is operated by Fried Fish Co. According to its web site, the chain employs about 1,600 people.

On December 5, a statement on the Super Tamade web site said that the matter had been examined. “We will continue to pursue organizing and developing our businesses such that it is not connected to hanshakaiteki,” the statement said in referring to antisocial forces, which refers to organized crime.