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Ex-Takarazuka member and Sumiyoshi-kai gangster arrested for blackmail of taxi driver over pregnancy

Maki Kanebayashi
Maki Kanebayashi
TOKYO (TR) – An ex-member of the Takarazuka Revue theater group and a gangster from the Sumiyoshi-kai criminal organization were arrested on Tuesday for attempted extortion of a taxi driver, reports the Sankei Shimbun (July 3).

Officers from the Takinogawa Police Station, located in Kita Ward, took Maki Kanebayashi, 44, and gangster Yoshihiro Kemuyama, 55, who is currently imprisoned for violating the stimulants control law, into custody for allegedly demanding one million yen from a 55-year-old taxi driver in a coffee shop in the Nishi Nippori district of Arakawa Ward on December 25 of last year.

The suspects claimed that the taxi driver was responsible for Kanebayashi being pregnant. “You are playing dumb about the pregnancy,” Kemuyama reportedly said. “I am a yakuza. Live up to your obligations.”

Kanebayashi has reportedly admitted to the allegations, while Kemuyama has denied demanding money.

The former performer was introduced to the taxi driver through an encounter Web site in November of last year. The pair met up a number of times thereafter.

According to Sankei Sports, Kanebayashi entered the Takarazuka Revue after graduation from the Takarazuka Music School, located in Hyogo Prefecture, in 1987. She performed under the stage name Ai Hamakaze until leaving the troupe in 1990.

The Mainichi Shimbun reports that Kanebayashi was not actually pregnant.