(Photographs by The Tokyo Reporter, 2008 and 2011)
TOKYO (TR) – Sumitomo Realty & Development last month acquired a controversial property once used as the headquarters for a yakuza organization in Tokyo’s Roppongi entertainment district, public records show.
Documents obtained from the real estate section of the Minato Ward branch of the legal affairs bureau indicate that Sumitomo took title on October 11 of the 3,800-square-meter property that was once occupied by the infamous TSK.CCC Terminal building, situated midway between the Tokyo Midtown and Roppongi Hills complexes.
The purchase by the major developer concludes a drawn-out saga of determining ownership of the now vacant property.
Korean mobster Hisayuki Machii, who made his fortune in real estate and operated a ferry service between Japan and South Korea, opened the company’s “Celebrity Choice Club” (CCC) in Roppongi in 1973. Machii, known as “the Ginza Tiger,” headed the company Toa Sogo Kigyo (TSK), a front for the Tosei-kai yakuza gang, which dominated Tokyo’s glitzy Ginza district beginning in the early 1960s.
The then lavish complex, which rose seven floors above ground and three below, boasted night clubs, a beauty salon, a spa, the headquarters of Toa Sogo Kigyo, and a rooftop garden and a tennis court — all just seconds from the bustling Roppongi crossing.
Upon Machii’s death, in September 2002, at the age of 79, ownership of the structure became unclear. Creditors, who over the decades had found getting payments from mobsters highly challenging, seized the majority of the building. Complicating matters were building registration irregularities and multiple parties claiming ownership to various other bits of the structure.
For years, establishments operated in some areas while others remained chained shut. Prior to commencement of demolition, it housed the club Vanilla, the bar Tokyo Sports Cafe, and the hostess club Private Eyes.
In July 2006, a real estate company today known as Toshi Urban Kaihatsu purchased the majority of the site at auction for 25.2 billion yen.
By August of 2007, the company had bought up the remaining pieces. Osaka-based contractor Daito started demolition of the structure soon after.
However, real estate watchers became skeptical of Toshi Urban Kaihatsu’s purchase given that it was listed as a limited liability company and capitalized at only 3 million yen.
The demolition work was completed by April of the next year. The site has been empty and surrounded by a white fence ever since.
Sumitomo did not immediately return a request for comment on the acquisition.