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[11/8/2013] Yomiuri Giants: Tatsunori Hara gets a two-year extension

by on Nov.09, 2013 @ 3:17 am, under NPB
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Tatsunori Hara was in Chuo Ward, Tokyo visiting Yomiuri headquarters on Friday.  He met with team officials and gave them a report on the past season.  After the meeting, Hara spoke to reporters and that he signed a two-year extension to continue managing the Giants.  He received the offer from owner Kojiro Shiraishi after the team secured a spot in the Nippon Series.

Source: Sponichi 11/9/2013

UPDATE 11/9 @ 11:13pm -

According to Nikkan Sports, that contract will be worth an estimated 300 million yen per year.

Source: Nikkan Sports 11/9/2013

Yomiuri Giants file a lawsuit against Bungeishunju

by on Dec.14, 2012 @ 4:23 am, under NPB
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The Yomiuri Giants filed a lawsuit against Bungeishunju on Wednesday for an article they published about Tatsunori Hara.  They are seeking 30 million yen in damages and a printed public apology.

Bungeishunju published an article in June about Hara getting blackmailed into paying 100 million yen to a former gang member to keep details of a past affair from becoming public.  They also wrote that the Giants tried to protect Hara by saying the other person had no connections to antisocial groups because they were concerned he could be banned for breaking the baseball agreement.

The Giants countered by saying that they explained the situation as they understood it at the time.  They also said that Hara, the victim, did nothing to break the baseball agreement and that there was no truth to the team purposely lying.

The Bungeishunju editorial department is confident their information is entirely accurate.

Source: Nikkan Sports 12/13/2012, Daily Sports 12/13/2012

36th Shoriki Matsutaro Award goes to Tatsunori Hara, Shinnosuke Abe

by on Nov.14, 2012 @ 5:29 pm, under NPB
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The Shoriki Matsutaro Award selection committee decided to name two winners this year: Tatsunori Hara and Shinnosuke Abe.  This is the first time the award has been given to two people from the same organization.  Abe is the first player to win the award since Hideki Matsui in 2000 (the award has been going to managers since then, although Ichiro Suzuki was name a co-winner in 2004).

Hideki Kuriyama (HAM) was also under consideration, but everyone on the committee ended up voting for the combo of Hara and Abe.

Source: Nikkan Sports 11/14/2012

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UPDATE 11/15 @ 7:44pm - The selection committee was made up of Sadaharu Oh, Masao Taguchi, Shigeru Sugishita, Futoshi Nakanishi, and Koji Yamamoto.  Source: Sponichi 11/15/2012

Another woman steps forward and claims to have had an affair with Tatsunori Hara

by on Oct.04, 2012 @ 1:21 am, under NPB
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The October 11 edition of Shukan Shincho contains an article about another woman that allegedly had an affair with Tatsunori Hara.  Yomiuri Shimbun modified an advertisement for the weekly in their Wednesday morning paper (excluding Hokkaido and Kyushu) by blocking out Hara's name in the article title -- もう一人の愛人が告白 『原辰徳』ヘソの下は紳士じゃない! Another mistress reveals all: Hara Tatsunori is no gentlemen below the belly button!

According to the Shukan Shincho, Shinchosha was informed through their advertising company that Yomiuri Shimbun could not print their ad.  Shinchosha requested the ad be printed as is.  They received no reply after that.

Shukan Shincho said to the media, "We feel advertisement titles are a form of speech.  A unilateral decision not to publish something is like the acting of committing suicide by the mass media."

With regards to the article itself, the Yomiuri Giants are claiming that it groundless.  On Wednesday, a defamation lawsuit was filed against the woman in the article.  Hara also sent the weekly a letter of protest that requested an apology and the article to be withdrawn.

Additionally, the Giants informed the media that a separate weekly approached them in August for a similar story.  They told that weekly that the story was groundless and the article was never printed.  When Shukan Shincho came to them with the same story, they gave a similar response and added that they would take legal action if the woman was claiming her lies to be true.  The article was printed and the Giants filed a lawsuit against the woman because she took her story to two different weeklies.

Hara's statement on the article: "The article is groundless.  There is not 1/10th or even 1/100th of a truth in it.  I decided to take legal action because I want the law to set the punishment."

Source: Sponichi 10/4/2012, Daily Sports 10/4/2012

NPB wants Softbank’s Koji Akiyama to manage Samurai Japan

by on Sep.24, 2012 @ 9:53 am, under WBC
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According to Sponichi, NPB commissioner Ryozo Kato reportedly wants Koji Akiyama to manage Samurai Japan.  But since Akiyama has expressed concerns about active managers participating in the WBC, Kato may have Sadaharu Oh speak to the Softbank Hawks' manager in an attempt allay his worries.

Source: Sponichi 9/24/2012

Nikkan Sports is also carrying a similar report, but they also include Tatsunori Hara in some sort of a support/advisory role in order to offset some of the burden.

Source: Nikkan Sports 9/24/2012

Kiyoshi Nakahata dragged into Tatsunori Hara 100M yen payoff story

by on Jun.27, 2012 @ 8:36 pm, under NPB
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The Shukan Bunshun that hits store shelves on June 28 (July 5 edition) contains a story about Kiyoshi Nakahata (Yokohama manager) providing a former gangster with information on Tatsunori Hara (Yomiuri manager).  Nakahata has admitted to speaking with the former gangster, but only because, as he understood it, the man was the father of a Komazawa University baseball player alum.

"I did not want to get involved because it did not feel right.  I told him he should talk it over with [Hara] and left it at that," said Nakahata to reporters today.

Nakahata has denied providing the former gangster with Hara's contact information.

Bay Stars' team president Jun Ikeda told reporters that Nakahata did not know about the man's connections.  And Giants' team rep Atsushi Harasawa said neither the team nor Hara thought Nakahata was involved.

"Nakahata told me what happened," said Ikeda.  "A man, Mr. K, was the father of a Komazawa University student.  He happened to be one of many different people [Nakahata] came into contact with.  There was no understanding that he was a shady person.  The [Bay Stars] have no problem here.  The team would like to ask that the manager, the one that carries responsibility for what happens on the field, not be dragged into this."

Source: Saneki 6/27/2012, Daily Sports 6/27/2012, Daily Sports 6/27/2012Nikkan Sports 6/27/2012, Shukan Bunshun 6/27/2012

Shukan Bunshun: Tatsunori Hara paid former gangsters 100M yen

by on Jun.20, 2012 @ 3:04 pm, under NPB
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The June 28 issue of Shukan Bunshun is carrying an article entitled "Manager Hara paid former gangsters 100M yen."  The Yomiuri Giants held a press conference in Tokyo today and informed the media that the article was not entirely true and that they planned to file for damages.

According to the Giants, two men approached Hara in 2006 about a woman he had "troubles with" in 1988 and demanded 100M yen to keep quiet.  At the time of the incident, Hara did not know the two men had questionable pasts.  The Giants also learned from the Metropolitan Police Department that the two men were not gangsters.

Source: Nikkan Sports 6/20/2012

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Daily Sports has published two open letters written by Hara, one to Hidetoshi Kiyotake, and the other to fans.

First, the one to Kiyotake:

Dear Kiyotake-san,

Many things have been reported in the press lately that have caused Yomiuri Giants' players, former players, and personnel pain.  The many things that have been revealed have caused a lot of disorder within in the Yomiuri Giants.  The players and former players are having a difficult time dealing with the issues.  As the manager of the team, I have also felt much pain through all of this.

I want to know why these things are still continuing.  Who else, other than Kiyotake-san, could be doing this?

In some ways, I am glad this latest incident is about me.

I met Kiyotake-san when the Giants were at a low.  We ate from the same pot of cooked rice, we had the same goals.  We cried together during tough times and good time.  We were loved by fans.  We worked hard to build a strong team.  We won three pennants.  We even won a Nippon Series.

There were many before us that helped the Giants grow, that protected this organization.  There are many that hope this team can help bridge dreams to the future.  I continue to believe that you are one of these people, Kiyotake-san.

Please take pride in the fact that you were once a member of the Yomiuri Giants organization.

There is still time.

Hara Tatsunori

And the second to fans:

I had a relationship with a certain woman sometime around 1988.  I ended it with her shortly thereafter, but eighteen years later, during the year I made my return as manager, in August 2006, I received a phone call from someone connected to the Pro Yakyu.  They said, "There is a diary with information about your relationship with a woman.  If this comes out to the public, it will cause a major uproar in the baseball world.  I want you to entrust me with keeping it from getting out."

I felt I was being blackmailed and I felt uneasy.  But I also understood they were going to save me, so I paid them the money.  It was a difficult decision.  My personal manager said that I should inform the team and file a report with the police if the calls did not stop.

After that, there were no additional calls.  But in 2009, a different man called the team and said, "A diary containing information about a relationship was given to the manager.  I want that returned." I told the team everything at that point.  I also told my wife.  I felt she was going to be the one that gets hurt the most.

The man that called was arrested.  I heard he was found guilty.  I thought I would offer an explanation in my own words to avoid misunderstandings, once things became clear.  I wanted to let out my thoughts and take responsibility of my actions.

This was of my own doing and I feel I did something foolish.  As a person that has coached many players, I am deeply remorseful.  To all the fans, I am very sorry.

Yomiuri Giants, Hara Tatsunori

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UPDATE @ 7:58pm - The Asahi Shimbun article fighting ham linked to down below mentioned the following:

Two men approached Hara in August 2008 and demanded 100M yen to keep quiet.  Hara borrowed money from a friend and paid the two men.  Hara did not inform the police or the Giants.

In April 2009, a former gang leader demanded the Giants return the diary.  One of the two members that approached Hara in 2008 used to belong to the former gang leader's group.  The Giants launched an internal investigation it was then that Hara admitted he paid two men off.

The member that used to belong to a gang was arrested in December 2009 after he threatened a Giants' employee (he said he had a bomb).

During today's press conference, team president Tsunekazu Momoi told reporters that Hara did not file a report with the police in 2009 because of the two men that approached him was dead.

And one other update, this one from Daily Sports - Kiyotake's lawyer spoke to reporters about Hara's open letter to Kiyotake.  His comment:

It sounds like it is trying to guide the media by pointing to Kiyotake.  I have not read the Shukan Bunshun article and I do not know what was said during Yomiuri's press conference.  Whatever Hara is said to have said...  I do not believe it was really him.  I do not think he was moving on his own.  Mentioning Kiyotake and making him out to be the bad guy is the easiest thing to do.

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UPDATE 6/21 @ 12:21am - Team owner Kojiro Shiraishi told reporters on Wednesday he felt there was no need for Hara to resign from his post as manager.  He also said it would be good to use this opportunity to settle all past debts and allow Hara to move on.  Source: Sanspo 6/20/2012

Nikkan Sports published an open letter from Kiyotake that said, in a nutshell, he was innocent and the Yomiuri Giants were trying to put the squeeze on him.  (I would translate the entire letter, but it is a bit long and I am strapped for time right now.)

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UPDATE 6/21 @ 12:54am - Shukan Bunshun has posted posted a bit on the article.

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UPDATE 6/21 @ 11:07pm - Some updates:

  • Two Nippon TV shows (Sukkiri from 8:00am to 10:25am and Joho Live Miyane-ya from 1:55pm - 3:50pm) did not provide any Hara coverage.  Yomiuri Shimbun is a major shareholder of Nippon TV.  Source: Daily Sports 6/21/2012
  • When reporters approached team chairman Tsuneo Watanabe for comment Wednesday night, he said just one thing before climbing into his car: "Good evening."  Source: Sanspo 6/21/2012
  • Only four people reportedly knew the particulars of what happened in 2009.  Of those four, it seems Kiyotake was the only one that might have a motive.  Kiyotake also apparently dropped hints that he would reveal the information last November.  The team is also said to have recordings of Kiyotake telling team employees he controlled Hara's fate.  Source: Nikkan Sports 6/21/2012, Sponichi 6/21/2012
  • I forgot to mention early on that the diary also contained the names of two people that were Yomiuri coaches in 2006.  This was reportedly another reason why Hara ultimately decided to pay off the two men.  Source: Sponichi 6/21/2012
  • The Giants stressed three points during their press conference on Wednesday: 1)  money was not paid to a gang; 2) Hara never met the individuals and was never pressured into doing anything else; 3) they felt the Shukan Bunshun article might make people think Hara paid money to a gang and wanted to clarify things.  Source: Sponichi 6/21/2012
  • Hara did not personally pay off the two men -- he had two people from his personal office take the money to them and retrieve the diary.  Source: Nikkan Sports 6/21/2012
  • Sponichi has posted a brief timeline.
  • Sponichi notes the irony of Hara appearing in an anti-gang poster for the Metropolitan Police Department in 2009.
  • The team did not provide the players with any explanations on Wednesday.  Some players did not find out until reporters asked them for comment.  Source: Sponichi 6/21/2012
  • Hara rounded up the players and staff at the team hotel in Nagano today and apologized for the distraction.  The team then headed to the stadium for about two hours of practice.  Source: Nikkan Sports 6/21/2012
  • Sanspo has posted brief Q&As with Hara and Momoi.

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UPDATE 6/23 @ 12:32am - A couple of updates:

  • The NPB is keeping an eye on things and is also refraining from making any comments at this time.  Source: Sanspo 6/22/2012
  • The Giants received 46 phones calls and e-mails on Wednesday and 146 phone calls and e-mails on Thursday.  The team did not provide reporters with a breakdown of the kinds of calls they received, but did say that some were supportive and some were critical.  Source: Sanspo 6/22/2012

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UPDATE 6/26 @ 2:37pm - Chairman Watanabe told reporters on Monday that he had no plans to dismiss Hara and that he expected him to return next season as well (they signed him to a two-year deal before the start of the current season).

Watanabe also mentioned that Kiyotake told three people connected to the Yomiuri Giants that he was going to get Hara and that he was going to expose him.

"Before Kiyotake left, he told three people he was going to get Hara and expose him.  And one of those three people recorded the conversation.  So Kiyotake is the source," said Watanabe.

Source: Sponichi 6/26/2012

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UPDATE 6/26 @ 5:48pm - According to Nikkan Sports, Kiyotake's lawyer told reporters that his client had nothing to do with leaking Hara's affairs and that the Yomiuri Group were making up stories again.

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UPDATE 7/4 @ 12:37am - Kiyotake made an appearance on Nico Nico Nama Hoso and denied he was the leak in the Hara story.  He also invited Hara to do a show with him on Nico Nico if he had any questions or concerns.  Source: Daily Sports 7/3/2012

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UPDATE 7/4 @ 5:54pm - Kiyotake claimed during his Nico Nico appearance that he did not find out about the payoff until he was given a report on it.  He also said that he did not know how things were handled after that.  Source: Nikkan Sports 7/4/2012

Yomiuri Giants: Losing != dismissal for Tatsunori Hara

by on Nov.19, 2011 @ 3:29 am, under NPB
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As fighting ham mentioned here, there is no termination clause in Tatsunori Hara's 2-year deal.

Sports Hochi has quoted the Yomiuri Giants' PR department as saying, "There is no clause in the 2-year deal that stipulates he will be dismissed if he does not win a championship next season.  That was only mentioned because we want the front office and the people on the field to work together as one and aim for winning a championship."

Sponichi has it worded slightly different, but more or less the same: "Losing equals dismissal is not a clause.  I just wanted to illustrate that we needed to approach the season like that.  I did not explain it well."

Yomiuri Giants: Tatsunori Hara’s 2-year deal has a condition

by on Nov.16, 2011 @ 11:13 am, under NPB
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As mentioned yesterday, Tatsunori Hara accepted a 2-year extension to continue managing the Yomiuri Giants on Tuesday.  What wasn't mentioned was that the team reserves the right to terminate the contract after the first year if the team doesn't win.

"We offered him a 2-year deal," said owner Tsunekazu Momoi.  "There is a condition: if the Giants don't win for the third straight year, we told him that he'll need to take responsibility.  It's a 2-year deal but I don't think we can afford a third straight year [without a championship] and I'm sure [Hara] will do his job with that in mind."

Momoi also told reporters that GM Hidetoshi Kiyotake will continue to do his job as GM and team organization chief officer for the time being and that he wasn't entirely sure how things were going to turn.  Regarding Suguru Egawa, Momoi said he couldn't see anything happening, at least right away, after all that happened.

And Sanspo asks if all this might make Tomoyuki Sugano change his mind about turning the Nippon Ham Fighters down since it means there's a chance Hara might not be with the Giants during the next draft.

Yomiuri Giants: Tatsunori Hara notches his 600th managerial victory

by on Aug.20, 2011 @ 10:56 pm, under NPB
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Tatsunori Hara became the 21st manager in NPB history to record 600 victories (600-472-27).  He's also just the 4th manager in Giants' history to reach the milestone, behind Shigeru Mizuhara (881-499-29, lifetime 1586-1123-73), Tetsuharu Kawakami (1066-739-61), and Shigeo Nagashima (1034-889-59); and the 3rd active manager behind Senichi Hoshino (962-843-38) and Masataka Nashida (631-563-19, accomplished earlier this year).

Hara also notched his 600th victory in his 1,099th game, good for 8th quickest on the All-time list and third quickest in franchise history (behind Mizuhara's 910 games, Kawakami's 1,025 games, and ahead of Nagashima's 1,188 games).

If I'm not mistaken, Hiromitsu Ochiai is also 1 victory away from 600.

UPDATE 8/21 @ 3:29pm - added additional information.