Listen To The Secret Tecmo Tape

Click to viewYesterday, we broke the news that the second round of oral arguments for Itagaki vs. Tecmo commenced in Tokyo. Dead or Alive creator Tomonobu Itagaki is suing for unpaid DoA 4 wages. These were "special incentive" wages that Itagaki claims were agreed to by the former Tecmo president and the board of directors, but the current president is claiming these "special incentive" wages were made single-handedly by the former president and not approved by the Tecmo board. As we posted earlier, last month Itagaki left Tecmo and filed suit for unpaid bonuses. As Itagaki stated then, "President Yoshimi Yasuda chose not only to violate this agreement, but also turned defiant, telling me 'if you are dissatisfied with the decision not to pay the bonuses, either quit the company or sue it.'"

After the jump, we've posted an audio recording submitted into evidence by Tomonobu Itagaki. The recording is of Tecmo president Yoshimi Yasuda and Ninja Gaiden II producer Yoshifuru Okamoto on January 22nd of this year. It was secretly recorded by Ninja Gaiden II producer Okamoto as he claims he was being harassed and called names by president Yasuda. In the recording, Yasuda says, "The board of directors approved it and signed the ringi (a type of Japanese corporate approval form)." This is in direct conflict with Yasuda's court claim that this "special incentives" proposal was made single-handedly by the former president and not approved by the Tecmo board. The recording helps support Itagaki's claim that his special incentive bonus was approved by Tecmo's former president and the board of directors, and that the current president knows this.

For those who are interested in following the Japanese transcript click here. Along with the audio recording, we've included an English translation of the entire conversation Kotakuite Chinpokomon so graciously did. Many thanks for that, Chinpokomon!

Click to viewboomp3.com
The sound quality is of course rough, so you might need to pump up the volume.


Yasuda:
Ok, man, so you definitely won't talk? If you promise not to, I'll talk. Don't say anything, man.
Ok, so I'll turst that you're a real man and will keep your promise.
Itagaki was keeping the Super Incentive from DOA4 all to himself.
You didn't know it, but I was really fighting with that guy.
He got 150,000,000 Yen. And, none of that was approved by the board of directors.
And, how should I put this.... So, Nakamura-san said that if DOA4 doesn't come out by the end of the year, it'll be big trouble. And Itagaki, well, Nakamura-san knows that... Well, guys like Itagaki are pretty easy to figure out. He's a control freak.
And, since he can't control me, me and him were fighting.
And, the Super Incentive bonus, well that's actually different from the normal incentive bonus.
And, it's only for group managers.

Okamoto:
That's an impressive name. Super Incentive...

Yasuda:
Yeah, Development Manager Incentive, there's also a paper and everything (?)
But, it hasn't been passed by the board of directors.
Even so, Nakamura-san (promised it?), to Kanematsu, and to me.
I used to be a group manager right? Also to Kikuchi, and to Itagaki. So, he clearly promised that this incentive was just for Itagaki, and as a result, Itagaki's all happy and busting his ass.
So, then when I became the company president, what pissed of Itagaki the most, was that Nakamura-san was no longer around, and the Super Incentive was revoked. 150,000,000 Yen

Okamoto:
But, you say it was revoked, but it wasn't even approved by the board of directors, right?

Yasuda:
Yeah, so they approved it and signed the ringi. However, the Chief of the board wasn't there at the board meeting where Nakamura-san reported on this plan.

Okamoto:
hmmmm

Yasuda:
So, yeah, there was all that stuff.
And so, when Itagaki is going on about whether he'll quit or not, it's not some thing cool like that, he's actually just saying are you going to pay me the Super Incentive, or not.
He actually already promised it to his wife.
Also, so, how should I put this. Umm, so he said his previous company was really cheap, and that even a company like ours, he said it was all because of him that it was able to come as far as it has, so he said he deserved the Super Incentive. So, I'm telling you this for the first time, Okamoto, but the truth is at that time, me and him really had it out.

Okamoto:
Oh, so that's how it happened.

Yasuda:
The truth is at that time, I was really against it, Nakamura-san's proposal.

Okamoto:
Right at the same time (as when you were arguing with Itagaki???) ?

Yasuda:
Yeah. I was against it. The reason why is because... well, everything I said is all in the meeting record, but anyway. If everyone recieves the incentive, that's fine, by why should you, and you alone get it? Isn't everyone working on the game?
To which he replied, "You're like Lenin. You're a communist. This isn't like that, right?"
Oh, and one other thing.
Hey, I can trust you right? Definitely do not pass this on.

Okamoto:
Y, Yes.

Yasuda:
So there's a thing called "Revokation awards", and it's like a retirement pension. One of the perks of being a board member. During the year, if you are fired, you get somewhere between 100,000,000 and 120,000,000 Yen. I did away with that entirely.
And why did I do that? Because it just doesn't work (we don't have enough money to go around???).
So when I told him this, he said that even after hearing me say such a thing to everyone, that he still needed to do what he had to do, and that he was very particular on the subject. (???)
So, anyway, that was his strange response to what I said.
He wasn't even praising the company president. Go ahead, take your share. Just give me mine too.
So, that was the timing of all this.
At that time, it was when you, and Kanematsu as well, were telling me that if we didn't give Itagaki the incentive, that he would quit, and that our company would be screwed without him.
And I told you, no, it's not like that. Even in the rare event that he did go away, I told you that your job was to work out something with the company president.
So, yeah, that was the timing, right before the infamous drinking party, where at the banquet you praised Itagaki so much.
You told me something like, "Itagaki's looks down because of our new company president", or maybe I misunderstood you.
Also, when I explained my fundamental philosophy to you, I guess I did a bad job. There are plenty of employees who say, "If Okamoto-san's on board, I'll do my best!" But, after that, everyone wonders "Why doesn't Okamoto-san stand up?" So, everyone was saying that someday that day would come.
Truth is, there were just so many things that piled one on top of the other.
So, do you know why Itagaki was following me at that time?
So, yes, it's true that it hasn't passed the board of directors, but since it had been decided and communicated, it would be unfair to Itagaki if he didn't get some sort of bonus, even if the current scheme didn't work out exactly.
So, at that time I thought about it a long time. If we split this payment out over 20 years. 150,000,000 Yen over 20 years, we could get away with paying out just 10,000,000 yen per yer. So I told him that I would speak with the board chief about it. To that guy.
And then all of the sudden, since he's such a money grubber, he's dead inside. He started whining "Mr. President, Mr. President!"
And this came up a second time at the drinking party.

Okamoto:
Oh.

Yasuda:
And, after that, Itagaki consulted with the board chief, and the board chief said he would definitely not pay it, and they really started fighting. Saying it was fucked up, and how the board chief screwed up by making me President.

Note: Chinpokomon wrote above his translation, "...there are a lot of cases where I'm unable to follow the context, so I just did the best I could.
I also think these conversations occurred over a few beers, as the're using informal language, and Yasuda's kind of rambling."