Today, Sega announced that Yakuza executive director and producer Toshihiro Nagoshi will be stepping down from the corporate board of directors. He will, however, remain at Sega.
As reported on Game Biz, Nagoshi will leave the board as of April 1, when the new Japanese financial year starts. He will step down as Sega’s Chief Creative Officer but will work as creative director.
There is speculation online in Japan that Nagoshi was pushed out in the wake of a controversial comment he made last year, appearing to mock Puyo Puyo esports players. The producer said that they seemed like they eat beef bowls with cheese. The term chiizu gyuudon gao (チーズ牛丼顔) or “cheese beef bowl face” has been circulating online. Shortened to chiigyu (チー牛) or “cheese beef,” this slang term is used to refer to people who live in rural areas, look very young, wear glasses, and don’t have much ambition. It’s a negative, mocking term to deride people who might not be considered “cool.”
Nagoshi apologized for the comment, saying, “As the remark was directed at players who are giving their all playing a Sega title, Puyo Puyo, and as it soiled all of esports, for that, I am very sorry. It was truly inexcusable.”
The famed producer does continue to appear in Sega’s YouTube livestreams (pictured, above), so perhaps Nagoshi is stepping down for other reasons. Hopefully, he’ll be able to focus his energy more on Yakuza games and not corporate politics.