Anonymous re Scott Tucker, killed in a Tokyo bar by a man who got a suspended sentence.


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Hi Blog. I wrote here about Scott Tucker, a man who was killed in a bar by a DJ in 2008 who got off lightly in Japanese court.

Background article here:

And my Japan Times article last March about the emerging double standards of justice (a suspended sentence for a murder? Hard to envision happening for many NJ if the situations were reversed):

Here’s some background from the victim from a friend of his. Arudou Debito in Sapporo


About Scott Tucker…
By Anonymous, June 16, 2009

Hello Debito,

I have many friends who are permanent residents of Japan, and I suppose I came very close to being one of them myself, as I have a long and endearing relationship with the country–and like most permanent residents, had an emotional relationship with a Japanese National which was stronger, shall we say, than international bonds… I lived in Japan from infancy until I was six, and returned after college to work for many years in Tokyo. I applaud your site and your efforts, and wish you the very best in your ongoing pursuits.

I am writing about the unfortunate incident involving “Scott” Tucker, the American businessman who was killed in the Azabu club “Bull Ett” (Bullet) last year. I have read the many comments, and the attached links, and somehow I feel compelled to say a bit more on the subject–though certainly I do not claim to be an expert regarding what exactly took place at the club that night. What follows is my “read-between-the-lines” take on what likely happened, with regrets…

Scott Tucker was a multimillionaire. This simple fact doesn’t seem to percolate through the many official accounts of the incident; Scotty is portrayed as some disaffected gaijin who was inebriated and belligerent, wandered into some club, and accidentally received a fatal choke-hold from the concerned and threatened disk-jockey on duty at the time–hence the probationary sentence for murder… A few articles mention that Scotty owned the building next door to the club where the incident took place; they do not mention Tokyo city ordinances regarding noise, or the operation of commercial businesses, or discos, which create noise, after midnight in that particular neighborhood: that club was in Nishi-Azabu, Tokyo, the most expensive real estate, per square meter, in the world. If he had chosen, Scott could have lived on Park Avenue, New York, or along the Champs Elysees, in Paris. He could have lived anywhere he chose, but he chose Tokyo, because of the low crime rate and his affinity for Japan and its culture. His wife was one of the most famous jewelry designers in Japan. He spoke beautifully fluent Japanese–another fact not found in most accounts–and he was a great fan of music, with an exceptional singing voice and rather discerning, and eclectic, musical tastes. He was not some angry foreign English teacher who wandered into a club and got past the security bouncers; he was a property owner who had had enough of the club operating illegally next door to his property. This is a crucial detail: Tokyo city ordinance prohibits loud music and club function in that residential section of Azabu after midnight, as it is a residential neighborhood. The club was functioning “After Hours” in blatant violation of city ordinance–an ordinance which was neither enforced nor cited. Again, Scotty OWNED the building next door; he was not some yahoo foreigner wandering into a club looking for a fight. Take a moment to reflect on that, as most of you do not own anything in Japan, not to mention a building in Azabu; if you are lucky enough to own some crap mansion in Chiba, and the Takoyaki shop beneath you insists on entertaining drunk patrons headed for the first train, you have probably gone downstairs–at your wife’s behest–and said “Hey, fuck! It’s three o’clock in the morning! Close it down and shut up!”

On a classier, more expensive scale, Scotty was doing the same thing…

So, Scott comes home, after a night of Japanese-style drinking with his friends. His building is shaking from the sounds of a club operating illegally after-hours next door to him. He has a history with that club, and with the DJ (per written accounts), having asked, on several occasions, that they keep it down, as city ordinances dictated. So, he goes next door, feeling justified–which, quite frankly, he is (and I don’t suppose you’ll ever read that in any official account). He wants the people out of there, wants the music shut down, and wants some peace and quiet in his own building next door (again, which he OWNS). The DJ, who is on his midnight roll, sees Scott scattering the crowd and insisting people go home, gets pissed (and, by his own admission, having seen a tv program on choke-holds and special forces moves), leaves his Disk Jockey box, comes up behind Scott, kicks him in the groin (there is no clear account of him actually facing off with Scott, meaning it is likely he kicked him in the “Groin” from behind, got him in the chokehold from behind–the choke hold he recently he saw on tv–and accidentally broke Scott’s windpipe, or snapped his neck? (the original account said Scott’s neck was broken). I have been to so many Tokyo clubs it is not worth trying to recount; I am 6’1 and 240 pounds, and fit: I have ejected American marines and military personnel from clubs I like for behaving in a manner I didn’t like, clubs I considered my local favourites, where other foreigners were ruining my good time, or embarrassing me in front of my Japanese friends. I never, ever, in my wildest youthful belligerence, saw the wimpy disk jockey come out of his booth and take a personal stake in the ejection of a patron. Quite the contrary, frankly.

Now, this is why I’m writing this addendum. Clearly, I knew Scott Tucker. I knew him very well. I drank with him, Japanese-style, at least a hundred times. We drank beer, we ate very good sushi and drank sake; we drank expensive whiskey most foreigners couldn’t, or wouldn’t afford–in keep bottles at very nice, exclusive clubs and snacks in central Tokyo. I never, ever, ever, saw Scott Tucker get belligerent. I never saw him get argumentative, even after polishing off a full bottle, with my help, of pricey Japanese whiskey. The implication that somehow, because of his drunkenness, he was threatening enough to pose a danger to a 154-pound disk jockey is so absurd that it leaves me livid. If I were there, and I were tanked up, and the disk jockey decided to come down and take charge of things, it would make sense. I am not a diplomat: when I’m drunk and unhappy and things are waxing ridiculous, I will throw a few people around. But Scotty, no. No, I’m sorry. Whatever the official account, he was a diplomat. Again, I never saw him belligerent, ever, and I knew him for many, many, years. This is what bothers me about the whole “Official” account; it is simply not accurate, and is stilted towards character assassination and implication that is wholly unjustified and clearly driven by agenda. To think that someone can get a probationary sentence for what amounts to ‘sucker-punching’ a neighbor to death just rubs me the wrong way. It doesn’t surprise me–as I say, I spent the better part of my life in Japan, and I never assumed for a moment that justice would err in my favour were I to be caught out for an indiscretion–but I feel compelled to to say something on Scotty’s behalf.

I feel compelled for this reason: were a wealthy Japanese property owner from Azabu, with a famous, elegant wife, to go into a club next door, a club operating in violation of city ordinance, and get into a row with the owners, or the disk jockey, and be killed–and were that disk jockey to be a non-Japanese–the media would have a field day with it. And were the non-Japanese disk jockey–an American, or a Brit, or an African– to claim he had asphyxiated the wealthy Japanese neighbor out of fear or his own life–he would be hung from the highest tree in Japan, on national tv, as a murderer, and a fiend, and a crazed violent foreign interloper. But if it’s just a guy who blindsided Scotty, by all means, give him a suspended probationary sentence. A simple self-defense accident. The whole thing is kawaii-soo. And, in fact, as I sit here in California, thinking about Scott Tucker, my old friend, the whole incident is indeed Kawaii soo.

When you click on a Quicktime video and watch it in Japan, you are clicking on Scott Tucker; he pioneered that app. in Japan. If you have a serious internal medical problem, and must receive surgery for it in Japan, it is possible your life will be saved by Scott Tucker–he developed distance software for medical applications, so that a qualified surgeon–rather than the hereditary fool with lax training who is cutting you open in Saitama–can supervise in real-time from abroad, and oversee the procedure with modern surgical techniques. Please do not forget that a 154-pound disk jockey, with a baddass attitude and a few Chimpira behind him, skirting the local and ineffectual police, put an end to any other innovations my talented and gentle friend, who loved Japan, might ever develop. That is who Scott Tucker was, that is what was lost when Mr. disk jockey got his suspended sentence. Hell, it’s almost a Bob Dylan song, and no one would laugh louder at the absurdity of it all than Richard Scott Tucker. He had a good sense of humor, most of all. And I will miss him.

Zannen na kotodeshita, Scotty San, kawaii soo to omoo… Ma, shoganaii, yo ne? Shoganaii…


31 comments on “Anonymous re Scott Tucker, killed in a Tokyo bar by a man who got a suspended sentence.

  • comment: at the end of the day, almost every day, here it seems as though we are merely expendable and only useable as long as and until society wishes to remind us of the fact.

    I truly wish those with children here the best of luck as they are the future. But everyday I see ‘halfu’ ‘talento’ on the television (the most powerful of mainstream J-media) not notice. And that is imo indicative.

    Scott, Lucie, Lindsey et all RIP…

  • Did Scott’s kin have representation at the trial of the DJ? If so, was Anonymous (and perhaps others like him-her) called as a character witness on Scott’s behalf? If not, why not?

  • Anonymous,

    First off: “Kawaii soo” – I do not think that phrase means what you think it means.

    Secondly, I sympathize with the writer’s plight but there’s no need to write in a belittling manner about other foreigners when talking about your friend. It does no one any good and, if anything, turns your reader and potential ally against what you are trying to say.

  • I know with things as they are it is hard not to think about these kinds of things as an us versus them. Though I truly believe that if everyone(regardless of nationality) is responsible for their own actions, only then can we expect mutual respect and an improvement on the current situation.

    Also I think this writer is not belittling foreigners but only trying to show that his friend was not the stereotypical foreigner that so many Japanese are eager to point the finger at.

    I too think that this is truly a pity.

  • Wow. The writer comes off in the worst possible light.

    “Again, Scotty OWNED the building next door; he was not some yahoo foreigner wandering into a club looking for a fight. Take a moment to reflect on that, as most of you do not own anything in Japan, not to mention a building in Azabu; if you are lucky enough to own some crap mansion in Chiba,”

    Hey, settle down there. You might be emotional, slightly drunk, I don’t know, but you’re insulting a lot of people with your little bit of knowledge. Plenty of “us” own property in Japan. Property that isn’t “crap”, as you say.

    You make a big deal of his wealth. Fine – he had some cash. That doesn’t have any bearing on what events transpired that night. Please come to terms with that fact.

    You seem to be ranting at us, the other foreigners in Japan. Was that really your intention?

  • Agre with Brad. All sympathies to Scott and his family, but the fact that he was rich and that you drank whiskey with him that I couldn’t afford doesn’t make this case any more or any less tragic. Having more money than someone else doesn’ t make you a better person than they are.

  • Yeah, I agree with Brad. Why is this writter really putting down other foreigners? Because we aren’t “millionaires” or don’t have “famous elegant” wives who are “jewelry designers”? This writting is complete garbage and is this some kind of attack on foreigners who aren’t business owners in Japan? Get a life buddy, most of us are angered by the outcome of this situation, as in a Japanese national got away with murder against a foreigner but recounting Scott’s wealth and apparently affluent lifestyle has nothing to do with this at all. And just because you two can go and drink “expensive japanese whiskey” and we only live in “crap mansions” doesn’t make this any more of a tragedy.

    The issue at hand is why this murderer only got away with a suspended sentance whereas if the situation was reversed, Scott Tucker would probably be thrown in Jail for a very long time if he “accidentally” put the DJ in a choke hold. We need to look at how the police investigated (or dis-investigated) and what the witnesses said. Was this a case of there being other witnesses who weren’t Japanese and therefore their testimonies ignored because of it? As in the case of that foreign bar owner who allegedly raped a japanese girl but is in jail even though there seems to be no evidence against him.

  • Come on guys, some sympathy over a guy who had just lost his best buddy and knows he is not getting any justice, I think he is focusing his frustration over the wrong people but then again, we are all human right? [epithet deleted]

  • Martin G. says:

    I guess he just meant that despite all the money and the possibility to hire the best lawyers in here, Scott still didn’t get any justice at all, and the only ones here to understand his feelings are just foreigners, I think that is his real frustration, not been able to comunicate that to the j speaking population.

  • this is a stunning achievement -turning people against someone everyone had sympathy for…

    i didnt really focus on this when i read it the first time as im so peed off about the obvious lack of justice here,but taking into account peoples comments and looking at it again,
    describing all other foreigners and their possessions as crap is rather distasteful.
    one would hope that scott was not as arrogant and condescending as the writer is.

    the legal argument that unlike other foreigners scott deserves justice because he drunk expensive japanese whisky probably would not fly in court i fear.

    im sorry but this letter doesnt help scotts case at all.

  • Anonymous wrote:

    “This is a crucial detail: Tokyo city ordinance prohibits loud music and club function in that residential section of Azabu after midnight, as it is a residential neighborhood. The club was functioning “After Hours” in blatant violation of city ordinance–an ordinance which was neither enforced nor cited.”

    This Sankei article reports that the choke attack by the killer, Watanabe, happened at 10:40PM. This club likely did operate after-hours, but this incident is recorded as happening before 11:00PM.


  • sorry to go on ,but its a real shame the way this is expressed because its completely correct that its a travesty and that it was painted to look like it was a rowdy foriegner breaking all the rules so he got what he deserved..
    sorry for repitition but here is an article i put in the original thread about it..
    no mention of him owning the building and it being the club breaking the law-just mention of troublesome foreigners breaking laws in the area:

    magnificently racist article on this here in japanese

    the murder gets a cursory line at the top and then article goes
    to seemingly explain away the murder as foreigners are crossing on red lights,stealing peoples women, and discriminating against japanese(on what basis -unclear).it then ends by most tolerantly claiming not all foreigners in japan cause these problems (cause problems like what – getting murdered???)

    酔って暴れたアメリカ人を撲殺 西麻布ではトラブル頻繁
    3月03日 10時43分 コメント(39) コメントする




  • Anyone who polishes off a bottle of whiskey at one sitting is probably a belligerent drunk.

    — Alright, already. This degree of speculation is going a bit far. Not all people who drink this much become belligerent.

    Must we speak so ill of the dead, and on such spurious grounds? And even if one assumes bellicosity, does it justify murder and a suspended sentence? It didn’t in at least one case where the nationalities were reversed… So let’s show a bit more respect and decency here.

  • RIP Scott, and its a shame that justice was never served. And your killer remains free today. Does anyone know if this coward watanbe was given bail during the trial or was he at least locked up diring the trial? I suppose he never was locked up during his trial because he japanese. Again the double standards and bias of the criminal legal system of japan.

  • Kyle D. O'Hara says:

    I am very grateful to Anonymous for saying the truth about Scott Tucker. When I learned of his death and how he died I felt helpless and furious about what they said about him in the press. I knew it was not true. I met Scott when he and I were both students at WVU back in 1984. He was no millionaire then but instead a busted broke student waiting tables at a Chinese restaurant to get through school. He worked his ass off for everything he got. He was just one of “us” in a group of struggling students, me a single mom trying to get through law school while working three jobs and many other students who met through the “Hallelujah” restaurant connection and the foreign language club. When Scott graduated from WVU and was heading back to Japan (he had lived there before) he was still broke so I, as well as, a few of his other friends and his grandmother lent him money to move. I’ll never forget the night I met him…at a keg party at my friend Paul’s house. I brought a bottle of champagne, as usual (still can’t stand American beer) and Scott bounded up the stairs, wearing a leather tie(it was the 80’s) and that huge smile. He was the only guy at the party who could open a bottle of Champagne which he did with great class. He was smart, funny and very, very kind and my family and kids absolutely loved him. He gave his cat “Finster” to my sister because he knew he wasn’t coming back and she kept “the fin” all his long cat life. He also sang in my brother-in-law’s band from time to time and he did have a great singing voice. Even then he loved music and he left me his entire David Bowie record collection which is probably still in my mother’s basement. I also knew him very well drunk and sober and no matter how much he partied he would never hurt anyone. He might give you the shirt off his back, his last nickel, and if you were in trouble he was right there for you but he’d never start a fight for any reason. He could, however, defend himself if need be which is why I know whatever happened in that nightclub, Scott didn’t see it coming and didn’t have a chance. It was murder plain and simple. I moved to Tokyo a short while after Scott did and I saw him a few times when I first arrived before I moved out to Sakurajosui. He was still struggling during the five years I lived there. He was teaching English for the “White House” in Meguro and even then starting his computer stuff involved in some T.V. stuff but I always knew he’d do very well. I was working “ten days a week” for a trading company and I lost touch with him. I moved back to the States in 1991 then caught up with him in 1994 after I started my own medical product trading company and he was really on his way and doing very well with computers and seemed very happy. Somehow over time and tide, I lost track of him again despite the fact I spent half my year in Japan working and still do. I did think of him often and I was sure he was still in Japan somewhere living well and having fun. I was not the least surprised to find out what all he had accomplished before the tragedy of his death and what all he was into, especially music. I can’t believe he is gone. Somehow the world is a lot less interesting knowing that I won’t run into him turning a corner somewhere in Tokyo. I hope something will be done about the injustice surrounding his death and that his family will find peace eventually. The fact that I typed in his name on Google tonight to find if there was ANYTHING new developements with his case is proof that Scott is not a person anyone can ever forget. Bravo Anonymous…”well said” and you are right to point out that Scott was not some gaijin drifter hanging around Japan. Japan was his life and he should still have it.

  • My condolences truly go out to Scott and his friends and family, but even more so, my rage and contempt goes out to the racist cops, citizens and press for portraying this to be somehow, once again, the foreigner’s fault. This country has NEVER been about fairness, justice or equality; on the contrary, it is steeped in a genuine dislike for anything and anyone who is not-or does not look like-Japanese. We all know that this so-called DJ (who no doubt is a ‘hero’ in the local areas and establishments for dealing with this menacing, problematic foreigner) got away with murder…but I wonder…does anyone really care except other foreigners? Of course not. So it makes me shake my head at all us non-Japanese who continue to want to live in a country that doesn’t want US. We are despised, cursed, ridiculed, feared, loathed and looked down on because we “don’t belong.” How many other examples will it take for you to realize that you cannot change an inherently xenophobic society? Thanks, but no thanks…I’m going home.

    — I understand the need to express outrage. But the discussion would be better served if people spoke in fewer absolutes. Let’s try to do that.

  • I understand the outrage that the writer feels over his friend’s death and the way justice seemingly has not been done. However, I would advise Anonymous to not let his/her emotions completely take control when writing about this, hard as that may be. Trying to keep a cool head and express yourself clearly about the situation is the best way to get justice for Mr. Tucker and his family. It will do no good to alienate anyone.

    I think Anonymous, in mentioning Scott’s wealth, was merely trying to convey the notion that he had become successful in Japanese society, was responsible enough to own property and run a business, and therefore was not the type to stupidly rush into a situation. Mentioning the alcohol was probably meant as a way to signify that Scott wasn’t the type to fly into drunken rages and do stupid things. That probably all just got garbled in the writer’s emotion and came out the wrong way in the article. It happens.

    Anonymous: when you talk about your friend’s death remember to always ask yourself “am I in the right frame of mind to talk about this now?”

    Everyone: let’s have a bit more sympathy for the author.

  • “We are despised, cursed, ridiculed, feared, loathed and looked down on because we don’t belong….”
    You forgot “murdered”

  • I’ve sort of kept to the shadows on this one, because lets face it, someone died and their friend seems to be hurting. But it seems painfully obvious to me that most of the people commenting on this thread have no idea what they’re commenting on.

    So lets examine a few things about what we know happened, and what anonymous said.

    1. Scott was a multi-millionaire who owned the building next door. How is this relevant? Lots of rich folks do very bad and very stupid things. Being rich is not a get out of an asswhooping free card. Nor is it a police should pay more attention to my complaints than to others. And how did Scott make his money? Was it his money or his wife’s (the famous jewelry designer)? If it was his wife’s did he have maybe a bit of a chip on his shoulder or a need to prove his masculinity? And if he had had so much trouble with the club next door and could afford to live anywhere in the world why not just get another mansion somewhere more quiet or even better just buy the building and kick them out (the ultimate revenge)?

    2. Scott was drunk and had had words/trouble with the bar owner/DJ before. Now nothing personal but anyone who’s delt with drunks knows you don’t wait for one who you know is going to start trouble to start it. One of the lessons learned from having strong opinions and a big mouth is that if there’s going to be trouble dealing with the legal consequences of that trouble is a lot easier when you’re not the one trying to talk out of a mouth full of broken teeth.

    3. Scott went to the bar, before the 11pm “noise curfew” drunk and looking for trouble. I don’t think anyone can realistically believe that he went over there to make a polite request that in another half hour they turn the music down. He was drunk and looking for a confrontation.

    Now some things for the uneducated about bar fights. Thankfully something I have, for the most part, put behind me.

    1. Again, someone has had words to you before. Perhaps threatened violence against you if you don’t do XYZ or if you do do XYZ again. Sometime later you see that person drunk, starting trouble, and XYZ is ongoing. Only an idiot waits for harm to come their way – you end it as quickly and violently as possible to deter the drunken idiot from trying something stupid again. If that means kicking the guy in the crotch from behind that’s what you do.

    2. If you are on the losing end of a bar fight your only hope is that either your friends or his friends are going to pull him off of you after you are laying on the ground unable to defend yourself. Hopefully he won’t put shoe leather to your head a few times or give you a good curb stomp to remind you you shouldn’t be fighting.

    3. If you happen to be on the winning end of the bar fight you make sure that person’s going to stay down by putting shoe leather to his head (or a bottle or a chair or anything handy) because if he has friends more than likely they’re your next problem if they aren’t already your problem and you don’t want him getting back up behind you and joining the fight.

    4. There are no “tap outs” in bar fights. Probably the single funniest thing that I’ve seen in the last 10 years is watching someone getting their ass kicked and them trying to “tap out”. You’re in it till you’re out cold and the other person has gotten tired of using you as a target for their aggression.

    Now some lessons on choke holds.

    1. Once you put someone in a choke hold you’re in it for the long haul – which more than likely means their death. The only time that person stops struggling is when they’re unconscious and you can’t be certain they’re not faking it to get you to let them go…

    2. There is a video out there of a guy who got a much larger much drunker individual in a choke hold after a road rage incident at a fast food drive through window. It took more than 15 minutes for him to manage to kill the larger person. Why? Because if you know what you’re doing and don’t strangle the person as soon as you release the pressure the blood goes back to their brain and you’re dealing with someone who’s not really hurt and is still pissed off.

    3. If you’re strangling the person it takes a lot longer than most people think for the other person to actually lose consciousness (think 4-5+ minutes). And again, you loosen the hold up to try not to kill them and you have a pissed off person who’s going to roll over and try to hurt you.

    4. Even an experienced Judoka would most likely have had to kill Scott once he put him in a choke hold. It’s not a restraint/injure/incapacitate hold in a “real” fight, it’s a kill hold. That’s why you don’t teach chokes to younger Judo players.

    Now lets look at the suspended sentence and some people’s misconceptions about it.

    1. The DJ got a suspended sentence but was found guilty. Unless he’s planning on being a DJ for the rest of his life he’s most likely never going to be able to get a “normal” job now with the conviction on his record. I know even if he’d had years of experience and a 5 star education he wouldn’t have made it into the interview stage at my former employer.

    2. Most likely the DJ admitted to exactly what happened, expressed regret, and tried to show he was “sorry” for what had happened. Why is this important? Because unlike the justice system most of us are used to dealing with, you know the one where you never admit anything or express regret or sorrow because anything like that lessens the chances of working out a plea arrangement to lower your sentence, is significantly different than the Japanese one.

    The Japanese system looks at a number of things, the degree of fault the person had in what happened, whether they admitted to their crime, and whether they had expressed remorse/sorrow for what they did.

    So what degree of fault did the DJ have in this action? Was he the one who went to the bar drunk and looking for trouble? The judge is going to look at Scotts actions and try to determine how much of the fault for Scott’s death was the DJ’s since Scott was the one who instigated the actions.

    Did the DJ admit to the crime? Yep. Not like there was much doubt but again something important in the judges eyes.

    Did he express remorse/sorrow for his actions? Now if you want to know why so many Japanese admit to crimes they didn’t do that’s it. If they did what folks in the US for instance do and held onto their innocence (even if they were innocent) they would get a much harsher sentence than admitting guilt and sorrow over something they didn’t do.

    For instance, a certain Nigerian bar owner who raped a girl and is now spending years in prison most likely would have been released with time served if he’d admitted to his crime and expressed sorrow for them right away. Why? Well, because the young lady in that incident most likely would have been held at least partially responsible because she was stupid enough to get blind drunk in his bar. But because he admitted to trying to have sex with her, then recanted and said he didn’t even though the medical evidence said something to the contrary, say hello to incarceration. You’re obviously not sorry for what happened and have no remorse for anything other than your new housing situation.

    3. Murder? Hardly…

  • The victim’s brother made this comment to the media.

    “The club was known for parties, noise and fights, Chip Tucker said. “His wife feels part of [Scott Tucker’s actions] were seeded in past events,” he said.
    Tucker had been drinking and recently had developed a drinking problem, his brother said: “We are not sure if he had been home or was coming home when it happened.”

    A drinking problem was brought up by the family, and reported by the press. Defense attorneys may have been handed a gift by Chip Tucker, to use in their side of the case.

    Did the family pursue a civil case against Atsushi Watanabe? Wrongful-death civil cases in Japan are probably not as common as they are in Anglo-Saxon nations.

  • Story from today’s news on the double standard for prosecution seeking life terms on foreigners.

    Japanese prosecutors: Killing merits life term

    Kyodo News Service
    Posted : Thursday Jun 18, 2009 16:35:04 EDT

    YOKOHAMA, Japan — Prosecutors sought life imprisonment for a U.S. Navy sailor at the Yokohama District Court on Wednesday for allegedly robbing and killing a taxi driver in Yokosuka in March 2008.

    The defense team for Seaman Olatunbosun Ugubogu sought a not-guilty verdict, claiming he lacked mental competency at the time of the crime, but the prosecutors claimed his actions were “money-driven” and said he had been “telling lies to evade criminal charges.”

    The court will hand down a ruling July 30.

    The 23-year-old Nigerian national serving in the U.S. Navy said during his trial that he heard “voices” ordering him to stab the driver, leading the court to order psychiatric examinations by experts, who later concluded he was mentally competent.

    Ugubogu, who was a crew member of the cruiser Cowpens, is charged with fatally stabbing 61-year-old Masaaki Takahashi with a knife in his taxi March 19, 2008, and running away without paying a fare of about 19,000 yen.

    The incident occurred while the U.S. Navy in Japan was searching for Ugubogu as a suspected deserter. Ugubogu ran away from the Yokosuka U.S. naval base in early March 2008.

    — Bit of a different case, though, than Scott Tucker’s. No possible issues of self-defense here.

  • I guess if this was another country of poor immigrants there would have been riots on the streets.But sadly i guess we are all rich enough and too busy enough looking after our won asses. I am sure this will happen again and the police won’t do much. I guess this reminds me of things past in the USA.And i wonder what we will do?

  • Anonymous – stop hiding and tell us who you are. Otherwise, who knows if your stories are real or fake? […] tell us who you are and how you know your story.

    — I know the real name of the poster. Anonymized upon request.

  • Fellow Expats,

    After more than a month I searched this blog and was surprised, perhaps even astounded, at the outcry I found here. Let me say several things right off the bat: I agree with ALL the comments here–and yes, that is possible. I will address them individually below. As far as being Anonymous; I originally asked Debito that I remain anonymous because of the speculative aspect of my post, and because of the nature of the work I do in the United States. I live in California, and it would have been unproductive to have my name blazoned across a post referencing Scott Tucker’s unfortunate death in Tokyo. Having said that, I welcome any individual emails, and will respond in kind: you can email Debito, and he will forward them to me, and I will answer you at my given address, without any “Covert” weirdness, from my own private email, with my own given name, and nothing will be the least secretive or hidden. If anyone feels strongly enough about this subject to question me about Scott, or my time in Japan, I am happy to have a dialogue with you; send it to Debito, and we will go forward from there as individual respondents.

    So, I said above that I agree with ALL of the comments. This seems contradictory, but it really is true. Clearly, I sat down one night in California, angered over the suspended sentence of Scott’s attacker, with four beers under my belt, and fired off a loose, indignant, reply. I wanted people to know that Scott Tucker was not just some belligerent foreigner who wandered into a club and misbehaved. There is such an individual, in Tokyo at least, whether it’s comfortable to admit or not. Or rather, if Scott was some foreigner who wandered into a club and misbehaved, he was not the foreigner who had been typified in the press; he was an unusual person, with remarkable language skills, impressive business credentials, a long-term relationship with Japan, and a good singing voice. He was funny, too. That’s what I wanted to say; I wanted to remember the person I knew, and say a little bit about him–and no one else had seemed to take that moment and say those things. The underlying intent behind saying that Scott owned his building, and lived in Azabu, was meant to underscore a certain Japanese propensity towards “Oki-Mono.” In other words, if a Japanese businessman who owned a building in Azabu had wandered into the club next door to his building, and been asphyxiated by a non-Japanese DJ, whether that Japanese man was unruly, or unreasonable, the headlines–and the ultimate sentence for his NJ attacker–would have been palpably different. You may disagree, and I’m willing to listen, but your Japan credentials, and your ability to form an arugment, are going to have to be pretty solid for me to consider otherwise. Still, I will consider otherwise…

    I once had a place in Japan–it was a “Crap” place compared to Scotty’s buidling in Azabu. I leaned out the window several times at 3:00 in the morning, and told the Takoyaki guy to shut up, at the urging of my complacent Japanese woman (Complacent where the Takoyaki guy was concerned, not complacent where my own duties as Man were concerned, at 3 am…) Re-reading my own post, I can see how I, myself, would be offended by someone calling my pricey mansion a “Crap” place. It was what I could afford, and maybe not even that. My intent, again, was to reflect Japanese assumptions regarding foreigners and the lives they’re “Allowed” to live in Japan. I lived it; if you want to email me, I am more than happy to have a dialogue with you. It was an offhanded remark, based on my own experience, as were all; there was certainly no offense intended. as I assumed I was speaking to my peers….

    The idea that I could turn foreigners against Scott Tucker, or his plight, by my own observations, is anathema to me. If I have succeeded in this, I am truly disappointed in myself; it was certainly not my intention. It was a late-night rant, and perhaps I missed the mark. Not my intention at all. Emails welcome.

    Jerry–I’m glad you’ve stopped the bar-fight thing. I think your comments are extremely insightful, and those who haven’t been through that strange thirty seconds of weirdness may not comprehend, fully, what you’re talking about. Your observations are likely key to what transpired between Scotty and the DJ. I think we used to be old friends; if you’re the same Jerry I’m thinking of, then you will know that I have a certain authority when I speak of these things. It would be great to hear from you. Again, send your email to Debito, and I will respond with my own personal email, and get a dialogue going.

    To the gentleman who questions “Kawaii-soo.” I understand what you’re saying. It’s a valid observation. My intent was to reflect what a Japanese would say given the same circumstances. I was ridiculed in Japanese public school in the nineteen-sixties on the island of Okinawa, for having blonde hair and blue eyes. I welcome any linguistic insights from someone who experienced the same. Otherwise, I suggest the following experiment: Go to your best Japanese friend’s house, explain in Japanese what happened with Scotty, and the eventual outcome; have a beer, or a tea, and make sure you speak as syntactically correct as you are able, then stop talking. If the first words out of your friend’s mouth–male or female–are not “Kawaii soo,” then I will send you five American dollars. Please appeal to Debito for my email address, and I will send you the money. End of linguistic discussion…but perhaps the beginning of a more interesting discussion?

    Detractors: I am not Chris Mathiession. I will gladly respond to any emails. I appreciate your comments, and apologize for any slights, unintended or otherwise, that may have resulted from my observations about Scott Tucker. Really: I can see how I would have felt slighted if I were still living in Japan and read my own post. Peace, please. Ultimately, I just wanted to say that I felt angry, slighted, supremely gypped, and surprised, by his death: he was coming to California that summer to hang out. It would have been great to see him. I don’t know what happened; but I knew Scott. I never saw him belligerent, even when those around him were unbearable. Clearly, something happened and it cost him his life. That, to me, was a great loss, and an unnecessary one. I’m sure many of his friends feel this way, and I know his wife feels this way. Was justice served? Is there any real justice when something like this happens? Do you feel, somehow, a deeper sense of satisfaction when someone gets a prison term, rather than a suspended sentence? I don’t really know, anymore. I just wanted people to know that he was an unusually gifted person and–as the traditional song goes, “He was a friend of mine…”

    Best wishes to all,


  • Douglas…I’m glad to know that Scott had such a good friend all the way through. I like to feel he’s still around in some way through the collective memories of all who cared him. Debito has my email address too. Glad to meet you any time. I live in Napa CA. Heading back to Tokyo in early February 2010 for business.

    Kyle O’Hara

  • Howard Swint says:

    I grew up with Scott in Charleston WV and found him to be a pioneer in cultural relations and progressive beyond compare in music especially.
    He loved Japan and everything Japanese – how sad that his path would lead him to such a tragic end..
    Thank you for writing such a fitting tribute…

  • Can we confirm the name of the bar please? Is it in fact “Bullets” in Nishi Azabu? I sincerely hope not as I often go there and know the owner.
    If it is, I ll boycott it and tell event organizers about what happened.

  • Douglas,
    Thank you for writing this article and standing up for my uncle. He was a great man! I only got to meet him a few times since he lived in Japan. I am graduating from high school this year and had planned to visit him once I was out of school. It makes me vary sad I never will have that chance. He is loved dearly and will always be missed! I would be grateful Douglas if you would email me and tell me more about my uncle Scott.

    Thanks you,

    Jon Tucker

  • Hi friends and family of Scott Tucker, I am an old friend of Scott’s from WV and am very appreciative as well for Anonymous posting this. I suspected as much but did not know the details till now.It’s so senseless and tragic what happened at the club that night. Scott was a great guy and friend and he told me when we were in Jr High he was gonna be a millionaire while we listened to Iggy and the Stooges and this was in the early 70’s. I did know he owned property having spoken to him on emails and was looking forward to meeting up with him in my travels overseas for dinner and catching up. I raise a glass to his memory and its true.. the world lost an awesome guy…but Heaven gained a truly amazing person too and we will all join together someday. Nice to meet you Jon Tucker on here and say hi to Jeanne Tucker,your grandmother, for me. Sincerely, Mike Twigger


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