In Black Rain (1989), there is a character that is a henchman of a mafia boss in the Japanese Yakuza. The actor is Rikiya Yasuoka and is just known as "Sugai's Man" or the Yakuza boss's man.
This is a screenshot of him in New York:

enter image description here

But, what I can't understand is why he can't understand Japanese when he is in New York.

When Sato comes to take the plates in New York, he says,

失礼しました = Pardon me

But, Sugai's man says,

What, what did you say?

So, he obviously does not understand Japanese.

But, when they are in Japan, and Nick Conklin goes to talk to Sugai at the golf driving range, he meets him and speaks Japanese to his underling fluently.

Here is a snap of the scene:

enter image description here enter image description here

Now, remember that Sato was once an underling of Sugai, so he would know this guy and know if he could speak Japanese.

So why was he able to speak Japanese in Japan, but not in New York?

  • Perhaps he just didn't hear him clearly? In some languages, words are very similar but have much different meaning. For instance, in German "Hast" means "Have" but "Hasst" means "Hate". Sound nearly identical, but have much different meanings if you don't hear the sentence clearly. Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 17:49
  • 1
    @JohnnyBones, My first language is Japanese. I heard him clearly
    – KyloRen
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 17:49

1 Answer 1


First, the actor that says "What, what did he say"? is not the Yakuza boss Sugai's man.

This deal being made for the plates in New York is with the Italian "Mafia".

The Italian mafioso in the first image you posted that says "what, what did he say?" is "Abolofia", played by actor Clem Caserta.

It is not Rikiya Yasuoka.

  • Now that I look at the pics, I think you're right. Similar hairline, similar chin, similar eyebrows, similar weight. If anything, the Italian has an ever-so-slightly narrower nose. Poor casting choice, and I've seen it done in several movies where they put 2 actors who look very similar in two different roles, and it makes it that much more confusing. Commented Sep 19, 2017 at 20:04
  • I suppose there's a very slight resemblance and Rikiya Yasuoka is of mixed Japanese/Italian descent as well. Commented Sep 19, 2017 at 22:42

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