Pokemon: Ash's Japanese Actress Accused of Embezzling COVID-19 Grant Funds

A concerning new report from Japan has surfaced regarding the voice actress of Pokemon's Ash Ketchum. Rika Matsumoto has voiced the hero, who goes by Satoshi overseas, for years now and become a role model for many in the process. However, according to this report by the Japanese outlet Friday, Matsumoto is being accused by her former manager of embezzling COVID-19 relief funds intended for struggling artists.

The report has been summarized by Doug Dinsdale, a well-known translator in the gaming community. As the report goes, Matsumoto allegedly filed an application for a relief grant meant for struggling artists impacted by the pandemic. The report alleges that Matsumoto assembled a group of six applicants to file with, but two of them were ineligible for the grant due to their job titles.

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(Photo: The Pokemon Company)

According to the Friday, Matsumoto had all of the group's grants deposited into a single bank account that she controlled rather than divvying the money to each applicant. This was against the rules of the grant, and one of the assistants who was ineligible for the grant is said to have quit before the relief package was even approved.

This story came to light when the other manager-assistant learned Matsumoto made the application in their name without being told. "The assistant claimed [Matsumoto] was quick to anger, prone to changing scripts (for which the asst would have to apologize), and if she were to argue, [Matsumoto] would browbeat her in that Satoshi voice and volume. She also claimed over ten assistants quit in four years," Dinsdale explained.

After discovering their name on a grant-related project, Matsumoto's now-former manager reported the scheme to the city. The grant program agreed each member should have been paid directly and that the manager never qualified for payment in the first place. The report alleges the grant committee is seeking repayment for the $960 USD given to the ineligible applicant.

Matsumoto has since commented on this allegation. The voice actor claims she was only "holding the money" for the applicant's members. Sports Nippon NP also received comment from the actress who denies any wrongdoing. Matsumoto says the assistant did provide the creative work required for the grant, and the manager quit before the actress could pay them their grant portion. The actress finished by saying she paid back the grant organization for that assistant's erroneous payment.

This report is clearly an upsetting one with both parties determined they are in the right. The Pokemon Company has not commented on the scandal, and no legal challenges has been presented in this case as of yet.

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