Richard Reimer has died

Richard Reimer, a well known go personality and an American residing in Japan for more than 20 years, has died. Reimer lived in Hayama, Zushi, which is south of Tokyo. He was 51.

The exact date of death is unknown and the cause of death is unknown as well. Reimer's wife and child went to stay with an ailing parent. When they returned home, they found Reimer's body at the bottom of a flight of stairs. They do not know if he died from a fall or from a heart attack. His body was cremated.

His body was discovered on August 4, 2000, but he may have died as early as August 1.

Reimer made his living primarily as a translator of documents from Japanese into English. The Japanese often said that Reimer was the best speaker of Japanese, with the most prefect accent, of any American living in Japan.

Reimer was also a computer expert and was involved in various computer related businesses.

Reimer was originally from Los Angeles and moved to Japan in about 1980.

Reimer was not a strong go player but was well known in the Japanese Go community.

Reimer was known to TV audiences from his brief role in the movie "Shogun". Reimer was the first person who got killed in the movie. His name is not in the credits.

Reimer had long hair and was a body builder and power lifter. He dressed like a professional wrestler. He was fond of publicly threatening members of the Yakuza (Japanese gangsters) with obscenities while riding the daily train to Tokyo, thereby causing excitement among the other passengers on the train.

Richard Reimer will no doubt be mourned by the very large number of Japanese girls he claimed to have seduced.

After he died, it was revealed that for years Reimer had worked as a police undercover agent. He would buy drugs from drug rings and pretty soon they would all be arrested. Reimer was credited with breaking up a major Colombian drug ring earlier this year. The Zushi Police got so good at catching drug dealers that they even expanded and started making arrests in other districts, thereby causing tension between the police departments in those other places, who were unhappy about the Zushi Police making arrests in their areas. The reason the Zushi Police were able to do this is they had Reimer as an undercover agent, a resource those other police departments did not have. This arrangement also gave Reimer immunity from prosecution for any transgressions he might have committed.

Richard Reimer is survived by his wife and two children in Japan and by a mother and three brothers and a sister in Los Angeles.

Sam Sloan

On Tue, 15 Aug 2000 04:31:28 -0700, in "Bob Myers" wrote:

Sam, thanks for the news.

I first met Richard Reimer on the beach of Ishiki-Kaigan, near Zushi, perhaps in 1993 or 1994. At the time I was living nearby in Kamakura. His towering belly preceded him. He struck up an acquaintance immediately with me, a fellow "gaijin". Our discussions immediately proceeded to his immense, albeit completely undocumented, prowess in the area of translation, go, and of course girls. Sam says he was a "body builder" but to me he looked like more of a "beer belly builder".

Later I had the opportunity, as a manager of a translation company located in nearby Kamakura, to give Richard a small job to translate a research report on the worldwide video recorder market, from Japanese into English. Although Richard completed the assignment on time, we found that the resultant translation failed to meet even the most basic quality requirements, revealing a complete lack of translation ability. Translation requires the ability to read the original; understand it; and phrase the equivalent well in the target language -- three stages all of which Richard proved uniformly bad at. When my company proposed then to pay Richard half of the originally agreed-upon price, as an extremely generous compromise to receiving completely useless work, we found ourselves in a nasty fight with the incompetent translator. Several weeks or months after this unpleasant episode, I was taking the green car on the Yokosuka line from Shinbashi Station, when a very drunk and unpleasant Mr. Reimer imposed himself upon me, yelling epithets, and adding insults to my wife. All in all, an extremely rude gentleman. At that time, though, he had shed perhaps 100 pounds, based on his doctor's absolute directions to stop drinking (as they say in Japanese, "DOCTOR STOP"), which, to his credit, he had followed.

Mr. Reimer was supposedly a well known go personality, but I never encountered him in any go situation, including the major go clubs in Kamakura and Zushi, and had no reason to believe that he had any particular go expertise beyond the amateur high-kyu level. The note below also indicates that he may supposedly have had some kind of computer expertise, but based on all of my experience with the gentleman, I am not aware of any such expertise beyond the ability to turn on his computer and churn out poor J-E translations.

It is true, though, that Richard tried and apparently succeeded well at the quite simple game of "seducing" Japanese girls. In fact, the first time I met him he boasted openly of his ability to meet and have sex on the same day with any available Japanese girl. I specifically remember him being excited about meeting a teen-aged Japanese girl, going out into the ocean for a swim with her, and him massaging her breasts and crotch out in the open waves within the first 20 minutes of meeting her. He also claimed to have had sex with 300 Japanese girls. Thus did Richard contribute to the modern-day movement towards globalization. Let us mourn his passing, but only to the degree that it contributes to the hope that those around us will mourn ours for far better reasons.

Bob Myers

On Tue, 15 Aug 2000 23:30:23 +0200, in "Paul Schmit" wrote:

Subject: Richard Reimer and Nietzsche

I appreciated the obituary of Richard Reimer by Sam Sloan very much. Nietzsche stated:

"There are two things a real man likes-danger and play; and he likes woman because she is the most dangerous of playthings."

I didn't know about Richard Reimer before but I guess he might have been a real man.

Paul Schmit

On 16 Aug 2000 01:01:46 GMT, in Franke wrote:

Richard Bozulich has asked me to post the following:


The Death of Richard Reimer

"The fundamental law of gossip is that as it spreads from friends to acquaintances to people you've never met, it grows more garbled, vivid, and definitive. Out of stray factoids and hesitant impressions emerges a hard mass of what everyone knows to be true. Imagination supplies the missing pieces, and repetition turns these pieces into facts; gossip achieves its shape and amplitude only in the continual retelling. The best stories about us are told by perfect strangers."

The truth of the above quote is amply demonstrated in the recent obituary concerning Richard Reimer who died on August 4, 2000, of a massive heart attack. I was one of Reimer's best friends in Japan and he often confided to me some of the problems he encountered during the 20 years he lived in Japan. It is true that he was arrested, charged, and found guilty of possessing narcotics about 19 years ago. As all Japanese legal scholars are aware, when charged with a crime in Japan, everyone has one basic inviolable right: the right to confess and to implicate your associates. If you have nothing to confess or no one to implicate, the Japanese police will assist you in exercising this right in every way within their power; and they can be very persuasive. Because of Reimer's cooperation, a number of arrests and convictions of his fellow conspirators ensued. To show its gratitude, the court gave him a suspended sentence and he was allowed to remain in Japan. From that point on, Reimer gave up drugs and led a quiet life as a family man earning his living as a translator and a computer consultant. That he was a paid informant of the Japanese police is complete nonsense. The police here don't work that way!

I hope that this sets the record straight.

Richard Bozulich

From: Franke

Newsgroups:,soc.culture.japan,, Subject: Re: Richard Reimer has died Date: 16 Aug 2000 15:12:54 GMT

Steve Sundberg wrote:

> On 15 Aug 2000 08:09:42 GMT, Franke wrote:
> >It wasn't his hair that distinguished him, but Reimer was a oner.
> Loner, you mean?

No, I mean unique. I don't know if he was a loner because I wasn't his friend. I knew him, I met him two or three times at some World Amateur Go Championship fetes.

> There have been other eccentric gaijin who've lived
> in Japan, too. Quite a few were associated at one time, in one way or
> another, with Corky Alexander's "Tokyo Weekender."
> I don't mean any disrespect, btw, toward Reimer. Quite the contrary.

It's hard to disrespect the dead--they are not here to be offended. The only respect I had for the man was for his physical strength; I would not have wanted to say or do anything to make him angry enough to want to hit me.

> Rather, I find it quite fascinating that a certain someone could be so
> enamored by the doings of an obscure eccentric that they practically
> place him on a pedestal and attempt to create a myth around him. Heck,

Sam was merely displaying his ignorance about Reimer. He didn't even know about Reimer's being busted for drugs in Japan 20 years ago until a mutual friend and I told him. He was also showing his misguided "respect" for Reimer's ability to seduce young Japanese girls.

> I was on Japanese TV almost every week for 5 years in the 1970's, but
> I doubt anyone in Tokyo now even remembers my face much less my name.

I never heard a word about his TV appearance in _Shogun_ while I was in Tokyo, not even among those who knew him or merely knew about him. The only reason he was "well known in Go circles" is that Reimer was Richard Bozulich's friend, and every so often, Bozulich would regale his Go friends with the "famous" Reimer story about the cigarette, the sailor, and the subway train, which I will tell you now.

"Late one night a couple of decades ago, Reimer was riding back home on the subway. He noticed three American sailors sitting on a bench in an otherwise empty car. One was smoking a cigarette which he had cupped in his hands. Ever the congenial vigilante, Reimer went up to the man and told him to extinguish his butt. The sailor refused. Reimer squeezed his cupped hands together until the butt was out."

Those are the salient points. I can't remember Bozulich ever mentioning that Reimer terrorized yakuza. He might have, but it left no impression on me.

> Seems like this certain someone is most impressed by Reimer's
> undercover escapades, belligerent behavior, and seduction of young
> girls -- not necessarily in that order, I'd bet.

His seductions were pathetic--it is difficult to admire a married man with kids who still chases skirts, but Sam can do it because he's emotionally an adolescent at 60.

Reimer was no James Bond. As Bozulich's post today points out, Reimer was busted for drugs and offered the choice of hard time or turning in his drug buddies and being allowed to stay in Japan. He is the second American I know of who chose to become an informant, but the other guy did time in jail as well.

Richard Reimer in the movie "Shogun"

Richard Reimer was a well known go personality and an American residing in Japan for more than 20 years. He died in August, 2000. SSN 565-78-2281

Richard Reimer played the Captain General in one of the earliest scenes of the movie "Shogun". Although the part was small and he was not credited, he spoke three lines and displayed considerable acting ability. I am surprised that his name was not listed in the credits.

In the movie, the Pilot-Major John Blackthorne, played by Richard Chamberlain, goes below deck to see the Captain General. The Captain General (Richard Reimer) is laying in his bunk, obviously very ill.

The Captain General says: "Where are we?"

Pilot-Major: "Still on Course."

Captain General: "You and your damn course. There is no Japan.
"You'll kill us all."

Pilot-Major: "We'll get there. We'll make landfall."

Captain General "God's rot you pilots."

After this, the pilot goes back on deck. Soon thereafter, the ship is wrecked on the rocks. As nothing more is seen of the Captain General, it is presumed that he died in the ship wreck.

Sam Sloan

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