Kobayashi Released from Jail Following Hot Dog Hijinks

By John Noel and Hasani Gittens
|  Tuesday, Jul 6, 2010  |  Updated 4:52 PM EDT
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<a title=Takeru Kobayashi tells why he rushed the stage at the Fourth of July Coney Island hot dog contest -- and what he ate in jail." />


Takeru Kobayashi tells why he rushed the stage at the Fourth of July Coney Island hot dog contest -- and what he ate in jail.

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Video: Takeru Kobayashi Arrested at Coney Island

The former six-time hot dog eating champ turned chump at the annual July 4th event, when he was arrested for trying to rush the stage.

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A legal storm is brewing for the Tsunami.

Japanese eating champion Takeru "The Tsunami" Kobayashi  was in court Monday morning on legal charges following an bizarre incident at Coney Island's Fourth of July hot dog contest.

Kobayashi, 32, wore a black T-shirt emblazoned with the words "Free Kobi" across the front as he walked out of court in Downtown Brooklyn.

After spending a night in jail, he was charged with obstruction of governmental administration, resisting arrest, trespassing and disorderly conduct

The judge released Kobayashi without bail. He has to show up in court next month.

The famed eater said he only had a sandwich and one glass of milk while in the slammer.

"I'm hungry," he said outside of court.

On Sunday, Kobayashi, a six-time winner of the Coney contest, had said a contract dispute had kept him out of the competition. Then he showed up anyway, jumped onstage after the contest was over, and was subdued after wrestling with police.

Maggie James, Kobayashi's translator and publicist explained outside of court today: "Everyone started chanting for me, 'Let him eat, let him eat,' and he said, and in the heat of it [he] jumped on the stage hoping that maybe because of the cheering Nathans would actually let him eat and prove that he was the champ, but then he got arrested."

As he was lead away, some in the crowd chanted "Free Kobi!" and Takeru was even wearing a black shirt that said the same in green letters.

His attorney, Mario D. Romano, said his client was waved up onstage after spectators began chanting "Let him eat!"

"Shortly after he got on the stage, he was grabbed from behind by officers," Romano said.

The contest winner was Joey "Jaws" Chestnut of San Jose, Calif. He downed 54 hot dogs in 10 minutes.

Kobayashi, who's currently living in New York, had refused to sign a contract with Major League Eating, the fast food equivalent of the NFL. On his Japanese-language blog, he said he wanted to be free to enter contests sanctioned by other groups.

But a few days ago, he told Japan's Kyodo News: "I really want to compete in the (Coney Island) event."

On Monday afternoon, Major League Eating, the organization that sanctions the Coney Island event and others around the country, released a statement chastising Kobayashi, their erstwhile wiener wunderkind.

"Takeru Kobayashi's actions at the Hot Dog Contest in Coney Island were inappropriate and unfortunate, but it did not diminish Joey Chestnut's victory, or the holiday tradition that dates back generations," the statement read. "Kobayashi was a great champion and we hope that he is able to resolve his current situation and move past this."


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