Japan's film industry under pressure over abuse

DW News -- Aug 12

The Japanese film industry is following in the footsteps of the #MeToo campaign in other parts of the world, although some fear it will be impossible to entirely stamp out abuse that has become commonplace.

Actors, production crew and off-screen workers in Japan's movie and television industry have launched a campaign against harassment and sexual assault in the sector, which they describe as "a hotbed of sexual violence and abuse."

Japan's entertainment industry has long been rumored to be rife with unscrupulous men using their power to coerce newcomers and up-and-coming starlets, as well as closing ranks to cover up any misdeeds that reach the ears of the police or media.

In the wake of the #MeToo campaign in other parts of the world, however, Japan's movie sector is under growing pressure to clean up its act.

It took a few years for the campaign to cross the Pacific, but an article appeared in the Shukan Bunshun magazine including claims made by several women that director Hideo Sakaki had coerced them into having sex with him in return for roles in his films, or during acting workshops.

Sakaki, the director of "Mitsugestu," which means "Honeymoon," issued an apology but disputed parts of the article.

Similar claims have emerged against Shion Sono, the director of a number of feature films, including "Cold Fish" and "Ai no Mukidashi," or "Love Exposure," while actor Houka Kinoshita has announced that he is taking a break from appearing on screen after two women accused him of demanding sex. ...continue reading