Back when the #MeToo movement happened around the world, Japan didn’t see as much emerge as elsewhere, not because offenses didn’t happen but a lot of the silence was due to social factors. Now though, over the past month there have been a bunch of allegations and apologies for wrongdoing emerging.
I’ll try to summarize what I’ve seen so far.
Sakaki Hideo: The director was accused of sexual violence by several women. His production company denounced sexual abuse, Sakaki resigned, and he apologized.
Kinoshita Houka: The actor was accused by two women of demanding sex against their will, he released a statement saying he’ll be going on hiatus for what he has done.
Sono Shion (1/2): The director allegedly sexually abused multiple women, and released a statement about evaluating his ways and apologized to the people around him, but also said many assertions in the report were false and that he will take legal action. One alleged victim, Milla Araki, spoke out publicly on Twitter.
Sakaguchi Tak: Released an apology video for his role in taking the alleged victim to Sono Shion’s home and leaving her alone, admitting he was the anonymous actor in the story that accused the director.
Umekawa Haruo (1/2): The director allegedly pressured actresses for sexual favors in exchange for casting and is accused of requesting explicit photos from young actresses. Actress Mizuhara Kiko has spoken out publicly against him, saying that sexual harassment and abuse is prevalent in the industry, and she recounts an incident on the set of his movie Ride Or Die where she felt forced to shoot a sex scene despite feeling uncomfortable, with him refusing her an intimacy coordinator.
In response to the rise of such allegations and apologies, a petition expressing outrage over sexual abuse was circulated and signed by the likes of Hirokazu Koreeda, Koji Fukada, and Miwa Nishikawa.
“These acts are unforgivable,” the statement said, calling for such acts to stop.
The directors signing the petition and others say the problem is a longtime, open secret in the filmmaking world. What’s changing is that victims are speaking up, rather than suffering in silence.
“We directors, regardless of individual abilities or personalities, especially, must unfailingly realize that our position of directing other people inherently carries with it a deep violence, and there lies that potential making it too easy for us to victimize others because of our overwhelming power,” they said.
Since then, however, I haven’t really seen anything else happening. Especially within the past week, it’s been rather silent on updates, so I suppose the fear is that history is repeating itself with regards to an open secret in Japan being made to go away again.