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Kawada's last relationships before suicide draw mother's criticism

33 Comments

The suicide by freelance announcer Ako Kawada, 29, in May came as a great shock to media insiders and television viewers. While it was reported at the time that Kawada had been suffering from depression, some insiders suggest that problems in her relationships with her two boyfriends might have been contributing factors.

Kawada's mother recently talked to Shukan Post about her daughter's relationships with the two men. One was Kawada's boss, Mr A, and the other was American peace activist Matt Taylor.

Kawada's mother recalls: “Our family appreciated Mr A's support at her funeral, although some people criticized him. However, we don't feel like that toward Mr Taylor. He met her on the day she committed suicide. Apparently, she had talked of suicide before and he knew everything about that. I wonder why he wouldn't have told us. I just can't understand it.”

Taylor directed a film on the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, a project in which Kawada helped. At the press preview, Taylor said: “She was a very pure person. We cried together several times when watching the film. I am proud that her name will forever be part of the credits.” However, this has caused some resentment that he is making use of Kawada's name to get extra publicity for the documentary.

“We don't want him to use Ako's name to promote his film," said Kawada's mother. “We don't even want her name to be part of the credits.”

Commenting on the reaction by Kawada's family, Taylor told Shukan Post: “I promised her that her name would be in the credits. In the American film industry, it is common for film producers to put the names of people involved in the film and loved ones who passed away, in the credits. I think her mother would understand this if she had an opportunity to see my film.” (Translated by Taro Fujimoto)

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my lord. What a world we are living in. I also work at a top media company, and its pretty close to like northlondon describes. The problem at these type of companies is that nobody does any serious work, and the profits are huge. Its not like a regular business. Girls are not necessary at this type of company except in the role of secretary or "contract worker", and they do alot more work than the men. But they'll soon be gone without benefits, so in between they're used to the enth degree. AMAP (as much as possible). The sexual and power harrassment items are part of the company's by-line and in the employees manuals etc., but any one in a position to create a more "real" job, with future benefits for the person below gets his apple polished bright red, probably more than a red delicious. I don't have any idea about this tragic relationship, but the blaming only of the foreigner, who produced the movie as being all to blame, and Mr. A being all to the good seems out of touch. But either way, a precious life has ended all too briefly.

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Apparently, she had talked of suicide before and he knew everything about that. I wonder why he wouldn’t have told us. I just can’t understand it

'Apparently' is such an ambiguous word. Could the family just be looking for a convenient scapegoat?

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Would be interested to hear your source for that information kimigano. Was the harrassment before they worked together on the Atomic Flame movie, or afterwards?

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I heard the police are going to issue a warrant for Taylor due to harassing Kawada.

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Kawada’s mother recalls: “Our family appreciated Mr A’s support at her funeral, although some people criticized him. However, we don’t feel like that toward Mr Taylor. He met her on the day she committed suicide. Apparently, she had talked of suicide before and he knew everything about that. I wonder why he wouldn’t have told us. I just can’t understand it.”

Perhaps Mr. Taylor didn't care to associate with a family that would support their daughter dating her boss.

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"... did not write "all". You didn't directly write all, but you certainly said, "you Westerners" which by itself implies all. Kind of sad when people try rather pathetically to play the "good ambassador" and take it way too far.

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Some interesting insights into the story over here:

http://soldave.thedeepstop.com/2008/08/16/exclusive-insight-into-ako-kawada-suicide/

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banana,

Is this true about Mr A's yak ranking ? It would explain why the family are quoted as being polite about him and would excuse why they are deflecting criticism away from him.

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What about Mr. A's alleged Yak connections? He's allegedly a senior ranking member. It seems odd that given all these connections, that the police & media were so quick to call it a suicide.

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Does anyone else besides me find it strange that she was found in a Merc sports car, with the windows taped up, given that she can't drive and was drugged with tranquilizers at that time.

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Seems to me that Mr. A has done all his talking behind closed doors which keeps his name out of the press, whereas Taylor is doing his talking through the media - and that's why one gets his name printed and not the other.

Ako Kawada herself had allegedly been having troubles at work and 2 weeks before she took her life had written an entry into her blog (all entries since December 2006 have now been removed) that could be seen as revealing a strained mental state - all this and more has resulted in a lot of innuendo, suspicion and supposition appearing in Japanese gossip rags.

More than anything it makes you wonder why did some people dislike Mr. A, and just what was Ako herself refering to when she added the now deleted entry '母の日に私は悪魔になってしまいました' in her blog on May 12 of this year -

母の日に私は悪魔になってしまいました。もともとそうだったのかもしれません。 産んでくれた母に、生きている意味を聞いてしまいました。 母の涙が 私の涙がとまりません。母の涙が耳の奥で響いているのです

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electric,

Agreed. My office also have very strict rules. In fact we cannot even take a secretary out for a social drink, let alone date them. And in a working environment that has to be respected. Yet living here I see all kinds of peer pressure nonsense that would not be tolerated back home. We all know the Japanese media/ television/ film producer type. In Tokyo I work in a building that houses a number of major Japanese media companies. The girls are allowed to dress like prostitutes (believe me, there is one girl who walks around in a school uniform) and the managers look and act like Shibuya pimps in their fake suntans and dyed brown hair, making fun of anyone who has to share the elevator with them (I'll punch one of them out before too long). And we're talking major media corporations not small offices. All of the female employees are extremely attractive (I thought you were supposed to recruit staff based on their education and intelligence ?) and well above the national average (I do understand the Japanese national average is not bad either) and we have all seen these producers lord it up and bother pedestrians in the street when they are filming on location. I hope Kawada Ako's (rest her soul) family are really proud of 'Mr A'.

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Maybe Mr. A was no named by the announcer's family because he's married. You know, just to protect the guy "that supported them so much..." The mother just feels what others relatives of people who commit suicide feel: that it could be her blame, and that she was so apart fo her daughter, that she didn't noticed that she was depressed enough to kill her self. She needs somebody to blame, and Taylor makes the perfect piece. By the way, who is Kawada? Her mother talks as if Ms. Kawada s a very famous person around the globe. In USA and other parts of the world, Kawada is not least famouse than... Takada? (hmmmm....)

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Since seansezso likes to assume that "us westerners" like to assume. I will speculate instead (yeah we like that, that's why we have too much soap operas in Latin America):

The announcer was a freelance announcer, meaning that the person "Mr. A." was not necessarily her boss, but a potential boss if she would be to get a more stable job. The relationship of the daughter with a JAPANESE person who works at a TV station or something similar (the article doesn't clearly say so) it is very attractive to the mother as opposed to a peace activist (oh, "that's bad, my daughter is a revolutionary") who in addition is a foreigner ("he couldn't care abour her, he only wants to use her name").

It is very difficult to really know if a person wants to commit suicide, the ones that REALLY want to, would do it and success (like this case) they don't tell you "I want to kill myself", they might mention once but not so often, because when they want to kell themselves, they don't tell you, so you cannot stop them. The foreigner, being a foreigner couldn't have the slightest idea that the girl would kill herself, because often he doesn't know the Japanese way of thinking (I don't either). On the other hand, you cannot expect that a foreigner would save your daughter do you?, if for any reason Mr. A. or Mr. Taylor knew that there were suicide ideas on the girl's head, Do you think that they would tell the mother?. I'm starting to think that she was really pissed off for having a daughter that did not trust her and also looking for someone or something to blame.

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Northlondon and seansezso:

Both of you bring good arguments. So I like to add some details. In the company where I work, there exists a compliance handbook, which is taken seriously, and there are also rules and explanations to the topics of sexual harassment and power harassment.

If there are couples at work, where both work in different departments, or in positions that neither is the boss of the other, then basically it is OK.

But if one of the couple is the boss of the other, then it can lead to power harassment and/or sexual harassment. And this is regarded as not desireable.

And, as far as I know comparable rules exist also in many western companies.

With this background, Kawada-san having an affair with her boss is suspicious - looking from a modern Japanese perspective oriented to successful business. This does not exclude that their relationship was pure love, but there is always a doubt.

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northlondon's groundless assumption that the relationship was unnatural or unprofessional

I am modern enough and wise enough to know that people can have working relationships and be mature enough not to let that relationship affect their work. But when the family are throwing accusations at the other foreign partner, I find it very single-minded that they had no questions towards her Japanese employer boyfriend and their working relationship and were happy to accept it as normal.

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Isn't that the problem, that he hasn't talked to the family about his last meeting with her?

Just maybe, knowing what he knows, he had and still has a reason to not talk to the parents? He could well be saving the family further damage.

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And you're just as bad seansezo, writing a silly comment like that, may as well say that all "westerners" are the same. Your implied assumption is quite offensive.

I did not write "all". I am a westerner, yet I do not share this little conviction that so many other westerners do. It is quite possible for a superior and subordinate to have a relationship that does not involve or affect work. But as the west has gone overboard in its attempt to tackle sexual harrassment, that fact is being replaced by the conviction that it is always a matter of coercion.

This conviction is quite popular in the west, as opposed to Japan, and maybe Iran as well, as opposed to Japan. So far, it seems I am the only one that took issue with northlondon's groundless assumption that the relationship was unnatural or unprofessional. In fact, I cannot recall hearing any westerner take issue with that groundless assumption any time it came up. Have you? Thus I accuse the west in general. Its hard to be sure, but it always seemed to me that the west was the direction this particular stench was emminating from.

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For what it is worth. I know Matt from my work and he was shattered and totally surprised that she took her own life.

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He met her on the day she committed suicide. Apparently, she had talked of suicide before and he knew everything about that. I wonder why he wouldn’t have told us. I just can’t understand it.”

Isn't that the problem, that he hasn't talked to the family about his last meeting with her?

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trying to find blame after and resorting to this kind of stupid finger pointing is just not on.

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"her relationships with her two boyfriends"

The word "boyfriend" does not always mean someone a woman is in a physical relationship with in Japan. Maybe she was with one or both of the men mentioned here, maybe she was not.

"He met her on the day she committed suicide."

joicerojo: If you read the article again, you will find that they had worked together on the Hiroshima documentary. The meaning here is that they saw each other on her last day.

"These two men might have been the best thing in her life. Or they may have been the worst. Making assumptions without proof however, is clearly foolish."

shinobusezso: JT is a forum for expressing opinions. Lacking verifiable proof of the nature of her relationships with the men in question, we have to speculate.

To my mind, this article is a thinly-veiled attack on foreigners, and, more specifically, the American, Mr. Taylor, and his Hiroshima documentary. There is an underlying assumption that something related to their relationship and the work they did could have possibly added to the stress that she felt leading up to her untimely passing.

"Apparently, she had talked of suicide before and he knew everything about that. I wonder why he wouldn’t have told us. I just can’t understand it."

We are all very sorry about the loss of your daughter, Mrs. Kawada, but perhaps the biggest problem here is that you feel terrible guilt because your daughter did not confide in you about her problems. As a matter of fact, she went to a foreigner, which is shameful for you. Are you are worried about the reaction of the Japanese around you and your family?

I hope to see the Hiroshima film someday.

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In most similar situations where a daughter has taken her life with the possibility it was caused by depression, most people around the world would certainly investigate the daughters relationship with her boss as a potential cause of conflict in her life. Not in Japan however, where they prefer to direct attention away from that and start talking about the foreign (non-employer) partner instead.

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Just because you westerners like to assume a thing does not make it true. If you have evidence that there was pressure, then tell it. If not, dont assume there was. Sometimes people sleep with their bosses because they want to.

seansezo, the family are criticising the foreign boyfriend for using their daughters name, despite the fact that they were in a relationship together. But they were quite happy for their daughter to have a relationship with the Japanese partner who was supposed to be her employer with the responsibility that is supposed to bring. As for myself, being half-Iranian with two children who are half-Japanese doesn't make me very 'western' now does it ? So who is being foolish whilst making assumptions without any proof now then ?

If we really want to start making assumptions now, maybe we can talk about the fact that the Japanese (with the family in this news piece as a good example) seem perfectly happy to accept employers shagging their staff, as long as the boss has money and is keeping their employee/ partner in a job.

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I'm with northlondon on why her boss wasn't named but the other guy was. This isn't enough information to make judgements but if I had to guess at her mother's reaction A: she didn't think Taylor was worthy of her daughter be it because of his career or the fact that he was a foreigner or whatever or B: she is just looking for someone to blame and Taylor is more convenient than Mr. A. Anyway, as northlondon also said this is a personal matter and probably doesn't belong in the tabloids, unfortunately that is part of the price of fame.

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"Just because you westerners like to assume a thing does not make it true".

And you're just as bad seansezo, writing a silly comment like that, may as well say that all "westerners" are the same. Your implied assumption is quite offensive.

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“Our family appreciated Mr A’s support at her funeral, although some people criticized him. However, we don’t feel like that toward Mr Taylor. He met her on the day she committed suicide

IF they had a relationship, how he can met her the day she committed suicide?

I don't understand, but there is a clear bias towards the Boss and "aversion" to the foreigner. If Mr. Taylor "knew" about the suicide ideas prior to the suicide Is it that easy to tell the mother (or any member of the family) "hey, your daughter is depressed, she may kill herself" Please!

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They seemed pretty quick to criticise the foreign boyfriend though, even though that relationship seemed a lot more natural without any boss/ employee strings pressure attached.

Just because you westerners like to assume a thing does not make it true. If you have evidence that there was pressure, then tell it. If not, dont assume there was. Sometimes people sleep with their bosses because they want to.

However, I do find it strange that one of her boyfriends was her boss which drew no criticism from her family.

It says quite clearly in the article the rationalization of the family. But truth be told, their assumptions are as bad and groundless as yours.

These two men might have been the best thing in her life. Or they may have been the worst. Making assumptions without proof however, is clearly foolish.

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Don't blame Japantoday. They only did a partial translation of Shukan Post.

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NL, are you insinuating that there is some bias against foreigners in this open and welcoming society? unbelievable!

/sarcasm

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Probably because Mr. A is married and/or he paid someone to keep his name out of the media...

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One was Kawada’s boss, Mr A, and the other was American peace activist Matt Taylor.

Is there any reason why the Japanese boss boyfriend is only referred to in privacy as 'Mr A', yet the American boyfriend is named ?

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This is a very personal argument to be quite honest and probably not for the gossip tabloids. However, I do find it strange that one of her boyfriends was her boss which drew no criticism from her family. Even though that relationship should have been on a professional-level only, especially in the television media business. They seemed pretty quick to criticise the foreign boyfriend though, even though that relationship seemed a lot more natural without any boss/ employee strings pressure attached.

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