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Sexual harassment: The dark side of Japan's entertainment world

16 Comments

Accusations against Hollywood film mogul Harvey Weinstein have opened a Pandora's Box of nasty revelations about the indignities untold numbers of women in the entertainment industry have been forced to tolerate -- until now -- in order to pursue their dreams. Nikkan Gendai (Oct 18) notes that Weinstein's expulsion from the Motion Picture Academy is "without precedent" and also reports that the incident is by no means a "fire on the opposite bank" (i.e., someone else's problem). Some of the repercussions have already crossed the Pacific to Japan.

As producer Shigeaki Nojima told the tabloid: "Sexual harassment is a 'black box' that occupies the dark side of Japan's entertainment industry. If actresses here take a cue from what's been happening in Hollywood, then I'm certain all hell will break loose."

"For example," Nojima continues, "a veteran cameraman, one of the giants in the trade, is in the habit of kissing women on the lips when he takes studio shots, and likes to grope their breasts through their bathing suit tops. The story is well known in the business, and the ordeal with him is almost viewed as a coming-of-age ceremony for the young models, something that's naturally to be expected.

"When a newly employed manager representing the models tried to make him stop, the manager was discouraged from further action by the producer and magazine editor who were at the studio."

"Another famous story involves the president of a DVD distribution company, who invited two actresses for a party aboard his cruiser, and tried to get them to join in an oceangoing ménage a trois. Then there's the story of another producer-cum-stylist working for a software production company who would escort models to an apartment the company rented for 'costume storage.' He's suspected of several cases of rape, but because he's a big shot, it's the same situation you're seeing in the U.S. -- those guys think they can get away with almost anything."

Another well known film producer loves to paw the breasts of hostesses at a Ginza club he patronizes.

"When the girls defend themselves, saying 'We're not that kind of place,' he'll get upset and move to another table," relates an employee of the club. "He's an important customer, so we don't dare complain to him."

Nikkan Gendai also notes that gyaku sekuhara -- reverse gender sexual harassment -- is not entirely unknown in showbiz. "A young director on the set of a drama found himself under a full-scale attack by a love-struck veteran actress," relates the aforementioned Nojima. "I suppose she felt he was a weak 'herbivorous' type who could easily be dominated by 'carnivorous' females. The director later confided to me, saying 'The mere sight of those layers of heavy makeup covering the old biddy's face made me wince.'"

"I suppose if the dam breaks and stories about sexual harassment come pouring out, that director might be one of those who will testify," Nojima suggested.

Might we soon be looking at a similar situation in Japan, Nikkan Gendai asks, where the most flagrant violators are not only publicly shamed, but permanently banished from the entertainment world?

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

16 Comments
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Why did they have to add the story about the young director and the older actress? We all know that all entertainment industries are rife with this sexual exploitation of women. Don't try to make it seem like men also have it bad. This just makes the story weak, and tries to take away fro the severity of the situation.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Tarou Weinstein?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It works both ways too. I regularly see female co-workers paid for by their male colleagues in bars and restaurants. Going 'dutch' is not what I see in Japan.Maybe, if women want to be treated fairly and not as sexual objects then the concept of equality should be treated more seriously by ....women! Females in the entertainment industry must realise they are there for their attractiveness and not their intellect. If not, they can always leave.

-12 ( +5 / -17 )

It would definitely be good if the floodgates are opened here and the most egregious offenders are outed, but am skeptical

10 ( +10 / -0 )

" the ordeal with him is almost viewed as a coming-of-age ceremony for the young models, something that's naturally to be expected"

I've highlighted where part of the problem lies.  Attitudes from Japanese males to Japanese females is stone age.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

@MarkX

Why did they have to add the story about the young director and the older actress? We all know that all entertainment industries are rife with this sexual exploitation of women. Don't try to make it seem like men also have it bad. This just makes the story weak, and tries to take away fro the severity of the situation.

Why does it make the story weak? And it's not saying both problems are equal in degree, it's saying the problem is more widespread than people stereo-typically expect. Sexual harassment is a problem for all of society to deal with. I'm a man, and I've been sexually harassed and groped by women in work-related situations. In fact a former colleague of mine was raped by a female co-worker and eventually quit because of her. I know of other non-work related situations as well.

It's really not that rare, so I can only imagine how prevalent male to female harassment and rape are.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

@kurisupisu

Wow. Just wow.

I bought my co-worker a coffee today. How much does that entitle me to ?

Your post beggars belief.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

There is nothing new about what used to be known as the "Casting Couch". I first heard of it in the early 50,s. Even Marilyn Monroe, was known to have said in an interview that since becoming successful she no longer needed to provide oral sex in order to get work in the film industry.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Might we soon be looking at a similar situation in Japan, Nikkan Gendai asks, where the most flagrant violators are not only publicly shamed, but permanently banished from the entertainment world?

Huh? When did THAT happen? This kind of behavior seems to be the norm.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Don't try to make it seem like men also have it bad. This just makes the story weak, and tries to take away fro the severity of the situation.

So, we should suppress stories of sexual harassment of men, and keep it hush-hush, right?

You realize that stifling stories of sexual harassment is exactly what this article is about right? Why is it suddenly ok if it's men getting harassed, but not ok if it's women?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Tarou Weinstein?

Tarou Sakaishi, that would be.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It works both ways too.

@kurisupisu, spot on. Of course, you can't say this though without howls of "You are justifying rape!" from the Lefties.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

I would be interested to know, is there now, or has there ever been, a culture that was not rife with sexual exploitation? I do not condone sexual misconduct, but am not surprised that it occurs. I am surprised that we would accept sexual predation in a presidential candidate. That sort of thing should have automatically excluded him from consideration for the presidency. Bad conduct may be widespread, but we should be able to agree that conduct for which most people would be prosecuted is not to be admired and rewarded.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

He's suspected of several cases of rape, but because he's a big shot, it's the same situation you're seeing in the U.S. -- those guys think they can get away with almost anything.

These men's sense of impunity is imo at the heart of the pbm i.e they consider themselves untouchable and do not even fear our/their justice system. This 'culture of impunity' as well as the culture of silence must end & cops must do their job and investigate all allegations of sexual assault or misconduct.

The very fact we are even reading such article knowing the guys mentioned won't even be questioned let alone investigated IS the pbm.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

kawabegawa198Today  08:27 am JST

Of course, you can't say this though without howls of "You are justifying rape!" from the Lefties.

A good way to avoid being told you are justifying rape is to stop justifying rape.

1glennToday  09:12 am JST

I would be interested to know, is there now, or has there ever been, a culture that was not rife with sexual exploitation? I do not condone sexual misconduct, but am not surprised that it occurs.

You might just as well ask if there has ever been a country where nobody ever commits murder.

I realize that you weren't trying to justify rape just by pointing out it's a frequent issue in world history, and I don't want to sound like I'm calling you out for this. Unfortunately however, there are some desperate misogynists on here who will no doubt latch onto your comment as a way of claiming that sexual assault is part of the natural order of things. And they are emboldened by the protection they get from the moderation staff.

That sort of thing should have automatically excluded him from consideration for the presidency. Bad conduct may be widespread, but we should be able to agree that conduct for which most people would be prosecuted is not to be admired and rewarded.

Yes. One cannot prevent sexual violence entirely, but we can reduce it by not offering it a safe space to fester in. Unfortunately, we now live in a society where far too many failures as men define their masculinity by their ability to inflict themselves on women and get away with it.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I shudder to think how many boys from J*nnie's groups have been victims.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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