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Theater company Takarazuka admits harassment of deceased actress

18 Comments

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This place is well known for it's military-like treatment of the young girls and women who attend the HIGHLY competitive high school and then graduate to the "stage". Stories of hazing and bullying have been reported numerous times over the past few decades.

Might be time for this place to close down.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

I still don't understand why the Japanese women have to be so bitchy at work. Why can't they learn to be professional? I have one at my work place!

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

Great to see Hiroshi Kawahito on the case. He started battling against karoshi and overwork-related suicide more than two decades ago and is now moving on to bullying-related suicide.

(I think my very first comment on Japan Today was to support him and his case against the employer of 24-year-old Ichiro Oshima, who committed suicide after months of overwork and extreme sleep deprivation. Kawahito won a settlement for Mr. Oshima's family.)

7 ( +7 / -0 )

This place is well known for it's military-like treatment of the young girls and women who attend the HIGHLY competitive high school and then graduate to the "stage". Stories of hazing and bullying have been reported numerous times over the past few decades.

Just like any other "group activity" in Japan.

Little kids and teenagers join street dance schools etc. to be scolded into perfecting the slightest details as if their lives depend on it, not a single smile in sight.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

I still don't understand why the Japanese women have to be so bitchy at work. Why can't they learn to be professional? I have one at my work place!

Validation and attention they didnt get at home at a young age, and this is not limited to women, every single company I joined had one of these people, like someone asks you to throw away some carboards boxes and the next moment the genius comes all the way to stop you and show how to "fold them properly" while asking you loudly if this isnt the easiest way to do, "motto yariyasui desho? DESHO?".

At least I make use of my Western sarcasm so the person doesn't feel so entitled to do the same again just to be laughed at at the end but I can only imagine what the japanese have to suffer every day.

Might be time for this place to close down.

About time.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

I wonder if there is a company in the world that doesn’t have any bullying and harassment. There are all sorts of fake policies and procedures to protect companies against getting sued by such claims. Laws need to be harsh and very smart to deal with these issues.

it sounds like this company has gone too far in bullying and harassing women.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I remember reading an article about the workplace culture at Takarazuka a few years ago, and it was conpletely insane. It was something aking to what I imagine the japanese army was like during WW2. Everything was extremely strict and workplace bullying was a legitimate way to get people to do what the higher-ups wanted them to do. Hopefully this brings Takarazuka into the 21st century, but I wouldn't expect too much.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The deceased woman could and should have quit if she couldn't hack it and nothing prevented her from doing so. She was a 25 year-old with 7-8 years of experience at Takarazuka and its not unreasonable to expect her to be responsible for her own well being and choices. Theater life, especially one as busy as Takarazuka, is tough and demanding, but the thousands of current and past members live with it and thrive (without killing themselves), or leave and move on. It's evident from the published investigation report that most of the reprimands she received were warranted and that she clearly was having a difficult time. Is the company blameless for the strict and high-pressure culture she lived in? No, but it shouldn't be held responsible for her choosing suicide over the many other options she had. Also, she has/had a sister who is also currently a performing member of Takarazuka so it's disingenuous of the parents that they didn't have any problem with having two daughters living and working in this environment (and the fame/status) for close to a decade but now do because of one of them made an unfortunate choice.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

We have two friends who are ex-members of the Takarazuka. They were successful and spoke highly of their experiences.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

The suicide by the member was sad but also an exception and there were other alternatives. I agree with the post by USNINJapan2.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@finally rich.

Thank you very much for sharing!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Sounds like assault and should be criminal charges as well.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The bullying is horrible in Japan. My child, mixed race was bullied from grade 1 by both students and teachers and I fought valiantly including taking the principal before the school board and with zero results. So, this story of this young woman being bullied and openly does not surprise or shock me, and in fact it goes on in so many workplaces maybe not at this extreme level, but it occurs and often I believe.

It will be interesting in the future now that the birthrate is declining how life will be for children and adults alike.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Absolutely ZERO will be done against Takarazuka over this, same as sumo stables are not seriously punished for even going so far as to beat a wrestler to death, and the lead Kabuki actor won't see prison for helping kill his parents. They are safer than a Japan Inc. CEO and nearly as safe as a Japanese politician.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@justasking I totally agree!! Bullying is a way of life in Japan I have said many times it is taught and accepted in a subliminal way. From the mommy groups, school grounds, to the work place. If a person seems to not fit in he or she WILL BE targeted by someone because of what they look like or how they behave. I have friends who have mixed kids and I totally agree some of things they told me their kids have to go through in school is totally ridiculous and as you stated the teachers, the kids parents, principal and school board does nothing because they accept it and this is why I said bullying is an accepted way of life in Japan. In some countries which I will not name if a child bullies another parents child first they notify the teacher, then the principal and then the school district. If nothing happens then its the bullying parent who gets his/her face bashed in. It never gets that far in most cases but that is a last resort. I agree the bullying happens openly and no one says anything about it because it is accepted! I have read many time on this platform where parents say they send their kids to international school or they move to the country where the kid is accepted and not treated as an outsider.

The bullying is horrible in Japan. My child, mixed race was bullied from grade 1 by both students and teachers and I fought valiantly including taking the principal before the school board and with zero results. So, this story of this young woman being bullied and openly does not surprise or shock me, and in fact it goes on in so many workplaces maybe not at this extreme level, but it occurs and often I believe.

It will be interesting in the future now that the birthrate is declining how life will be for children and adults alike

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Since this seems to have become mumsnet.com (J-version), here's my experience: my children were never bullied and had fulfilling school lives. One has moved away and can't be rid of the place, and another wants to. The third can't envisage moving away from their hometown. Anecdotal evidence counts for nothing.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The reason bullying survives is because a small enough minority is selected to be victims. Therefore quoting numbers to prove that a vast majority are not badly affected by bullying does prove anything, let alone that bullying isn't happening, or is justifiable.

If Takarazuka has an official process for dropping people who were at first accepted but turns out don't make the cut talent wise, that is one thing. But that's not this thing.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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