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Takarazuka theater actress' suicide due to overwork, bullying: lawyer

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The apparent toxic culture inside Takarazuka Revue is one reason I don’t attend their shows.

21 ( +27 / -6 )

Heartbreaking.

22 ( +25 / -3 )

The recent suicide of an actress from Japan's all-female musical theater company Takarazuka Revue was due to overworking and bullying by senior members that "compromised her mental and physical health," her family's lawyer said Friday.

Right, and you knew, you knew ahead of time before your daughter joined the group/school, that hazing and overwork were a given here at this school. They are literally famous throughout Japan for it, and even though it's tough, almost like a military academy, girls from all over bust their butts to get in, because of the possibility of fame and fortune!

Hiroshi Kawahito, a lawyer representing the bereaved family of the 25-year-old actress, said at a press conference in Tokyo that they are demanding an apology and compensation from the company, highlighting the "severity of the loss of a promising young woman's life."

Oh right, it's about the money.

-14 ( +6 / -20 )

Bullying is prevalent in workplaces in general in Japan, and likewise is reflected in homes.

-6 ( +15 / -21 )

We know two ex-members who speak highly of their experience. Do they cover up the negatives, I don't know.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

No mention in the article of how she killed herself. An overdose? RIP

-13 ( +1 / -14 )

The company "turned a blind eye while subjecting (the actress) to abnormal, excessively long working hours, leaving her extremely fatigued," her family said in a statement, demanding that the company, along with the perpetrators, acknowledge their responsibility and apologize.

Takarazuka is a national treasure but in these situations the individuals high up in the hierarchy who initiate this abuse need to be severely prosecuted, not allowed to get away with bows and fake apologies.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

The abuse and poor conditions for those within Takarazuka is well documented. The live show and anime Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight kindly points out some of the flaws while not getting into the far more darker side of it's culture. Takarazuka will be something I would never want to go see, because for all its beauty in a performance I know for a fact many of the young women in that production, faced some form of mental or physical abuse.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Remember...you can always just walk away.

13 ( +20 / -7 )

@Meiyouwenti

why on earth do you need to know how she ended her own life?!

What is wrong with some of the ghoulish people that frequent these comments sections?!

8 ( +15 / -7 )

This points up one of the things I really dislike about Japan - the bullying. Often by a very weak character who has risen up the ranks because he graduated Todai or because he has connections in the right places.

I was in a meeting years ago in Sapporo, doing some work for the Hokkaido government. One of the staff had made a mistake. Not a huge one and not irreparable. But the bucho laid into him until the poor guy was reduced to tears. He would have gone on longer, but I stood up and said that we were not here to witness an internal squabble, but to get some work done.

This is the reason why I have been self-employed for most of my 50 years in Japan.

11 ( +21 / -10 )

RIP young lady.

May those who participated in the bullying and dehuminization of her forever live with the burden of knowing how they contributed to her tragic passing.

Sometimes it seems the more things change in Japan the more they stay the same.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

He would have gone on longer, but I stood up and said that we were not here to witness an internal squabble, but to get some work done.

From the manner in which you comment here, I find this extraordinarily hard to believe.

I was in a meeting years ago in Sapporo, doing some work for the Hokkaido government. One of the staff had made a mistake. Not a huge one and not irreparable. But the bucho laid into him until the poor guy was reduced to tears

My take is that there was a hell of a lot more going on than you actually were aware of. Not to mention them doing it in English so you would understand is hard to believe as well, as you have noted numerous times through out numerous posts your not really understanding Japanese or the people, or the culture.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

There is no reason to subject the participants to such ridicule and excessive work in arts and culture.

Tends to happen more so in Asian countries than Western countries that have rules in place for such demands.

Sorry to see another Actress take her life.

RIP young lady.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

The pressures of working in the Moulin Rouge are similar. A major injury can end their career. Long hours of rehearsals and then performances. Not much private time.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

No matter what part of the entertainment world we could discuss, in any country in the world, abuse, and in most cases SA happens. And in countless thousands of cases it is swept under the rug by the bosses. For a young women of 25 to feel this bad there is more to be learned here. My sincere condolences to all her family.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Mr KiplingToday 08:43 am JST

Remember...you can always just walk away.

She was 25 year old and with this company since 7 years. Problems about jobs related to show-business are well-known. Maybe goood pay, but never be off even a single day during high season, never be off in evening, never go home to sleep until late night, no time even to eat etc.

Very demanding and not so few people in entertaining business are ending up finally broken as drug abusers, alcoholics and even commit suicide and not only in Japan.

You have to be strong enough to understand if you cannot take it anymore, you must resign, leave, take some rest and look for another and easier job.

A 25 year old Japanese talented woman has many options for her future life.

Suicide is not such an option but unfortunately this woman did not understand this.

YubaruToday 07:47 am JST

Oh right, it's about the money.

True, her family did nothing to help her obviously - and now they want money from the company as compensation?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Shut it all down.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Takarazuka is on the same level as Johnny’s. It’s actually a much stranger organization wrapped up as a “national treasure” and highbrow entertainment. Did anyone not know this??

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Not surprised to hear this - Takarazuka is presented as some kind of dream for young aspiring to be theater star girls but it has the usual sempai-kohei bullying with lots more added pressure because Takarazuka has the prestige to discourage airing of the problems and is very tightly structured and secretive.

A huge star called Reon Yuzuki - I think that's her family name but she had a show called Reon Jack post Takarazuka - is one of the very few stars to hint at the problems. One of my J female friends showed me an interview where Reon referred to how difficult it was being in the school because of the 'rules' of the seniors. She essentially was referring to bullying without coming right out and saying it. The heirarchical nature of this theater company would only be more obvious when the students become employees.

This also sounds like what that young woman Minami at Dentsu was subjected to - essentially her life was taken over by endless chores and responsibilities piled on to the point where sleep deprivation was 'normal' and would have contributed to her decision to take her own life. Damn sad and people can say 'Just walk away' but easier said than done when your mental state is so fragile and getting those jobs was the focus of your life and probably was very important to your parents, too, People in that kind of mental state can only see a wall. RIP.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

William Blake .

External forces never cause suicide - internal forces always cause it.

Exactly....

Bullying does not cause suicide.

It is the inability to deal with bullying.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Bullying can have various causes, one in which I see in Japan where people feel they have a power imbalance with one person or a group exerting control or dominance over another. It has a lot to do with social dynamics peer pressure and group dynamics this all contribute to bullying behavior, as those who may seek acceptance or social status within a group. From my experience in the Japanese workplace and being around some of my Japanese friends I noticed some may lack empathy or understanding of how their actions affect others, and this is what leads to bullying behavior. A lot of them have their own personal problems or insecurities that they project onto others and that’s why they bully people. Japan because of its cultural norms, media influence, and societal attitudes this also shape those bullying behaviors and attitudes it’s obvious because it starts from the classrooms to the board rooms, play grounds, mommy groups it’s ingrained. Personally I think the bullying comes from a challenging family environment the bullies come from this is where they get exposure to aggressive behavior from home and this I think can influence a the likelihood of one to engage in bullying.

It’s important to address and prevent bullying through education, awareness, and support to create safer and more inclusive environments.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

No mention in the article of how she killed herself. An overdose? RIP

A Japanese news report I saw was that she jumped to her death from the Takarazuka residence she lived in.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sadly, as I have been saying for decades bullying is very much a part of Japanese culture, it is absolutely, pervasive is so so many ways

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Two years earlier, she suffered burns when a senior member pressed a hair iron against her forehead, an allegation the company denied when it was reported in a weekly magazine this February.

Also, according to this report, she felt extremely guilty that this leaked information was thought to be her doing and so felt that she had lost the trust of of the other troupe members. Thus, with the bullying and overwork it apparently sent her over the edge, no pun intended.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

William_BlakeToday 05:33 am JST

Depends on the type of bullying but if it is physical in any way, we have laws to remove such people from society.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It's an unfortunate fact that it's often the worst people who get to the top.

Willima Blake's simplistic blaming of the victims is not useful.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Two years earlier, she suffered burns when a senior member pressed a hair iron against her forehead

Perhaps now people will acknowledge that abuse by females is just as bad as that by males.

Rest In Peace.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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