Sexual abuse is an open secret in the world of Japanese cinema, according to a report

A #MeToo crisis is raging in the Japanese film industry.

A petition signed by big names, including Cannes Palme d’Or winner Hirokazu Kore-eda, Cannes Jury Prize winner Koji Fukada, and Under the sky director Miwa Nishikawa, expresses outrage over sexual abuse.

“These acts are unforgivable,” the statement said, calling for an end to these acts.

The explosion comes after the premiere of two films directed by Hideo Sakaki, mitsugetsu and Distress lampwas suddenly canceled after a Japanese magazine, Shukan Bunshunreported allegations of sexual violence by several women.

His production company denounced sexual abuse and announced the departure of Sakaki.

Sakaki apologized in a statement to fans and colleagues for the cancellations, while noting inaccuracies in the report, which he did not elaborate.

Allegations have also been made against Shion Sono, a director who was honored at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Sono, who directed Himizu and cold fishapologized but refrained from acknowledging guilt and instead vowed to take “some kind of action” against Shukan Joseithe magazine which reported allegations that he sexually abused several women.

“I would like to re-examine my habits, taking to heart the lack of self-awareness I have shown as a director and for those working around me,” Sono said in a statement last week via his office.

“But there are many claims in the report that run counter to the facts.”

Perhaps it’s not shocking that #MeToo is rampant in a nation ranking 120th in gender equality, far behind other industrialized countries in the Group of Seven, according to a study by the World Economic Forum.

Yet the time, coming when drive my cardirected by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, has just won its first Oscar for Japan in 13 years, couldn’t be more tragic.

(L to R) Japanese producer Teruhisa Yamamoto, director Ryusuke Hamaguchi and actor Hidetoshi Nishijima attend a press conference at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo on April 5, 2022, after their movie “Drive My Car” was released. won the Oscar for Best International Feature Film. Photo: AFP

The directors signing the petition and others say the problem is a long-standing open secret in the film world.

What changes is that victims speak out rather than suffer in silence. When film jobs are so competitive to begin with, including directing assistants, editing, costuming, translating, producing, and not just acting, the problem runs deep.

The statement from Kore-eda and other directors decrying sexual assault emphasizes that films cannot be made alone and require a team.

That means empowered people must respect everyone as partners, administrators said.

“We directors, regardless of their individual abilities or personalities, in particular, must inevitably realize that our position of directing other people inherently carries deep violence, and therein lies that potential that allows us to victimize too much. others easily because of our overwhelming power. “, they said. – AP