Love Hotels Are Not Meeting Rooms. #MeToo doesn’t take off in Japan’s Hollywood

I’m a female actor in Tokyo. I thought I was safe from the filth of Hollywood, safe here in “innocent” Japan. But the truth is that Japan’s entertainment business is full of Harvey Weinstein-like individuals. Here is my first-hand experience.

In December 2016 I responded to a casting via a Foreign Actors facebook page. After some discussions with the director, Mr. X,  online and on the phone, we had a meeting in Ikebukero. The meeting was casual, but professional, discussing only matters pertaining to acting and film. After the meeting he requested I send him some photos of my body which were necessary for him to overlay a fake tattoo for the character. I sent only semi-nudes, and I didnt think this was particularly unusual (as a former photographer, I made these sort of requests of my models on occasion).

“Let’s meet at a love hotel. Everybody does it.”

A few days later he wrote, “I want to date with you. If you agree, 70% final you are in my project.” I was very shocked by this! But being polite and professional I explained that I do not mix business with pleasure, and “for now I prefer to keep a professional relationship.” He responded that it, “is necessary”. Necessary? He explained that Japanese actresses never question it, they want to have “good communication” with their director. At that point the conversation ended, and over the next year he would send me an occasional “hello, how are you” messages. I obliged, but the conversations never went anywhere. I ignored his messages for a few months, even the message in July 2017 asking to meet me. Last December, I decided to reply to his “good morning” message. His reply was, “I actually wanna meet…I like u”. I responded politely, “I would like to work with you professionally, but I have a boyfriend.”

Like this was going to stop him? No.

He replied, “its ok, but we can make relations.” “Relations”? I asked. Who says that? He replied, “relations. Of course we will work together”. 

The conversation ended there, until two weeks ago, when he wrote that he was starting work on a new project, and if I wanted to meet him. I thought about it, and felt that after all this time he still wants to work with me, then okay I’ll meet him to discuss the project. We discussed dates/times to meet over a few days, and he then wrote that he has a location for us to meet. He then sends me the address and photo of a love hotel. I couldn’t believe it! When I asked him, just to clarify,  “Is this a love hotel?”

His only response was, “Problem?”

I laughed with disgust and told him there was no way I was going to any love hotel. He said, “Everybody is doing that, I thought you understood me.”

“Hey can you send me some naked pictures…for the tattoo overlay shots?”

The gall of the director is incredible.  But all I could think about was that he said in defence of himself, “Everybody is doing that”. Really? Are there really actresses doing this regularly? This disgusted me even more. After sharing this conversation with the community of foreign actors, I was enlightened about the darker side of the Japanese film industry. I am both saddened and appalled. Many have reached out to me, sharing their sick, sad stories. This needs to be shared, awareness is needed here, too.  The #Metoo movement started in Hollywood in the US. I wish it would strike a spark in Japan’s entertainment industry as well. 

–Ilana

Editor’s note: There may be readers of this blog who will snigger that Ilana hadn’t caught on to the seedier side of Japan’s entertainment industry (芸能界) much earlier but she’s not alone. Many newcomers to Japan only see the country as a safe, polite, and pleasant little island nation until they start working. 

日本で活躍する声優のイギリス人女性が米国の#MeToo運動を解説。セクハラ撲滅への一歩

Reina 「麗」という名前で知られている英語と日本語をいかし、フリーランスの役者・声優のイギリス人は米国の#MeToo運動を説明している記事(日本語)を載せました。

Reina, a  professional Japanese & English freelance voice-over artist and actress in Tokyo has written a short blog explaining the #MeToo movement in Japanese. We have posted it here for our Japanese readers.



世の中、色んな不正な場合、沈黙は金ではない。応諾です。
やっぱり黙って何も書かないことが我慢できなくて、今回の臭いもの蓋を開けさせて頂きます。
皆さん、最近SNSに流行っている #metoo(私も) 知っていますか?
日本のマスコミにも、ハリウッドの巨大なセクハラのスキャンダルの取材され、耳にしましたと思います。それから、一人の有名の女優は、
「セクハラや性的暴行を経験したことがる世界中の皆は Me Tooを書いたら、この深刻な問題の規模はどんなに広いのか、把握できると思う。」
軽く説明すると: 
“Me too”がSNS上で広がりを見せています。
セクハラ、性的暴行を受けた女性、あるいは男性が、この言葉をツイートしたり、SNSでシェアしたりすることで、いかにセクハラ、性的暴行が日常的に身の回りの人々を傷つけているかを表すためです。「私も」と言うことで、誰にでも起こりうること、実は被害者はかなり居ることを証明する意思表示。
Reinaも「私も」です。
特に、十代の女性にとって全く避けられないことで今でも腹が立ちます。
そして事件後、世の中とても残酷な歪んだ結果は普段こうなる:
被害者は自分を責めます。
加害者を責める気持ちはもちろん、
爆発的にありますが、
被害者は自分自身を責めます。
これから我慢しない、恥で黙って一人で苦しまないような時が来ました。
仕方なく認めないで、沈黙を破りましょう。
そして個人的なお願いですが、被害者が皆さんに相談を持ち掛けたら、縁を断ち切らないで、裁かないで、素直に耳を掛けてください。カウンセリングの窓口に案内してもいいです。
それだけで命を救うかもしれません。
重くても、私達全員、耳を掛けましょう。
理解を。同情を。支えを。
「私も」
(日本語の説明、松下さんに感謝。ありがとうございます。)
#metoo #sexualharassment #japan #japanese #chikan #support #セクハラ #私も #痴漢 #支え #沈黙を破る #日本 #日本人 #女性 #男性 #ハリウッド