As reported in a number of weekly magazines, on April 4th, 2022, several women testified that they were pressured by Japanese cult film director Sion Sono, most recently known for Prisoners of the Ghostland (2021), to have sexual relations with him in exchange for roles in his films.

In March, similar accusations were also made by several women against Hideo Sakaki, an actor and film director, as well as actor Houka Kinoshita.

Original authors against sexual violence in the film industry

On April 12th, 2022, writers 山内マリコ Mariko Yamauchi and 柚木麻子 Asako Yuzuki, in a statement also endorsed by numerous fellow female Japanese writers whose works had been adapted to film, released a statement entitled "As original authors, we demand the eradication of sexual violence and sexual assault in the film industry."

Yamauchi's novels such as 「ここは退屈迎えに来て」It's Boring Here Pick Me Up, 「あのこは貴族」Aristocrats and 「伊藤くん A to E」 The Many Faces of Ito have been made into movies.

In the statement, Yamauchi and Yuzuki wrote "As authors, nothing can replace the happiness we feel when our stories are projected on the screen."

However, they also emphasized their responsibility as creators of the story.

A summarized version of their statement is translated below:

Since original authors' names are credited at the beginning of the film, they bear the responsibility of having created the story, whatever the (film) work may be.

The revelation of sexual violence and sexual abuse in the field of film production is not irrelevant to those of us who are involved in films in our capacity as original authors.

While it is said that the industry is characterized by harassment, physical violence, intimidation, and other psychological violence due to the unequal balance of power, we believe that the fact that these women took great risks to confess their sexual assaults should be taken seriously, regardless of whether they are inside or outside of the industry.

In response to the courage of those who raised their voices, we express our solidarity.

原作者として、映画業界の性暴力・性加害の撲滅を求めます。As original authors, we demand the eradication of sexual violence and sexual assault in the film industry

Yamauchi and her colleagues also expressed their intention to "make appropriate demands from the contract stage, and in the event of any damage, to take action to seek appropriate measures."

Connected to the publishing industry

The statement also noted that the problems facing the film industry are also connected to the publishing industry.

The authors expressed their "repentance and regret that (members of the industry) have not stood up to eradicate sexual harassment in the publishing world until now," and expressed their strong will to do so going forward. Moreover, they added: "We must also be aware that we ourselves can be perpetrators of harassment."

The writers who endorsed the statement are as follows (in alphabetical order by family name):

  • 芦沢央 Yō Ashizawa
  • 彩瀬まる Maru Ayase
  • ふくだももこ Momoko Fukuda
  • 蛭田亜紗子 Asako Hiruta
  • 井上荒野 Areno Inoue
  • 窪美澄 Misumi Kubo
  • 湊かなえ Kanae Minato
  • 三浦しをん Shion Miura
  • 宮木あや子 Ayako Miyagi
  • 村山由佳 Yuka Murayama
  • 西加奈子 Kanako Nishi
  • 小川糸 Ito Ogawa
  • 津村記久子 Kikuko Tsumura
  • 山内マリコ Mariko Yamauchi
  • 山崎ナオコーラ Naocola Yamazaki
  • 吉川トリコ Toriko Yoshikawa
  • 唯川恵 Kei Yuikawa
  • 柚木麻子 Asako Yuzuki

Mariko Yamauchi: "I had to take action"

After issuing the statement, Yamauchi expressed additional thoughts on her Twitter account, saying: "Novelists are often left out of the loop when their works are made into films, or they have very few opportunities to voice their opinions directly (...) but after the series of reports of sexual assault, I thought I had to take action."

She concluded by saying: "I hope from the bottom of my heart that something will change now."

The statement, as well as Yamauchi's Tweet, elicited numerous comments, such as:

  • "As a movie fan, I agree with you. I applaud your courageous action."
  • "It is important to speak up. We need to change for the better, not just talk about it as news only when it happens."
  • "I hope that people will no longer say, 'He's a bad person, but his works are wonderful.'"
  • "I think it's a wonderful and important step forward. I hope (audiences and readers) who enjoy works will also speak out against harassment."

The courage of the 18 original authors who spoke up is admirable.

Let's hope that this statement will have a positive impact not only on the film and publishing industries, but on many other industries as well.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.