Several actresses have anonymously accused Japanese filmmaker Sono Sion of sexual assault.
If #MeToo has helped to free speech around the assaults suffered by women and has allowed many victims to make their voices heard in Hollywood, the movement has not had the same importance depending on the country. Indeed, in many countries, the place given to victims to express themselves is still weak. Four years later, the spark created by the Weinstein affair, which initiated a wave of testimonies, is not ready to go out.
In Japan, the movement finally seems to be surfacing given the recent accusations against Sono Sion could well have consequences and launch a wave of testimonies. In a paper published by the Japanese magazine Shukan Josei PRIMEseveral actresses have accused the director of suicide club and of love show of sexual assaults.
We can hardly imagine what the cast of Love Exposure must have looked like
In the survey conducted by the magazine and published on April 4, many actresses spoke anonymously about their respective collaborations with the filmmaker. The latter would have made sexual advances to most of his actresses and would have greatly benefited from his stature. According to testimonies, the majority of these attacks took place during his acting workshops. The director responded in a statement released on April 5:
“To whom it may concern. Thank you very much for your continued support. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience and concern this may have caused to all parties involved. We will make a further announcement shortly, after we sort out the facts.”
Evasive, Sono Sion does not seem to deny. He’s probably negotiating with his lawyers. If no official investigation has yet been recorded, the amount of testimonies is alarming.
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In several tweets, actor Yuki Matsuzaki (Letters from Iwo Jima) expressed his support for the victims and asked for a response from studios and television stations:
Now that Sion Sono is portrayed as a sexual predator who preys on young actresses by enticing them with roles in his movies, I wonder if ANY of Japan’s major movie studios and TV networks would condemn such predatory practices? How about the Japan Academy Awards? https://t.co/SOi3udQ1s7
— Yuki Matsuzaki Yuki Matsuzaki (@Yuki_Mats) April 4, 2022
“Now that Sono If we is recognized as a sexual predator who preys on young actresses by enticing them with roles in his films, I wonder if at least one Japanese movie studio or TV channel will condemn such predatory practices. The Japan Academy Awards maybe?
Until we know more, we hope that these accusations will have real consequences in the industry and that they will encourage other women to speak up. Moreover, in addition to Sono Sion, two other personalities of Japanese cinema, actor Houka Kinoshita and Hideo Sakaki have also been accused of similar acts. The Japanese release of their respective film was then simply canceled.