• Kyodo


Around 80% of people working in Japan’s creative industries said they have been subjected to sexual or power harassment during the last decade, an online survey by industry insiders showed Wednesday.

Many of the 1,195 people reporting abuse in the survey, which was conducted from December to January and covered 1,449 people, were women, young people or freelancers. Their areas of work ranged from anime and the fine arts, to movies and theater.

A person familiar with the matter said that victims found it difficult to complain since they felt they could not afford to lose their job.

Power harassment by bosses included giving unreasonable criticism based on arbitrary criteria in work evaluations. Since vague standards for evaluations are common in the creative industries, there is a higher likelihood of such abuse of power compared with other sectors, the insider said.

One male actor in his 20s wrote in the survey that at a post-production party at an acting school, other actors who had joined the school at the same time as him were told to criticize him.

A cartoonist in his 30s complained his editor had ridiculed him, saying, “Since what you wear is uncool, your work is also unstylish.”

An actress in her 30s said she was told on the day of a theatrical performance that her costume had suddenly been changed to a swimsuit.

Some sexual harassment victims complained of what they saw as unreasonable requests for nudity based on dubious claims of artistic need. Others said they were pressured to give sexual favors in exchange for jobs.

Around 60% of the respondents were freelancers. Many said they did not feel secure since they were not given contracts to sign and worked under unclear conditions for employment and remuneration.

Harassment in the creative industries garnered prominent attention with the recent revelation that the chief executive creative director of this summer’s Tokyo Games proposed that Naomi Watanabe, a plus-size fashion icon, should come down from the sky in a pig costume during the Olympic opening ceremony.

The director, Hiroshi Sasaki, stepped down from his post after the revelation.

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