Hankyu Hanshin Apologizes to Family Over Actress Death in Takarazuka Revue

Hankyu Hanshin Apologizes to Family Over Actress Death in Takarazuka Revue

Hankyu Hanshin Holdings, the parent company of Japan’s Takarazuka Revue. has apologized to the family of an actor in the all-female company who allegedly committed suicide last year after sexual harassment that led to both verbal and physical abuse.

The unidentified 25-year-old victim died in September 2023 after being harassed by older members of the troupe as well as by executives of the entertainment company.

According to the Kyodo news agency, the apology was made at a press conference in Osaka on Thursday after a series of meetings between Hankyu Hanshin officials and the victim’s family. The company will also pay compensation as a result of the incident.

At the press conference, Kazuo Sumi, the chair and CEO of the company, offered an apology to the family. Yasuo Shimada, the president of Hankyu Hanshin, was quoted as saying: “We have committed an irretrievable act toward the individual who entered the revue with high hopes, as well as her bereaved family. We cannot give any excuse for what we have done, considering the feelings of the bereaved family.” Shimada added that “full responsibility lies with the theater company. We are deeply remorseful.”

After an investigation, the company had originally denied it was guilty of “power harassment,” claiming in November only that it had failed to properly oversee the long hours the entertainers had been working in the week’s before the young woman’s death. Her family protested this report while offering detailed allegations of verbal and physical abuse, including an incident in which senior members of the Takarazuka troupe had burned the victim’s forehead with a hair iron.

The apology is considered a significant step forward, given the fact that in the patriarchal Japanese entertainment industry, sexual harassment has long been ignored or covered up. In another recent case, it was revealed that Johnny Kitagawa had sexually abused several hundred young males in his role as founder of the Johnny & Associates talent agency. The company’s CEO ultimately resigned. and the agency changed its name and agreed to compensate victims for the incidents.

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