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EDITORIAL | Takarazuka Negotiates Like It Doesn't Care A Young Talent Died

Power harassment played a role in a member's death, but Takarazuka is more concerned with reaching a settlement than considering the bereaved family's feelings.



The Takarazuka Grand Theater in Takarazuka City, Hyogo Prefecture, is home to the Takarazuka Revue. (©Sankei by Yoshitaka Yamada)

The Takarazuka Revue (Takarazuka Kagekidan) has finally acknowledged that "power harassment" played a role in the sudden death of a 25-year-old member in September 2023. Nevertheless, the family of the deceased remains unsatisfied by a lack of concrete details. 

Takarazuka Revue is an elite, all-female musical performance troupe in Japan with an over 100-year history. Its nationwide visibility enhances the extreme seriousness of the matter. The harassment resulted in the death of a promising young woman. Management's feeble response makes us wonder whether the Takarazuka Revue truly takes the issue seriously. 

A Young Woman Lost Her Life

There are reports that the bereaved family and the musical revue company are still holding discussions. They are aiming to reach an agreement on an apology, how it will be made public, and other details. 

This should not be a difficult task. Yet it seems the Revue company is incapable of even offering an agreement with contents satisfactory to the family of the dead woman. If it cannot sincerely apologize, Takarazuka still has a long way to go on its path to recovery. It needs to become acutely aware of that fact. 

Entrance to Takarazuka Grand Theater in Takarazuka City, Hyogo Prefecture (©Sankei by Yoshitaka Yamada)

Half-Hearted Admissions

Up to this point, Takarazuka's management has gone so far as to admit that the deceased was overworked. However, it claims that power harassment by the woman's seniors in the troupe "cannot be confirmed." Despite this, in January it indicated a willingness to acknowledge roughly half of the 15 cases of power harassment pointed to by the woman's family. 

It seems that the problem lies in how these cases are to be explained. Meanwhile, the Takarazuka Revue has said that it will admit that power harassment took place and apologize, "provided a negotiated agreement is reached."

Takarazuka's stance reflects its insincerity and is absurd. Their position gives priority to the conclusion of an agreement over the feelings of the bereaved family. 

Why the Stalemate?

As things now stand, the two sides are at a stalemate on the content of the apology or how to announce the agreement. In the first place, the Takarazuka side has not indicated which of the 15 instances cited by the family it will recognize as constituting power harassment. It is only natural that the family should refuse to accept such a position. 

Lawyer Hiroshi Kawato, representing the bereaved family, holds a press conference regarding the sudden death of a female member of the Takarazuka Revue company. On February 27 in Tokyo. (©Kyodo)

Representatives for the family also see problems with the investigation conducted at the behest of the company. They say that in the outside interviews arranged by Takarazuka with leaders and seniors in the woman's troupe, "there was a  strong tendency to accept at face value whatever the seniors and others said." 

The family representatives go so far as to accuse Takarazuka of being woefully unknowledgeable about harassment issues. 

Speaking Out with the Family

At a press conference held by the family, a statement addressed to the Takarazuka management was read out by the younger sister of the deceased. She is also an active member of the performance troupe. In it, the sister declared that the Takarazuka Revue was a "world in which the norm is for individuals to engage in power harassment on a daily basis." She added, however, "Takarazuka is not a place where the law does not apply." 

She concluded, "As a company, they (Takarazuka) should face up to the facts from a position of fairness." 

Hankyu Hanshin Holdings Inc is the parent company of the railway company Hankyu Corporation, which operates the Takarazuka Revue. We urge all the parties concerned, including Hankyu, to heed these earnest words from the bereaved family. 


(Read the editorial in Japanese.)

Author: Editorial Board, The Sankei Shimbun

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