SURVEY: 1 in 4 Japanese Voice Actors Experience Sexual Harassment
by Danica Davidson
September 14, 2023
The Japanese labor ministry puts out a survey each year asking workers about their experiences in the world of arts and entertainment and elsewhere. This time around it asked people with artistic careers about sexual harassment, a question it has not asked in the past. It discovered that about one in five actors has experienced sexual harassment. And that number goes even higher when we get into the category of voice actors, where more than one in four says they have been abused this way.
The survey put different types of actors into different segments, and placed voice actors and newsreaders together, probably because of the importance of their voices in either job. 25.7% of people in this group reported sexual harassment. As a comparison, 16.7% of writers and creative professional reported sexual harassment, 12.4% of artists, 7.7% of entertainers like musicians and dancers, 5.4% of actors in traditional performing arts, 20.4% of actors and stunt people.
Narrowing down the numbers in the voice actor/newsreader category, 14.3% reported experiencing unwanted sexual advances. The same amount said they were “touched in inappropriate ways.”
In addition to this, 68.6% said they’ve experienced verbal abuse at some point. 22.9% said that shouting and/or violence has been directed at them.
The survey noted that many people in the entertainment world barely squeak by financially. The majority don’t even bring in $1,300 each month. This can lead to desperation, and can help create power dynamics at work.
This report comes on the heels of announcements that Johnny & Associates, a major idol agency in Japan, had covered up widespread sexual abuse of its idols for decades. A new person has been put in charge of Johnny’s and promises to make things right, though he himself has also been accused of sexual abuse.
A final report on the ministry’s findings will be published next month.
Source: The Asahi Shimbun
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.