Voice actress Hiroko Konishi’s refusal to join the director of Fruits Basket in the mixed hot springs caused her to lose her voice role.
Voice actor Hiroko Konishi’s experience of sexual harassment shows the bleak and harsh reality of voice actors saying “no” in the industry.
Konishi, the voice fans will recognize from Fushigi Yûgi, Digimon Adventure, and Jubei-chan, spoke about her experiences during the height of the #MeToo movement on June 1, 2018. As reported by Unseen Japan, Konishi has declined to join Daichi Akitaro, the 2001 director of the anime adaptation of Fruits Basket, in a shared hot spring resort. Akitaro is said to often go on “excursions”. Shared bathing resorts do not allow people to wear swimsuits or towels to cover themselves. As a result, her act of saying “no” cost her some roles.
As originally reported by Anime News Network, Konishi’s manager “coaxed” her to go with Daichi to “‘thank’ him for all the help he’s given her.” The production team removed Konishi from her role in Jubei-Chan 2: The Counter Attack of Siberia Yagyu, directed by Daichi. Furthermore, Daichi is said to have concealed her involvement in developing the role of one of the characters, based on the voice actor, in Jubei-Chan The Ninja Girl – Secret of the Lovely Patch.
Women are harassed in Japan
Konishi has heard from other female voice actors that talent isn’t good enough anymore. According to a translation by Anime News Network, Konshi said, “none of the women could really agree with the actions they took in that context. [of a hot springs resort] because they fear they will lose their jobs if they do not comply.” She continued, “I deeply recognize that women in Japan face harassment on a different level than in the West due to women in a weaker position.”
The voice actors gave up after receiving death threats
Harassment in the dubbing industry is not uncommon. Attack on Titan’s Mikasa also endured death threats against her, her family, and the Kemono Friends director. Police arrested the suspect in June 2020. Voice actor Haruhi Suzumiya Aya Hirano endured years of death threats from the anime community starting in 2010, which continues to this day. Due to these death threats, Hirano gave up voice acting to focus mainly on theatrical productions. According to a translation by Unseen Japan, Hirano tweeted, “I want to help preserve these wonderful works for future generations and disseminate them abroad as part of our culture, but at the same time, I don’t think working in situations where I feel is unhealthy. felt his life was in danger because of a group of radical fans.”
Konishi’s last anime-related role was in 2000 when she voiced Misao Sakimori in Gatekeepers. She voiced Lilith in 2004’s Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower.
Source: Twitter, via Unseen Japan, Anime News Network
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