Takarazuka to set up panel to improve work culture



The Japan Times



All-female theater troupe Takarazuka Revue will set up a panel of experts possibly by yearend as it seeks to improve its culture following the death of one of its actresses, a source related to the troupe’s parent firm said Monday. The development came after the troupe found that the 25-year-old actor, thought to have killed herself, was under a “strong psychological burden” just prior to her death in late September, amid long working hours and scolding by senior members. The envisioned third-party panel will look into the rigor of performance schedules and what could be deemed as excessively demanding coaching, according to the source. The panel is expected to be joined by university professors and experts on harassment issues. Takarazuka plans to draw up a reform proposal based on interviews with all of its 400 or so actresses as well as its about 80 students undergoing training to become performers. Hankyu Hanshin Holdings, Takarazuka’s parent company, decided to seek opinions from the third-party panel to help formulate drastic reform measures, according to the source. The source, meanwhile, indicated that a re-investigation into the death of the actress, as requested by a lawyer representing the bereaved family, is unlikely to take place. The lawyer has said overwork and bullying by senior members of the group led to her death. But Takarazuka, based in Hyogo Prefecture, said it was not able to confirm allegations of bullying or harassment when it announced a summary of an investigation report on the case last week. If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency in Japan, please call 119 for immediate assistance. The TELL Lifeline is available for those who need free and anonymous counseling at 03-5774-0992.