Lawyer Reveals How Deceased Takarazuka Revue Member Had Been Allegedly Abused, Calls for Group to Apologize

Courtesy of a lawyer representing the bereaved family
A photo of the woman’s forehead, which was taken about a month and a half after she was allegedly burned with a straightening iron

The deceased 25-year-old member of the all-female theater group Takarazuka Revue was a victim of power harassment at least 15 times, a lawyer representing the bereaved family said Thursday at a press conference in Tokyo.

The lawyer Hiroshi Kawahito and others revealed the contents of a document submitted to the theater group regarding the death of the woman, who was a part of the company’s Cosmos Troupe.

Kawahito also showed a photo of a scar the woman received after she was allegedly burned with a straightening iron. He criticized the group’s in-house investigation report, which did not acknowledge any abuse, and demanded that the group “admit to the harassment and apologize.”

The letter was submitted Tuesday to the group and its operators — Hankyu Corp. and Hankyu Hanshin Holdings Inc. — and said the woman had been abused by several senior members.

The woman was found dead on Sept. 30.

According to the letter, a senior member allegedly burned the woman’s forehead with a straightening iron on Aug. 14, 2021. She sent texts to her mother that read, “I got burned,” “It’s turning brown” and “I think it was on purpose.” The photo of the woman’s forehead showed the scar about a month and a half after she was burned.

At a hearing by the theater group’s investigative team, the woman’s mother said that 3 centimeters of her daughter’s skin peeled off. However, according to the team’s report: “The burn was to such a degree that it did not leave a mark. It cannot be judged as intentional.”

The weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun reported the burn in February, suspecting the woman had been bullied by senior members. After it was published, four senior members forced the woman to say that it was unintentional, according to the document.

The bereaved family argued that even if it was unintentional, it was a serious case of harassment as they never sincerely apologized for burning her.

“We are angry with the company’s stance, as they completely refuse to admit abuse occurred,” the woman’s parent said in a statement. “My daughter can no longer say anything. Please stop further damaging my daughter’s dignity by taking advantage of the situation and altering the truth to make it convenient for yourselves.”