Shiori Ito Was Awarded $30,000, But She Didn’t Win
Shiori Ito, a Japanese journalist was awarded $30,000 in her rape case against a powerful man. Far from it, it’s not a victory for the #metoo movement in Japan. Women will share some sentiments on social media. They will vent their anger for a few days.
But, the small amount of $30,000 to appease her while she suffered through the investigations and the subsequent court case, is simply an embarrassment. Japan is a country where high school girls date older Japanese men for money. It’s a country where Geisha is revered for her ability to compartmentalize her feelings and entertain her clients. It’s also a country where the sexual needs of men can readily be fulfilled in an endless array of bizarre underground clubs. Sex is often fetishized.
In 2018, even though women represent 44.1% of the domestic labor force, only about 4.1% of the board of directors in Japanese companies are women. Only 1% of senior managers are women. In 2018, 44.2% of employed women are in part-time and temporary jobs.
Personally, it’s a country where I, at 24 years old was compared to a Ginza hostess because apparently to some men, my job, as a system engineer was also to serve men similar to a hostess. Despite my education and years of study, I was no better than the woman who sat there serving tea, scrutinizing her appearance to please men, and learning to make proper conversation to entertain these men. We were paid the same amount of salary.
Let’s chronicle some of the events that Shiori Ito had to endure during this ordeal to see if $30,000 was indeed the right compensation for her.
- In 2015, she went to a business meeting with Noriyuki Yamaguchi and was subsequently drugged. When she woke up, Mr. Yamaguchi was on top of her in a hotel room. At the time, she was a journalist for TBS or Tokyo Broadcasting System.
- She went to the police station right after the ordeal only to be led to a gymnasium. At this gymnasium, the police asked her questions while placing a mannequin on top of her so that she could replay the exact ordeal. The investigators had cameras and took photos.
- She went public with her case in 2017. She did it courageously, in a country where there are only 4.7% of rapes are ever reported. She became a symbol of the #metoo movement.
- The cost of becoming a symbol of the #metoo movement was to be called “slut” and “prostitute” in public. She received death threats and was vilified on social media. Fake stories popped up about her family. She was pretty much in house arrest for a long time because she did not want her picture taken. Needless to say, no one will hire her as a journalist in Japan.
- Finally, after enduring harassment, she decided to break her silence and released her book “Black Box” despite the backlash.
What do you think?
For everything that she endured, in a city like Tokyo, where the average cost per square meter is $3,636, $30,000 just doesn’t seem to cover everything, does it?
About the Author
Jun Wu is a Content Writer for Technology, AI, Data Science, Psychology, and Parenting. She has a background in programming and statistics. On her spare time, she writes poetry and blogs on her website.