An Assistant Producer is calling Toei out for a harmful work environment.
An anonymous assistant producer has filed a complaint against Toei on Sougo Support Union regarding various issues:
To whom it may concern,
I am currently employed with Toei. I joined the company as a new graduate, and after working my way through the Production Department and the Directing Department, I worked as an Assistant Producer (AP) for Kamen Rider Revice, a work commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Kamen Rider franchise from November 2020.
As of June 2021, I have been placed on adjustment order. Because of this, I have decided to join the Sougo Support Union, an individually affiliated labor union in order to make demands and collectively bargain with Toei Co.
Listening to the current situation and the stories of the seniors who had left the field, I realized that this was not an issue that affected only me, but a problem that has been prevalent in the company for a long time and has been left untouched.
Additionally, the lack of legal compliance has been exposed on shows and hero shows, and questions have been raised on social media.
I don’t think I could have had the courage to file a complaint against the company on my own.
I would like to express my gratitude to Ms. Eri Nakayama, the female stage host at Theater G Rosso (*1), who courageously communicated the current situation of Toei in the past, and also to those who conveyed their awareness of questions through SNS at Gaoranger Festival (*2).
Two years ago, even though there was an incident at Theater G-Rosso that made me question the company’s decency, the internal response was to “hurry up and extinguish the fire,” and no one bothered to actually tackle the root of the issue.
Even now, even though I took a leave of absence and filed a complaint, their response remains the same.
Of course, I am very attached to Kamen Rider Revice, a show I’ve been involved in for six months. There are many people I am very grateful for: Kentaro Maeda, Wataru Hyuga, Ayaka Imoto, Noritaka Hamao, and the rest of the cast have been wonderful people to work with and have saved my life. I apologize if I cause any trouble to those people.
The Sudden Fixed Overtime System
Three months after I was assigned to work as the AP for the Kamen Rider 2021 program (i.e., when the workload would increase), I was promoted from a regular employee to an assistant producer, and my salary was changed to a flat rate regardless of how much I worked, which was called a fixed overtime system.
When it changed, the manager of the TV management department explained to me that the salary structure would change. When I asked for a specific amount, they just brushed it off saying, “It’s enough to live on.”
In the initial collective bargaining, we asked the union to provide us with the work rules, the 36th agreement, the agreement, etc., to investigate again this wage payment whose basis was unclear.
The deemed overtime hours set forth in the agreement with the union were:
Amount equivalent to overtime pay calculated based on 55 hours on weekdays and 15 hours on holidays.
The agreement was based on the assumption that 70 hours of overtime work would be performed per month, ignoring labor laws.
The arrangement that Toei has in place includes 45 hours of overtime per month. With no compensation.
In addition to that, the head of the Human Resources Department explained to us that the reason Toei introduced the fixed overtime system was “because we cannot control the hours in our work as producers.” This is not in the nature of overtime pay.
Currently, we are demanding that Toei admit that this fixed overtime system is invalid (that it does not fit the nature of overtime pay).
We are also negotiating with the employees of the Film Planning Department and Television Planning Department to admit that the fixed overtime system is invalid, recalculate it as a part of one’s basic salary, and pay any unpaid overtime for the past two years.
I was sexually harassed by two staff members on the set.
The first was a freelance staff member in his 60s. We exchanged LINE (a messaging app) for business purposes, and he persistently contacted me. When I ignored his messages and left him on read, he called me. On a cold winter day, he even held my hand.
When I consulted Toei’s internal hotline, they were unable to give me a warning from within the company because “it is not a criminal offense” and since he was a freelance-staff (not an actual Toei staff), they couldn’t do anything. They ended up putting a vague notice in the staff room and called it a day.
The second one was by a freelance assistant director.
With the excuse he called “direction,” he called me in just us two, made me stand-in in a camera-test where we stared at each other, and ordered me to sit with him on the location bus. When I talked to my supervisor about it, he held an oppressive attitude against me. Later, when I met him again in another filming, he harassed me by not making eye contact/not giving me necessary information/overly reprimanding me.
When I became an AP for Kamen Rider Revice, I explained the situation to the producer and told him that, if given the choice, I would remove myself from staff. The producer reacted with, “You’re lucky to be popular in such a short period of time.” I would end up seeing my two harassers and working with them on set, mentally suffering.
During the production of Revice, it was common to work more than 13 hours a day. The overtime hours exceeded the karoshi line (official measure of excessive hours of overtime per month).
I talked to my producer about my endless tears I would shed before coming into work as well as my stress-induced gastroenteritis. I suggested these five things:
- Be mindful of overtime hours; on days when the clock strikes midnight, allow a certain interval for the start of work on the next day.
- Increase the number of staff
- Make use of remote-meetings
- Have a concrete set number of days we need to be on site
- If 1-4 are difficult, reassign me to a different drama.
In response, the producer replied, “I think it’s possible to work with just four to five hours of sleep”…”this is totally possible,” (in regards to number four) “There’ll be a ton more important duties to attend to so you’ll eventually need to be there fewer days,” (in regards to number five), “you’re underestimating adult dramas, you’ll find your stomach will be in more pain there than in tokusatsu.”
Essentially, nothing changed.
Disappointed that I could either keep working and collapse or give up now, I continued to work the same hours I had been working, but my strength did not last for a month, so I decided to temporarily leave because of adjustment disorder.
And coincidentally, Toei Co., Ltd. declared its health management policy to the outside world this month.
We will engage in health management to maintain and improve the physical and mental health of our employees and to create a comfortable workplace.
Eri Nakayama (*1)
Eri Nakayama spoke up about being sexually harassed as an employee at G-Rosso which included being called an inappropriate name related to male genitalia, asked inappropriate questions, groped in her buttocks in passing, as well as getting her breast fondled. On July 6, while Toei Company, Ltd. and Toei Advertising, Ltd. are currently being investigated, the allegations have been verified. The employees guilty of sexual misconduct include one employee from Toei Advertising, LTD., and five employees from affiliate companies etc.
To read more click here.
Gao Festival (*2)
Kazuyoshi Sakai, who played Sataro Ushigome/Gao Black, touched the lower half of Gao White’s body during “Gao Fest” and posted the scene with the hashtag translating to #GaoWhite’sButt on social media.
Since this was not a “joke,” but a criminal act, questions were raised on social media. Since Toei has yet to issue any explanation, a signature campaign is currently underway.
Source: Sougo Support Union