Japan’s Secret Shame, BBC 2 9pm, BBC iPlayer, director and producer Erica Jenkins.

secret shame.jpg

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0b8cfcj/japans-secret-shame?suggid=b0b8cfcj

In May 2017, twenty-nine year old Shiori Ito, claimed she had been raped by a television journalist, Noriyuki Yamaguchi. They had met in a Tokyo sushi bar. Ito hoped Yamaguchi would help her break into journalism and was willing to work as an intern. He was well connected to Japan’s elite, having written an authorised biography of the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe. Yamaguchi drugged her drink (shades of Bill Cosby here) and said she was drunk and couldn’t allow her to travel home by public transport. He took her to a hotel and repeatedly raped her. I’m meant to say, allegedly, here.

One of the online messages she received when she went public with the truth was ‘go back to Korea’. Comfort girls. An innocuous sounding term. You won’t find mention of them in Japanese school text books.  They have been written out of history. The damages paid by Japan to South Korea for that dishonour and reparation payments for a brutal occupation (1910-1945) in a chapter in  Ha-Joong Chang’s book 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism, was enough to kick-start the South Korean shipbuilding industry.  The Nanking Massacre also involved mass rape and mutilation. The Japanese have previous here.

And the law relating to consent, until Ito’s challenge to the quiet way things are done in Japan, dates from 1907, before Japan’s imperial conquests had taken root. It took a Gaijin, an outsider, to explain it to the viewer. You can buy any sexual service you want in Japan. Popular sex dolls, for example, are designed to look like women and children.

#Me Too and the Harvey Weinstein scandal was met by puzzlement.  As one female student explained from a young age they attend school in little sailor’s uniforms. Their cuteness is iconic as the Japanese flag. They take it for granted that they will be sexually assaulted while travelling on public transport, men and boys rubbing up against them. They will be raped and abused. Nobody much reports it, because the victim is seen as being at fault. And the facilities for reporting sexual assault are feeble.

Rape kits, which could provide forensic evidence, are held by the police. When Ito tried to press criminal charges against Yamaguchi and asked to speak to a female officer, her statement was taken by a traffic warden. Her statement was invalid and she was referred back to male police officers.

When Ito tried to contact a Rape Crisis Centre she found the nearest one was two hours away by public transport. And they weren’t willing to meet Ito anywhere else.

Perhaps the strangest event was a liberal politician in the government appearing in the programme as a critic of Ito. After all, Ito had drunken alcohol. A straw poll by contemporary female students on their smartphones, after Ito had given a workshop about rape, showed that ten-percent of these contemporary students thought drinking alcohol with her assailant was akin to giving consent to having sex.

Before Silicon Valley, Japan was the poster-boy capitalist and technological leader of the late seventies and early eighties. An aging population and the birth rate falling off a cliff, it seems too many males are wanking themselves to death, which makes a change from working themselves to death. Females remain part of a feudal mind-set that seems to offer equality, but when they reach for it, moves further away.

But listen, the Americans have the serial groper and rapist in the White House. It’s a bit of light relief that Russian prostitutes peed on him. And here at good old blighty, we have the rape clause for would-be benefit claimants. Our secret shame is not so secret.

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Bill Cosby: Fall of an American Icon, BBC 2, 9pm (BBC iPlayer) Director and Producer Ricardo Pollack

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08tj1kx/bill-cosby-fall-of-an-american-icon

Today, 5th June 2017, Bill Cosby faces four charges of first-degree aggravated sexual assault against Andrea Constand. A possible ten-year prison sentence hangs in the balance. He has pled not guilty. In many ways this is the reverse of the OJ Simpson trial. When Constand made the allegations against Cosby that he had drugged and sexually assaulted her in summer 2004, the Hollywood star was not prosecuted, but an action was taken through the civil courts and an agreement was reached. What that agreement was and the damages paid was incommunicado, the silencing of the witness by giving them money, as compensation, with a legal provision that they keep stuhm.  It’s a rich man’s injustice. And Cosby was rich and so famous he wasn’t even regarded as black. From the 1960s onwards his success as a comedian, actor, writer and producer of the The Cosby Show, which ran for eight series and some shows were watched by over fifty-percent of the telly-watching population made him and the characters he created, paediatrician, family man and all-round good guy, Cliff Huxable, the face of television and America’s dad.

You here that quite a lot. Lili Bernard, for example, told how he mentored her, took her onto the set of The Cosby Show and offered to give her a part. After about a year of mentoring he took her to Trump’s Taj Mahal hotel ostensibly to meet a producer. In the suite he’d leased, he force fed her Quaaludes, but she trusted him, thought it best to go along with his wishes, so she drank them down, but even as he was raping her, there was a disconnect, because Bernard couldn’t believe a person she thought of a dad, was raping her. Cosby warned her not to speak out.  ‘You’re nothing,’ he said.

Cosby was always something. I’d never heard of OJ Simpson, but I could place Cosby. I watched bits of his shows.  I guess like many others, I conflated the character Huxtable with Cosby. If the character was called Bill Cosby and this was his family I don’t think many people would have complained or noticed. Cosby did have a black wife and five kids.

He was also a serial rapist. Let’s use the tip-of-the-iceberg argument. Thirteen women testified to attorney Gloria Alred that Cosby had drugged them, raped them and then threatened them afterwards not to tell anyone because they were nothing. Victoria Valentino a former Playboy bunny tells us how Cosby at the end of the nineteen-sixties, promised her and a friend he’d an eye for, an audition in a forthcoming show, but asked them to take pills that would make them feel better, which they did, but felt nauseous. He took them for a ride in his limousine into the hills and orally and vaginally raped her. He left her and her friend in the hills and told them to ‘call a cab’. She didn’t report it, because of whom he was and who she was, but even when she did, nobody seemed to want to listen.

It takes a lot to knock an icon from a pedestal. Ironically, it was a joke, Hannibal Buress, calling Cosby a rapist, which did the job. It was filmed; one black man calling another black comedian a rapist and it exploded on social media sites, being picked up by mainstream media. A statute of limitations meant that victims such as Valentino would not have their day in court, but they can be called as witnesses and it won’t be for the defence. Cosby is guilty as OJ was guilty, but he didn’t kill anybody, but both black men will join the largest concentration of citizens in the world that are serving time in prison, the majority of whom are also black. There’s justice and there’s justice. We’ll wait and see if that other serial groper and potential rapist the moron’s moron who is president is, in the years to come, charged with sexual assault. That would be an even bigger trial and I’m sure more viewers would watch that than The Cosby Show.   Perhaps we’ll finally see the footage Putin has of Trump and the prostitutes he’d hired. That would be a show-stopper that could go nuclear.