Sex Scandals: Sono, Cult Japanese Director, Accused of Multiple Sexual Assaults

Sono Accused of Multiple Sexual Assaults

The allegations against Sono, who directed Nicolas Cage in last year’s ‘Prisoners of the Ghostland,’ follow similar accusations against a Japanese director and an actor last month.

Japanese director Sion Sono has been accused by two women of sexual assault and offering parts in his films in return for sex.

A long-time festival favorite who directed Oscar winner Nicolas Cage and Nick Cassavetes in last year’s Prisoners of the Ghostland, Sono, 60, has yet to respond to the allegations made in the Shukan Josei weekly magazine.

n executive at a Japanese film distributor told the magazine: “Even now, there is a director who has no qualms about saying ‘If you screw me, I’ll give you work’. His films are acclaimed and many actresses want to appear in them. He uses that to assault women as if it’s nothing. That director is Sion Sono.”

These accusations follow those made last month against director Hideo Sakaki and his friend Houka Kinoshita by multiple women. Japan may be on the verge of a delayed #MeToo movement.

An unnamed actress says that Sono told her that lots of women had been having sex with him for many years because they wanted to work in his films, and that they did well in the industry thanks to him, according to Shukan Josei.

She went on to recount how after Sono offered her a part in one of his films, he attempted to force her to have sex with him. When she refused, the director called another woman who had previously worked with him and they proceeded to engage in sexual acts in front of her. While she was in shock, an assistant director who was present led her outside. Assuming he was trying to help her, she followed him outside, but the assistant director then attempted to take her to a love hotel.

Another actress reported that after Sono had coerced her into sex with offers of work, he told her, “I want to screw you while you’re talking to your boyfriend on the phone.” When she told him she didn’t have a boyfriend, he allegedly said, “Well get one, I like that kind of thing.”

Sono’s 2001 Suicide Club attracted attention on the international festival circuit, but it was Love Exposure (2008) which proved to be his breakthrough film, winning the FIPRESCI Prize at Berlin.

The director has since won a cult following for his idiosyncractic style, vivid depictions of violence and eroticism, and provocative imagery.

Sono is married to Megumi Kagurazaka, a former pin-up model who has appeared in a number of his films.

His first child was born in 2019, two days before he was hospitalized by heart attack, delaying the production of Prisoners of the Ghostland.