A lawsuit was filed by Ms. Kinoshita demanding payment of damages for an article about her in the April 26, 2022 issue of Weekly Woman, but as of June 1, 2023, Ms. Kinoshita withdrew the lawsuit and the lawsuit was terminated. We are pleased to report that the lawsuit was terminated on June 1, 2023.
On June 2, the official website of Shukan Josei PRIME made the following announcement.
It is still fresh in our minds that “sexual assaults” by movie directors and producers were reported one after another last year, causing a stir in the public. As the sexual and power harassment of actresses by those involved on the production side came to light, the sexual assault of actor Houka Kinoshita (59) came to light following a series of reports.
The April 26 issue of Shukan Josei (Weekly Woman) reported the confession of a woman who was subjected to forced sexual intercourse by Kinoshita. The confession of the victim was so graphic that it exposed Kinoshita’s devilishness, and Kinoshita filed a civil suit against Shufu To Seikatsu Sha, the publisher of Shukan Josei, seeking 5.5 million yen in damages.
When an article about a celebrity is published in a weekly magazine, the celebrity’s side often ignores it, but in the case of an article about a matter that violates the law, as in this case, the celebrity or his/her office may claim that the article has no basis in fact.
If something untrue were to be written in the article, it would inevitably damage the image of the person or his/her office. In some cases, they may be branded as criminals. Naturally, it would affect his work, so he cannot go through with it. The quickest way to restore your name and reputation is to sue the publishing company. It is a complicated procedure and in some cases a lengthy trial, but it is the best and final means of proving that there is no basis in fact. In addition, it is easy to create a public image that ‘suing means there is no basis in fact,’ and at that point, it is possible to restore the image of the company.
The reality is, however, that very few cases actually go to trial. In many cases, they simply say, “We will take legal action,” and appeal the fact that there is no basis in fact. It is not uncommon for a case like this one to be dropped midway through a lawsuit. Why do they drop the lawsuit in the middle of the case?
The most common reason is when it is clear that the plaintiff cannot win the lawsuit even if he or she fights it out. Other reasons include the inability to raise money for court costs or the fact that they are so busy with work that they don’t have time for court proceedings. Whatever the case may be, the public tends to view it as ‘you can’t win, so you give up. In other words, because the content of the article was true, it became obvious that they would lose even if they fought the case in court. That is what people think of Kinoshita now, too.
The point to note here is that “Shukan Josei” announced the end of the lawsuit. In fact, there have been many cases in the past where celebrities have sued the magazine side and dropped the lawsuit in the middle of the case. I have experienced two such cases in the past. However, I do not recall any case in which the magazine side announced the end of the lawsuit.
I have reported the results of trials, but I don’t often announce that the other party has dropped the lawsuit,” he said. Because the other party is a celebrity, we don’t want to leave a grudge in the future,” said a weekly magazine reporter.
(A reporter for a weekly magazine) “In print media, you have to consider which page to put the complaint on, but on the Internet, you can be more flexible in this respect.
I am sure there are many readers who thought the article was false because of Mr. Kinoshita’s complaint. That is not our intention, because we have firm confidence in the article. If we don’t make an announcement, the credibility of the magazine will continue to fade.
Kinoshita probably didn’t expect to be hit so hard.
Text： Hiroyuki Sasaki
Born in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, Mr. Sasaki became a reporter for FRIDAY at the age of 31, reporting numerous scoops during his time at FRIDAY and later working mainly for weekly magazines. Recently, he has been appearing on TV and radio as a commentator.
PHOTO： Kyodo News