Itagaki on Trial for Sexual Harrassment
DOA creator faced with charges from former Tecmo staff
by Jonathan Lumb, 11/07/2006
Japanese entertainment news site, ZAKZAK, is reporting that Tecmo's Tomonobu Itagaki, father of the Dead or Alive series, is facing allegations of sexual harrassment from a former Tecmo worker. Itagaki, who has become quite a famous face of the game industry thanks to his frequent appearance in magazines, is being asked to pay compensation of 10 million yen. The issue is also thought to be an influence in his unexpected demotion at Tecmo this August.
The member of staff, who quit Tecmo on September 8 this year, presented her case for sueing Itagaki and Tecmo two days later on the 10th, and legal discussions started a month later on October 4. According to the plaintiff, the acts of sexual harrassment started from September 9, three years ago, in a taxi on the way back from a party after a meeting with managers from an IT company. Itagaki is alleged to have forcibly kissed the woman after proclaiming his fondness of her. The tales of harrassment continued, with Itagaki supposedly locking the reception and wrapping his arms around the plaintiff on many occasions, ending up with a similar run-in at a hotel during E3 last year.
The plaintiff claims she was told by management to "Do something about it" herself, after having been absent from work due to stress and instability about the matter, then she started to talk to the firm's head of Human Resources about it. The result of internal investigation was that kisses had been a show of "mutual affection", though the company deemed his actions improper and he lost his position of Managing Executive Officer. After an unsatisfactory response from the company, she handed in her resignation.
Since the case became public, a member of Tecmo's management has apparently contacted ZAKZAK's sister-publication, Evening Fuji, and stated that "there was a difference of opinions, and it will be cleared up in the trial".