Japanese director Naomi Kawase is accused of physically assaulting an employee in both 2015 and 2019. Japanese magazine Shukan Bunshun revealed, according to The Hollywood Reporter, that the filmmaker gave an employee a swollen face by hitting him.
Kawase, who in her career already won several major prizes at the Cannes film festival and was also once on the jury, would have kicked a director’s assistant in the stomach on the set of the film True Mothers in 2019.
The assistant allegedly touched her to alert her that something had gone wrong in a shot, after which she yelled at him and used violence. The film crew stepped up after the incident. Kawase wrote in a response to the article on her website that the incident was handled internally.
The magazine then also revealed a 2015 incident in which an employee at the office of Kawase’s company was attacked by her. She allegedly knocked a man to the ground and dealt more blows when he was already on the ground. Other employees would have fled the office during the incident. When they returned, the employee’s face was visibly swollen.
The employee, who immediately resigned, confirms in the Japanese magazine that the incident took place, but does not want to release anything else about it.
Kawase’s documentary Tokyo 2020 Side A about last summer’s Olympics premiered in Japan last week. The film achieved disappointing visitor figures. It is not clear whether this has to do with the controversy surrounding the director. A second part of the documentary should be released next year.