Japanese drama Confession has been pulled from release following allegations of sexual abuse against director Hideo Sakaki.
Accusations from several actresses were published yesterday (March 9) in weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun. No legal charges have been filed against Sakaki.
However, the release of Confession – scheduled for March 25 by distributor Ark Entertainment – has been postponed indefinitely and a statement on the film’s official website said: “As a result of discussions with related parties regarding this work directed by Hideo Sakaki, the release of the movie Mitsugetsu [Confession’s Japanese title] is temporarily suspended. The future is undecided.
“We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused to customers and related parties who have been waiting for the release of this work.”
Sakaki also published an apology while maintaining that any relationships he had were consensual.
Osaka Asian Film Festival has also announced that its upcoming screenings of the drama have been cancelled.
Confession centres on a woman, played by Aimi Satsukawa, whose peaceful life is disrupted when her step brother arrives with news of the death of her oppresive mother and stirs up feelings of guilt from the past concerning her step father.
Produced by Tokyo-based Ark Entertainment, the script was written by Takehiko Minato. Nagoya Broadcasting Network handles international sales and had been due to showcase the feature at Hong Kong’s Filmart Online next week but will no longer present the film to buyers.
Sakaki made his feature directorial debut in 2007 with Grow and won the audience award at the 2010 Udine Far East Film Festival with buddy comedy Accidental Kidnapper. In 2013, his comedy-drama Disregarded People premiered in competition at the Tokyo International Film Festival, winning the Kinotayo Film Festival Critics Award.
He also recently directed Hazard Lamp, which is due for release on April 15, with no change yet announced.
Sakaki is also known as an actor, with credits stretching back to fantasy drama Versus, released in 2000, and more recent features such as Takahiro Ishihara’s action feature Red Blade.