Open Her Black Box -The truth of Shiori Ito

Open Her Black Box -The truth of Shiori Ito-

Shiori Ito, an alleged rape victim and Japanese #MeToo movement activist. Let's find the truth by examining her words and deeds.

The timeline of Shiori Ito [2013-2014]

Ms. Ito's life from 2013 when she first met Mr. Yamaguchi to 2014 when she returned to Tokyo. The sources are colored as followed:
Her book "Black Box"➡ 
Media coverage➡ 
Posts on social media➡ 
Court documents➡ 
My comments will be indicated by 💡.

2013 (Age 24)

January: Entered M College in Manhattan

Majoring Photography and Journalism (Written in Ms. Ito's resume)

💡M College is a private liberal arts college in New York. This is a photo of her on the college's website.


March: Traveled to Puerto Rico

According to the blog that Ms. Ito started writing in April 2013, she traveled to Puerto Rico during the spring vacation at the end of March. In addition, in the same post, she says:

I came back, and I opened my Facebook page...
What's going on? The profile pics of my friends are all ===!
I asked Mr. rent-free lodger, he says he doesn't know.

According to her book, she moved to New York and lived with her partner who she had been in a long-distance relationship at the time. So who is this "Mr. rent-free lodger?" Did she live with another friend besides her boyfriend? Or was her boyfriend "Mr. rent-free lodger?"

December: Met Noriyuki Yamaguchi at the piano bar

Her book says, they met in a piano bar in NY where Ms. Ito was working at that time. Piano bars in NY are actually hostess clubs for mainly Japanese businessmen. I've got another tip-off. The piano bar Ms. Ito was working in was "Club Gxx", it's famous for having beautiful girls and all rooms are private rooms with karaoke.


Ms. Ito's book, and Mr. Yamaguchi's claim published in the magazine "Monthly Hanada", both say they met in September at a piano bar where Ms. Ito worked, but the history of their messages in the court documents shows that they actually met on the night of Dec. 10. Below is the conversation between the two the next day, on the 11th.

Ms. Ito, thank you for yesterday. Are you free at around 2 today? [email]

This is Yamaguchi from TBS. Thank you for yesterday.
Are you free around 2pm today? [LINE]

Thank you very much for yesterday. Yes, I'm free at 2 o'clock! Where should I head for? [LINE]

It's called the CBS Broadcast Center. I'll send you the address later. [LINE]

Thank you. See you later then! [LINE]

524 W57th St between10th and 11th Avenues, correct? [LINE]

Yes, but I'm going to have lunch with the New York Bureau chief from now, so can we meet up there? [LINE]

Yes, I'm in Columbus Circle now, so please let me know where and I'll go. [LINE]

"Katsuhama" between 5 and 6 on 55th. It's kinda awkward to say we met at the bar yesterday, so I'll tell the NY bureau chief that we've met through Mr. Noda, the baldy guy who was with us yesterday. [LINE]

Yes, I appreciate it. Can I come now? [LINE]

We'll be waiting. [LINE]

Her book says, Ms. Ito met Mr. Yamaguchi at a piano bar in September and received a business card. He said, "If there's a chance, I'll show you around the New York bureau, so please email me." Later, Mr. Yamaguchi visited New York again before the fall was over and asked her, "I'm having lunch with the New York bureau chief. Would you like to come?"

In reality, although Mr. Yamaguchi did text her the day after they exchanged contacts in December, it is clear from the messages that they had already arranged to meet the next day. In the book, he seems to be actively inviting her after meeting Ms. Ito at the piano bar. But looking at the actual conversation, it doesn't give me such an impression, it seems rather like he already had promised to introduce her to the NY bureau chief the day before.


As per her book, when Ms. Ito arrived, Mr. Yamaguchi and the chief of the NY bureau of TBS were almost done eating, so they just ate the dessert together. Mr. Yamaguchi accompanied to the NY bureau office, greeted the staff there and left. Then the NY bureau chief guided her inside.

Would Mr. Yamaguchi just leave Ms. Ito with the chief of the NY bureau and go if he had actively invited her? Wasn't it Ms. Ito who had actively asked Mr. Yamaguchi to introduce her to the NY bureau chief in the conversation the previous day?

That night, Ms. Ito sent an appreciation email to Mr. Yamaguchi.

Mr. Yamaguchi,
Thank you so much for today despite your busy schedule!
I hope this luck will be fulfilled in the near future
I'll do my best until I come back to New York.
It's getting colder and colder, please take care of yourself!
Shiori Ito [email] Dec-12 00:26

After that, Ms. Ito went to Florence, Italy to study. On Dec.19 or 20, Mr. Yamaguchi sent her these messages.

When will you leave for Florence? [email]

Have you already left for Florence? [LINE]

But Ms. Ito did not reply.

Working in a piano bar

Is it possible to work in a piano bar while living in the US as a student in the first place? In Ms. Ito's case, the answer is "100 percent NO."

To go to the college where Ms. Ito entered, you need an "F-1" student visa, which allows you to work part-time on-campus up to 20 hours a week. The three conditions you can work part-time outside the campus are:
(a) Curricular Practical Training
(b) Optional Practical Training
(C) Unavoidable employment due to economic reasons

(a) and (b) must be related to the field you majored in, and you must have the permit issued by the college, so working at a piano bar is not an option. And (c), since it is necessary to prove that there is sufficient financial support to complete the entire course in order for a visa to be issued, one cannot obtain a work permit for economic reasons unless one is in an extreme situation. Ms. Ito says in the book that she won a scholarship abroad, so there's no way she could get a work permit for economic reasons.

As I mentioned earlier, piano bars in NY are, in fact, hostess clubs. I searched on the Internet, and they say, "It's a popular part-time job for many female students," "students who are running low, actors or dancers who
are here to follow their dreams are working." You can see many young Japanese girls are working illegally without feeling guilty (Of course, the clubs that hire them are also the problem.)

I also found comments like, "you can date and even end up marrying to resident employees or celebrities," or "some people work there because they can meet VIP who you wouldn't meet in Japan" which sounds just like the meeting of Ms. Ito and Mr. Yamaguchi.

Many young people do it because others do it too, but it is an illegal act. If you get caught, you will be deported and then denied entry for many years. In the book, Ms. Ito describes such an illegal act as if it was nothing. But Ms. Ito now gives lectures at universities or other places, makes a video about "sexual consent" that’s easy to understand even for children, and actively appeals to young people. It's dangerous that Ms. Ito speaks or behaves in ways that make "illegally working" look okay. I hope she'll reflect on her past and inform young people studying abroad to the risk of "illegal working."

2014 (Age 25)

January: Departed for Florence, Italy to study for six months

Jan-08: Posted on Facebook about the trip via Poland

Jan-18: Posted a photo of the trip to Iceland on Instagram

Apr-06: Posted a photo of French bulldogs in Pisa, Italy on Instagram

In the book, she says she decided to go to Florence where the tuition and living expenses were relatively low because things were tight in New York and she had used up all her savings. However, posts on SNS show that Ms. Ito traveled at least to Iceland, Pisa in Italy, and Morocco during her stay in Florence.

Ms. Ito moved from Japan to Germany, to Barcelona, to Moscow, to New York, and to Florence, almost once a year. Repeated short-term stays, as well as travel expenses, should be rather costly. She also traveled here and there, after moving to Italy, where she allegedly moved for financial reasons. It's the same question as in the previous post but, how did she get the money? Also, was it really for financial reasons that she decided to study in Italy for six months?

Aug-27: The email sent from Ms. Ito to Mr. Yamaguchi

Her book says, she returned to New York at the end of summer. Just before that, she broke up with her boyfriend who had to move internationally every two years for work because of differences of opinion about the future.

She started looking for an internship before graduating from college, and one of the media people whom she sent emails to was Mr. Yamaguchi. It was about 9 months after the last contact.

Mr. Yamaguchi, it's been a while.
Last year you took me to the New York bureau last year. It's Shiori Ito, aspiring to be a journalist. I've finished the semester in Florence, my long summer vacation is over, and this weekend I'm going back to New York. I am writing to you that I would like to work as an intern at the NY bureau of TBS during this last semester. Could you please consider and help me? Thank you. [Aug-27 06:??]

Welcome home, Ms. Ito! How was Florence?
I'll ask about the internship. How many times a week do you think you can work? [Sep-01 13:49]

Mr. Yamaguchi,
Florence is a great city and I've learned a lot from the Renaissance masters!
Thank you! I'll be able to work three or four times a week. If it's necessary for an intern to work more than that, I will adjust it. Thank you in advance. [Sep-01 16:00]

Mr. Yamaguchi,
I'm sorry to email you so often. Regarding the internship, I would appreciate it if you could interview me this week if there's a possibility for me to be hired as an intern. Thank you in advance. [Sep-03 14:44]

Ms. Shiori,
In conclusion, the NY bureau of TBS is currently not recruiting interns. But I know the chiefs of the NY bureau of Nippon TV and Fuji TV too, so I'm asking if they are recruiting interns. I will let you know the conclusion as soon as possible, so please wait for a while. [Sep-03 15:35]

Mr. Yamaguchi,
Thank you very much. I'm so grateful that I don't know how to say thank you. I'm sorry to push you while you're busy. Thank you! [Sep-03 22:28]

My acquaintance, the NY bureau chief of Nippon TV, said he would very much like to consider hiring an intern. You can get in touch with him. Before that, I'd like to talk to you. Can you give me a cell-phone number that works? [Sep-04 15:08]

Mr. Yamaguchi,
Thank you! My phone number is xxx. I'll be waiting! [Sep-04 16:08]

I called, but it didn't connect, so I'll send you the contact information of the bureau chief of NTV. Since I talked to him earlier and asked directly, I think it's faster if you say Yamaguchi introduced you. [Sep-04 16:37]

Mr. Yamaguchi,
I got a call from xx of NTV just now and he told me I was hired!! Thank you so so much! I'll do my best as an intern. I would be happy to meet you next time you are in New York. I'll never forget this kindness!! Thank you! [Sep-05 17:13]

That's great! Well, if I introduce someone as nice as you and if they don't hire you, I won't be quiet. I'll be there in mid-September for the coverage of the U.N. General Assembly, so let's have dinner if there's a chance. See you. [Sep-05 18:25]

Mr. Yamaguchi,
Thank you! What a great Mr. Yamaguchi power. I really appreciate it.
I'm sure you're busy, but I'm looking forward to seeing you next time! [Sep-06 09:45]


Later in September, Mr. Yamaguchi came to New York for the U.N. General Assembly. In the book, she says that Mr. Yamaguchi invited her to a meeting with the U.N. ambassador and celebrities when he found out that she was there too. But in fact, Ms. Ito contacted Mr. Yamaguchi first.

Mr. Yamaguchi,
Otsukare sama desu!* We're right in the middle of the U.N. General Assembly. I'm also in Japan Press all day today as an intern. I wondered if you were here, but I couldn't find you...Mr. xx has been really nice to me. I'm learning a lot since he teaches me so many things. Thank you so much, Mr. Yamaguchi! Good luck with your work! [Sep-23 14:53]

*Otsukare sama desu is a Japanese expression to show your appreciation for a colleague's or boss's hard work. The closest English translation would be “thank you for your hard work” or “good work”, but it's often used instead of "hello" or "goodbye" in work-related situations.

👇As a reply to Ms. Ito's email sent on Sep-26 17:05 (contents unknown)

We're going to have a drink with the U.N. ambassador and Ms. Junko Koshino tonight, you wanna join? [Sep-26 17:10]

I want to!! I have a guest coming from Japan tonight, but I'll adjust the time! Please text me when you know the approximate time and place. My phone number is xxx. [Sep-26 18:49]

I just said good night to Ms. Junko Koshino. I was with xx from NTV. I'll come back next month, so I'll introduce you to the U.N. ambassador then. [Sep-27 00:40]

End of December: Returned to Japan

Ms. Ito, who was working as an intern for NTV, returned to Japan at the end of December. It's probably because her student visa was expiring.

The photos that were posted on social media show how she spent time with her friends in New York before she returned to Japan. As explained in "Introduction", in this blog, we're on the assumption that she had filed a false accusation. Since I think it's important to know her personality and real nature to search for her motivations, I'll repost the photos of her that were public on SNS after modifying them as much as possible.





👇This was taken in 2013.

💡She did NOT graduate from college in New York

The resume Ms. Ito submitted to Mr. Yamaguchi says, "Expected to graduate from M College in May 2015." So she didn't graduate from college after all. The submission date of her resume is March 27, 2015, I wonder if she was planning to graduate after going to New York with a working visa. Or did she write it just to make her resume look better without wanting to graduate?

At any rate, this shows that Ms. Ito's academic history is an associate degree. Unless you have specialized skills or qualifications, it will be difficult for her to obtain a working visa in a developed country with her academic background.


Even before seeing the court documents, I thought she might not have graduated from a college in New York. In her book, she didn't say a word of "graduated (from college)." Although she doesn't write clearly "graduated," she repeats, "just before graduation in the following year," "the year I was supposed to graduate," "I was about to graduate," and "just before graduation" makes you think she must have graduated if you don't read the book carefully.

She is the type of person who writes in her book that she has "mastered Spanish," but obviously it does not even reach the level of daily conversation (I'll explain this later.) If she had graduated, she definitely would have written: "graduated."


One of the reasons why she has kept all the details of her academic background secret, including the junior college in Japan, can be that she dropped out of her college in New York. If you only read her book, she seems to have a glamorous academic history majoring in international relations, journalism and photography at universities in Germany, Barcelona, New York, and Italy. If that's true, however, there is no reason to keep information private, such as the names of the schools.


Also, I think many people read her book and think she graduated from an American university. In some foreign media articles, she was introduced as "graduated from a university in America." Even Jake Adelstein, an American journalist living in Japan and also a huge supporter of Ms. Ito that he appeared in the BBC documentary about Ms. Ito, wrote that Ms. Ito had said at a press conference, "After I graduated" (Actually, she said "After studying...")


I'm going to show you all the exchanged emails between Ms. Ito and Mr. Yamaguchi in the upcoming posts, and you can see how she cleverly omits the parts that are not convenient for her and how she writes so that readers can misunderstand them in her favor.


In the next post, we'll see from 2015 when Ms. Ito returned to Japan and emailed Mr. Yamaguchi to ask for a job.


You can click the link below to see the Japanese version of this post.