Japanese YouTuber Says Harassment Drove Her Out of Hokkaido

Japanese YouTuber Says Harassment Drove Her Out of Hokkaido

Want more UJ? Get our FREE newsletter 

Need a preview? See our archives

An onsen YouTuber living in the country in Hokkaido, Japan says she had to flee the entire island after enduring severe sexual harassment.

Life can be hard and unsupportive in a small town. For one YouTuber in Japan, sadly, it seems to have turned downright dangerous. Here’s why a popular onsen YouTuber felt she had to flee the entire island of Hokkaido for her own safety.

Content warning: This story discusses harassment.

Rin’s country life

As we first reported on X (Twitter), Rin is the owner of the YouTube channel Rin Japanese Country Life (りんの田舎暮らし). A so-called onsen YouTuber, Rin relaxes in a hot spring or similar hot bath while discussing her lifestyle as a “poor girl” (貧困女子; hinkon joshi) living in the village of Tsurui (鶴居村; tsuruimura), a small town of 2,516 people in eastern Hokkaido.

Despite being a “poor girl”, Rin is pretty rich in attention. Her YouTube channel has over half a million subscribers, with some videos garnering between 500,000 and one million views apiece. She publishes messages to her channel in English and Mandarin Chinese as well, and has amassed a worldwide following.

(Note that this doesn’t necessarily translate into great riches. According to experts, even YouTube channels with 1 million subs only earn between $14,600 and $54,600 per month.)

According to the initial post on her site two years ago, Rin moved to Tsurui after living out of her car for months after her business went bankrupt. She pawned some of her prized possessions and made her way to Tsurui, where she built up her large following.

Advertisements

But trouble started over a year ago, when Rin said she had “fled” Tsurui for then-unspecified reasons.

Five months ago, she revealed that she’d fled to the town of Shiretoko due to an alert from her then-management agency, UUUM, that men planned to assault her in her home. She indicated she’d been the victim of harassment online and in the town, with people using her home as a snow-dumping ground.

“We’ll make this town unliveable”

Tsurui in eastern Hokkaido. (Screenshot: Tsurui tourism site)

Rin’s former agency, UUUM, didn’t want her saying too much about what happened in Tsurui. But after a two-month gap without any new content (and with new management backing her), Rin released a new video containing a detailed explanation of her side of the story – and audio and video evidence to buttress her claims.

In text panels at the end of her video, Rin writes that a man, A, sexually harassed her and insisted that he wanted to date her. When she rejected his advances, he vowed to make her life in Tsurui “unliveable.” UUUM said it received multiple calls threatening her safety, including a threat that several men would attack her in her own home.

After talking with her family and management, Rin says she fled to Shiretoko. It was around that time that Rin said the harassment began in earnest, with people sharing private information about her on social media that only town officials could possibly know.

Rin says that UUUM didn’t want the incident to become public. A manager there offered to try intimidating the men in the village into silence. Unimpressed with this handling of such a serious incident, Rin quit her agency and found another. Around this time, she first went public with what had happened to her.

Village officials search Rin’s home

The harassment only got worse after she went public. Rin learned that, on March 27th, several local village officials entered her home without her permission as part of an “investigation.” When her new management raised this issue with village officials, a village manager said they probably just wanted to “talk” with her and “didn’t know her phone number.”

Rin says no one in the village ever gave her a clear reason for the illegal entry.

A and two other men increased their attacks on her on social media. One man, C, posted pictures of where she had lived in Tsurui and a video they took of her in her new home in Shiretoko. Rin says that Shiretoko police put her under protection. They recommended that she return to a major city and flee the Hokkaido area entirely.

Meanwhile, C continued to harass Rin online. He filed a police complaint against Rin for false charges and used another YouTuber’s channel to lash back at her. (Rin says prosecutors dismissed C’s complaint.) Fearing for her safety but having little money, Rin moved into an apartment in the Kanto region rented by her by her agency.

Picking up the pieces

Rin Japanese Country Life
Picture: Rin Japanese Country Life / YouTube

Rin appears to be settling in and getting back to work creating content (which is, after all, her livelihood now). Meanwhile, comments on her story on social media are drawing a lot of sympathy, along with takes from others on just how scary small towns can sometimes be.

Rin is still pursuing charges against her alleged persecutors. So, sadly, her struggle is far from over. We’ll provide updates as the story develops.

Colabo, Other Japan Women’s Groups Enduring Targeted Harassment

Sources

田舎暮らしYouTuber・りん、警察の指示で緊急避難していた 保護されるまでの経緯説明. ModelPress

Want more UJ? Get our FREE newsletter 

Need a preview? See our archives

Jay Allen

Jay is a resident of Tokyo where he works as a reporter for Unseen Japan and as a technial writer. A lifelong geek, wordsmith, and language fanatic, he has level N1 certification in the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) and is fervently working on his Kanji Kentei Level 2 certification.

Japan in Translation

Subscribe to our free newsletter for a weekly digest of our best work across platforms (Web, Twitter, YouTube). Your support helps us spread the word about the Japan you don’t learn about in anime.

Want a preview? Read our archives

You’ll get one to two emails from us weekly. For more details, see our privacy policy