Pop idols’ management demands Y8 million in damages after two members caught dating fans
The life of a pop idol may seem glamorous from the outside. What it really amounts to is a kind of indentured servitude. You're expected to give up all semblance of selfhood in order to embody a set of ideals which, to put it mildly, are complete and utter bullshit. You're not even paid particularly well to do this.
When they're finished with you, you "graduate." This means you may go on to an independent career of some sort, maybe acting or singing. But most performers, having only debatable ability outside of fitting into their group role, fade into anonymity. This probably seems like a blessing at the end of their idol years. At least they go through this process while they're young enough to have at least some chance to recover and rehabilitate themselves. Every so often, a TV tracks down one of these idols and finds her living as a shufu, working at an "esthe" salon or living abroad. No word on PTSD after years of managerial abuse, encounters with lunatic fans, being shuttled from appearance to appearance, job after job, all day, most of the night and all the while pretending to be a cartoon of yourself. The ones we've watched interviewed-- the ones willing to be displayed again-- seem reasonably happy and healthy. I have to wonder about the disposable others not shown.
Last year we watched a program on Mei and Kei, the two members of Pink Lady, where they were open and honest about the rampant sexual harassment and routine degradation they faced. The show featured a recreation of one of their photo shoots where a leering photography took shocking liberties with their bodies while they tried to put on a professional front and be tough soldiers about it. A far cry from the public image of luxury and celebrity sold to us peasants along with all the merchandise from which beloved pop idols typically receive very little-- if any-- remuneration. I think Pink Lady made out all right, though. For the rest of these stars, working at a 7-11 would probably be a better choice.
Anyway, can you imagine signing a contract that forbids you from dating? That's a regular part of an idol's career. So this news a couple of performers have gotten themselves in hot water for a breach of such a contract is no surprise. I hope their fans rebel en masse against this kind of exploitation, but I have this cynical feeling they're going to be lambasted for not playing the game correctly. Apologies and more humiliation to follow. I furthermore hope all the parties involved-- the women, the fans they dated (although "fan" is difficult to prove; how does anyone really know a person's motivations for dating, and how does one prove such knowledge?) and the legal guardians who signed these asinine documents in the first place all say to the management company, "Take your threatening letters and shove them straight up your asses!"