Idolatry Revisited

There is a good chance that f you visit this site regularly, or listen to the Living Japan Podcast that I co-host, you have heard my thoughts on Japan’s booming industry of idol stars.

If you haven’t, the short version is that I am not a fan. I honestly cannot think of a single redeeming value of idol worship and find almost every aspect of it extremely distasteful. This goes for the boy and girl group versions. However, once you factor in the abundance of misogyny that is allowed to just freely float around here in Japan, I can only imagine the abuse that exists in the system.

In fact, I have a short story available here, that while obviously is a dark extreme, is still built upon a solid foundation of reality. (But seriously, read the story.)

Why am I talking about this today. Because of a news article being shared around concerning one of the sister groups of the ===48 factory. One of their stars, Maho Yamaguchi, was attacked in her apartment. She suspects that other members of the group supplied her address to her attackers. After the attack, while she was waiting for her management company to help take action, she spoke openly about the attack. The attackers were arrested.

Then came the unknown fallout. She has now publicly apologized for “causing trouble” and her attackers have been set free. You can read an article and see a video of her apology here.

I wish I could say any of this surprises me. But it doesn’t. And I fear this incident only scratches the surface of the dark side of this industry. Rather than being one of Japan’s top culture exports, idol culture should be a deep source of shame for modern Japan.

This is not the group in question, but a different idol group that was performing at a local mall. I’m using it, because it is my picture.

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