This has actually been sitting in my drafts for at least a month or so now. Sometimes I forget about it, but then another, similar incident occurs and I get angry again. But, in the case of this newest incident, and especially the ties to this weekend’s Tokyo Idol Festival, I think something really needs to be said.
Threats on social media have led to the cancellation or rearrangement of events involving i☆Ris and wa-suta appearances at Tokyo Idol Festival (TIF) this weekend. Security measures have also been tightened. https://t.co/oSnD25LDHu#wasuta#TIF2019 pic.twitter.com/HbcQZ4NXKx
— J-Pop Project News (@JPopProjectNews) August 1, 2019
Apparently, fans have been sending death threats to multiple idols, and female fans, attending Tokyo Idol Festival this weekend. And the sad thing is, I’m not even surprised anymore.
When the monumental scandal surrounding NGT48’s Yamaguchi Maho really began to blew up, while many of us were disgusted, I’m sure that many of us hoped that the outpouring of support forYamaguchi, and the vocal fury at the attackers and AKS would mean that this wouldn’t happen again for a long time.
So why does it keep happening? I think I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve seen such incidents of idols being harassed and harmed this past year. This isn’t even the first time the past month that Wasuta have had to deal with this! Not long before then, ex-Gokigen Teikoku’s Ujo Kazuki also shared her experiences of being threatened and harassed:
— 雨情華月 🌟💤8/15ネックレス発売！ (@xsyndromex) June 30, 2019
This recent burst of fan harassment has also led to multiple graduations this year. Just last month for example, Wagamama Kiite’s Yuria announced that she had withdrawn from the group. She had been on hiatus from several months due to anxiety and fears for her safety after receiving threats from fans. It’s rumored that threatening behavior from a fan was what ultimately led to Nonamera’s sudden departure from Kaqriyo Terror Architect.
What good does this kind of behaviour do? What purpose do these degenerates even have in the first place, to make young women fear for their lives? What are they hoping to come from this? Attention? Some poorly thought-out attempt to “improve” an idol? Or do they just want to feel powerful and the best way they think they can do that is to lash out at innocent people? I can’t understand it at all.
Perhaps, there is also that disconnect between idols and their fans. The feeling that idols are different, maybe even inhuman, compared to their supporters, which can create a feeling of entitledness among the more toxic members of the community. People who don’t seem to understand that, idols aren’t chew toys that they can rip to pieces when they’re bored. They’re normal, hardworking people with personal lives, families, individuality.
The one good thing that I can say about all of this is that it’s at least making staff and fans more aware. Tokyo Idol Festival has beefed up its security, idols are feeling more confident about speaking out against their abuse, and wota are getting more involved in keeping dangerous people out of the fandom. But it’s frustrating that it had to come to all of this. That so many idols and fans are scared of yet another Tomita Mayu situation happening at their next event. Being an idol is a very stressful job as it is. They shouldn’t have to fear for their lives on top of that.
To the fans who are attending Tokyo Idol Festival this year, especially female fans, please be safe. Carry a phone on you at all times, stay within sight of someone trustworthy like a friend or staff member, and try to report any troubling behaviour you may find. Monsters like these shouldn’t have to ruin your own enjoyment. Be careful out there.