So for the Record, ANFORT Sounds Pretty Terrible

A little deliberately under the radar ’round these parts over the last few days (dofphoto tossed it into a comment on the Weekender, and I left it otherwise alone) was Anna ex of Bellheart and very recently with ICE CREAM SUICIDE leaving the group under some pretty intense circumstances. I didn’t give it much thought — Anna also didn’t last with BRGH; some people just aren’t cut out for what goes into idol –but then our anonymous translator+ friend hit me up with some additional insights.

First, Anna’s full translated statement:

Good Evening,

It’s Anna Fujishiro here.

I truly am sorry for doing it like this, but I am leaving Ice Cream Suicide.

Until now, I have persisted disagreeing with the management and all kinds of bad things because I’ve kept the fans happiness as my number 1 priority.

However, I have been patient with all kinds of unpleasant things. As a member of Ice Cream Suicide, I can’t continue my activities knowing that I’m making the fans feel unhappy and sad. This can’t go on like this, is what I am strngly feeling.

With the current state of things, I have decided not to continue as a member of ICS. In order to do that, I have against my wishes, enlisted the aid of an attorney to help me get released from my contract.

With the situation like this, I went with the trial-and-error principle. I did my best by thinking that I will shine if only for this moment, for just giving the fans a smile and giving them something to believe in.

With the 6 of us, we can aim for the top. I love my fans so much. It’s ok if i have all these people supporting me, we can see the bright future. With those thoughts in mind, I carried on with my work.

Gigs were always events were you all used your precious time and mine. When you stood on the stage, you left your personal gripes and uncertainties in the dressing room. Ever since we started doing appearances in august of 2016, out of the 120 appearances, I only had to sit out 1 of those. I thought it’s a given to do that.

Even if there’s only two members appearing, I felt that I had to show my best for all of you who came to see us.

Even in silent times, like when taking chekis with fans and talking to them, their smiles gave me energy. All the comments on social media made me happy and made me think that it’s ok, I can carry on.

Even though we’re in the business of cheering you guys up, I received energy from you, the fans. I couldn’t have done it this far without all of you.

However, our activities and the conditions regarding them didn’t improve and they’ve now come to a point where you can’t fix them anymore.

I joined this group, since I wanted to do a lot of things. I want to do more as an idol, that was my plan. I wanted to make memories with all of you. Without being able to do that, It’s really sad that I have to withdraw from the group. But it isn’t a problem that concerns myself.

Whenever I’ve had days off, talking with friends or just walking alone, I have just cried. During gigs, I’ve suddenly felt a strong feeling of uneasiness and couldn’t keep on smiling. I wasn’t supposed to overexert myself, but it’s become to have an effect on my health. Standing on the stage in a condition like this is really unforgivable for you, the fans.

I kept on thinking, am i doing my best? I kept on thinking, that I still had to do more, yet the days when I was feeling bad started to increase without me even noticing and I ended up thinking: what am i really working towards? That made my head really confused.

I really love all my fans who support me. If it weren’t for all of you, I would’ve stopped much earlier.

I really apologize for making it end like this.

I was really troubled over all this. I thought about continuing and working so hard that this situation would solve it self. I thought about continuing and working so hard that this situation would solve it self. (note: she wrote this deliberately twice)

However, I can’t trust the other party and they don’t seem to have confidence in me, which makes working for this agency impossible.

For you who supported us through all this, it is really unforgivable

nevertheless, the situation that surrounds all this is something they won’t improve upon, I have no other choice but to quit.

It is something that I have decided by my own judgment.

In regards to future activities, those are not decided yet. I don’t want to stop doing things I feel like challenging, though.

I will face myself with new challenges and do my best to be able to meet you all again.

I really extend my gratefulness to all of you who supported Anna Fujishiro of Ice Cream Suicide.

We will meet again, someday. I really thank you all.

I love all of you who supported me.

Anna Fujishiro

We didn’t just chat about Anna’s departure, though; we talked about recent tweets from ICS management, basically saying that somebody (the idol) was lying about why she wasn’t appearing for certain shows:

We talked about the members often looking haggard or ill, of word going around that other members had been looking to quit but didn’t know how, of members crying after shows instead of going to do buppan. This was all news to me, but it also made sense; our friend reminded me about the weird scandal with the one member being caught selling gifts from fans to make some actual money (another bit that I didn’t register with).

Then I remembered DEVIL GUN and the acrimonious departure. I remembered all the promise of the tripartite groups debuting under ANFORT in short order back in the fall, only for two of them to not really amount to much. And things started to click.

The business of idol is a ridiculous thing. I’m not in Japan, and I definitely don’t work for an agency, so what I’m seeing is going to be very skewed by my personal biases. That being said, when you can barely keep your talent positively engaged, and when you mostly pop up in the Internet under conditions of condemnation and stress, it probably says bad things about you.

Anna lawyered up, and there may be a fight with ANFORT to get out of her contract; the other members, if what our friend says is true, may be looking for their own exits at this very moment. What actually happens in any individual person’s case is difficult to predict, but it could actually be anything. What matters is that things don’t look good around ANFORT, and that we shouldn’t be afraid to call a spade a spade; if we want to give Watanabe Junnosuke crap about the various stunts of WACK groups, potential actual conditions of actual overwork and abuse need to be acknowledged and called out for what they are.

As far as Anna the person goes, I’m not going to venture any guesses or speculate as to her personality. Remember: Kurohara Yu-ri went out in similar circumstances; Too Young to Fall in Love and Bakuon Dolls Syndrome had their respective issues with management.

Let’s keep our eyes on this one.

12 thoughts on “So for the Record, ANFORT Sounds Pretty Terrible

  1. I wish Anna and the other girls the best of luck. If it is taking a toll on her physical and emotional wellbeing then I hope she can get out soon. Anfort have been fishy to me since the Devil Gun incident, but I was willing to let it slip cos you can never know the full story. But this further makes me believe in the girls rather than Anfort.

  2. I really hope Anonymous Translator wins the corenament because his input has been invaluable to my consumption of idol in the past year. Considering I hail from Hello!Project (where the pay seem more than decent and the working conditions seem good if demanding), it’s been a shock to enter indie idol and see the “dog-eat dog” part of it.

    Thank you always for clarifying and contextualizing things.

  3. Much of the lower end idol industry management is terrible.

    Just from the last year I can remember that Baseball Girls were “robbed” by a guy from their management – they went on a brief hiatus and got a new management (nijicon). Koisuru Beat had two members leave because of sexual harassment from their manager, I think they also changed management.

    • Holy hell, that’s what happened with Koisuru Beat? I’d been loosely following them for a while and had no idea at all. It does explain why they’ve been a duo for a while.

  4. I went to Beruha shows regularly throughout 2015 and was an Anna fan above all. She’s my favourite girl in the underground idol scene and I’m hoping she’ll still be involved in it somehow despite everything. It’s been ages since I last met her so watching her go through this ordeal with ICS from a distance is pretty upsetting. Her joining in on TTT’s performance made me nostalgic but also filled me with a sense of regret over what might have been. Anyway, have you done your reps today?

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