The worst and most lazy Western takes on Japanese idol typically involve the broad assertion that idols in Japan are almost universally young, well-behaved, virginal and entirely controlled by exploitative talent agencies. As we know, anything more than a superficial investigation into the genre will demonstrate that this is a cavalier and reductionist presumption. The sheer number and diversity of idol units across Japan guarantees that any gross generalization an outside observer can make will be directly contradicted by dozens of exceptions. Major label and independent idol units eschewing the image of youth, affable conformity and chastity are not a rare or recent phenomenon in the least. A few examples: Bed-In has been celebrating sexual liberation and raunchy excess since 2012; Cent Chihiro Chittiii of BiSH has been promising fans that she won’t date more than two guys at once since 2015, the same year Non of DEEP GIRL started the normalization of idols with facial piercings; Negicco, Dempagumi.Inc and 1009-thank you- all have active members who are married and/or mothers; and the rebelliousness and chaotic energy of punk and metal have been embraced by 100s of idol units for over a decade now.
Still, there are a few lines that, until very recently, idol has been very tentative about crossing. Enter Tokyo Psychopath, who introduced their smoking, drinking, tattooed selves to the world last August, and seem intent on crossing them all.