There are a lot of different ways idol singer fans show their devotion to their favorite songstresses. Some buy up multiple copies of each and every physical media release from the group. Others grab their glow sticks and perform intense wotagei dance routines from the crowd at their live performances.
And then there are super-fans who send presents directly to their favorite idol unit, perhaps specifically for the member they’re fondest of. However, fans are going to have to find another way to tell the six members of Batten Showjo-tai that they’re cheering for them, because the group’s manager has announced that as of this month, any and all presents from fans will be rejected.
The statement came via Batten Showjo-tai’s official blog on Feb 26, when manager Satoshi Kojin posted:
“From March 1, we are installing a new policy of uniformly rejecting all presents given by fans to members of Batten Showjo-tai. Until now we have rejected gifts of food, drinks, gift certificates, and expensive items, but from now on all gifts will be rejected.”
Kojin goes on to explain that despite repeated requests for fans not to send gifts of the specific classes mentioned, there’s been no noticeable decrease in such activity, especially for gift certificates and expensive items. It’s gotten to the point where disposing of the restricted presents, as well as storing them in the interim, has become such a major time drain, and Kojin goes on to express another concern: the effects such pricey presents can have on the mental development of Batten Showjo-tai’s members, who range in age from 14 to 18 years old.
“We are also concerned that if idols, who are girls in their teens, receive expensive gifts from fans, there is the possibility that it will warp their mental and societal values, so we are taking this opportunity to restrict any and all presents from fans.”
Kojin went on to say that fans will still be able to send fan letters to the group, but he’s markedly mum on a few other issues regarding the practice of fans giving gifts to idols. Sometimes the gifts are disturbingly inappropriate, as in the case of the idol who’s received semen-stained teddy bears on multiple occasions, or the male dance troupe that was given a plushie with a hidden GPS device so that the giver could deduce the location of their home or practice space.
There’s also the possibility that when fans give idols extravagant presents, it’s not so much patronage of the arts as it is an attempt to create a personal connection and/or sense of obligation in order to satisfy the fan’s obsessive positiveness. When idol singer Mayu Tomita was stabbed more than 20 times by a fan in 2016, the attacker told police that his actions were motivated by her not accepting a wristwatch he’d sent to her.
However, just because Kojin isn’t explicitly mentioning such deplorable behavior by fans doesn’t mean it isn’t part of the impetus for Batten Showjo-tai new no-gift rule, as it could simply be a case of not wanting to upset the delicate balance between arm’s-length objectivity and personal emotional support that exists between fans and performers for the most successful idol groups. And by taking the question of whether or not to accept a fan’s gift out of the idols’ hands, hopefully he’s also helping to shield them from unwarranted anger from unbalanced individuals who’d take such rejection personally.
Source: Batten Showjo-tai official blog via Jin, Batten Showjo-tai official website
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