entertainment

Japanese idols charge fans Y10,000 to talk to them for three minutes

59 Comments
By Casey Baseel, RocketNews24

In recent years, Japan’s idol music industry has been increasingly powered by hard-core fans who aren’t necessarily buying CDs for the music on them. Instead, they’ll buy multiple copies of the same single or album because that gives them more chances to win tickets to handshake events or other in-person appearances by the entertainers they’re so entranced by.

So perhaps idol unit i☆Ris (pronounced “Iris”) is on to something. Rather than having fans purchase CDs when what they really want is to spend a few moments connecting with (and possibly proposing marriage to) their favorite member of the group, i☆Ris has streamlined the process with a new promotion that simply lets fans pay money to talk with them.

The opportunity is being offered through website Kimi Dake Live, which is selling three-minute blocks of Skype time for one-on-one conversations with the members of i☆Ris. Each of the six members will be available to chat on a different day, with Mayu Kubota starting things off on October 21, Saki Yamakita, Himika Akaneya, and Azuki Shibuya taking over on October 22, Yu Serizawa taking her turn on October 24, and Yuki Wakai closing things out on November 2. Each idol will work a lengthy shift, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and true super fans can make up to three reservations, for either a triple-helping of time with their personal favorite singer or to sample talking with half of the group.

So how much will these three minutes in conversational paradise set fans back? A cool 10,000 yen. However, CD albums in Japan regularly cost about 3,000 yen, and as we mentioned, passionate idol fans often buy multiple copies. As such, even with 49 time slots per i☆Ris member, reservations are already starting to fill up.

If you’re looking for less-expensive idol video chat options, Kimi Dake Live is also offering the chance to talk with members of singer/voice actress group Sunmyu, whose chat sessions will be held on October 20 and 26 and are priced at 3,500 yen. Reservations for both groups can be made here.

While the Skype chats will give fans a longer time to talk with the performers than they get at handshake events, three minutes still isn’t very long, so they’ll want to make the most of them, and possibly brush up on their talking-to-idols etiquette beforehand.

Sources: Yuruku Yaru, Anime News Network/Eric Stimson

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Japanese idol group’s CD-purchase rewards include overnight hot spring stay with favorite singer -- In a shocking twist, some idol singers really will go out with you if you buy their albums -- Idol ordered to pay management company 650,000 yen after going to hotel with male fan

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


59 Comments
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Mishima Yukio is rolling in his grave.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

An Otaku and his money are soon parted!

32 ( +32 / -0 )

Japanese idols charge fans Y10,000 to talk to them for three minutes

There is a word missing from this headline: Japanese idol's promoters charge fans ¥10,000 to talk to them for three minutes. I'm sure the 'idols' will see very little, if any, of this money.

21 ( +23 / -2 )

I often think this marketing to fans amounts to exploitation of vulnerable people. The fans are clearly addicts in need of counselling but these music and fan manipulators are just abusing them. It's very ugly.

16 ( +19 / -3 )

Are people "crazy"?

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Are people "crazy"?

Not all but rich people !

2 ( +5 / -3 )

10000 yen for a 3 minute talk?

Even if I were single, I wouldn't pay that much for a hour long sexual service.

Are people "crazy"?

Yes

4 ( +8 / -4 )

200,000/hr is a pretty solid salary! Getting near CEO pay there.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Gee, for 10,000 yen I could think of a lot more "entertaining" things to do, and they would last longer than 3 minutes

4 ( +5 / -1 )

And I thought private eikaiwa lessons paid well............

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Initially thought it was a proper face to face meeting with the potential selfie with your fav idol but it's not even that!

I actually think the idol business in Japan is similar, and potentially as damaging, to sports betting/gambling/pachinko addiction.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

200,000yen an hour!

The "fans" are the idiots here.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The "fans" are the idiots here.

How does spending money to do something that they want to do, that brings them enjoyment, make them idiots?

1 ( +11 / -10 )

wow, charging way more than doctors, lawyers, psychologists, professional translators... and people pay it!!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I hope these idols are behind a glass wall or have bodyguards because I can see this go south.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Strangerland: 200,000/hr is a pretty solid salary! Getting near CEO pay there.

How much of that rate do you think the idols are getting?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

How does spending money to do something that they want to do, that brings them enjoyment, make them idiots?

I see we've decided to ride the high horse to the office this morning.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

I could see those prices driving a fan to extreme behavior.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I've once paid over $300 for Aerosmith concert tickets with a VIP pass. I'm glad I did. I even got one for my son. It's called show business.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

yeah Frank, I guess you don't have any regrets about forking out $300 for an Aerosmith concert with a VIP pass. oh but with that money you could have talked for almost 10 minutes with a japanese "idol", how could you've missed that out?

3 ( +9 / -6 )

I hope these idols are behind a glass wall or have bodyguards because I can see this go south.

Perhaps you missed this .............

"......which is selling three-minute blocks of Skype time for one-on-one conversations with the members of i☆Ris. "

3 ( +4 / -1 )

the slavery way of tarento contracts in japan are akin to pimping. the tarento agencies use the cute girls and take minimally 95% of the profit. way to go...

4 ( +6 / -2 )

How was that again: "Pecunea non olet", right?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

How much of that rate do you think the idols are getting?

Not much.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I have to wonder why you wouldn't just go to a girl's bar, snack, cabaret, or hostess club if you want to speak to women. There isn't much difference between what this idol group is offering and such locations, since in both cases the girls are just doing it because it's their job. The customer is simply paying for the illusion that the girl actually gives a sh!t about them. If you're going to pay 30,000 yen for 9 minutes, you might as well go to a club where you can get alcohol and a few hours of time. And hey, you never know what happens "after"

2 ( +6 / -4 )

It's worth it.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

A high-class escort will earn about $10,000 a night and you get something other than conversation in return. 10,000yen / 3minutes, works out to much more than this, what do you get , just a conversation with a adolescent looking girl. Seriously some people need to get a life!

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Nasty no matter how you look at, the girls are exploited big time, the punters a fair number clearly have issues they need help with instead of being exploited by unscrupulous promoters, the big wigs laugh all the way to the bank

I have no problem with making money, but this stuff just isn't right

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Well, if people are willing to actually pay that absurd amount for 3 minutes, then good for them

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Ever bought your favorite baseball team shirt? Stalking apart, capitalism is about money.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Humans are such sad creatures.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

"A fool and his money are soon separated."

1 ( +3 / -2 )

What a rip-off! Stupid is as stupid does. Idols come and go.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

what makes people tick to pay 10000y for 3 minutes? what kinda society pushes them to do this? asked yourself those questions... first make people lonely and in need of love and attension than exploit it...

2 ( +5 / -3 )

what kinda society pushes them to do this? first make people lonely and in need of love and attension than exploit it...

It sure seems that you are saying that making people this way is intentional. Who exactly is doing this pushing?

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

CloudV: I have to wonder why you wouldn't just go to a girl's bar, snack, cabaret, or hostess club if you want to speak to women. There isn't much difference between what this idol group is offering and such locations, since in both cases the girls are just doing it because it's their job. The customer is simply paying for the illusion that the girl actually gives a sh!t about them. If you're going to pay 30,000 yen for 9 minutes, you might as well go to a club where you can get alcohol and a few hours of time. And hey, you never know what happens "after"

Watched that drama Kiken na Aneki that followed the heiress of a Miyazaki imojochu distillery working in a hostess club trying to get the family distillery back from the loan sharks, ...

.... and watched that vid someone posted a link to a few months ago about idol fanboys in Japan, (so I'm an expert on both topics, hostess clubs and idol fanboys), ...

and, got to say, there doesn't seem much intersection between the two groups. Except for the nerdy little doctor brother in Kiken na Aneki, and he was just trying to get his sister out.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

For that kind of money, I'd expect an idol to sit on my face while I talked to her.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I think to Westerners and perhaps those living in Japan who don't "get" Japanese culture or the Japanese mindset, this of course seems really ridiculous. And maybe on some level, it is, especially when you consider that it's very likely the girls will see only a tiny fraction of this money (though I don't know how anyone can say on this comment thread for sure what the girls get at all, unless you somehow have a copy of the contracts these girls signed to be idols). However, I think if you wake up everyday, love an idol group and consider it your most favorite passion and hobby, and have the money to spend on talking to them at this kind of extraordinary level, nobody should really have the right to criticize you for doing so. The only thing getting hurt by this is your wallet. I seem to recall a few years back there was the other group of boy idols from England (ahem..cough..cough, the Beatles) that people did a lot more crazier acts of devotion for, and nobody seemed to think that was a bad idea or hated people who were die hard fans of that group. So really, to each their own I say.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Who exactly is doing this pushing?

J-society....

2 ( +5 / -3 )

This is like the twilight zone in print!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I get your point, djv124. I kinda cringe now when I see girls screaming over the Beatles. But, hey, at least they were awesomely good. Not some two-bit, sing-a-long, no-harmony school kids.

But some people may have more free will about this devotion than others though. I just met a girl the other day who is infatuated with Arashi. She even knows they are just puppets in the hands of puppet masters and that she is, too all intents and purposes, addicted. She spends way more than she should on her obsession, to the point it severely compromises her other choices. And she recognises all this. But cannot stop. On top of her personal motives for following them there seem to be social pressures to keep up with other obsessed fans. It is more like a cult. At some point a line is crossed whereby addicted and dysfunctional fans are just getting abused. Sadly, addictions hardly seem to be acknowledged in Japan, and ones that involve spending lots of money even less so, unless they are to various psychoactive substances which are always considered instantly addictive.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

(ahem..cough..cough, the Beatles)

Terrible comparison, don't think the Beatles, nor their management ever exploited fans out of cash for three minutes chat. Just knew the idol-protecting 'nohonjin' (formerly weaboo) would appear on this thread.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Tel # 1-900-............

1 ( +1 / -0 )

J-society....

Just look at Moonrakers post at 04:36pm to get an idea of how society is part & parcel in this stuff!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Lots of naive posters here. The fureai events for popular singers in Japan typically go for 10,000 at which the happy fan usually gets 1-2 minutes one-on-one chat time and 1 or 2 "two-shot" pictures (which means fan poses with singer). This goes on even in the enka world. I've done this and have zero regrets about that 10,000 yen. Money well spent. So this is nothing new other than the format - personally I would rather it be in person. No need to be scandalized. It's a free country, let people spend their money as they like. Puritans, please go back to the US and enjoy your boring life.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Puritans, please go back to the US and enjoy your boring life. LOL im not American but I can tell you there are 1000s+ more interesting things to do with your money in the US than Japan and considerably cheaper as well, without the pressure of society telling how you should be and act.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Even a face to face conference with a top tax council, unraveling complex federal codes and fiscal policy. Understand levies on transaction is cheap as chips in comparison. 10,000 yen and this equates to a 3 minutes of heavy breathing and dribbling session on a Skype connection. That looney tunes.

There is cutting edge counseling , coupled with psychiatric medication that can fix this affliction !! Professionals that fully understand the makeup of the brain and nervous system which provokes these spasms and fits that causes the wonton behavior of propelling one hard earn cash in three minute intervals at pouting pubescent dressed up like Barbie........ Put your money away, don't despair.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

How can they control (and they might want to) what the fan actual does let alone says in that three minutes? They will want to have a 'kill' button. I would put money (¥10,000 even) on some otaku having a camera videoing the exchange and any (oops, I almost wrote social intercourse!!) 'interactions' so he can enjoy them again. Free! This idol thing is getting freaking creepier and creepier.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Joking aside, these unnamed promoters, producers, management agencies are raking up wheelbarrow loads of cash. Huge margins for very little outlay.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Anyone willing to participate in such madness by parting with 10000Y should be monitored by legal parties to be able to prevent any possible social deviance... Right? As if they were in a mature society, not letting this slip away. Again, and again...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I can bet you that a few of those people will expose themselves.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@moonraker: Have you actually ever listened to Iris? I think you might want to fact-check your criticism of them as being incapable of sounding good and having melodies. Sure, they aren't on the level of, say, Utada Hikaru or anything, but all in all, their music is pretty catchy and fun. But again, as I said, to each their own.

Also, I think addiction can happen in any kind of medium or form of escape a person chooses, but saying or suggesting that management/producers of idol groups seek to exploit when somebody gets addicted to said idol groups is a far stretch of assumption of knowing the intentions of these managers/producers. As somebody else said already on this thread, charging this kind of money is very, very common in all forms of fan-related events for JPOP musicians and singers. Even in enka too. And it's all part of what makes Japan so... Japanese. If you think about it, is it really any more crazier than all the millions of Americans who will tune in to watch The Walking Dead this Sunday to see who got their head bashed in by a barbed wire baseball bat? Think about it... if you are a fan of that show, you've waited over half a year to see somebody get brutally murdered. I would think to the rest of the world, that's a little more screwed up, the idea of wanting to see somebody die horribly, than paying money to talk to idol girls who are all about spreading happiness and joy.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

High income people spend their income differently than poor people. When they spend money, money circles.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

How much of the Y10,000 goes to Charity?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I wonder if their are any rules to follow like you have to keep both your hands within view

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They probably have a scripted response anyway and you wont get any genuine, improvised or thought out answer. They will just say something typical and stupid like, "arigatou! zehi zehi!"

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Saiko: why money should hgo charity? only Y10.000

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They are entertainers. There are organizer (kanjinmoto). producer, director, clothing designer and many more to get paid on each event.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How much of the Y10,000 goes to Charity?

Probably as much as the people who earn it would like to give.

As-long-as the "idols" are not underage I don't see a problem with it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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