entertainment

Joe Odagiri apologizes for signing name 'Kumi Koda' as autograph for fan

47 Comments

Actor Joe Odagiri has apologized for writing his name as "Kumi Koda" when a fan asked him for his autograph while he was in a restaurant after attending the Busan International Film Festival in South Korea in October.

Odagiri, 35, attended the premiere of his new film "My Way," in which he plays the main character. His autograph was posted on the Internet and picked up by South Korean media which criticized him.

Odagiri released a statement to media, apologizing. He said he didn't mean to belittle the fan or Korean people.

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47 Comments
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is this nonsense news worthy? Are this people so insignificant and unimportant that they have to resort to this sort of prank so they can make the news and have one minute of "fame"?

YAWN~

1 ( +13 / -12 )

Is your 'comment' comment-worthy? zzzzzzzzzz.

-17 ( +7 / -22 )

Forging?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Classic, sounds like Joe has a sense of humor!

3 ( +6 / -3 )

While in his privacy he was disturbed by a fan who though he/she has the right to do so. Signing the autograph with a different name is "at least" of what it should happen...

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Jeez, no one can take a joke these days?

1 ( +4 / -4 )

Jeez, no one can take a joke these days?

There's more to it than that. As a celebrity, he is also effectively an ambassador and should act on his best behavior. If he had done that to me in my home country, I would think that he assumed that I wouldn't know the difference between his name and something else based on the fact that I am not Japanese. This is pretty belittling in my opinion is somewhat disrespectful.

@BlueWitch

I agree, there is a lot of fluff in Japanese media. It's strange how some media outlets in Japan (or even in the US for that matter) prioritize celebrity fluff over world events that truly matter.

-7 ( +6 / -11 )

I'm with Lunchbox...It is humorous...I would have just laughed and said "thanks Kumi".

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

As a celebrity, he is also effectively an ambassador and should act on his best behavior.

Mirai, I disagree. Actors, musicians, athletes and other "celebrities" do what they do because they love it and are good at it. So-called "celebrity" status is conferred upon them by their fans who willingly and freely might spend money on their films, music or performances. I therefore disavow the notion that "famous" people should be ambassadors or role models. Aside from gratitude, they owe nothing to their fans, least of which is the forced, unnatural state of always being on their "best behavior," whatever that means.

1 ( +5 / -3 )

hahaha, this is funny news. he should have known better those people dont interpret any jokes.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

shocking news :p

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Here's a thought, next time anyone takes out a loan at the bank sign his name! Turn-about is fair play!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I always sign interesting names for my credit card purchases, because not one person has ever looked at it to compare to the back of the card in 28 years in Japan.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

@ben4short

I agree and disagree. I agree that celebrities are where they are because they are good at what they do (supposedly -you can also argue that many are just good at getting attention). HOWEVER, they are nothing without the fans who give them the attention and pay them for whatever they do. Athletes are nothing without spectators, musicians are nothing without people buying their music, and "talent" aren't anything without the fans who appreciate what they do. Otherwise they are just normal everyday people who have to do normal jobs outside of the entertainment industry to survive.

For that reason, these celebrities (although not obligated to) should give a little bit of fan service. The person who asked Joe Odagiri for an autograph wasn't asking for much; just five seconds of his time to allow the fan to appreciate him, which in my opinion should be very flattering to him considering that most Japanese celebrities don't get too much attention outside of Japan. But he was so arrogant that he decided to sign someone else's name instead which I think is cruel. It just as worse as scribbling and spitting on the paper or whatever the object was that the fan wanted signed.

Finally, (two more points) if Odagiri really didn't want to give the fan an autograph, he could have just politely turn the fan away. I think that would have been a lot more respectful. And if it were meant to be a joke, he could have told the fan immediately afterwards that its a joke (although I don't know what so funny about it) and offer to resign if the fan didn't get it. My 2 yen.

-3 ( +4 / -6 )

Celebs and fans ... They deserve each other.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I agree with Mirai, this was very arrogant of him. Can you imagine your kid asking his favorite baseball player for an autograph and being treated like that?

Either show your fans the respect they deserve, or just say no. I don't think this is deserving of any kind of punishment, but this guy is an a#*hole in my eyes now...

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

It appears that it wasn't the fan who was offended, but the Korean media which took umbrage at Odagiri's non-autograph.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

He has apologized, but I'm assuming he hasn't said why he didn't. If it wasn't to belittle or offend the fan, then why was it? He doesn't care about his fans, he didn't want to be disturbed while eating, he dresses up like Koda Kumi in private and his brain was in Kumi-chan mode? Should have given some sort of explanation.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Odagiri was in Korea on promotion tour to promote his new movie. If there is any time to show appreciation for his fan, THIS IS THE TIME. He's trying to sell his new film. And by doing a stupid stunt like this, he has turned off and offended a lot of people in Korea, which will effectively hurt his movie sales and his popularity. From the context of this whole situation, I can almost guarantee that his publicist and the movie company urged Odagiri to issue the apology, and wasn't done because he "felt bad".

@Wilke

i would think that if the fan was not offended or at the very least confused by this, they wouldn't have posted it online. I do agree that the k-media added fuel to the fire, but I do think it was for a good reason.

-4 ( +3 / -6 )

Seems like celebs in Japan are kept on a tight leash. I wish they would do that with the Kardashians.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I sign my name "Bill Gates"...so what?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I don't get it...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

LOL! He may be my new favorite geinin!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

hahahaha boring news, go away korea

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Hahahahahahaha.good on him. Korea bag Japan for everything, so "screw em". The fan was probably just going to burn his autograph at one of those crazy "ajashi" (oyagi) protest rallies anyway.

He should have posed next to that new statue of a "comfort girl" outside the J embassy. Korea is always portraying themselves as "victims". I know, I lived there for 6 years!

-7 ( +2 / -8 )

Korea is ridiculous

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

I would think that he assumed that I wouldn't know the difference between his name and something else based on the fact that I am not Japanese.

You suggest the Korean fans can't read kanji or kana. Is that what you mean ? I don't think they are all worth a Nobel prize, but I have to met one that dumb. Then, supposing he had done the joke to someone really unable to read, that's still a joke. I'm not fan of Koda, but her name is not an insult.

i would think that if the fan was not offended or at the very least confused by this, they wouldn't have posted it online.

I think the fan posted it because that's funny, There are always to way to look at something.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Odagiri need not apologize. And the Korean media ought to have a sense of humor. ' The fan is actually lucky to have Odagiri's 'non-auto' graph - it is unique and therefore has more "value" than a real but ordinary Odagiri autograph.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

"Odagiri released a statement to media, apologizing. He said he didn’t mean to belittle the fan or Korean people."

So what exactly did he intend to do? I can somewhat empathize with a celebrity not being able to enjoy a meal or other normal activity without being hounded by the media or fans, but that's part of the life, and the guy went there for a screening of the new movie he's in, so what did he expect? He could easily have sought out a place with a private room, away from fans who would 'bother' him. Should he have to? not at all, but that's how it goes.

codomo: so far today you have referred to 'those people' (ie. Koreans) as yakuza, and in other racist terms. You think you can leave your insecurities and racism at the door and try to comment objectively?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Cos: "You suggest the Korean fans can't read kanji or kana. Is that what you mean ? I don't think they are all worth a Nobel prize, but I have to met one that dumb."

Most can't, as a matter of fact. They study 'Hanza' (Korean for Chinese characters), which are often very different, and in MOST cases do not at all resemble the sounds the characters represent in Japanese (sometimes the 'On-yomi' is similar or the same), and almost NEVER with names. There's a chance, of course, that because Koda is a celebrity they know the reading, but that's the only reason why they might.

Sure, the guy likely meant it in jest, but it was still pretty low to do to a genuine fan, and could be insulting to the person who's name he wrote (in this case Koda).

incognito2: "Odagiri need not apologize. And the Korean media ought to have a sense of humor."

It's bad press, here OR there, and the apology is typical damage control, heartfelt or not. It's necessary for business, but beyond that whether or not you think it necessary is up to you, and of course to him and the fan. I can tell you if it were the other way around and a Korean came to Japan and signed someone else's name the media here would be all over it as a slight as well, lacking the same sense of humor people claim the Korean media should have here.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I sign my name hot babe, and then give them a meishi with me in a bikini pict at the beach.

Who cares what he signed. Duh

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Cos: Sorry, I meant to add in my initial comment that they can probably understand the meaning of the kanji in many cases, they just can't 'read' it.

lachatamber: "Korea is ridiculous"

Yes, well, stick to AKB48 and you'll be fine. I suggest blinders as I do for all the other people insecure and upset about the AMAZING success of Korean celebrities, music, movies, and TV here whereas people don't buy into a lot of Japanese stuff because they parade little girls in panties and think it's 'normal'.

Anyway, the anti-Korean rhetoric on this site lately is getting a bit out of hand -- are you guys really that unable to accept the boom of Korean culture here?

As to Joe, Mirai is absolutely right; the man was there to represent his new movie, and as a representative it's part of his job to cater to the public. Should he have to be aware at ALL times of fans and treat them well? probably not, but it's part and parcel of being famous. The guy could have chosen a more private place or a private booth somewhere. Even if it was intended as a joke, signing another celebrities name to a fan's memorabilia or what have you can also be a slight to the name you are forging. In other words, whatever he actually intended, it was in poor taste.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

JapanGal: "I sign my name hot babe, and then give them a meishi with me in a bikini pict at the beach."

Nice! Of course, 'hot babe' isn't an actual name for another celebrity, and if you are indeed a hot babe (I'm not doubting, just saying) then you're not 'joking' about how you appear (let alone not lying about your identity).

"Who cares what he signed. Duh"

Agree and disagree. Again, had he not used someone else's actual name it'd be a bit less insulting (to the fan and the person whose name he used).

Anyway, not the smartest 'promotional' techniques, I'd say. As to the poster who said he need not apologize, whether or not he's sorry isn't really the issue -- it's typical damage control for bad press, so I'd say it was needed. He can gripe about it and say it meant nothing when the cameras are off.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Sorry, don't understand this at all. There is no mention whatsoever in the article about who this kumi koda is and why writing her name is offensive?

Personally don't read the Japanese equivalent of "heat"magazine so a little background might be helpful. Sloppy journalism again - even if the subject matter is drivel.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Anyway, the anti-Korean rhetoric on this site lately is getting a bit out of hand -- are you guys really that unable to accept the boom of Korean culture here?

Boom? What boom? I don't know a single foreigner here who gives either country's pop culture serious attention. Only otakus do.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Really scrapping the barrel for news aren't we.

Any not for a lack of real content.

It seems that JT likes to dish out fluff

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sorry, don't understand this at all. There is no mention whatsoever in the article about who this kumi koda is and why writing her name is offensive?

I think it's pretty obvious why someone would be offended if they were actually a real fan and humbly asked the guy for his autograph and they got that in return.

As for why there is no mention of who Kumi Koda is, I assume the writer assumed that most readers of this news site would have heard the name of one of the most popular popular and biggest selling pop stars in Japan over the last 10 years. She usually gets a mention on this website about once a week, too...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

He should have posed next to that new statue of a "comfort girl" outside the J embassy. Korea is always portraying themselves as "victims". I know, I lived there for 6 years!

Bitter much, OsakaT?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I had to look up this guy to find out who he was. I still have no idea who he is. Koda Kumi signature or not, he should be thankful that someone even recognized who he is.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Personally, i like Joe Odagiri. I enjoyed his acting in movies such as Adrift in Tokyo, Tokyo Tower: Mom and Me, and Sometimes Dad, and in Dramas such as Shinya Shokudou. I can understand that as an actor/celebrity, he might get upset or annoyed by a fan while he is in his privacy, but i think that the appropriate way is to kindly refuse signing the autograph and not doing this prank. Yes, it might be funny and amusing for us, but i don't think it was for the person who probably idolized him as a celebrity.

Besides, marketing is extremely important in the show business. Of course, Joe is portraying himself as an eccentric type of celebrity and therefore i doubt that his image would get any damage by this prank.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The divide between being funny or a jerk is thin, it seems. Joe erred a bit on the jerk side.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I'd have thought he needed to apologize to Koda Kumi.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Celebs have become wary of signing autographs. They'll sign something held by a kid, then find the "autographed item" for sale on E-Bay in six hours. If your signature is what gives the item added value, then you should share in the profits of its sale. That never happens. Sometimes it's by design (as in when items are signed, then auctioned for charity) but for the most part it's not.

Celebs do have a right to privacy, but when they're in a public restaurant their claim to privacy is greatly weakened. If you don't want fans interrupting your dinner, then don't eat in public.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"he said he didn't mean to belittle the fan or Korean people"

What did he mean to do then? Be stupid?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Everyone should carry a Inken with them to sign.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That was hilarious.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Before I came to Japan, I always wondered why so little of the Japanese contemporary entertainment industry ever makes it abroad. Now I'm beginning to understand - it's too irrelevant and shallow even by the low western standards.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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