entertainment

Pop idols’ management demands Y8 million in damages after two members caught dating fans

53 Comments

It’s a long-standing rule in the pop idol industry in Japan: performers should never become involved in romantic relationships. Doing so would, apparently, tarnish the reputations carefully designed to make these entertainers appear “accessible,” reducing them to the status of “regular people.” And that’s no life for an idol.

We’ve seen this rule lead to instances of head-shaving and weird YouTubers before in Japan. However, one idol management company is taking this rule to a new level and demanding compensation for damages as a result of performers fraternizing with fans–to the order of 8 million yen.

In April, two members of the unit Aoyama☆St. Hacha Mecha High School (St. Crazy Wild High School), or Mecha High (Crazy High) for short, left the group unexpectedly. Afterwards at an event the group’s producer explained the reason for their disappearance was a “serious breach of contract.”

He added that Miho Yuki (19) and Sena Miura (22) had gone on dates with fans. Later on, the management company told media that a contract was signed by their legal guardians stating that they would “not become romantically involved with fans.”

As a result of this alleged breach of contract the company has sent letters to all parties involved: the two former members, their legal guardians, and the fans. These notices are demanding compensation to the tune of 8,232,400 yen from the fans according to reports.

Online reaction felt that the company must be mecha high for thinking they can get money from fans who had never signed any contract promising not to get involved with the idols. Many also commented that since it was the legal guardians who signed the contract it was their responsibility to uphold it. Therefore the girls themselves should also not be demanded money from.

However, it seems telling that the management company hasn’t filed any lawsuits with the courts yet. Perhaps a contract forbidding a fundamental part of life like interpersonal relationships would not hold up in a court of law, so instead they went with the intimidating letter route.

We’ll just have to wait and see if they do take it to the courts, because it seems pretty hard to believe any of these people would or could give up eight million yen without a fight. Until then, one thing is certain: This is truly a Hacha Mecha High School.

Source: Yahoo! News Japan via My Game News Flash

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53 Comments
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Hope the fans counter-sue the management companies for harassment, malicious prosecution, filing frivolous lawsuits, the whole kitchen sink. What legal basis can the management company possibly have against the fans who had no contractual relationship with anyone and most certainly cannot be called negligent for - gasp - spending time with an idol they idolize (thanks in large part to management's efforts). What nonsense.

24 ( +25 / -1 )

You can only hope that one day these shameless, greedy management companies will be cut down to size.

29 ( +28 / -0 )

What a moronic senseless waste of time.

Despite the rule sounding like something from a strip bar or something like that, rather than allowing adults to conduct their private lives in private, how on earth to do they expect to get money from someone who is not involved in any contract with anyone for a breach of contract...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Bwahaha. If there is careful attention by the companies to make them seem "accessible", what could be more accessible than going on a date? ridiculous.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Based on first-hand experience, I thoroughly dislike these "management" companies which I see as even more exploitative than the Hollywood agents for child star hopefuls.

These companies actively "scout" for very young girls in the streets of Shibuya and elsewhere. They have no qualms about preying on very young girls, and encouraging fans (many 30 to 40 year old adults) to fetishize them with the backing of overly-ambitious stage mothers who will stop at nothing to achieve vicarious fame. It's a shameful industry, and leaves a lot of broken victims in its wake.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

These notices are demanding compensation to the tune of 8,232,400 yen from the fans according to reports.

...so instead they went with the intimidating letter route.

Absurd. Trying to shake-down fans. Only in Japan.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Screw the agencies, the current system in Japan is pathetic, no talent required, just shake your underage body around to 40 year old men.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

If I were a fan, I would just get my entertainment elsewhere. Now I see why the governent has it's hands in trying to regulate what people can download and see from the internet. Why bother with this ridiculous crap when there is a world of entertainment out there that is much better.

Fans should just vote with their pocketbooks and not see the talentos from these companines.

As some have posted, what better way to build up a fan base than to think that you may have a "chance" at dating to keep the faithul wanting to see them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Since when does someone over twenty need a legal guardian? Management sound like pimps.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I really hope this goes to court. Haven't had a look at the Japanese constitution recently, but I seem to remember that certain rights are guaranteed. Hopefully it will go to the high court where the justices can rip the company involved a new ......

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Sue the management companies for extortion: they are nothing but gangsters.

And what happened to that woman who was suing her management company for extortion, housebreaking and other illegal acts? Are the media too scared to report it?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Scrote: Most talent agencies are real Yakuza outfits, they extort TV stations to use their "talento's", even wonder why variety shows are just a parade of "talento's" and little entertainment. If TV stations don't hire the "talento's" from the agencies they threaten the station never to access to their talento's and they will give them to other stations.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Maybe these idols need to stand up for themselves and take them to court,but i think I see a pattern of your women being used by corporate japan.If they don't comply with the said company i guess they loose their job and their dream. Pretty shocking,and i wonder why nobody calls them out on it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Abe234, good point. Unfortunately, these jobs often don't usually lead to anything after. A small handful may get into TV acting, but there is maybe not much for the rest.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

counter sue, contracts like these breach the constitution and basic human rights as well as right to privacy.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

They should crawl back into their holes before these kids wake up to the real world !

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Guess they figure the fans are otakus and will pay up to avoid any trouble.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

wouldn't surprise me if they win, although shows the mentality of the "promoters" of these groups.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why are people saying the fans should counter sue for filing frivolous lawsuits? The article clearly states that the management company has not filed any lawsuits so what's to countersue for?

I suppose the contract for the 22 year old was signed by her guardians when she was still underage. Which leads me to wonder, do they not redo the contracts when an underage performer comes of age? Are performers legally obligated to abide by a contract that was enacted before they could legally sign for themself?

In any case if the fans have not signed any kind of agreement I don't see how they should be held liable.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'd countersue to high heaven. They don't have a legal leg to stand on demanding that sort of cash from fans! Where are the fans' contractual obligations? Nowhere!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japans entertainment industry needs a major overhaul. Its quite, quite pathetic. I remember my Grandfather actuating saying this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If it is written in the contract... they fine the girls. If it is some sort of unwritten rule... then girls... take them to court.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Do we have any lawyers on JT? What are the options for countersuing here?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

My immediate take away from this using my pea brain is that I, as a fan, have a chance with these hot girls. That is enough to make me buy their merchandise. I see this as good for revenue.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

dcog9065: You would have to define "date" and "fan" and who the "legal guardians" are. You might they are not the parents but the actual talent agent themselves.

It's also an unreasonable expectation for any legal guardians to stop their "children" from basic human rights. Also since one on the girls is 22 the contract can't be valid since the "legal guardian" does not have the right to be the "legal guardian" of an adult unless that person is deemed handicap or unable to take care of themselves (not the case here).

The number they quoted and reparations also has to be justified with evidence, there is no contract or agreement fan's sign to be fan, and certainly nothing illegal about dating a girl.

The talent agency is trying to scare the fans and girls, they have a weak case if they went to court.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Is it just me or does the Japanese on the photo make me think they're a bunch of stoners?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Government should be investing more moneys (my Tax) into underage sexual exciting Robots! Then we would not have to deal with these annoying Human problems. I don't want my "Idols" actually being human.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

If TV stations don't hire the "talento's" from the agencies they threaten the station never to access to their talento's and they will give them to other stations.

If the people running the TV companies are really that spineless and so lacking in business acumen to realise they could probably bypass the talent agencies and find these... and I use this word very loosely, "entertainers" themselves, they kind of deserve to be taken for a ride. They certainly deserve to be shut down and banned from having anything to do with TV broadcasting.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

They can't counter-sue, but they can counter-extort. Send letters to the management company saying they'll send unflattering photos of the girls to the Shukan Post unless they pay them 10 million yen.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The talent agency is trying to scare the fans and girls, they have a weak case if they went to court.

Agreed! However TIJ! The land where courts aren't exactly normal, aren't exactly impartial, & hardly EVER act to protect individuals............. and if they ever do you can bet MANY years will have passed your legal costs HIGH & when you "win" you would be LUCKY AS HELL to get any reasonable amount of compensation.

You are more likely to end up in severe debt even when you win.

The justice system here is HEAVILY rigged against the people of Japan & THEY KNOW IT! And they still don't care.........

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Acquaintance with several fashion Japanese models here. With the three I have talked about payment in the industry, all have told me that they get charged at 30% by their managers. So, if someone pays your for the photoshoot 10,000¥, the agent takes away 3,000¥ for just hanging around and watching over. I find that cut high but not sure what the norm in the industry is.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Osaka bar found in 2004 that Nova was in breach of the law when it forced teachers to sign no-dating clauses in their contracts. Several teachers were transferred or dismissed for relationships with students. All were awarded compensation by the courts. IIRC Nova was ordered to retract the clause in contracts but continued to keep it in there at least till the crash of 2007.

They may still do so, anyone know about that?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

No love life for idols? Well, there's hope that this business model will go extinct.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Slavery, in all but name. Human rights. Japan signed up to it. Frack these middle-aged slave owners. Break free from the system and have some real talent exploring their creativity. Not mass produced pap.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

the company must be mecha high Best line I've ever seen in an idol story.

If I were one these lucky fans, I'd tell this extorti-tainment company to "Bring It On, Beyatches!"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Oh the irony of the band's name. Hardly wild, is it? Anyway, the girls should just tell their slavemasters there was no romance involved and that they were only dating for the sex. Loophole found and problem solved.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'd write a big "F U" on the envelope before the "return to sender". Then I'd counter-sue with a number of charges. These morons behind the desks at this company royally screwed up. "Mecha high", indeed! Great line I the article, btw.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

8,232,400 yen seems a little low. 10,000,000 is a much cleaner number. and that's just for a date. Blow that out to 15m for a MIP/MOV experience, doubled to 20M for the full monty.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

management should add to contract that they must sleep in the fridge to preserve their age.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The irony is, of course, that they pimp out these girls to mostly middle-aged men to drool and spend money over.

I'd tell them to stick their threatening letters and that if they continued to harrass me I'd press charges (mind you, GW is right that the courts here never protect the individual when it comes to suing a company).

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Aoyama☆St. Hacha Mecha High School (St. Crazy Wild High School,

What's the Japanese youth jargon for "Frack Off"?

Since when did a date and "become romantically involved" become synonymous. Even if there was sex involved, there's plenty of sex without romance going around.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Maybe it's just me, but them actually dating fans makes them seem a lot more accessible.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

wow... they're pop singers... not candidates for the priesthood... what a ridiculous rule... and anyone who thinks they can control teenage hormones has not learned from history...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Look, I'm sure we all think suing the young women is wrong - but just remember - they signed a contract, no matter how unfair/demanding it is. It's also their primary job, and there are clear-cut rules. That's how the entertainment industry works, and if you don't like it you don't have to sign the contract or work there. However, because you signed a legally binding document that you hopefully read thoroughly, you're responsible for your own actions.

How would you feel as a manager if an employee took a client relationship beyond the workplace? That’s a huge liability, and when word gets out, the credibility of that group, your company, and the relationship are in jeopardy.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If you read the original article, it concentrated solely on the demands by the management to the "fans" who went on the dates with their clients. THE BOYS are expected to cough-up 8,232,400 yen, not the girls, but there was no contract between management and the boys. I'm sure this is why no lawsuit has been filed and instead a letter demanding payment was sent. I think this was just a publicity stunt to try and discourage any other fans from trying to date an idol.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Picking on girls... for shame! It takes a little man to pick on a girl! I prey these girls get the right legal reps and put the management team in prison! Asking people not the have sex is abuse!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This kind of no dating rule is pretty stupid. You only see this in Japan or any Asia entertainment industry.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

To look at it from the company perspective: There may have been no contract between the guys and the company, but, surely the guys were aware of the contract with the girls, were enticing the girls to break the contract, and they knew the damage they were doing to the company image. They might also sue you if you wore a T-shirt that defamed their company logo. Or tinkered with one of their products and publicly declared their products were faulty. And if they let this go, then it give free license to rival companies to sabotage their contracts by sending skillful playboys to date their clients.

Not that I agree with the company. I think they are sick and I think this clause of the contract is a human rights violation that should be cracked down upon with harsh penalties. People are not products and they need to be taught that lesson in a way they won't soon forget.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The girls were apparently dropped for breach of contract. That's all that can really happen. This paper demand for 8,000,000 yen is toothless.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That's all that can really happen.

Maybe they could withhold back pay versus the amount stated for the breach of contract. It might be a significant amount. They might have to sue to get it back.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Doubt they even paid them that much in salaries in total.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

They broke the contract, they were let go, and that's pretty much the end of it. Everything else to this story is meaningless drama. The girls probably had a good time and now the management company has their pure idol group again. It's just an odd "only in Japan" kind of thing and not that big of a deal for anyone involved.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How about the J-cops move in with one of their famous "phalanx of cops with empty cardboard boxes", collect all of the manager's documents related to exploitation of minors and labor abuse, and charge the crumb-bums who run this Idol crapola?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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