Seeing members of Japanese idol groups like Arashi up close is a dream come true for fans, and many would approach them just for an opportunity to touch or speak with their favorite idol.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for overzealous fans to try almost anything to get close to idol members. It has gotten to the point where Johnny & Associates, Japan’s largest talent agency, recently aired concerns about some truly disturbing behavior on their official website.
▼ The agency hopes to spread the message to all fans. (Truncated translation below).
We have implored fans not to chase our celebrities when they are traveling, but we have witnessed these troubling actions time and again. Not only will such behavior impede them, it will also disrupt traffic and adversely affect other people. We have received repeated warnings to improve the situation from relevant organizations.
The following incidents have been reported:
● Taking plane or shinkansen seats near our members and standing up to peek at them.
● Blocking passage of people into Shinkansen cabins where members are resting.
● Constantly taking pictures or recording movies of our members.
● Impeding movement of our members.
● Intentionally bumping into or hugging our members.
● Chasing members despite warnings from managers, security officers and JFC support staff.
● Shooting staff with airguns.
● Causing trouble to fellow passengers.
● Chasing members in cars.
Such extreme congestion are clearly dangerous and may lead to accidents.
The message continued:
“Should these actions continue, not only will our members feel unsafe while traveling, the severely impacted general public will also view them in a negative light. If no improvements are observed, affected organizations may appeal to cease concerts, and our members may lose access to public transport. The actions from extreme people will shatter all the trust and goodwill established by both idols and fans.
This is an important request. Please stop chasing our members when they are at stations or airports. For those who cannot moderate their actions, please do not enter public transport where our idols are.”
Taking the list of aggressive behavior into account, it sounded as if various public transport authorities are putting their foot down with Johnnys and potentially holding the agency responsible for fans jeopardizing the safety of people.
Although the message was posted on the official website, it has done little to change the behavior of overeager fans, as evidenced by an incident two weeks later where King & Prince, the agency’s newest idol unit, attempted to board the Shinkansen at Sendai Station after their first concert tour. A swarm of fans crowded the platform and delayed the train line, affecting customers and prompting the agency to issue yet another warning.
Whether such warnings will be taken to heart remains yet to be seen, but fans should at least try to maintain order in public places even if it means distancing themselves from the idols they love. Causing public disorder may easily lead to accidents, and besides, there may be some really crazy knife-wielding fans hidden somewhere in the throng of people.
Source: Johnny’s Net via Twitter/@Johnnys_Jr_joho
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