[blog] the shit that idols have to put up with, sometimes.

I’m sure somewhere in the deep recesses of entertainment agencies, idols are given workshops on, among others, how to conduct themselves the moment they step out of their private sanctuaries or how to handle fans who overstep the boundaries.

Different strokes for different idols though and not everyone is Ken Zhu who, at the peak of F4’s popularity, didn’t think twice about getting down from a car and scolding fans who were following him (I heard he still scolds fans on Weibo to this day).

I can just imagine why majority of idols would choose to tolerate bad behavior. They know that without fans, their hard work would not pay off and if they suffer from public backlash, their fans can abandon them at the drop of a fan board hat. They know how fickle the cut-throat entertainment industry works and that there are other idols competing for a share of the fan economics.

Still, that is no license for fans to misbehave just because we buy their CDs and DVDs, pay good money to watch their concerts or films and invest time watching dramas. We should not hold our idols hostage and force them into unwarranted fan service by dangling the we-made-you-we-can-unmake-you card. Not cool.

I feel sorry for celebrities who have to grit their teeth and smile for the public even though they are being forced into a corner. No one wants to be a Lee Jongsuk, you know what I mean?

But there are idols who won’t tolerate bad behavior and three of them happen to be members of Arashi (yes, the whole point of this post).

Every Arashi fan, or at least those who have been around for long, knows how Sho was notorious for chasing fans away with an umbrella. This was during their Junior days, before Arashi debuted. Sakurai, so-called future prime minister of Japan (an Arashi fandom inside joke, okay), was known to be a bad boy who had his navel and ear pierced (a no-no in the jimusho back then). Of course he grew up, graduated with an economics degree from Keio University and became a newscaster. Arashi became famous too and so the responsibilities grew as well as the pressure to maintain a certain image. But we still see shades of the no-nonsense Sakurai every now and then, not withstanding those rumors of him refusing to shake hands with fans who lined up to donate at last year’s 24HRTV. (I don’t think having his hands clasped behind him at the reception line with the other members is the same as refusing to shake hands; and besides, they were not there for a handshaking event and shame on fans who lined up to “donate” but in truth were wishing to shake Arashi’s hands.) We all know though that Sho is very polite and accommodating. He just can’t tolerate those who disrespect their personal space and put them in a sticky situation.

Just like the infamous 2006 Nagano incident.

This was around the time that Arashi was just starting to be famous. They didn’t enjoy the perks that they do now, like staying overnight in the city where they had their concert. So after the concert in Nagano, they had to catch the shinkansen back to Tokyo. And that’s when something unpleasant happened. The two youngest took to their blogs to write about it.

Jun first wrote about it in Ura Arashi on 02/08/2006:

 

photo(2)

 

photo2

 

Nino’s Game Nikki entry #537: 03/08/2006

 

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photo2

 

Jun is often described by the members themselves as like a “strict father” while Nino is the resident brat. So I am not surprised that of the five of them, these two were the ones who were very outspoken about that incident.

From some fan accounts I read during that time, the faces of Arashi were a cross between being embarrassed and angry. Those who have been to Japan know how extremely important it is for people to observe etiquette especially on the train. There are even signs telling you to not speak loudly on your phone. So I can just imagine how humiliated they must have felt. And considering that this was their pre-tipping point days, the group must have been with only a manager or two and no one else to protect them.

Those days too, they were more free to talk about anything in their blogs. These days, they are more mindful about the responsibilities that weigh on their shoulders before they open their mouths although I also doubt that they would still have the time to regularly write like they did then.

Nino, in fact, wrote two more entries criticizing fans’ bad behavior during that period.

 

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The entry above should make anyone think twice before approaching celebrities during their personal time. It does not mean that whenever they are in public, we can approach them any time because they are “public figures”. And once more, it’s apparent that Nino was embarrassed at how he was attracting unwarranted attention when it was supposed to be his friend’s stage play. I guess around this time, the Arashi members were also grappling with the changes around them brought about by their new-found fame, suddenly being recognized everywhere (which still surprises them even to this day, no kidding) and not being able to move freely as they used to.

Thus, this entry below on stalking:

 

Ninostalked

 

Yes, there are “rules” that JE imposes. You can’t take photos of or with their talents, you cannot follow them anywhere. That is why to this day, we still hear Arashi talking of them taking public transport like the train or taxi. And the breaking of these “rules” depressed the great Ninomiya that he even had to make an appeal, “for the sake of Arashi” to spare them from such stalking culture.

“We’ll end up not being able to do anything.”

Oh, the lament of every celebrity who cannot move around without the paparazzi and the fans following them.

I’m also glad that Arashi established their attitude of no-tolerance with bad fan behavior as early as then. Of course that doesn’t stop fans, especially those new and unfamiliar with the JE culture, to overstep the invisible lines. We see people (I doubt if they are really fans) who post the members’ personal data such as gas bill or receipts (proven fake) online. And sad to say, the sasaeng culture is slowly pervading the Arashi fandom.

Someone posted this on Arashi Confessions and I couldn’t agree more:

 

arashiconfession2

 

Just as I wrote a few days ago on fans behaving badly, let’s not forget that our actions reflect on the fandom that we come from and the idols that we support. So let us be the kind of fans that our idols will be proud of.

Source for feature image: Arashi Confessions

Source for Jun’s Ura Arashi entry: Wonder Boy Aiba Masaki

Source for Nino’s Game Nikki entries: Binan no Nikki

Thank you to @FindAiba and @xiaoaishiteru.

© Orange Jasmine Purple Yam (blogging since 2001). Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the contents in this site without permission from the author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Orange Jasmine Purple Yam with appropriate link to the original content.

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10 thoughts on “[blog] the shit that idols have to put up with, sometimes.

  1. Nice to read as always.♥

    How I wish Arashi speak out their mind again toward their fans behavior lately such as worshipping Arashi, enter someone’s farm w/o permission (the place where Arashi shooting CM for JAL), bashing another idol/artist (a case about Kokuritsu), etc. Seems like there are a lot of ignorance fans, esp JP fans lately. 😦

    • that is so true.
      it’s sad to make me think that the reason why they can’t is because they’re being censored to avoid any public backlash considering their stature now. 😦

  2. This is why I am thankful for JE’s “strict rules”. At least arashi and other JE idols can still have their own privacy. I’m one of the few people who font want them to have a twitter acct..

    • omg THIS!!!

      a friend who is also an Arashi fan and I were just talking about how grateful we are to Uncle Johnny for coming up with these rules like SNS. it saves the fandom from all that drama and obsessive behavior.

      btw, what’s your name on Twitter?

  3. Hello. Thank you for your post, it gave me some food for thought and made me ponder about some questions related to fan behavior and the expectations placed upon the celebrities.
    Some time ago I read a famous American celebrity Blogger post something entirely opposite of what you have said. In a way, she was making a point for the fact that artists, being rich and privileged, should stop whining about not being able to go anywhere because of paparazzi or do anything without being placed under close scrutiny.
    But her words didn’t sit well with me. Because I went to see this actor’s movie, or this singer’s concert, should I expect them to give me everything and anything they are or have in their lives? Should their space, pictures, phone calls, trash, children, etc, be everybody’s property?
    Your words are much more sensible and logic to me, people are entitled respect and dignity, no one gives up on that just because they’re famous.
    Unfortunately, logical and sensible behavior doesn’t seem to be as common as we would expect.

    • hi, thanks for your comment! I love getting comments that also make me think and lead to fruitful discussions.

      well, the person you mentioned is a celebrity blogger so I would expect that POV from them. in a way, there’s some sense in scolding celebrities for whining about the loss of privacy because it comes with the territory. they knew, the moment they took the first step in the entertainment industry, that they had to give up a huge chunk of their lives to get what they want in return. no one becomes famous just by staying at home. not in this era most especially.

      but on the one hand, fan behavior has become so obsessively unhealthy and harmful. and sooner than later, we all have to draw the line. it’s harmful to the artist and harmful to the fans who start living as if their world revolve around these celebrities they idolize and put on a pedestal. then when they fail their expectations or something happens, they get disappointed and end up doing even crazier things.

      however, it takes two to tango. we can’t just blame the fans for developing such bad habits. the fact that things have worsened over the years indicates that there was room for those habits to develop into somewhat of a chronic condition, if you may. there are celebrities and their agencies that encourage such behavior because it guarantees them fandom support. the more obsessive a fandom is, the more there is guarantee for the artists to succeed. on the other hand, the celebrities/agencies can always claim that they’re just giving what the fans want. it’s a chicken and egg situation.

      at the end of the day, we are all human beings with free will and entitled to dignity. and we should treat one another with such.

  4. Hi, thanks for the reply 🙂
    I was reminded of an analogy I’ve read on some site: if your are hired as a secretary, you can’t resent being expected to do paperwork, but can you resent being told to make and serve coffee? An artist can’t resent doing photo shoots, giving interviews, going on promotions, etc, but can they resent being mobbed, stalked, followed and spied on their houses and hotels, etc? I think so, but maybe I don’t know enough of the industry to say if that’s expected or discouraged.
    I’m really new to kpop, jpop, etc. Actually I only learned about them since July last year when I was introduced to kdramas thanks to netflix. So, when I learned about sasaengs and the whole package it seemed to me that someone had to take action, but to know that it’s sometimes an encouraged behavior… maybe I’m being too naive.
    I don’t expect idols to say that they love me or anything like that, nor do I expect them to say they aren’t going to get married because they only have love for their fans but this kind of things seem so common I guess people are used to it. Maybe it’s a cultural difference that I have to understand yet.
    I believe celebrities anywhere should start to draw the line, and it should be somewhat of a group effort, for in this cause, anyone alone may get the short end of the stick.

    • oh welcome to the sometimes crazy world of Asian pop!

      if you don’t mind me asking, where are you from? coz you mentioned cultural differences.

      I don’t think the overly obsessive behavior of the sasaengs is encouraged. it’s just that when you give an inch, they would want the whole yard. for example, you allow them to take photos of you at close range, what would stop them from following you everywhere?

      I agree, agencies and artists should do something about this. there are brave artists who do. but the rest are just being careful because they are scared of public backlash. to be blunt about it, they are scared of losing fans.

      but artists need to understand that they are rolemodels. their words have the power and as long as they are on the right and be diplomatic about it, level-headed fans should know where they are coming from. especially where it concerns everyone’s safety and security.

      • Hi, I’m a Brazilian fan. Thanks for answering me. Thinking about it, maybe it’s not as much about cultural difference as it is about my lack of knowledge about celebrity and fan behavior around the world, which is a subject that has only recently caught my attention.
        I certainly hope artists and their companies realize, sooner rather than later, the need to speak out against this obsessive behavior.
        Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts and opening the space for mine. 🙂

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