Much-loved TV celebrity Becky’s fall from grace has stolen many a headline over the past few weeks as news of her affair with Kawatani Enon, from virtually-unheard-of band, Gesu no kiwami otome, sent shocks throughout the world of Japanese entertainment.
Becky’s affair with Kawatani was ill-advised, not merely because of his shockingly bad basin haircut, but because her own celebrity has been built on a girl-next-door image that now seems to be in tatters.
The UK’s Guardian newspaper has now reported on the scandal, pointing out that there seems to be something inherently sexist about the way the Japanese media treats its temptresses, making them suffer both emotionally and financially, while the men seem to get off scott-free. Of course, what the article doesn’t point out is that many a male star has been held to ransom by their agencies and frogmarched down the aisle for better or worse when their indiscretions got the better of them.
Regardless, Japan has its problems with gender equality, and there is no reason to suggest that somehow the entertainment industry is different. It’s not. But in this case, netizens are not quite sure why Becky is being treated differently, with some pointing out that it may just be because she’s the bigger name of the two by a country mile…
From Yahoo! Japan:
UK Newspaper Reports On Becky Ruckus: “The Sexism That Pervades The Japanese Entertainment Industry”
In an article entitled “The Sexism That Pervades The Japanese Entertainment Industry”, UK newspaper The Guardian reported in its February 8 digital edition on Kawatani Enon (27), of the rock band Gesu no kiwame otome, and the celebrity Becky (31), who is currently taking a career break following the pair’s adultery scandal.
The newspaper described Becky as a popular celebrity who was a regular on a number of TV shows, as well as appearing in dozens of commercials, and that she cancelled all TV appearances after the scandal with Kawatani was revealed. Furthermore, all her commercials as well as her Kamuri Radio show disappeared overnight; Becky explained that the reason for this was that she was taking a break due to ill health. On the other hand, the paper added, there had been virtually no influence on Kawatani’s musical activities.
One commentator explained the Japanese entertainment industry in the article by saying “a celebrity’s worth in Japan is tied to how much the general public like them. That means that even their private life comes under the control of the agency”. They added that when a TV show Becky had finished recording prior to the adultery scandal was broadcast after the scandal had broken, the TV station was flooded with complaints.
What’s more, the article discussed the decision in September last year to make a 17 year old female idol pay damages when it was discovered that she had been dating, as well as a lawsuit for breach of contract involving an idol who dated a male fan in January of this year. It also mentioned the fact that female idols are forbidden from being in love. The article even featured the video uploaded to a video sharing site by Minegishi Minami, who at the time in 2013 was a member of girl group AKB48, in which she apologized with a shaved head when news got out that she had stayed overnight with a boy.
Comments from Yahoo! Japan:
Nuh-uh, I reckon it’s gonna be pretty tough for Gesu from now on.
I guess they’re trying to say that it’s only the woman who bears all the responsibility, while it never has any effect on the man.
Yeah, well, personally, I’d prefer it if that dude from Gesu would disappear.
I think we’re pretty harsh on girls when they’re unfaithful, compared to how we are with guys.
I guess some countries turn the virginity of their idols into a commodity.
The number one problem is, that Gesu have just flown in the face of all this and carried on what they’re doing.
Though it does look like discrimination, the really weird thing is the fact that the entertainment industry is protecting Kawatani.
Its not discrimination.
But why is it that the guy can still carry on working?
I kinda feel like this is a bit different from sexism.
This seems different from sexism.
Gesu aren’t regulars on TV shows or anything like that…I think it’s that there’s a difference between them and Becky making people feel bad because they’re uncomfortable seeing her on TV.
It’s certainly true that women are easier to knock when it comes to adultery. It’s just commonly accepted in Japan that it’s natural for guys to cheat.
I don’t think that the difference between Becky and Kawatani is down to sexism, but when you ask up to know who got the most stick for being unfaithful — male celebrities or female celebrities — then I get the impression that it’s definitely the female celebrities…Kinda feels like there’s a tendency to say that men can’t help cheating. That’s not good.
I don’t know if it’s discrimination or whatever, but women are definitely at more of a disadvantage.
Definitely. Women lose their jobs, men just go on like nothing’s happened.
Not sure about sexism, but when Becky’s getting all the crap and being sanctioned, it’s like why is it that the dude from Gesu is carrying on like nothing’s happened? Pretty much everyone in Japan thinks that’s weird too. I reckon that British people must also think it’s strange.
At the end of the day, the only one who’s gained from this is Gesu. It was probably him who sold the story to the press, too.
I think this is a little different from regular sexism.
Actually, rather than seeing it as sexism, now I just don’t like the guy from Gesu.
Kinda seems like both the band and their management are happy because of this publicity stunt.
ネメシス ラ マルゴール ユウゾウ 冬月:
I think it’s because she’s much more famous than him.
I knew who Becky was, but I had no freaking clue who Gesu were until all this kicked off.
Ummm, I think that the main problem in all this is that the story was leaked from the LINE messenger app…