Is Becky’s Fall From Grace Due To Sexism? Netizens Unsure

Popular Japanese celebrity Becky.

Popular Japanese celebrity Becky.

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.

Popular Japanese celebrity Becky affair scandal Kawatani.

The scandal has had virtually no influence on Kawatani’s career, or hairstyle.

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…

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  • Diego Garcia


    Article by T

    Japan. The land of the rising sun. Green tea, beautiful mountains, onsen (hot spring) and a rich history. But not everything in Japan is perfect. Japan’s long tradition with supporting a patriarchal society has shed new light in recent events where high profile women have been put to shame by the media and society.

    In 2014, Tokyo assembly member Ayaka Shiomura was heckled by her male counterparts for being over the age of 30, female and not married with children. Sexist comments by male counterparts were thrown into her face during a speech of Shiomura, leaving her literally in tears on national TV. It created temporarily an outcry on social media, foremost outside of Japan, which led to an apology from one of her male assembly members, Akihiro Suzuki. Although Shiomura accepted the apology, she did not for forgive the incident and instead continues to fight for women’s rights in Japan.

    Unfortunately there is this general idea, not only in Japan, that a woman who reaches the age of 30 must start thinking of settling down. In other words creating a family of her own, getting married and having children. If a woman does not follow this tradition, then she is considered an outcast and shame to society. On the contrary, more and more women around the world believe that this old fashioned path is no longer working for their own benefits. Instead, many women choose a career over having a family. I therefore, applaud Shiomura for standing up, not only for her own rights, but for all the women in Japan and abroad.

    In another case, Japan’s favourite TV presenter who goes by the name of “Becky” was put to shame by the media recently for allegedly having an affair with a married man. Becky who is half Japanese and half British, or “Hafu”, has been a household favourite for over 15 years. She is single and has never been married. Yet the media was unforgiven for the fact that according to the rule of law of Japan, a married person shall not have an affair with another person as long he or she is married to that person, and can even lead to a fine. This incident has led a national ban of Becky’s TV presentations, commercials and even contract deals, while the alleged male in question, boy band member Enon Kawatani simply continues his career like nothing has happened. Becky’s long lasting media career has been harmed and might be over for good.

    So why is Becky being punished so hard? She is not the one who cheated, right! Well, she is a woman. And being female in Japan means staying out of another woman’s relationship. Though to a certain extend I agree. I mean cheating is not cool no matter what your sex is. However, the main issue I want to highlight is the fact that the married guy is the one that cheats on his wife. Yet, because he is a male he can get away with adultery. That doesn’t seem fair, does it?

    Well, as a western male living in Japan, all I can say is that I am disgusted with the continues sexist and undermining attitude of Japan’s patriarchal society. And this is not to say that these issues only exist in Japan. No, all over the world we continue to have the same kind of problems or even worse, like in India where women get physically punished. But since I live in Japan I can only share what I see in my daily life both in a personal or professional surrounding. For a modern nation like Japan who is very influenced by Western society, cases like Shiomura and Becky’s simply puts back 50 or more years of fighting for global women rights.

    What do you think? Please share your opinion…

    • guest

      It’s pretty obvious that the difference comes down to the fact that she is much more popular and has widespread exposure to people who would object to her behavior, while he is a comparative nobody, and key point here, the people who would be exposed to him, mainly his fans, most likely don’t give a shit, and his band and people around him don’t either.
      Don’t think there’s anything insidiously “sexist” going on.

      On a separate note, I don’t know if you wrote this yourself, or who T is, but why do people insist on moving to a country and then acting like some holier than thou social critic? It’s especially noticeable I feel in expats in Japan. All you ever hear is “oh how great the xyz is back home where I was, why can’t these Japanese just get their shit together and turn their society into the way it was where I came from”. Not to say that anybody is above criticism. But “I am disgusted with the continues sexist and undermining attitude of Japan’s patriarchal society.”? Come on now.

      • KenjiAd

        I was kind of agreeing with him (or “T”) until I encountered the phrase “as a western male living in Japan.” That phrase was creepy if you ask me.

      • Diego Garcia

        suck some balls

  • Why am I in a h?

    So what I’m reading from the displayed comments, “It’s not really sexist… But it is.”

  • Butsu

    It is straight out sexism. And there’s a lot of it going on in Japan, but as far as TV talents and regulars go, I gotta give them some props. They have seriously good representation of all kinds of people on TV, especially women.

    Anyway, I saw this on the news when it broke, and they discussed if this would negatively affect her carreer, just after new years she appeard as a regular on some show and I thought “heck, nothing happened at all huh?”, I have since returned home and if her appearances have decreased as feared, well yeah, then it’s fucking bullshit. Most of the time I think both parties carry some responsibility when cheating is involved, but this singer guy was a total ass to his wife in this case, and I gotta say that Becky was playing with fire too, seeing how he didn’t fucking end his relationship. She should still be able to appear as usual on TV though, however, I guess some people would argue that she’s a role model as well and sets a bad example, and as mention in the article, male and female TV talents have been sacked for less.

  • Claude

    I think Becky and I would be beautiful together. Becky call me.

  • Edward

    Are you kidding me? This cute girl had an affair with that fat face Japanese with a horrible haircut? Eww..

  • syntheticzero

    What’s stupid is the rule that idols shouldn’t date. An anachronistic, silly, unrealistic rule.

    • guest

      While I do think that it’s quite silly, the fact remains that the idols know what they are signing up for. They get to live in quite nice conditions, have all their financial etc. needs taken care off, all for dancing, singing, looking good, basically whatever idols do. And I say that in full respect with regards to how taxing it must be to do all the appearances, I’m not trying to downplay what they have to do.

      And this is all because they have fans who are willing to pay quite exorbitant prices to remain fans, through buying their products. There are certain expectations, one is that they don’t get into any trouble with the law, and the other is that they usually don’t date. Again, while it may be a bit silly, that is the reason they can make as much money as they can, just for being performers. If they didn’t want to put up with the restrictions, they could simply quit, nobody is holding a gun to their head.

    • Much like Disney’s pop singers.

  • The UK’s Guardian only reports scandals.

  • Peninsula264356

    Like all half Japanese girls they all end up being weird or taking wrong path in life. So many Porno actress from Brazil, USA ( Hawaii, California), Phillippine, Taiwan, are half Japanese girls. It means something. They all end up being screwed up path in life.

    • romeo

      “So many Porno actress from Brazil, USA ( Hawaii, California), Phillippine, Taiwan, are half Japanese girls”

      It’s very doubtful.

      • Korea

        Google it.

        • romeo

          did and still very doubtful.

    • Lyn

      So what about all the full blooded Japanese and Korean girls that end up doing porn? There’s many more of them that are weird and pick the screwed up path?

  • Chestnut Bowl

    I’m appalled that Becky has such shitty taste.

  • Terry “Death to Equality” Xu

    Sexism isnt that big a deal

    It’s a bit harsh, maybe – but their social model is still far preferable to the west

    • delaware

      you’re all over every article about japan and you’re always spouting bullshit

  • Ko7er4Kansai

    She has bad taste in men.

  • Gina Arauz

    He better have the BOMB D.
    His D better be NUCLEAR for her to sacrifice her career for a dude with an overgrown bowl cut that probably reads comics 75% of the day.

  • Zakogg

    Wow, this article is completely missing the point. The downfall of Becky is due to the fact she is exposed mocking the wife and demading the divorce, while acted like an innocent victim and denied it on the press conference. The fact she hurt someone with laugh and acting as an honest person damaged her good image, which was her only sales point. Gesu on the other hand did not hold stupid conference like that and what he sale is music. But somehow Gesu announced taking a break from music activity and Becky is showing on TV again now.

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