TW: sexual abuse, sexual violence (no details)
With the uptick in idols confessing their own sexual abuse/violence stories, Wada Ayaka (formerly ANGERME/Hello! Project) issued a statement on her Instagram on 23 April 2023.
|I am against all forms of violence in the idol community.|
Ever since I started seeing headlines about idols’ sexual abuse, I put myself back into the idol world to think about the problems surrounding idols, and what I could do as an advocate against violence [towards idols].
I am aware of the working conditions involving physical and mental abuse as a result of power imbalances, which unfortunately are all too common. After seeing several reports over the last few days (which I’m also aware aren’t being shown on TV), I’ve also come to realize these issues don’t just surround those directly involved in those reports, but rather all of us in the idol community as a whole.
However, there haven’t been calls against harassment nor collective statements regarding these reports from the people who work with idols. Personally, as someone who has been in the idol world since the age of 10, I haven’t been able to completely get rid of some internalized baseless standards and values. I think about what I said all the time, and I’ve been having a difficult time reexamining my past words/actions. This really helped me put into perspective how much energy one needs to think about what’s going on from each separate level: personal, group, company, and industry.
As much as I say that, I think this we should take this opportunity to revisit what the idol world should look like: what kind of system idols worked in and how they were hurt in the past, and how we can improve working conditions as a community. I’d be happy if people can speak about this openly. I’d also like to show my solidarity with everyone who has bravely come forward about their own sexual assault and sexual violence.
Finally, I have a request to all my fans. Through these reports, I’ve seen more comments and messages which have made me rethink what an “idol/fan” relationship should look like, and not only regarding this problematic area in the industry. We’ll probably never find the “correct answer,” nor should anyone decide for anyone else how it should be.
But, with the help of you folks reading this post, we could possibly make this the opportunity to change how “idols/fans” are to be seen, and to create a warm, welcoming atmosphere for others.
I ask that if you agree with me or would like to show your solidarity to comment on this post with a message of support. I would really appreciate stamps/stickers if you find it difficult to write something, too.
I hope that this post and the comment section can become a place of strength in solidarity for those who came forward with their sexual violence stories, and that they’re not going through their experiences, including their feelings of sorrow and distress, alone.
Right now, I can only speak for myself, but I hope that one day we can create a movement for better working conditions with the help from everyone: idols, the people who work with idols, and the fans who support idols.
I took a few liberties with the wording of the translation to maintain Wada’s tone but improve English fluency. One note is she uses the modifying phrase アイドルに関わる (aidoru ni kakawaru) to refer to those who work with idols. This indicates the perspective of an industry-wide problem, and not singling management companies out.
The original Instagram post has been linked if you’d like to join her call to action: commenting support for those who have come forward with their own stories of sexual violence.