Small talk is a piece too short to be an article, but thoughtful enough to not be written on a tweet. It follows Shida manaka case.
i think it’s normal to make a reasoning according to our status : as fans.
But to understand why nothing is changing, it is interesting to look from management standpoint. What are the consequences to change/revoke the love ban rule?
- Setting the love ban rule allows a standard where idol can rely on, what to do and what not do. It ensure maximum popularity of the girls (pure and cute image) and girls can focus on their idol work.
- Most of the time the girls self inflict the love ban rule because japanese culture is about responsabilities. When an exception appear, they decide according to the status of the idol in question (fired/cast out/nothing). To deal with punctual issue is much easier than amend the love ban rule completely.
- changing the love ban rule itself is more fair (it applies to all the girls) but it is the maximum risk. You can’t say it’s okay for one girl to date and say no to others. So you need to say yes to everyone. Do you really think management would take the risk when they aren’t able to size fans who are okay with that? Also, keep in mind that fandom is not balanced : those who have the deepest fan relationship with girls (and the more encline to be affected by a scandal) are the one who spend the most. And those guys are precisely who management want to keep. The core of their business model.
- This is of their best interest to apply the not-get-caught-rule. Aki-p purposely create a blur in statement so fans don’t exactly know what has been settled for the girls (no love ban rule/love ban rule) so they don’t appear as a restrictive company, but keep control of the girls frame in that regard. (professional confidentiality) Fans need to remember that they are not taking any risk: management does. And it needs to be weighted in our debate.
For the moment, manaka has her activities halted, don’t do handshake anymore, and expose herself in a decrease of popularity or the absolute worse, to break up from her dear comrades. She probably (and i hope) also self reflect on the consequence toward her keyaki nakama about what happened, regardless of what these nakama thinks (this is the same with matsumura sayuri). I count that as psychological pressure. As a matter of fact, it does impact negatively the group for the moment.
Shunkan has questionable method to get their scoop, but i’m not going to kid manaka either : there’s like 10 years of idol history prior to keyakizaka, and she perfectly knows what happened to harada mayu at the beginning of the group. She knows what are the risk, and she took it anyway. Knowing the context of extreme exhaustion that zenkoku brought, seeing friends is more than welcome, but i’m not going to discard the fact that she made a risky choice.
We fans need to realize how difficult it is to change a rule deeply rooted in a pop culture, especially idol. We see the love ban rule as unfair and restrictive. Fair enough. What are the solution? If you come up with an idea that avoid the hazard to break their whole business model, probably management will hear you out.
This is not ironic. I actually believe there’s an exit door, and it lies in Sakamichi fanbase itself : they are young. If management see that sakamichi fanbase are okay that their idols date (keyaki is a reflection of youth, youth want to enjoy their freedom like dating, therefore keyaki can date), then they can come up with a daring new policy : dating is okay, but they are discrete about it and we focus on their idol work.
We need to step up our game and bring solution to the table instead of making a “good side/evil side” speech. Because there’s no right or wrong in most of case. Everyone have reason to behave like such, whoever it’s fan or management.