So, surprise. I have a double decker update for HiHi Jets, but not for the best reasons. Earlier this year, I was pretty pumped for the group to have landed a theme song for an anime, and overall their fairly wholesome image.
That was until around September 11th, when LINE news stated that Hashimoto Ryo, and Sakuma Ryuto were being suspended from HiHi Jets activities. Which that headline was startling enough. The article detailed that a stalker had gained access to their private residence/gained their trust and taken some disturbing photos of the two members. It was unconfirmed if the leaked photos were in fact real.
It turns out the day before September 10th, Johnny’s had already made the statement. The photos were real. The stalker was real, and both Hashimoto Ryo and Sakuma Ryuto were for real being suspended from group activities until December 2019. The focus on their suspension would be on their schooling, community service, as well as discussions between management and their parents. It’s important to note that Ryo was 18 at the time of incident, and Ryuto was 16.
I had a bit of a dilemma. I am unsure of how this punishment fits the crime. Johnny’s and Associates are no strangers to drama, drinking, stalkers, etc. It comes with the territory of being a major talent agency. It’s long been suspicion and in a few cases confirmed that many former Jr’s, as well as former Johnny’s have had their contracts terminated for similar offenses. It’s very common for a member to have their activities suspended for ‘reflection’, and then come back as if nothing happened.
The the case of Ryo and Ryuto I don’t think this is a bad punishment. They’re un-debuted, and still children really. Focusing in on school and themselves for a few months isn’t a bad idea. I just… the situation leaves me confused because I’m not sure what they should be repenting for. The fact it happened? That they got caught? What’s the lesson to be learned here?
The thing that gets me is that these images weren’t even leaked by the stalker. They were leaked by a third party. So it’s not particularly the fault of Ryo or Ryuto that it occurred. Secondly, I am puzzled as to what this proves other then a false reflection.
I’m a bit more concerned about the narrative being spinned as a ‘stalker fan’. No such thing exists in my book. You are either a fan of the group by which I mean go to concerts, buy merch, maybe get a meet and greet, normal fan activities. Sure you might be ‘focused’ on one group, to the point where you invest a lot of money in them, but can function as a normal human being with a job, studying, etc.
Or you are a stalker, i.e. “A person who harasses or persecutes someone with unwanted and obsessive attention”. I get that for people outside of fan communities the line can be blurred by a ‘dedicated fan’ and a stalker. I have had several friends concerned about my ‘dedication’ to a group. I have never once attempted to engage an idol/artist outside of the approved of means. No ‘greeting’ them at airports or shinkansen, no trying to find their hotels, etc. That shit isn’t fan behavior, it’s stalking. The minute you try and to engage your group beyond company sanctioned events; you become a stalker.
Obviously, being involved with a stalker is not a good image regardless of the type of group it is. In fact, we don’t really have the full story. Did this stalker follow them somewhere and break in? Earn their trust somehow and then take these pictures? A lot of details of the full circumstances of how/when/why this happened are unclear. There’s a lot of bias in the Arama article at the end, so I don’t quite trust it.
I am more concerned about the follow up to this stalker, and how the company dealt with them. Are they banned not only from HiHi Jets events, but Johnny’s groups in general? Did they have criminal charges pressed against them? Was their any punishment or just the label of ‘stalker’ added on?
This is partly me venting as a fan. This is me being confused as to the whole situation and concerned as well. It needed to be addressed on my blog, so here it is.