Idol superfan asks out his favorite, gets rejected, decides it is time to grow out of fandom

21d8b1ce ikoma

This morning I tweeted this story:

This ended up being my most popular tweet in a while with 14 retweets (the last time that happened might have been not long after the tsunami). Given that a couple people asked for a translation of the original post I figured I would take a stab at a rough translation of the relevant portions. Note that I am not super familiar with the idol world (apparently the idol in question is Rina Ikoma, a member of Nogizaka 46 not AKB48) so please forgive me if I am missing something.

I just wanted to be loved my the one person I held most dear!

…. Ohh I’m not sure what I should write… Well, here is some good news for the people who hate me: Ikoma-chan rejected me! Lol \(^^)/

Honestly I was floored – her unexpected reply stabbed me straight through the heart. She could have been a little nicer about it! Yesterday there was something cold-hearted about her.

But really it’s my fault. I just wanted to make sure… I am so sorry

Ikoma-chan, I hope you will read this blog like you promised… It was all a big misunderstanding. I think I was unconsciously aware of it all along, but you shouldn’t have told me you liked me best! (;_;) That would make anyone misunderstand lol

I feel as if everything I have ever built in my life has now crumbled instantly into nothing.

But all in all this might be for the best. (^ー^) I don’t know what I’ll do when the next single comes out, but I don’t think I’ll be as into it as much as I have been.

Frankly, my psyche isn’t strong enough. I might quit being an otaku lol

To close out, I’ll just say one more time, thank you Ikoma-chan for letting me dream!

Thank you for making it possible for me to enjoy my life. I had nothing before you.


You were the first person I ever fell seriously in love with.

It is worth noting how costly it was for this fan to learn that his favorite idol isn’t interested in seeing him outside of paid fan events. The picture above is the 3,000 copies of a CD he bought to show his support (and maybe gain access to a handshake event). He also apparently went into around 3.5 million yen in debt in the process. That could be crippling financially depending on his income level.

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Rina Ikoma

AKB48 fan arrested for taking their business model to its logical conclusion

Today we have news of a fan of girl pop group AKB48 who just had to keep the fantasy going, no matter the cost:

Police on Friday re-arrested an overzealous fan of idol group AKB48, adding to previous charges of theft for which he is already on trial. Masayuki Fujioka, 35, is suspected of committing 151 robberies in four prefectures. He was quoted by police as saying, “I needed money for train fare and concerts so I could chase AKB48.”

According to police, Fujioka illegally trespassed in a construction site in Tochigi City on the night of Oct 6, breaking into a vending machine and stealing 4,700 yen. Authorities say that, since around December 2002, Fujioka committed 151 robberies in Tochigi, Saitama, Ibaraki and Gunma prefectures, stealing a total of 4.1 million yen.

While we have no way of knowing whether this guy really was spending it all on AKB48, it certainly rings true. AKB48 has been a phenomenal success story in what is otherwise a shrinking and lackluster music scene in Japan. The concept is “idols you can actually meet.” While the music and dancing are nothing special, they are very able at appealing to an audience of young “otaku” men. In 2009, AKB48 became more popular than ever, moving from the “fringe” status as an otaku group to more mainstream exposure on TV and magazines.

The group consists of 3 “teams” of around 16 members each (age range: 16-24) who perform semi-independently. With so many to choose from, in addition to dozens of “trainees” aged 15-20, the fans tend to choose one favorite and follow her closely.

The producer, Yasushi Akimoto, exercises total control over the process and has been called a genius for his business model. It combines the J-pop practice of building a long-term, loyal fan base (many old bands long past their prime can still crank out hit singles and fill arenas for this reason), the penchant for fawning over young, innocent girls in the otaku subculture, and the revenue maximization strategy of a hostess bar.

It’s that last part that has led to some illegality and controversy. Here’s a list of some of the group’s money-making practices, some of which I cribbed from a lengthy piece in the Sankei Shimbun:

  • Perhaps the group’s biggest source of revenue is “handshaking events” where fans who bought a limited edition single on the official website receive a ticket that lets them meet and greet a member of their choice. The rarity of these tickets makes them popular items on Yahoo Auctions, Japan’s answer to eBay. The biggest fans find a girl they like and try to attend as many of the events as possible. Of course, the group also releases CDs and holds concert tours just like any other band, though they operate their own proprietary ticketing system.
  • One CD came with a “ballot” that the buyer could use to vote for who will sing on the next AKB48 single. Some of the more avid fans bought hundreds of CDs to vote for their favorites. A journalist in the Sankei explains this is very similar to when a customer at a hostess bar will buy drink after drink for his favorite to help her succeed.
  • Another CD release came with a poster of a random member included. Fans started trading on online auctions to try and collect them all.
  • The group’s home turf is the 8th floor of the Don Quijote discount shop in Akihabara. Members perform just about every day (having a giant roster of 100 members and sub-members helps keep this going).
  • Members also regularly appear in weekly magazine photo spreads in what is very close to softcore porn, not something an earlier, similar group Morning Musume would have done.
  • On their website, there is a link to an address where you are invited to send “fan letters and gifts.”
  • Akimoto is trying to franchise the “48” idea to other countries, envisioning a Paris 48 or Jakarta 48. There was a documentary a couple months ago about his trip to a marketing convention to try and sell the idea, but so far I have not heard whether he succeeded or not.

In addition to the thief mentioned earlier, other criminals have sold counterfeit event tickets, and one fan started stealing a member’s mail. Clearly some kind of fan worship goes on with any popular group, but AKB48 has clearly done a better job than most of exploiting the relationship between performer and fan.

Via CNNgo and Japan Today

Nemutan’s revenge – some fact-checking and reaction to the NYT story on anime fetishists

The New York Times has an article in its Sunday magazine section by Tokyo Mango author Lisa Katayama about a “thriving subculture” of men who prefer “2D women” to real women, sometimes engaging in serious relationships with anime characters. On the website, the story is billed under the tagline “Phenomenon” which would give readers the impression that this sort of thing is common in Japan.

Seeing as it comes from America’s most prestigious and influential news outlet, the article has already been widely read (see here for a Japanese translation of a Korean-language summary), and reactions have ranged from uncritical acceptance of the reporting (wtf is wrong with Japan?!) to absolute incredulity (she just ripped off an Internet meme and borrowed from WaiWai so this “phenomenon” is completely overblown and is an example of the NYT exploiting Japan for cheap thrills).

Responding to the reaction, Katayama said on Twitter, “imho, responses to my 2D article reflect readers’ biases + issues more than the offbeat situation of story subjects.” So at the risk of revealing my biases plus issues, I am going to respond to this article.

But before I get to my overall thoughts, I want to point out what appear to be two small but important factual errors. While the article focuses on profiling individuals who are either examples of the “2D love” phenomenon or who promote the concept, at one point she cites some government statistics to bolster her claim that there is indeed a thriving subculture of men who literally think a pillow is their girlfriend:

According to many who study the phenomenon, the rise of 2-D love can be attributed in part to the difficulty many young Japanese have in navigating modern romantic life. According to a government survey, more than a quarter of men and women between the ages of 30 and 34 are virgins; 50 percent of men and women in Japan do not have friends of the opposite sex.

 After I asked the author via Twitter where she got the numbers, she helpfully directed readers to “the gov’t agency that monitors population and social security” which in proper noun terms means the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research.

So I looked around to find where she might have gotten the information. The results? I could find nothing to credibly back up either of those statements, but there are survey results that show similar but critically different results. Let’s take them one by one.

Friends of the opposite sex

First, the good news – there is rough statistical backing for the claim “50 percent of men and women in Japan do not have friends of the opposite sex.” A 2004 study “The Japanese Youth” conducted by the Cabinet Office shows that only 43.7% of Japanese youth aged 18-24 reported having friends of the opposite sex.

The only relevant figures from the population institute I could find were from its most recent survey from 2005, which state that around half of unmarried men and women are not currently dating anyone of the opposite sex as friends, as a serious boyfriend/girlfriend, or as a fiance.

Still, both figures are much different from saying that half of all Japanese people have no friends of the opposite sex. As kids grow up they are much more likely to have platonic friends, though it’s true that this is less common than in the US. But that in no way backs up the argument that men and women are isolated in Japan. And as for the stat on single people dating, it really is a coin flip whether a person surveyed will be dating someone or not at the time. And it’s completely irrelevant to the “2D Love” story.

Are a quarter of Japanese 30-34 year-olds virgins? No way.

Now let me repeat the other claim: “According to a government survey, more than a quarter of men and women between the ages of 30 and 34 are virgins.”

Think about those numbers for a minute – if true they would be staggering news and quite possibly a major cause of Japan’s demographic problem. Yet in all I have read about the topic this article marked the first time I have ever seen that claim made. (Mostly it’s attributed to long life expectancies and low birth rates caused by late marriage, quality of life factors, etc.). 

It turns out that the real statistic from population institute states that around 25% of unmarried 30-34 year olds are virgins. It doesn’t say anything about the population as a whole. Note that a separate survey finds that around two thirds of men and women have lost their virginity by the time they are in university, so I find it very hard to believe that another 15% or so won’t have met someone special in the intervening 10 years.

I’ll admit that I have not scoured the entire Internet, so there may be a survey that I just didn’t come across. So to give her the benefit of the doubt, let’s see if this claim is even close to realistic. According to the institute’s 2005 survey (PDF in English, page 15), single people with no kids aged 30-34 (defined as one-person private households) make up 34% of all households in the age group.  On the other end, 54% of private households whose head of household is in that age bracket are married. That means in order for more than one quarter of all Japanese adults aged 30-34 to be virgins, one of the following must be true:  either a) almost all unmarried people at that age are virgins (and we already know that’s wrong); or b) even a good portion of married people fail to consummate their marriages several years into their lives together. And that I am afraid is next to unfathomable.

The WaiWai Connection?

So what happened? Some have accused the author of using the notorious WaiWai as a source. WaiWai is a discontinued feature of Japanese national daily Mainichi Shimbun’s website that specialized in creative translations of Japanese tabloid articles. It was taken down in 2008 after angry Japanese internet users discovered it and found scores of misleading, exaggerated, and false stories depicting Japan as a perverted and even deranged society.  

Katayama has claimed that the government reports were her sources and specifically denied using WaiWai. But thanks to James at JapanProbe, I have found the following June 2007 article that contains a passage very similar to one claim made in the NYT story: 

 The Japan Cherry Boy Association is facing a crisis after the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research revealed that almost one in four Japanese men aged 30 to 34 remains a virgin, according to Weekly Playboy (7/2).

Obviously I wasn’t there when she wrote the story, so I can’t tell where that number came from. But it could easily have come from this source as it makes the same mistake of omitting the key fact that the survey in question only covered unmarried men and women.

Getting facts like this wrong can lead to some unfortunate consequences. Already, the Korean daily Joong Ang Ilbo has posted a summary translation of the article in Japanese (and presumably Korean), complete with a verbatim repetition of the claim “more than a quarter of men and women between the ages of 30 and 34 are virgins.” Without a correction, this idea is likely to spread and might end up becoming a commonly cited myth about Japan, much like the similarly unrealistic but widespread claim that over 90% of Japanese women in their 20s own a Louis Vuitton handbag.

Without these numbers, the background for this story becomes somewhat undermined. While the isolation between men and women in this country is commonly cited by both foreign and Japanese observers, this gap tends to be reflected in the different ways adult men and women spend their time, particularly married couples. For some fascinating anecdotes on the gulf that opens up between housewives who never leave their neighborhoods and their husbands who never leave the office, read this fascinating interview with author Sumie Kawakami.


Overall thoughts

Aside from the statistics issues, I think Katayama and NYT did readers a disservice by making Nisan the focus of the story, because that turns the real story on its head.

Yes, there is a subsection of otaku who are unapologetic about their dedication to anime porn and proudly wear their virginity on their sleeves. But it’s a stretch to characterize all moe anime fans as walking a blurred line between normalcy and 2-D Love, and it’s even more of a stretch to equate all 2-D Lovers with Nisan, who is clearly in a class by himself. It would have been much fairer to start with the Okayama character. He is a collector of body pillows but isn’t public about it, which is far closer to the typical consumption pattern for these products, though even he is on the extreme side. Most American men have seen porn, but you know you’ve lost your way if you buy one of those fake rubber vaginas. In Japan, most men are probably more like economic commentator Takuro Morinaga who grew up on a diet of anime and maybe even dabbled in some “2D Love” content but never made the plunge into Nisan territory (btw, Morinaga is not one of “Japan’s leading behavioral economists.” He teaches at Dokkyo University but only has his bachelor’s and is best known as a populist TV pundit who commonly makes no sense).

It’s also important to note that since at least Evangelion in the late 1990s there’s been an element of eroticism present in most popular animated series aimed at teenagers and adults, and in general sexual content in manga and anime is much more common and accepted in Japan than it would be in the US. So most otaku may in fact own things Americans might consider erotica such as sexually explicit manga or suggestive figurines (not exactly 2D), but that does not make them Nisan- or Okayama-style 2D Lovers nor even place them outside the mainstream. The US and Japan also have the first and second largest live-action pornography industries in the world, so I think that makes both populations rabid 2D Lovers in their own ways. The key difference is the preference in Japan for underage girls (both real-life and 2-D) as objects of desire, a topic that’s not discussed in the article but deserves its own investigation.

To the extent that 2D love is a real phenomenon, it is driven by pop culture and consumption preferences led by people like Toru Honda and Momo who have books and pillowcases to sell. The market for this stuff is a relatively small niche of the overall otaku market, and I don’t see much of a serious ethos that goes far beyond a kind of brand loyalty (but please by all means prove me wrong; you could say the same thing about NASCAR fans but no one doubts NASCAR’s importance and influence on the identity of certain subsections of the US). And yes, the erotic body pillows are a popular accessory among that demographic. But Nisan and the few people who have an abnormal attachment to their pillows are merely the extreme example of what is largely a story of private porn consumption. And while I have never met or spoken with Nisan, how much do you want to bet he carries his pillow around either as an elaborate joke or to prove his otaku street cred? The whole idea of a proud life-long virgin has the air of a joke about it, and you can read any 2-channel thread on the topic to get an idea of how common it is for people to riff on this meme.

I want to be clear that I am not necessarily against this type of reporting. Far from it, I would say that all weird stuff everywhere should be documented and presented to the world. It’s an amazing world out there with countless stories waiting to be told. Lisa Katayama wrote an interesting story in her field of specialty, so I don’t hold it against her for publishing this article or trying to entertain by finding interesting aspects of Japan to present to the world. And as someone who loves to dig through government reports, I hereby offer that the next time she wants to write a story she is more than welcome to enlist my help if she wants to know what government studies are actually saying about Japan. It’s just in this case she got a couple of facts wrong and mischaracterized what I see as the real situation.

To be honest, if I didn’t notice the potentially groundbreaking statistics, I don’t think I would have bothered to write about this story. The “weird Japan” theme in the English-language media is what it is – viewed from the outside a lot of what happens in Japan does seem odd. And the New York Times is in the business of presenting the world to Americans in an entertaining and digestible manner. Producing stories that cast Japan as a backward country that got modernization wrong lets the readers feel better about their own country and confirm the basic rightness of the American dedication to social progress. But Japan is interesting enough without having to resort to exaggeration.

(Thanks to James at Japan Probe for help with some of the research in this post)

Weekend J-Pop: Ayumi Nakamura, “Tsubasa no Oreta Angel” (Angels with Broken Wings)

【中村あゆみ】 翼の折れたエンジェル (Ayumi Nakajima Nakamura, “Tsubasa no Oreta Angel” (Angels with Broken Wings))

This song from the 80s has a definite “Japanese woman sings Bruce Springsteen” feel to it, right down to the E Street Band-style saxophone. For lack of anything better to do, I listened to this song about 20 times on the way back from the US recently. You might remember it was used in a recent beer commercial, though I forget which one.

IIjima Ai’s meaning to Taiwan

The mysterious death of former porn-star turned memoir author and TV celebrity IIjima Ai has been big news in Japan. I wouldn’t normally mention something like this due to lack of really caring much, but I was alerted to a rather interesting twist in a comment by Taiwanese TV Journalist Michella Jade Weng at Michael Turton’s blog. Weng linked to an a Mainichi article explaining that IIjima’s death has been unusually big news in Taiwan for a surprising and fascinating reason. I’ll give a translation of most of the article below.

Due to the import of adult videos starring Ms. IIjima in the early 90s when Taiwan was democratization and the opening of society were proceeding, Ms. Iijima became a “symbol” of freedom of expression and culture. The [December] 25th edition of China Times, one of Taiwan’s big four newspapers, had a front page article above the fold article which, along with showing a photograph of Ms. Iijima, stated that Iijima Ai “became the common shared sexual dream of Taiwanese men born in the 1960s to 1970s.”

Note that China Times now has a special feature section on their website, under the amusing folder name of “sexgirl.” UDN, another of the big four papers, also put together a special feature on Ms. Iijima, describing her as “a memory of all the men of Asia.”

Assistant Editor of China Times, Zhang Jing-wei, explained this treatment by saying “The period when Ms. Iijima was active overlapped with the period when Taiwanese politics and society were opened up. We were not trying to be funny at all, and decided that Ms. Iijima’s death has social significance.”

In 1987, Taiwan’s 38 year period of marital law ended, and restrictions on cultural expression such as newspaper publication and songs were lifted. The Japanese adult videos that began pouring into Taiwan in the 1990s were considered a symbol of social liberalization.

Weng also reports that her editor explained it in more direct terms. “In addition, she was the common link between nearly all men born in the 60’s and 70’s, because almost all of them hid in their bedroom and watched her videos at one point or another.” Including her editor.

Steven Seagal blames FBI for loss of career

You may know that Adam is a huge Steven Seagal fan (check out his review of Seagal’s incomprehensible Into The Sun), but did you know that the reason we haven’t been seeing many Seagal movies recently is due to an FBI probe? Neither did I, but that’s what he’s claiming.

“False FBI accusations fueled thousands of articles saying that I terrorize journalists and associate with the Mafia,” Seagal told the newspaper. “These kinds of inflammatory allegations scare studio heads and independent producers — and kill careers.”


The FBI investigation stemmed from Seagal’s ties to former private detective Anthony Pellicano, who once was employed by many Hollywood stars, directors and producers, but is now in federal prison awaiting trial on wire-tapping and other charges.

The Pellicano investigation dates to 2002 when a free-lance reporter for the Los Angeles Times found a dead fish, a red rose and a note saying “Stop!” on her car. At the time, the reporter was researching Seagal and a former business partner.

Seagal told the Times that he and Pellicano had not been on speaking terms since the 1990s and the Times’ story said his lawyers told FBI agents that by 2002, Seagal and Pellicano had become rivals in a bitter legal dispute.

The actor said in October 2004, an FBI official told him that federal agents knew he had nothing to do with the Pellicano investigation. Still, Seagal claims they have not publicly exonerated him.

Both shockingly and disappointingly, Seagal was apparently suspected of links to the Italian-American Mafia, and not the Yakuza.

Scientology (again)

After seeing today’s news that Germany had banned a Tom Cruise movie from filming in military owned sites due to the star’s connection with the cult, I thought it would be fun to repost this piece I put up back in May 3 of last year. Below is the post originally presented a bit over one year ago.

May 3, 2006

Andrew Sullivan today calls for a boycott of the Tom Cruise vehicle Miss:ion: Imp:oss:i:ble: 3.

How creepy is Tom Cruise? The Washington Post asks; and readers answer. All I can say is: after the way this guy treated South Park, we owe it to ignore him and any movie with which he’s associated. The Boycott “MI:3” movement starts here. Blogospheric solidarity much appreciated.

Well Andrew, I am completely with you on this one, but the boycott does NOT start with you. I was walking around Manhattan with my camera on April 16th and snagged this photo on 9th Avenue somewhere between 45th and 50th Street.

It seems that some people have already had the idea.

As it so happens I ended up passing through Times Square a few minutes later, where there was a pair of tables full of copies of Dianetics, a pair of e-meters, and a bunch of money-crazed bad pulp scifi worshipping Scientologists trying to indoctrinate passers-by. (I normally avoid Times Square, but I wanted to stop by Midtown Comics on the way home and couldn’t remember exactly which cross-street it’s at, only that it’s near the corner of 7th and 40-something. For the record, it was 40th Street.)

All of the following photos taken on April 16th on the west side of Times Square with a Canon EOS 300D and 65mm Hartblei Super Rotator lens.
Continue reading Scientology (again)

LDP Relying on Washed-up Celebrities to Lure Upper House Voters — Hiromi Go, bosozoku-turned-teacher

According to ZAKZAK, singer Hiromi Go is considering a run for the Upper House on the LDP’s proportional representation ticket in the election this July. Some may remember him as the man behind a crappy Japanese version of Ricky Martin’s “La Vida Loca” that was inexplicably retitled “Goldfinger 99.” Watch:

As the resident gaijin in my high school, I was often called upon to sing the original version of this song and the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want it That Way” when I was an exchange student. I’m against Go’s candidacy if only for the fact that it forces me to remember this song. But he was most popular in the 80s, making him most attractive to middle aged female voters. One hit you can listen to is 1984’s “240 Million Eyes” (a reference to Japan’s population size, covered here by Country Musume).

go-hiromi-2007021312go.jpgIn a follow-up article to this important developing story, ZAKZAK reported that Go would be taking a major paycut if he ends up getting elected. The tone of this particular article, however, makes me think the sources are generally against him running, possibly from his talent agency. For one thing, they mention that Go would be much busier with committee meetings, hearings, and meetings with his faction. I kind of doubt he’ll be busier as a Diet member — I mean all a celebrity candidate from the proportional representation ranks has to do is keep his seat warm and vote the way the party wants him to, right? Example: Shinobu Kandori, the veteran female pro wrestler who replaced Heizo Takenaka, doesn’t seem to be doing much except for making the odd election appearance and installing a Shinto altar in her office.

Other possible candidates on the LDP ticket:

  • Biker gang leader turned Classical Japanese teacher at the prestigious Yoyogi Seminar cram school Keisuke Yoshino. It’s unknown whether he’ll be seeking a prefectural or proportional seat, but if he wins he’ll be one of the few ex-con currently serving in the Diet. It’s a small but colorful caucus that includes the infamous Muneo Suzuki. Yoshino, who was arrested in 2002 for slapping a student in the face repeatedly, left Yoyogi on Jan 31, reportedly to move on to bigger and better things. Ironically, if he wins he’ll be serving the same party as Lower House member Taizo Sugimura, one of the more precocious “Koizumi children” elected in 2005. The gaffe-prone Sugimura found himself in hot water last May when he was caught posting blog posts that plagiarized parts of Yoshino’s autobiography “You’re Not an Idiot After All.” That might make for an awkward conversation at the party convention. BTW, Suzuki made the news recently as a runner in the 1st ever Tokyo Marathon. He’s still a healthy man in his old age (59) despite having undergone surgery for stomach cancer in 2003. Way to go!
  • bosozoku-t2007020118yoshino.jpg


  • TV Tokyo Newscaster Maoko Kotani. She’ll be running in the Tokyo prefectural district, but her candidacy is not without controversy. Some in the LDP are worried that she’ll steal too many votes in the multimember district and lose the LDP a seat it could have had by splitting the vote among two mediocre candidates.
  • kotani-g2007021502kotani.jpg

    So far, at least as far as ZAKZAK has told me, this is the best the LDP can do for famous candidates. Already megastar idol Norika Fujiwara and former NHK newscaster Midori Miyazaki have turned down spots on the ticket.

    Newsflash: Hawaii doesn’t have enough Japanese people

    The state of Hawaii is facing a minor crisis: not enough Japanese tourists. So they’ve enlisted advertising megafirm Dentsu to sell the state to people in Japan. And, since every ad in Japan needs a cute face, they brought actress Mayumi Sada on board.

    Well, okay, she’s not that cute. More “sophisticated.” Anyway, the Honolulu Advertiser reports:

    Through November, Japanese visitor arrivals were down nearly 9 percent. Takashi Ichikura, executive director of Hawai’i Tourism Japan, blamed the decline on fewer airline seats from Japan to Hawai’i, rising fuel surcharges on air travel, rising hotel charges and a weakening of the Japanese yen. Hawai’i Tourism Japan was hired by the state to promote Hawai’i in Japan.

    “With the rising fuel surcharge and other cost factors, Hawai’i now looks expensive in Japanese consumers’ eyes, and they expect Hawai’i to be a refined and sophisticated destination to match the price they are paying,” Ichikura said.

    … The campaign, called “Discover Aloha,” is meant to depict the experiences of a female visitor who experiences the feeling of aloha through various encounters that could only happen in Hawai’i.

    My dirty mind had high hopes when I read that last part, but Dentsu let me down.

    The effort includes two posters featuring hula and lei-making and another showing Sada reflecting on her Hawai’i experiences from a lanai overlooking the ocean.

    It still sounds kind of like running “Visit Texas” ads in Mexico, doesn’t it?

    Saaya Irie on YouTube

    My quick letter to YouTube:

    Dear Youtube:

    It looks like dozens of videos of 12-year-old Japanese actress Saaya Irie are making their way around your site. At least one video was popular enough to appear on the top videos of Japanese YouTube search site, Qooqle Clippers. I watched the video, and it’s of Irie in a white bikini with a cameraman in the background telling her to pose. She is 12 years old making suggestive poses. It looks like something out of a Stephen King novel. One hopes that a nightmare sewer clown killed the cameraman moments after the video was shot.

    As much as I like your service, videos of this nature are highly inappropriate and may be illegal under US law. In the off chance that you view one of the many videos on your site depicting Saaya Irie and conclude that she is engaging in nothing more risque than normal child modeling, let me assure you that she is intended for the Japanese softcore child porn consuming public, as has been documented (see links below). Often in Japan, child acts make a show of appealing to fellow youngsters while in fact courting older fans who then purchase “photobooks” that feature no nudity but are nevertheless softcore pornography. While tolerated in Japan, an American site should not in good conscience enable this behavior. Considering the extent to which you accommodate copyright holders to ensure that infringing content is deleted in good faith, I can only hope you will make the utmost effort to remove material that depicts child exploitation as well.



    Links: 1 2