Police have arrested two men for the crime of photographing a group of cheerleaders on a stage, although some have criticised them for an excess of diligence when all the men were found to have taken photographs of was their thighs.
The incident occurred at a Kanagawa prefecture high school “culture” festival where a group of 27 high school girls were performing a cheerleader dance on stage.
Two men in the audience, a 36-year-old civil servant working for the prefecture and a 43-year-old banker, disgracefully attempted to film the girls as they cavorted, taking close-ups of their bare thighs and clothed bodies.
A vigilant teacher noticed them brazenly using their cameras and decided they were suspicious, and their photographs were checked by teachers at the school’s staff room and they were reported to police as voyeuristic perverts.
The pair admit photographing the girls, saying they did it together as part of a “hobby,” and that they met at another such event and have been photographing other schoolgirls in public as well.
They have both been charged with indecent activities and trespass for attending the show in the first place.
There has been a certain amount of confusion amongst Japanese as to how photographing cheerleaders on a stage constitutes criminal voyeurism:
“What is wrong with photographing cheerleaders?”
“How can you get arrested for this?”
“How is this voyeurism?”
“If you don’t want people taking photographs or watching them why hold a cheerleader show on a stage?”
“But they only took photos of their thighs?”
“If photographing anyone but your friends is a crime, they might as well ban cameras.”
“Since when is photography banned at these events…”
“It’s creepy but I don’t see any crime.”
“Yet this is legal:”
“They should arrest that NHK cameraman then.”
“Odd that all the paparazzi photographers never get arrested just because they do it for money.”
“They are doing it for the money rather than to satisfy their lust, so it’s quite different.”
“Doing it for the money frankly seems more creepy than just doing it out of lust…”
“What about NHK and its cameramen taking pictures of wet schoolgirls getting uplifted by typhoons?”
“I thought the whole point of cheerleaders was the short skirts and panchira.”
“And yet the mass media happily photographs gymnastics and beach volleyball all the time.”
“It seems excessive that these two get their names dragged through the national press for this when there are murderers and worse who never have their names made public.”
“Why just arrest them like that? You’d think they’d at least warn them to stop photographing. It’s not even clear if the school bothered telling anyone it had banned photography.”
“I reckon they could get away with this if they took normal photographs and then just enlarged the bits they were interested in on their computers later.”
“They took photos of their thighs, they are obviously guilty!”
“It was only a close-up though? And not even of their underwear.”
“The whole point of cheerleaders is to show off the girls though…”
“They obviously weren’t supposed to be at the event either.”
“You lot wouldn’t like it if a bunch of creepy old guys were photographing your thighs whilst you were up on stage either.”
“How can a public performance in a public place possibly constitute ‘voyeurism’ or ‘peeping’?”
“This country is becoming seriously oppressive.”
“If this is a crime, then the cheerleaders themselves must be guilty of public indecency.”
“Nice to see our police and teachers have their priorities straight – kids are being bullied to death in schools, and they focus on the important stuff like this.”