Sacked gravure idol 小向美奈子 / Minako Komukai, pictured, offers shocking revelations about the routine sale of idols for sex, saying in an interview that it is a routine side business for countless idols.
The agency claims Ms Komukai was dropped over her various health problems, saying it could no longer support her career in the circumstances; a month later, she broke her silence over the matter with an interview given to Shuukan Post, and the revelations are as unsurprising as they are scandalous.
Much of the idol business operates alongside a sideline business of a “date club” organisation, she says. There, according to their fame, comeliness and similar, idols are ranked from A to D, and to each a corresponding price is attached, in order to partake of that particular idol-level.
We do not hear what the prices were, though we might suspect them to be a far cry from the immature opposite end of the spectrum.
“I saw so many gravure idols doing that, it was like a second job to them; like it was expected of us.” She is emphatic that she did not engage in such: “I swear to God, I never did anything like that.”
Although we can certainly ascribe to her motives of revenge against the trade which prematurely discarded her, as it eventually does to all its participants, her allegations are perfectly credible: we hear of similar recent scandals, for example in 2005 a group of idols sued their agency for damages over being forced into prostitution, and the courts ruled in their favour and ordered damages paid.
Another case in 2007 is spoken of, where the director of an agency was actually arrested for violating laws against prostitution.
Not all idols are so docile, however. One offers this in her confession:
“There was someone who wanted to buy my body. Why must I sell myself whilst working like that? If I have to do that, I’d sooner quit” – such was her statement on retiring from the profession.
As we have touched upon before, the image trades of idol, AV star, pop star, seiyuu, actress, etc., seem all to operate in a continuous complex of sexual commerce, with the proclivities of the buying audience (some pay for purity and virginity, or at least the appearance of such), along with the amount of money on offer from a given proposition, the chief determinants of what it is these professional entertainers get up to.
This is likely a pattern which is in Japan, as elsewhere, many centuries old. We might even recall, if you’ll forgive a sad orientalist cliché, the complex gradations of prostitute/entertainers, from street walker to geisha, which Japan has historically gained so much note for.
Surely it is the same the world over, but the size of the industry in Japan lends it considerable prominence.
You can examine the matter in more detail, of course.