Tomita Mayu suffered a stabbing incident earlier this week outside of an event where she was scheduled to appear.
To some, this incident shows how dangerous the idol culture could be to these girls. To others, it’s a sign that there needs to be change in how Japan protects victims of stalking.
What happened to Tomita Mayu?
On May 21st, 20 year old Tomita Mayu was stabbed 20 times before a scheduled event outside of a venue. Suffering wounds to her back, both arms, chest, as well as neck, she is currently in a coma following a cardiac arrest.
The incident was spurred as a result of her returning gifts that were sent by 27 year old Tomohiro Iwazaki.
Iwazaki commented the following (translated by Arama! JAPAN):
I sent her presents, but I felt indignant when they were returned. I asked her on the spot what the problem was, but when she gave me vague answers I lost control and stabbed her countless times
The attack was done with the intent on killing her and he had prepared the knife beforehand for that reason alone.
What should be done about this?
There is a clear need to revisit these laws to offer harsher punishment for those who cross the line and to offer more protection for victims.
According to various news sources, Tomita had already approached police regarding her stalker to which the police simply ignored it. This was done on two occasions, May 4th and May 9th by both her and her mother to police in Musashino and Kyoto, both resulting in no action done.
As mentioned by Tokyo Girls Update:
The problem with stalking in Japan lies with the current anti-stalking laws which do little to protect the victims.
Stalking laws in Japan need improvement. There is no protection for cyber stalking through social media, and suspects are simply given a verbal warning for the 1st offense, and a written warning for the 2nd.
In fact, there is no protection in most of the world for cyber stalking which is concerning. Those who do have some are usually weak at best with opposition from those who barely know about social media.
Obviously, writing about an incident like this is somewhat hard from my perspective. I started covering news simply because I enjoy sharing details of releases with other fans who love the music as much as I do.
The last thing I want to do is exaggerate details in order to gain views, and in fact that’s why I decided to wait a few days in order to properly address the issue. Letting the dust settle to properly report what happen without any incorrect details.
Starting off, J-pop is an interesting world, and as we know many idol fans are dedicated. Going to concerts and seeing fans dressed up in yukatas supporting their favorite members is nothing short of what makes the idol culture so interesting.
Of course, there are some instances where someone might step over the line.
One incident that comes to mind is in 2014, where Kawai Rina, Irayama Anna, as well as a staff member were all slashed by a man during an AKB48 handshake event. The man was charged with attempted murder and arrested.
As mentioned by TheNumber244:
The devotion to an idol is the single most defining trait of the fandom.
In all honesty, that’s the main draw of idol fandom for some: devoting yourself to an idol. To say it plainly though, that simply means dedicating your time, money, and attention to a girl.
Most fans, like myself, draw the line of dedication at enjoying songs, buying singles and albums, going to concerts, and simply having favorite members from the group which you hope to hear more lines from.
The sad reality is that there are a few people who take it to the extreme, obsessing about them and creating a world in their minds where only they can be with their favorite artist. To them, if they can’t be with them, no one can.
There is no denying it, at times the idol culture is scary. Some take these idols and start to think of them as their surrogate girlfriends. The fact that the gifts were returned to the attacker to us could mean nothing, but to those who are obsessed with a girl it could be nothing short of a sign of public denial that destroys the only thing they lived for.
It’s not only Japan. As we’ve seen this happen all over the world with artists such as John Lennon, and many many more who were targeted by someone who had a twisted outlook on reality and who killed them.
The fact is, there are obsessive people with some issues in every fandom and in daily life, as we’ve seen countless times with incidents being reported on TV on a daily basis about these people who take it a step too far.
Thankfully, those who are in the extreme are few and far between. Most fans who I have met simply enjoy the music and love the culture, and seeing their favorite group perform was the highlight of their life.
Their dedication to the group is simply to add some joy to their life by enjoying the music as much as possible, all while respecting the members and knowing fully well that they have lives of their own and are humans just like us.
It’s sad to see events like these happening with others pointing fingers instead of actually doing something. For those who are in Japan, I strongly encourage you to make your voice heard to protect the voices of those who have to endure this in a daily basis. It could not only help protect those who are being harassed, it could also save a life.