Talent Agency Sues 17 Year Old Idol Over Dating Ban Violation and Wins

This past Friday, Tokyo District Court ruled in favor of a talent agency that was seeking damages against one of the former members of one of its idol groups. The company had a dating ban in place for its idols and a 17 year old idol was found to be in violation of it. Last October, a photo appeared that showed the girl in a hotel room with a male fan. Her contract clearly stated that such images were not allowed. The 6-member group split later that month.

The girl’s name is a not being reported, neither is the name of her former group. Idol fans though have figured out that it is a group named Dokidoki. The group formed in March 2013. They performed concerts and sold merchandise, but didn’t release any music.

The 17 year old former idol argued that a dating ban was not needed. However, judge Kojima Akitomo disagreed. He found the ban to be necessary for female idol groups to gain male fans.

He ordered that the girl’s parents pay their daughter’s former employer ¥560,000 ($4653), instead of the ¥5.09 million ($42,294) that the company originally sought. This money will go towards costs incurred by the company for costumes and lessons.

Source

  • Comments

    • ohhello

      dear lord…

    • kristen kagoshima

      The judge must be a wota…

      • Gaqulin

        no that’s the Japanese company’s role and this girl broke it …

    • nothingsover

      I understand from a legal and economic perspective but I still feel like dating bans are wrong. Poor girl. At least she only has to pay ¥560,000 instead of ¥5.09 million.

    • anne

      uh… wtf
      the ban in itself violates some laws so the judge is trippin. poor girl

      • ProllyWild

        It actually doesn’t violate any laws. In the contracts artists and idols agree that they are the products and that maintaining their image is a priority. This blanket agreement generally requires the artists to avoid any conduct that may negatively impact the product and image of the management company. This can range from things like dealings with gangs to something as simple as dating and scandalous photos. The dating was not so much the problem as much as the fact that the images came out and were deemed scandalous and damaging to the product. There is no secret that the conduct violates contract. If anything take issue with the the parents who co-signed that contract. In the end her conduct caused damages to the group and that damage can be quantified in loss revenues. Not nice, but it’s business. That’s the shit all professional acts in Japan deal with. Even rock groups. Even if a dating ban is not specifically added to a contract, any artist can be held to that standing if dating is seen as damaging to the product.

        • Human Rights

          Actually, human beings are not “products”. When humans are considered “products”, it’s either called slavery or human trafficking.

          Furthermore, there is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which exists even in Japanese,
          http://www.ohchr.org/EN/UDHR/Pages/Language.aspx?LangID=jpn
          and which states a few obvious things that many here on Arama, in Japan or all over the world, tend to forget. It’s that you’re free to choose whoever you want to be with, and nobody has the right to interfere (expect for security or safety issues, which is not the case here). Therefore, a work contract invading your privacy is illegal.

          A little reminder
          http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/
          “Article 12.
          No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”

          “Article 16.
          (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
          (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
          (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.”

          Bonus, a little reminder from AI
          http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/campaigns/my-body-my-rights

          • Maybe idol fans need to read this so they stop putting expectations on these people.

            • Human Rights

              I hope so…

              • They won’t though, because without that sense of ownership, you don’t get that bond that makes idol fans spend money the way they do.

          • Guest

            Thank you very much for posting this. I’d up vote but I don’t want to make an account.
            I’m so tired of know-nothings going on spiels about contracts. Contracts do not override real laws and human rights.

            • Human Rights

              You’re very welcome! :)

            • ProllyWild

              I’m glad you feel the judge in this case, and people with experience in entertainment contracts are, as you say, “know-nothings”. However, I should point out that contracts are a constant exercise in the limiting and mutually agreed restriction of certain rights for a period of time given certain situatiuons. For example, all humans have a right to free speech. That speech is however limited when a confidentiality agreement is in place. This is common in business, divorces and all sorts of legal situations. Contracts are not automatically lawful, and in cases where they overstep their bound, courts determine if they are legal or not. In this case the judge found her to be responsible for damages caused not necessarily by her dating but rather (based on the context of this article) the photographs of her dating being made public. For many reasons this impacted the brand she agreed to be a face of. I think the general problem here might be that a certain number of “know-nothings” seem to think that human rights mean absolute freedom. It seems the general consensus here is that people dont think the choice to be a part of a bad decision is still a choice the signee bears responsibilty for. If she dated, and was arrested. Thats a violation of her rights. If she was held against her will in a dark room to keep her from mingling with others, that would be a violation of her rights. She signed a contract that at the very least stipulated that she not be present in scandalous photos that could negatively impact her job. That was a choice she and her parents made, to be a part of that agreement. Any issues with that aspect of the contract should have been managed before they signed, not after an incident happened.

          • ProllyWild

            I think you’re misunderstanding the point. I’m glad you have that information on hand but it’s not relevant here.

            If these people were being forced against their will that’d be one thing but it’s not the case. People very often engage in contracts that temporarily restrict the expression of their rights. For example if someone was being payed to participate in a study on the effects of abstinence on the body, they would contractually be restricted from having sex. Not because someone wants to repress them but because them straying from that would cause issue with the project and could potentially cost a lot in damages. These contractual agreements are legal because the restrictions are not life long and sufficient methods for existing a contract are always given. If they were not compensated and there was no way out of the contract, it’d be slavery.

            What we have here is a person who is being marketed to the public as a certain character being restricted from publicly dating because it impacts the potential sales involved in that characters promotions. If they don’t like it, they can quit but for the time being they are being PAID to be the character/product.

            For another example imagine a person who plays Mickey Mouse decides to take the mask and make a website where he plays “Mickey mouse’s smack ass” with costumers. Disney could sue him because he represents a product of theirs and his conduct could impact how people view the character and the company. The unfortunate part about entertainment industry is that people don’t wear masks. They become the product as themselves and restrictions are in place for all kinds of things like drug use, shady behavior and in these cases dating while under contract.
            So again, sorry to disappoint you but it ain’t slavery and it ain’t violation of rights. It’s just unfortunate and perhaps a bit stupid, but adults agreed to these conditions so…fuck.

            • ProllyWild

              Also if I’m to provide a more down to earth example, schools, hospitals and places of business often put restrictions on dating co-workers, patients and students due to conflict of issues, potential damage to the image of the schools/workplaces, etc. this does not ban people from ever dating again but restricts their freedom for the duration in which they are being paid to provide a service.

              • Human Rights

                This is in no way comparable. Most of these rules are to avoid either conflict of interest and/or favoritism.
                You see, when you sleep with your professor/student (depending on which side you are), there is a high risk that you could be favored or that you could favor your lover. You could get the exam in advance, or get a higher grade, if you’re in the position of the student. If you’re the professor, you could ask for “favors” in exchange for “good grades”, which is a kind of corruption and can be tantamount to sexual harassment. There is a high risk that your fellow students could be disadvantaged too.

                At the work place, similar things can happen if you’re dating your superior or your subordinate, depending on which side of the social scale you are. Generally, if the person is a mere colleague, with no hierarchical position regarding yours, there is no problem if you don’t import your domestic problems at the workplace and if you don’t spend your time at his/her desk.

                • ProllyWild

                  indeed i forgot to mention the other point.

                  “The company had a dating ban in place for its idols and a 17 year old idol was found to be in violation of it. Last October, a photo appeared that showed the girl in a hotel room with a male fan. Her contract clearly stated that such images were not allowed. The 6-member group split later that month.”

                  she was involved with a male fan, and she is underage. There are many very shady imitation idol groups that actually do force their girls into sexual situations to gain favour or sponsors and/or fans. Many companies do try and avoid those types of interactions because they don’t want to be perceived as a pimp company. I can’t speak to it being the case or not here, but by engaging in that kind of relationship, it did stand to paint her group and the management as one of those that involves itself privately with fans for the sake of sales/popularity.

                  Whatever the case may be, she’s a minor…she was caught in a scandalous incident with a fan….and it violated a contract. those are the most basic and relevent parts of this issue right here. Why are idols (male and female) in japan 20 years and up banned from dating fans? shit, i dunno. Maybe if enough idols stand up, strike and make a shit about it, it will change. For now, while knowing the circumstances and rules, many of them seem fine with taking a paycheck under those circumstances until they get caught.

                  • Swtess

                    ProllyWild I like you and agree with everything you wrote.

                    Simply, she was not threatened in any way when agreeing and signing to the term of the contract. Because of her violation and negative actions, the group as whole was soon disbanded. Her action could have or didn’t play a part in this disbandment, we don’t know but as she clearly knew she was going against the agreement the judge ruled correctly.

                    You don’t go and dispute something you agreed to commit to afterwards. The company did not hide the ‘no dating’ clause in a pile of legal jargon that the girl and family did not understand. Her case would be more valid if she refused to sign the contract beforehand and brought it to the judge to fight it. At this moment, she is just crying wolf.

            • Human Rights

              I think you don’t see the line between private life and public life.

              In the case of Mickey’s costume, you’re using a work tool to damage the image of your employer INTENTIONALLY and you do this PUBLICLY.
              In the case of the girl, she’s not using any work tool. Her body DOES NOT BELONG to her employer. It’s HERS ONLY. And she is dating on her PRIVATE TIME in a PRIVATE place (yes, an hotel room is a private place).

              Regarding health studies, they are allowed for a very strict limited amount of time. You can’t go under several health studies at the same time, and you need to have sufficient time space between 2 of them, in order not to exhaust your body and/or your mind.

              Now, as you seem to refuse to understand the problem of banning personal relationships and sexual rights, I’m going to give you an example from a country that is quite infamous for violating human rights and especially workers rights, as well as for cases of “modern” slavery. Until last month, Qatar Airways was sacking its flight attendants for marrying or getting pregnant. Due to international pressure, and especially from the UN’s International Labour Organisation (ILO), it finally had to change its outrageous policy.
              http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/aug/27/qatar-airways-will-no-longer-sack-cabin-crew-who-become-pregnant-or-marry
              Qatar Airways sees its flight attendants in a similar way that Japan sees its idols, and in both cases, it’s a clear violation of basic human rights.
              Maybe one day, Japanese jumishos will also have to answer before the UN about their infamous practices that violate international laws… But you see, when you’re a developed country such as Japan, and your labor rules are similar to the ones of Qatar, which is ranked at the bottom of the human rights list, there is a serious problem…. If you defend this state of things, you might also have a serious problem about how you see/consider your fellow human beings…
              http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/soccer/doc-exposes-dreadful-conditions-qatar-labor-force-article-1.2241015

              • ProllyWild

                Ill refrain from using salty language. :)

                A public figure like an idol does sell their public life. Not gonna say if that’s good or bad, right or wrong but it is the reality. When you’re reading up on say Utada getting married and having a baby, that is often information distributed by the management. Unfortunately private lives do connect to the overall product in the entertainment business so it does not directly connect well to the example you gave. Honestly I don’t care if they have dating bans or not. What I have a problem with is trying to make excuses for the obvious. She knew there was a dating ban and she dated anyway. That’s her right and so long as she’s not caught then I’m sure no one really cares. However she did get caught and her only defense is “well…do we really need a dating ban?” If she was so against the concept then she shouldn’t have signed on as an idol under that sort of contract. This idea that people should not be held responsible for the things they agree to just because it’s inconvenient is quite stupid. You want Japan to change the dating ban trend, then fine, fight it. I’m saying in this case she doesn’t get my sympathy. Fighting the battle after getting caught is not as effective as not signing the damn contract in the first place and trying to push for better standards elsewhere.

                • Human Rights

                  Many airlines (fortunately, not anymore in western countries, because there are anti-discrimination laws that now prohibit to hire only “young, beautiful and slim” flight attendants) still use their fight attendants to sell a “glamorous public image” too. Many of these airlines have very strict rules about the colour of the lipstick (and how many time their should go to the bathroom during a flight to fix their make-up/lipstick/hairdo), the colour of the nail polish, the type of foundation, etc, etc, including the weight scale.

                  Do you really think that it’s normal that the agency should be the first in announcing marriages and births? As you were taking the example of the school in your other comment, do schools announce marriages and birth of their professors and other employees? In your family, are official engagement announcements made first by the company for which their work?
                  Why do you refuse to see that this behavior is a blatant human right violation, like if people had no soul but were just the puppets of their jumisho?

                  And to conclude about your: “If she was so against the concept then she shouldn’t have signed on as an idol”, I can tell you that if feminists, unionists, civil rights and LGBT advocates were all like you, all of the women, poor workers, non-white and LGBT people would never have had ANY rights!!! It’s because people refuse to follow discriminatory rules and make their case heard before courts and lawmakers and win their case, that things change. Not because of: “If you don’t agree, just shut up your mouth and maybe your boss will be good to you… one day!” theory.

                  • ProllyWild

                    do i think its right that management filter out the private details of their artists? not really, but if that didn’t happen half of this site wouldn’t exist. would any of you here commit to no longer distribute or discuss the private details of artists to help change the situation for artists in japan? You and many other fans around the world consume private info. Fans create a demand for private info and that info is now sold and used as a part of the business and the image of artists and celebrities. That same private info can be damaging to brands. Example, the old spokesperson for Subway sandwiches was arrested in related to child pornography claims. His image going down the tubes heavily impacted the company and they parted ways with him. Still damage to a company and its stocks can be significant when private matters of key faces to a company do things that damage reputation.

                    In your example, Flight attendants are employees and partly the face of a company but they are not the PUBLIC face of a company. Is it right that apple stocks went up and down because Steve Jobs’ health went up and down? no ..its pretty fucked up, but thats how business is running these days. People are products. They do however have a choice as to whether or not they want to be products in the first place. If they don’t want to be, they can refuse to do that job. No one forced this girl to be an idol or sign the contract.

                    My point is not that she should shut up and let things go on as usual. I’m saying her point would have been better made had she not accepted the situation as it was until she got caught and management came seeking damages. Its the difference between an employee bitching about business practices at the water cooler, and employees choosing to strike, take no pay and do no services until their demands are met. Full on commitment better serves the purpose, so if people don’t want those contracts in place, they shouldn’t sign them until the contracts match their expectations of a proper work environment. At the same level, fans don’t make a great case for the privacy of artists while constantly consuming gossip rag news. Its unfortunate, but this girl is less Jesus, and more Kim Davis.

          • Sua

            I think dating ban is stupid and do appreciate your posts but, she was 15 when it happened. She’s underage. I don’t know what the legal age of consent is in Japan but its a crime to engage in sexual act as a minor.

            • elimeten

              Legal age of consent in Japan is 13 years old.

              • Sua

                Wt😨😨😨

                • elimeten

                  Which is not surprising considering the minimum age for finding jobs legally in Japan is 15, that is as soon as you finish junior high school. They start early I think. Different country, different system.

          • I am printing out the Declaration of Human Rights and hanging it on my office door at work and on my wall at home. Like in a frame in the living room.

        • Well, actually the main problem with the whole dating ban is that it does not really make a difference between “dating fans” (probably men much older than them and most probably for money… so basically being a prostitute) and actual dating. As here most probably the first one was the case I can’t really feel sorry for that girl, as she dug her own grave, but banning girls from normal dating is just wrong.

          • ProllyWild

            I’ll admit the actual ban itself in contracts is generally worded correctly and the rest is basically peer pressure. there is no way they can actual ban people from dating. They can ban people from doing things that would conflict with promotions and cause damage to the brand, which is likely why the enforceable aspect of this incident is not the dating. Its the being caught on photo and in term initiating a scandal via one’s conduct. the reality is A LOT of idols date. The whole basic rule is “don’t get caught on camera”. some are better than others…some are just so busy they avoid the whole thing together.

          • ProllyWild

            ^also..no real way to say if this was “prostitution” but the focus of such bans is two fold…to protect the pure image of the idol for the fans appeal, and to also protect the company from looking like a pimp company of prostitutes…..

      • Paddy Alfan

        I personally think that dropping babies from multiplestoried building should be illegal, but it’s India’s culture. But I’m not gonna send our troops to India and Japan just because they have different boat floater.

        • Human Rights

          FYI, it’s a crime to “drop babies” in India. The fact that the law is not enforced is another (serious) problem…

        • anne

          a really poor comparison

    • risotto

      The hell is a 17 year old doing in a hotel room with a guy… Well, besides the obvious.

      • Well she’s 17 now, so she was younger when it happened.

        • risotto

          JFC

    • ponpiri

      I bet her parents beat her ass when she got home.