A Japanese female singer, whose name is not being disclosed to the public, is being sued by her record label for roughly 9.9 million yen. She has won the right to have a relationship in what is being considered a landmark case.
The singer was being sued for damages for violating the “No Dating” portion of her contract. “We have to admit that forbidding pop idols to date by claiming compensation for damage goes too far,” Presiding Judge Kotsuya Hara noted in his ruling. This is one of the only times the courts have sided with a defendant Idol.
“Association with the opposite sex is part of the pursuit of happiness. Even taking into account the unique circumstances of being an idol, prohibiting such associations is going too far.”
This is a significant ruling as for many years the purity of Japanese pop stars in the eyes of their fans has been an important part of Idol image. Everything from contracts forbidding relationships, to punishments for minor weight gain, the life of a pop star in Japan includes a bit of fear of any deviation from the conditions set by their management.
The no dating aspect itself is meant to not destroy the “hopes” of their fans.
While this case will hopefully set a new standard for Idol life in Japan, it was only last year another Idol was successfully sued for 650,000 yen for violating the same rule.
Fans seem torn between their judgment of the idols they watch having private lives, with support going to either opinion. Let’s hope freedom comes soon for these popular performers.