Smelly handshake event prompts frank discussion and suggested solutions for common problem at idol appearances.

It’s not at all unusual for English-language recording stars to use their fame as a platform for advocating social change, but in Japan the stars of the music world generally stick to being pure entertainers. However, recently idol singer Kaori Matsumura seems to have taken up an important cause: cleanliness.

Earlier this month, Matsumura, a member of idol unit SKE48, revealed that among the presents she receives from fans are stuffed animals with mysterious stains, which are surely tokens of affection she could do without. This week, the Nagoya-based idol took to her Twitter account with another gross story of life in the idol industry.

On August 19, SKE48 held a handshake event, in which the idols make a public appearance to press palms with their fans. While handshake events have become a standard promotion in the idol industry, Matsumura tweeted about an unpleasant aspect of the gatherings which isn’t often openly discussed by the performers themselves.

Her tweet reads:

Thank you all for coming out to the handshake event. We received a complaint about a serious problem.
One of the female fans who was waiting in line to shake our hands said she couldn’t stand the smell in the venue, and asked if anything could be done about it. It’s hard for people to notice their own body odor. It’s something those of us in SKE48 have to be careful about too! So let’s pick up these two items at the drugstore and take care of the problem!

Matsumura accompanied her tweet with two photos of deodorant, CBIC’s Deonatulle and Shiseido’s Ag+. Since spray cans (like the Ag+ shown in the above tweet) are banned from many idol events for safety reasons, Matsumura also sent out a follow-up letting her Twitter followers know that Ag+ is available in a roll-on type too, plus a reminder that scented body wipes are readily available in Japan and light and compact enough to easily carry in your bag when going out to meet your favorite idols.

Other Twitter users were quick to thank Matsumura for opening a frank dialogue on the matter, with comments including:

“Thank you! Honestly, sometimes the smell at handshake events is so bad I want to get out of line and just leave.”
“It’s especially bad at summer events.”
“Deodorant is an absolute necessity. Thank you for telling everyone.”
“People who have to rush to make it to the event on time [and get sweaty in the process] need to be aware of this.”
“I’m a woman, and I don’t think it’s just male fans who need to be more conscious of their smell. Some of the female fans smell sweaty, and others wear really heavy perfume.”

Other handshake event etiquette tips offered by commenters include taking a shower the morning of the event (most people in Japan usually bathe at night, just before going to bed) and wearing freshly washed underwear, which, really, is a good policy to adhere to whenever you’re leaving your home. One commenter even went so far as to jokingly suggest that along with checking fans’ tickets, staff should also check their smell before allowing them to enter the venue, and hose down those who don’t pass the sniff test. Another suggested selling official idol unit-branded deodorant, which seems like a license to print money.

Hopefully more fans will take Matsumura’s hygiene advice to heart, lest we start to see more idols showing up to meet their fans wearing hazmat suits.

Source: IT Media
Top image: Pakutaso

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s pretty fond of Sea Brezze’s deodorant.