10,000 characters, written by hand, is a few thousand too many, talent agency says.

Like most modern idol groups in Japan, five-vocalist unit Luvnew Girlswave has plenty of ways fans can interact with the singers online. There’s the groups official Twitter and Instagram accounts and YouTube channel, and also the members’ individual public social media accounts.

▼ Luvneo Girlswave

Yet for truly enthralled fans nothing shows their devotion quite like an old-school physical fan letter. Anyone can tap a few keys and make a few clicks, but on;y someone who’s really rooting for the group to make it big would go to the effort to put pen to paper, right?

And so it was that late last month Luvneo Girlswave received a fan letter. However, the unusual nature of the letter has prompted an official statement from the group and a new policy about what sort of correspondence they will and won’t be accepting in the future.

▼ A censored photo of the letter


In recent years, the idol industry has been marred by a number of incidents in which fans (or former fans) have sent threatening messages to performers, but thankfully this doesn’t seem to be a case of that. Rather than any specific troubling content within the letter, the problem is simply its staggering length.

The Luvneo Girlswave Twitter account’s statement reads:

“The other day, we received a fan letter through our talent agency. We are extremely thankful, but it was written in a report style, consisting of eight pages and, by our estimate, over 10,000 characters, and so it took a very long time to read through all of it.

We are very sorry, but as a result, moving forward we ask that you limit fan letters to 5,000 characters or less. Thank you for your continued support.”

Eight pages seems like a shockingly long fan letter, especially considering that Luvneo Girlswave is still in its infancy, having just posted its first YouTube video this spring. It’s not like the group has a huge catalog of songs and concert performances for a fan to be gushing over long enough to get a writer’s cramp multiple times.

“Banzai Paradigm,” one of the few complete songs on Luvneo Girlswave’s channel

The fan letter size limit has been seeing a mixed reaction online. Some commenters are all for it, saying:

“I really think that guy should put his creative energies into something else.”
“Is it the first chapter of a web novel he’s trying to write or something?”
“You must be worn out after reading through that whole thing.”

However, other commenters feel capping the size of fan letters is ill-advised, ungrateful, or just plain unenforceable.

“If there wasn’t anything bad in the letter, I don’t see what the problem is…Is this the kind of shabby treatment you give otaku?”
“So is it OK for people to just split their long letters up into multiple envelopes?”
“It’s impressive that he was able to express his love for the group in such a large quantity.”
“Sure, it’s a lot of work to read it all, but aren’t you happy that he likes your group so much?”
“Writing eight page isn’t something that just anyone can do…If you play your cards right, this guy could be like a goose that lays golden eggs, and be a huge source of revenue for you.”

It’s worth repeating that the group has made no mention of any threatening or offensive messages within the letter. As a matter of fact, all five of Luvneo Girlswave’s idols responded in the fan letter size-limit announcement’s thread with some variant of the message “I’m a member of the group that received this fan letter. Please follow me!” and one even saying she’s looking forward to “5,000-character fan letters.”

▼ Luvneo Girlswave member Aoru


This does sort of raise the question, though, of why an ostensibly harmless letter had led to the group saying they’ll only be accepting shorter ones. While no further explanation has been made since the tweet itself, it seems likely that the amount of time reading through a letter that long really would present a problem. With the atmosphere of a personal connection between idols and their fans being what powers the industry, a newly formed unit like Luvneo Girlswave, that’s still trying to establish its fanbase, might be trying to respond to as many fan letters as they can, and wading through term paper-length dissertations probably doesn’t fit into that schedule very well. It could also be that someone at the talent agency has to check each and every piece of mail that comes in to make sure it contains no threats or other dangerous content, and so asking anyone writing to keep their letter to about four pages or less seems like a smart idea from both a marketing and safety standpoint.

Source: Twitter/@luvneo_official via Jin
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