”I want you to consider whether or not what you write is appropriate.”

It’s no secret that popularity in Japan’s idol singer sector is as much about visual appeal as it is musical talent. Finding an idol with questionable rhythm or pitch is far easier than finding one who isn’t photogenic, and the free-spending superfans who provide the majority of the industry’s economic lifeblood are willing to drop wads of cash not just on CDs, but on posters, pins, and other merchandise graced by the smiling face of their favorite songstress.

Still, even though there’s an unspoken understanding that idol fans are thinking “Gee, they sure look pretty!” when the group is dancing around the stage, there’s a certain amount of decorum that they’re expected to maintain, especially when communicating directly with the idols themselves. Recently, though, Chikako Matsumoto, a member of Nagoya-based idol group SKE48 and leader of its Team S sub-division, got a message from a fan that she felt crossed the line.

▼ SKE48 performing “Bara no Gishiki” (“Rose Ritual”)

Matsumoto received the message through her blog on social media platform 755, which allows the account holder to make posts and also other users to leave messages, which become publicly visible if/when the account holder writes a response. On July 2, Matsumoto received the following message:

“Chika-chan, on that day when I saw Team S’s live performance from the first row, I was charmed by your thighs😂I hope I can see again😍😍.”

To which the 20-year-old Matsumoto responded:

“What kind of emotional state are you in saying that? I’d honestly like to know. Is a person going to feel good or bad after having someone say that to them? That’s something I’d like you to properly consider when choosing your words.

Purely written communication can lead to all sorts of misunderstandings, which is precisely why I want you to consider whether or not what you write is appropriate😞There are many people who hurt others without realizing it.”

▼ Chika Matsumoto


There’s a quirk of the Japanese language that likely added to the level of discomfort. In Japanese, it’s not uncommon to drop certain words if the speaker thinks it can be easily inferred. For example, if Hanako and Taro are talking and Hanako says “I bought a new phone,” Taro might ask “Doko de katta no?”, literally “Where did buy?”, since it’s easy to tell that his full question is “Where did [you] buy [the phone]?”

In his message to Matsumoto, the fan did something similar, ending with “I hope I can see again,” omitting the object of the verb “see.” In this case, though, it’s unclear whether he’s telling Matsumoto “I hope I can see you/Team S again” or “I hope I can see your thighs again.”

On one hand, one could argue that idol groups’ long history of short-skirt stage costumes, not to mention bikini-filled summer song music videos, are deliberate attempts to draw attention to the performers’ legs, and reap the related economic benefits.

▼ Video for SKE48’s “Igai ni Mango” (“Surprisingly Mango-like”)

However, it’s generally going too far to expect an idol to appreciate a random stranger on the Internet telling her directly how charming her thighs are, and hopefully this can serve as a lesson on the importance of discretion in such situations for other idol fans.

Source: 755/松本慈子 via Social Fill via Jin
Top image: Pakutaso
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