Japanese pop star Yamaguchi Maho was assaulted by two men on her way home, and was forced to apologize by her management for openly discussing her assault. Activists are now working to make the story go viral in an effort to incite change.
Yamaguchi Maho is part of the J-Pop group NGT48, and she recently took to Twitter to describe a shocking and scary incident. She said that while she was walking to her room, two male fans emerged from another room grabbed her by the face and dropped her on the floor. They heard the elevator doors opening, got scared, and that’s when she took the opportunity to run away.
Maho claims she spoke to her management and found out another member of the group had leaked her phone number and information, including her address and her parents address. Maho also spoke to the police, who arrested the two 25-year-old men, but who unfortunately were later released without charges.
Feeling unheard and scared, Maho shared her story with her fans, hoping if she spoke up about it, it would ignite change, but unfortunately, her management seems to be sweeping the incident under the rug, presumably worried this ordeal may affect the band’s image.
Yamaguchi was understandably absent from some scheduled events and later apologized to her fans for causing trouble. She said “I am truly sorry for the trouble I caused…I am sorry for being an inconvenience to those who took care of me. I am sorry to shock you guys. Some might get scared to hear what happened to me. I am really sorry. I wanted to help those who were going through the same experience.”
This apology, you know, because it was forced out of her by a patriarchy and buissiness that care more about its own well being than the well being of a woman who works for them getting attacked by two men, caused quite a stir in Japan amidst the prominent issue of violence against women.
Many activists in Japan have take to Twitter to make the story trend on social media with the #JusticeforMahohon
Japan is ranked 110th out of 149 countries for gender equality according to the World Economic Forum, and women are still expected to behave in a “womanly way” and are often expected to apologize for things, even if they are the victim.
Culturally, people issue public apologies when they think they have disturbed “wa” or societal harmony, and being a J-Pop performer is even more limiting. In the J-Pop world, artists are marketed as being extremely accessible, blurring the lines of privacy between performers and fans.
In fact, this is not the first fan assault that has made Japanese headlines.
In 2014, a man attacked two members of AKB48 with a saw., and in 2017, an obsessed fan turned stalker stabbed Mayu Tomita dozens of times. And now people are calling for change. A petition began on change.org that supported Yamaguchi and called for the manager’s resignation had more than 53,000 signatures before it was closed on January 13.
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