Tomomi Kasai has been getting A LOT of mouth lately. First, it was her dropping out of that TV show a little while ago. Then, it was suspiciously announced that she’d go solo. And BAM, graduation! What else could go wrong? Welllll…
I mean, even if you don’t follow AKB48, I’m sure you’ve seen this photo. It is the cover to her upcoming photobook–well, not for long. As you can probably already tell, this picture ain’t flyin’ with nobody. The magazine it was first pictured in is said to be republished without the picture and Kodansha(the photobook’s publisher) will be sued in no time. So, what is exactly wrong with the picture?
Who in their right mind thought this was tasteful?
Clearly, using a child in a nude shot is extremely risky, even in a country like Japan where underage sexualization is the norm. But when the Japanese start criticizing and throwing tomatoes because of something like this, YOU KNOW you’ve done something terribly wrong. It’s almost as bad as child pornography; it’s using a child in the midst of an obviously adult situation. That’s gross.
But y’know… Someone has to be Devil’s Advocate in this situation… And that person might just be me.
Kasai’s reputation has been tanking. Back to back, one thing after another, more low-blows; I don’t even know how she deals right now. As I’ve been said before, even though she’s in the Senbatsu, I’ve never seen a boatload of Tomo~mi fans around. Maybe she just isn’t loved by Westerners? So there’s that. Next, last summer, she gets bombed by a shitload of people for being unprofessional and selfish for walking out of the 10,000 Yen Challenge. Then, she randomly is announced as AKB48’s next soloist to which more people shout, “Publicity stunt!” to. Not only that but the single almost bombs–selling less than half of what the average Senbatsu soloist would. Shockingly, we have her sudden graduation announcement; more and more people continue to shut her down, making her feel like a muck. And then what do we have here? A nude cover shot with an 8 year old boy.
Why are people making Kasai feel like dirt? This is what bothers me the most.
She’s an idol under a management. This means that she has no say in what she does. It’s all up to her management to choose what TV shows she appears on, what her outfit is, what her hair looks like–nothing is left to the idol. Do you honestly think Kasai said, “Hey guys, I think I want an 8 year-old boy to touch my nipples in my cover shot!” NO! No fucking way! We should all be yelling at her ridiculous management for pulling this dumb shit and making her look like a washed up fiend.
Next, what is up with all this over-exaggeration? I understand the kid is touching her breasts and it suggests something we all immediately think of, but wow. “Fondling?” “Cupping her breasts?” Does no one understand this vocabulary? The boy is doing neither of these acts. He is merely pressing his hands against her nipples to keep the picture from being explicit. It might be able to do that, but brings up a whole different controversy. Of course, the way you phrase it doesn’t make it any better, but the over-exaggeration makes it sound more ridiculous than it already is.
Last thing–the “publicity stunt” argument. “No such thing as bad publicity.” Despite this statement being far from deceit, I highly doubt that this is happening here. I truly think her management is taking some really bad steps in the wrong direction to bring her back from the dead. I don’t think they’re fishing for bad publicity but rather for people to turn their heads and say, “Wow, look at that girl!”
And that’s my standpoint on this and why I still can’t sit here and fault Tomo~mi. Point your fingers at management, stop hurting that situation more, and it’s not a “publicity stunt.” Unless you go into AV, Kasai, I won’t go against you. You’re a good girl in some bad management.