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"To protect the member" - The deep reasons why Morning Musume。 Yokoyama Reina's agency announced her father's obituary

Posted by keaine, 03 July 2018 · 236 views

Article translated from http://www.cyzo.com/...6991_entry.html. Please note the translation isn't literal but since it's not my job at all, I'm doing it for curiosity (of discovering what the writer meant) and my level of Japanese isn't really high (I had to search a ton lot of words), so if you find things badly translated from Japanese or if there could be a better word in English, please feel free to tell me.

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Yokoyama Reina is a 13th generation member of Hello!Project group Morning Musume。 On the 20th*, the death of Yokoyama Reina's father on the 17th** has been announced on the official website***. Announcing the obituaries of Hello!Project members' relatives on the official site is extremely unusual.

Her father died on the 17th. That day was the last day of Morning Musume。'18's starring stage "Pharaoh no Haka ~Hebi Ou Senferu~". Yokoyama got the news just before the curtain rising. Although she performed, she didn't attend the single release event later. At that time, "poor physical health" was the reason given for her absence.

Moreover, Morning Musume。'18 also performed their tour finale at Budoukan on the 19th and the 20th. On the 20th, there was also 12th generation member Ogata Haruna's graduation performance. Yokoyama performed in both, but on the 20th, a funeral service was also held for her father. And then, having waited the end of Morning Musume。'18's tour, the proper announcement was made.

A staff working in the business entertainment tells: "Until then, even if relatives of Hello!Project members died, there were no special announcement for it. For example, when ex-member Yoshizawa Hitomi's younger brother died from a traffic accident, sports papers made the news public, but her office J.P Room (Up Front Group) didn't make an announcement. Even though they're celebrities and news about their families will eventually be made public, for the office, their stance for not releasing any news about the families was 'families just aren't celebrities'".

Then, why has Yokoyama's father obituary been announced on the official website? A reporter from a weekly magazine tells all the reasons:

"There was a Morning Musume。'18 handshake event on June 24th, assuming she would take a bit of time off, explaining the reasons is necessary for the fans. So, having announced on the 17th that she was in a "poor physical health", on the Internet, people inevitably became suspicious. And then, at the next handshake, she would get lots of questions from fans. So, adding to the already sad news, she would get a lot of additional burden. That's to avoid this situation that a special announcement was made."

For some female idol groups, "poor physical health" is an honest reason often given when a popular member misses a handshake event, some fans can judge the said idol as skipping out, for example on the Internet. In other words, a lot of fans don't trust the "poor physical health" reason anymore. Although there may be proper reasons to miss a handshake event, the amount of criticism they get is outrageous. As for the agency, they have in mind to avoid these sort of misfortune.

(same person as before) "If there weren't handshakes, these sorts of announcement wouldn't be necessary. But, as handshakes result in a direct conversation with the fans, although people aren't ill-intentioned, there are some cases when idols hear things they don't want to hear. This announcement is also aimed at asking fans for consideration."

After the announcement was made, one part of the fans has been critical****, but at least, we could say that the announcement has protected Yokoyama. In such circumstances, fans should try showing understanding.

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*20 June 2018
**Her father died on the 17th, the announcement was made on the 20th.
***H!P's official website
****of the fact that the announcement was made, I think, although I'm not sure