I am Morning Death, and I have decided to leave the idol fandom. And I will use the space in my profile to state my reasons.
You may be wondering, why should I care about this Morning Death guy leaving the fandom or not? Well, it isn't like you "should", but maybe you, like me, often cases find yourself interested in other people's outlooks when it comes to things you also enjoy, specially when it comes to such a radical and definitive decision such as leaving something one likes, loves, and thus used to breathe everyday.
Let me tell you a little about myself, just a little. I will try to be as short as possible as not to bore anyone who may have gotten this far into the text. Plus I know better than to throw personal stuff over the Internet. There may be some pathetic info coming up though, some cringe worthy details also for you reader, who knows? In any case, you've been warned.
I got into the idol world around 2006 or 2007, can't be sure. I was looking for Utada Hikaru videos and music stuff when I stumbled across this blog which featured both Japanese and Korean popular music. I was hungry for more Japanese music so I started to download everything that had in the description the tags of J-Pop, R&B, Ballad, and Rock from Japan.
Among the videos and albums I downloaded there was this video from these Japanese girls singing in a train. It was Morning Musume's Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari. I was hooked with the video and watched it several times. At first the song didn't particularly catch me, I was looking for more serious kind of Pop à la Utada Hikaru, but their enthusiastic expressions and loveliness got me and drove me to look for more from the group. I went to YouTube and looked for Morning Musume videos and eventually I got into what gave me a clearer idea of what I was getting into.
I stumbled across that Hello! Morning English Lesson clip with Thane Camus sensei. I first thought from the video preview that it was going to be an interview from the members or something, but instead it was these girls messing around and showing part of their personalities. Beyond the music itself, the members of this musical group entertained me and charmed me with the way they failed at having an English conversation, they failed with grace, humor and beauty.
I then felt that seeing these girls in action, away from the musical side of things, could be as entertaining or even more so than listening to their music.
Eventually I got into their variety appearances, Mechaike, Hey!x3, and other TV appearances. I watched their concerts. I started buying really expensive CDs and DVDs from YesAsia. But I started to realize that when it came to Morning Musume I wanted to enjoy the whole of the Morning Musume experience most of the time as I would rather see a DVD than to put a disc and listen to the music. With MM and idols, I looked for the whole experience: dance, appearance, personality, and music, and in such a way I approached the idol fandom, getting to the point I rarely put any mp3 tracks or inserted a disc to listen to, because instead I wanted to watch a TV show or put on videos/concerts.
With the passage of time I got into AKB48 and fell in love with them. My love for MM somewhat dwindled but I still listened to them regularly. I had been taken by storm by the AKB48 girls. There were now new girls that swiftly caught my attention with their candidness and beauty and felt these idols closer with the way that the AKB48 group as a platform allowed me to experience idols in so many different ways, in great part thanks to their success and access to varied ways of delivering their content, delivering the members.
Now with AKB48, she who used to be my undisputed oshimen: Takahashi Ai was substituted by three special girls who stole my thoughts: Matsui Rena, Matsui Jurina and Kashiwagi Yuki.
My love for idols, for the members, even got me to enjoy the occasional song which didn't grab me at all with a listen because when I would look at the respective performances of said songs and would look at those members and their honest performances I would then end up being sold on the song thanks to them. For me idols always were more than the music, they were the visual representation of loveliness and yearn.
I used to be one of those fans who express themselves against idols having relationships. I never concealed this posture. I know that there are fans who do not care for members having relationships. I know that some of those fans don't care, disregard and find completely irrelevant fans who oppose to relationships of idols. I understand that, I understand the reasoning behind it. Girls are human and they fall in love and have a right to a normal happy life... that is completely understandable.
Please allow me to try to put into words the feelings I had behind my selfish desire to have idols away from relationships.
Idols for me became a yearning, girls who I adored and cared for in different ways, many ways. The thought of a man touching a piece of what I considered heaven drove me jealous. The thought of a man playing for the sake of playing with a member enraged me when instead I considered them special, worth caring for. Members who would get into scandals became figures to antagonize, as I saw them as perpetrators of a an action that, if replicated by my favorite members, would completely destroy me.
That is the way I felt about idols getting into relationships. Pathetic, isn't it? I can see the reasoning behind that, I've always done I must admit, but reasoning and feelings don't always go hand in hand, maybe you reader and me could agree on this portion, who knows?
Just a couple of days back, an NMB48 member, Watanabe Miyuki was allegedly linked to a guy that was presumably her friend with benefits or boyfriend. The information provided over the scandal was very convincing, it planted the doubt which put me in a quandary. Watanabe had recently grown on me even more than before. Right when the news broke I had nothing but pictures of her alternating in my desktop screen.
Watanabe was one of my favorites, yet I have to admit I didn't feel sad about the scandal at any moment. But I felt anger at the thought of this information being true.
With the results of the latest election from the 48group where fans could show their support for their favorite members and the way that members who got into scandals got to ride those elections with fair ease and retained valued positions, I started feeling powerless as a fan who disagrees with idols having relationships. I started thinking that fans who share similar feelings to mine are numbered within the fandom and that we could be a negligible presence in the whole group of fans.
My powerlessness has just been fueled by how the NMB48 management didn't address the scandal at all and Watanabe was not affected by it in any way. I think this is possibly an indicator of how the 48Group management could, from now on, soften the handling of scandals post-2013 election. All these things have made me reflect upon idols, myself, and where I think I would feel better.
It doesn't matter whether Watanabe was in a relationship or not for my resolve to leave this fandom. The fact is that I have come to the conclusion that I feel vulnerable towards something invetable: my favorite members having a love interest and someone else reciprocrating that love. Be it inside or outside of the idol groups this fact remains and their is nothing I can do about it, except suffer the idea. This idea affects me and I have decided to do something about it and that is to strip myself from the idol world and realocate all the hours and efforts I used to invest in AKB towards something that will hopefully make me happier and provide me ease of mind while avoiding disappointment.
I have seen other people who have abandoned a fandom completely go berserk attacking everything about themselves and the fandom to justify their departures. I don't feel like doing any of that. I am really grateful for the experience, knowledge, and enjoyment that Japanese idols have given me. I had many hours of joy seeing the girls enjoying themselves, dance, show their human sides when sad times came forth... all the love that they shared with me and all other fans. This fandom helped me improve my Japanese and I will always recognize how Japanese idols drove me towards my desire to learn Japanese. I am really grateful of this part of my life as an idol fan but I feel like it is time for me to move on to other ventures that will hopefully turn out for the best.
As I write these words down I delete all the idol files in my harddrives. I must admit though that the thought of not seeing the smiles of my favorite members again is quite hard. I do not leave this fandom feeling that I have outgrown it, but something I must sever for my own benefit.
Hopefully I will meet some of you the nicer Hello!Onliners in here, maybe in another place. Wish the best luck to all of you and please enjoy idols a little more from now on so that you complete my quota for me.
Thanks Hello!Oline for these 7+ years. It has been a pleasure.