Former J-Pop Idol Breaks ‘Relationship Clause’

A judge found a 17-year-old-girl liable to a music management company for 650,000 yen ($5,280) Sept. 18 in Tokyo District Court.

The girl, who is not named in the reports, was once part of a six-member idol group, also unnamed, and apparently broke her contract when she was seen going into a hotel with a male fan of the group.

One of the conditions of her contract, standard for almost all idol groups, is that she not become involved in romantic relationships while working for the company. Once the relationship became known to the company the girl was let go and the group disbanded, though it had only been together about six months. Judge Akimoto Kojima found in favor of the company, which filed suit seeking damages for breach of contract.

The defendant’s lawyer, according to the pop culture website Rocketnews24, countered that “refraining from such relationships is not an absolutely essential part of being an idol,” to which Judge Kojima replied, “In order to secure the financial support of male fans, a clause prohibiting relationships was necessary.”

The amount determined was deemed to represent part of the expense that the company had incurred training the girl and providing her with costumes. Some commentators in the press labeled the judge a dirty old man for the tone of his ruling – after all, the girl was only 15 when she supposedly had her illicit tryst, and no one seemed concerned that there may have been something illegal about the affair in the first place. The ruling declares it was the company who was harmed, not the girl.