My thoughts on the Koharu situation

If you’ve been paying attention to the Hello!Project fandom the past few days you’re probably well aware of the Koharu situation. And to anyone who’s not I’ll briefly go over what happened.

Recently Koharu was on the radio show Youngtown. On it she expressed how she really felt while she was a member of Morning Musume. She said she only joined as a stepping stone to become a model. That she didn’t like catering to her mostly male fanbase. And that being a CamCam model is a step up from being a member of Morning Musume. All while being incredibly rude and interrupting people while they spoke, questioning how Sayumi really feels about Morning Musume, and overshadowing the real guest of the show.

I don’t really mind about Koharu joining to become a model. It’s silly to think idols join groups just to become idols. Probably, half if not more, join for other reasons such as wanting to act or dance. Over half of Morning Musume’s 9th and 10th gen didn’t join because of their love of the group. Most of the girl’s families suggested they audition. Which isn’t really that big of a deal. This is also obviously not limited to female idols. Inoo Kei literally entered Johnny’s because he saw a Johnny on TV eating delicious food and he thought if he joined he’d be able to eat delicious food too. Yabu Kota’s sister sent in his application without him knowing because she was a fan of Arashi. Kyomoto Taiga was scouted by Johnny himself after he saw a photo of him and his father. So, there are lots of idols who join for what would be considered not the “right” reasons. Koharu herself said she only joined Morning Musume because she was 12 at the time and the auditions were open to 12 year olds.

So, Koharu joining the group for another reason other than loving the group and sincerely wanting to be an idol has never been a secret. And to be honest it has never hindered my love for her one bit. Anyone out there who has been reading my blog since it’s inception knows that I am, and always have been, a gigantic Koharu fan. And if you’re a really active reader you know that Koharu was the first idol I’ve ever listened to by sheer accident. And that if it wasn’t for her I probably wouldn’t know, or care, that idols even existed. I would have been none the wiser and most likely would have dived deeper into Jrock and became a bigger fan of it than I was at the time. So, honestly I owe a lot to Koharu. And as silly as it seems, I’ve always held a special place in my heart because of that.

I love Koharu and I guess that love clouded things a bit for me because I never thought or considered that she left the group because she didn’t want to me a member. I never really understood why she left when she was still so young and so popular. But I guess my mind would not let me think even for a minute that she really wanted to leave. I just always thought there was some other inside reason that us fans will never know about.

But when I read this I actually felt kind of sad, and it actually kind of hurt. I felt a very slight twinge of pain in my heart. Because the personal image of Koharu I made was shattering. Idols themselves are basically delusions. There’s no disputing that. They have this pure (whatever your definition of pure is) image. And they cater exclusively to whatever fantasy you create for them. Whether it’s them being this ideal, untouchable, unattainable significant other. Or just them having this “nice person” persona.

I always saw Koharu as just this energetic and goodhearted person. Who was always happy and smiling. Someone who just seemed genuinely sweet, carefree, and a lot of fun. But reading that she is pretty much ungrateful for being a member of Morning Musume, and that she pretty much regrets her time in the group, just left a bad taste in my mouth. Not only is this disrespectful to the group itself it’s disrespectful to all the past and present members, to H!P, to Tsunku, to any girl who ever auditioned for the group and didn’t make it, and especially to the fans.

But what really hurt was when she said bad things about her fans. That she didn’t like having to cater to her mostly male fanbase and that most of the modeling jobs were for men’s magazines. It shows that she didn’t care a whole lot about her fans, and probably even found them to be gross. Even though I’m not a male fan that hurts me. It shows her fans meant almost nothing to her. As someone who supported, and continues to support her, wholeheartedly it’s quite a shock and pretty upsetting.

I mean, we’re talking about not only an idol I love pretty much the idol I love. My first idol. An idol I held higher than any other idol. An idol I literally shed tears over on numerous occasions. When her graduation was announced, during her graduation concert, reading the graduation letters, watching the graduation ceremony, and some odd performances.

I know I shouldn’t be getting this upset, but I honestly can’t help it. I know that deep down most idols feel this way. But most idols aren’t brazen enough to say it. And honestly I guess I prefered my personal Koharu delusion. Pretty much the only time H!P idols ever speak out about this sort of thing is when they make a clean break from H!P/UFP. We saw this when Goto Maki bad mouthed Tsunku after switching to Avex. Or when Kago Ai expressed how she felt like a puppet who was unable to love while she was a member of Morning Musume and H!P in her first photobook after being fired. So, this makes me think either Koharu ended her contract with them or desperately wants to. And it also shows just how good idols are at putting on their idol act or persona.

I’m sure a lot of fans would probably be happy with that. Since most people didn’t think she fit Dream Morning Musume. And honestly I always felt she was out of place in the group too. But I loved Koharu and was happy she was a part of it.

So, how do I feel about all of this and Koharu? Well, I’m writing this post days after first hearing about it, so I’ve had time to really collect my thoughts about it. But I’m just torn. I have so much love for Koharu, but at the same time I feel hurt. To me she’s not the same Koharu. I see her in a different light now. She’s the girl who doesn’t appreciate what she was given. Who doesn’t realize and appreciate that without Morning Musume she’d never have the opportunity to become a model. And that at least some of her post-Momusu modeling career fanbase only cares about her because she was in Morning Musume.

I’m sure some people maybe have some new found respect for her telling it like it is, or think that she’s gutsy, but she just came off as spoiled to me. And that’s just sad.