Megukami Leaves Hello! Project and I’m Feeling Murderous

Filed in American Wota 1.0

Ironically, I just commented yesterday about how I’d never ever ever say anything bad about Megukami – and I’m certainly not going to start now. Full details of her leaving H!P can be found on Idolizing St.Anna and Ikimasshoi. I’m furious at how Megukami exited – under the cloud of a boyfriend “scandal” and likely concerned about being stalked by those who claim to be her fans. She deserved much better.

On the one hand, I know that the H!P idols are aware of their obligations and that she broke her contract most likely by having a boyfriend. However, the sheer injustice of that has always bothered me, and the fact that it’s been exploited and ruined her career just makes me want to strangle the stupid motherfuckers who did this to poor Megukami.

I’m fond of saying that Japanese popular culture makes a sharper distinction between reality and fantasy, that its imaginative space is more clearly defined as such, which is why there are further extremes in both sexual and violent content than in much of American pop culture. That doesn’t seem to be the case with wota, however, who so desperately want to believe the image projected by their idols is reality and not just a pleasant marketing tool. They embarrass themselves and do real damage to people’s lives.

Anyway, I wish Megukami the best of luck. I’m going to miss her a great deal – she was the balance between the cuteness of Airi and the hotness of Maimi, and one of the most talented singers in H!P – and I know I’m not the only one who thinks this. But like Maiha, she may have made the best move for her life. It’d be great to see her eventually return, perhaps as a solo singer on some other label, though I don’t think it’s likely. There’s certainly life after idol-dom – just look at Zone’s Mizuho and Momusu’s Ayappe – and I’m sure Megukami is smart enough to know that and enjoy life with this new freedom.

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20 Responses to “Megukami Leaves Hello! Project and I’m Feeling Murderous”
  1. Justin says:

    Something Santos said.

    “Megumi is still 14, so we should think that she was just lucky that she could escape from this weird world.”

    I got to thinking about that.

    I wonder, if this kind of thing is really good for girls in the long run, if you can get into a sex scandal for being seen hanging out with a guy. Remember there was that thing where Kago got suspended for smoking, or something?

    Ray, you’ve talked before and made a lot of good points about how J-music doesn’t depend on ‘authenticity’ for its appeal; that is, it’s not so much about keeping it real as keeping it fun or enjoyable. However, I wonder if this kind of obsessive attention to elevating an imagined ideal of purity in the idol world isn’t its own form of ‘keeping it real.’ Certainly there’s a kind of puritan edge to the witch-hunt like purging of any idols stepping outside the (tightly scribed) boundaries.

    So, that’s a shame about Megu, I really liked her, but I agree…I’d rather her be happy in her own life.

  2. Ray Mescallado says:

    Justin:

    Your point about this puritanical attitude towards idols being a variation of the cult of authenticity strikes me as very much correct and very much on point. I’ve never made that conceptual link but it does give me another reason to really hate the wota who refuse to sort fact from (pop cultural) fiction.

    And yeah, Megukami’s probably better off. It’s funny, but she’s close friends with Maiha, the other escappe from H!P Kids. Wonder if Maiha’s decision had an influence on her…

    – Ray

  3. Maria says:

    This is the worst news ever for me. She was my favorite °C-ute member (I really can’t stand Airi all that much) and I just can’t believe this is happening. All my favorite members are now gone, which is really sad. However, it is better for her to have a normal life, as she is very young and would probably miss out on all the great things girls do when they’re teens because of a not always so nice work. Farewell, Megukami, I wish the best for you and I hope that someday I can hear about you sometime and see that you’re doing fine and you’re happy with this choice you made.

  4. wu-san says:

    oh dear, I won’t pretend that I follow C-ute, but I have a welcome and fond respect for them.

    I must say Ray, you found all the right words to articulate the matter. I’m totally in awe of the feeling you put out there and I feel upset for Megukami.

    lets hope she enjoys this security of freedom, and that it really is hers to be free, and to enjoy.

    like you said, maybe shes better off now she is able to try and build a more solid homely foundation to grow up in, but the way in which she has been put on this path…I can only be disapointed.

  5. Julia says:

    My entire perspective on H!P just changed completely.
    I don’t know what the fuck to think about this bullshit anymore…
    I’m sorry, but what the hell? C-ute waited so long for their chance to get Tsunku’s attention, and finally, their cd’s just come out and they’re being promoted, at long last. And THIS has to happen?! That girl is so talented! And she’s worked and waited for years and deserves the success C-ute’s bound for! Fuck, the girl’s gorgeous, they think she’s not going to get a boyfriend? What the hell?! IT’S NOT FAIR! Please someone tell me she’ll get on Avex or something…she’s too goddamn talented. She has to be out there in the future world of soloists with Airi and Miyabi and Aya from SweetS.
    JESUS!

    This is the first time one of these scandals has happened since I’ve been an H!P fan…and honestly, I just lost so much faith in H!P.

  6. Craig says:

    I’m gonna learn Japanese, make an international call and report H!P to the Japanese Child Protection Service or some such.

    I’m gonna say you need to sort these people out because they are infringing on the childrens basic human rights.

    Failing that I’m going to write to U.N. or something and if they still don’t listen it’s war (Never mind Kim Jong-il and his underground nukes, I’m gonna go all Akira on them)!

  7. kk says:

    Well its all good and nice to say, well its for the better, i shudder with the thought of Asuka. She left sans scandle, but with the same thinly veiled excuse of choosing school over the life of an idol.
    Now she is reduced to helping out at her father filipine club and writtin tell-alls about the inner workings of her former glory years.
    I would like to hope megukami can make it but….the japanese educational system is not kind.

  8. Jen says:

    Its hard to be an idol when you’re totally surrounded by hardcore otakus. i.e.: bringing mini cameras to concert just to take pictures of your under skirt while you’re dancing. It feels like you’re being watched 24/7 when you’re out of home.

  9. CJ Marsicano says:

    Man, I’ve only heard one C-ute song, but this sucks. 🙁

  10. Tsuji_Eriku says:

    As usual I haven’t read everything on the subject. From what I can gather a stalking fan took a picture of her with a guy & posted the thing online, then otaku scum bastards complain to Up Front & she gets the axe.

    Out here in the Bay we have a term for the guy that snapped the photo. “PLAYER HATER”

    As much as I love jpop & HP it blows my mind how UP Front (or any other talent agency) & wotas take this shit too far. There is a definite difference between the mindset of a fan outside of Japan & a fan from Japan in my opinion.

    Too bad, I liked her & I’m really diggin C-ute these days.

  11. Jarret says:

    “There is a definite difference between the mindset of a fan outside of Japan & a fan from Japan in my opinion.”

    The difference really isn’t THAT great. All fandoms have their nutjobs, regardless of geographical location.

    On the one hand, the so-called fans who were stalking her and possibly reported this should’ve just minded their own business (hell, maybe they were!). On the other hand, though, I doubt that Murakami was ignorant about the repercussions of walking about with a guy in public. In the context on the H!P, I suppose she got what she deserved for breaking the rules. I’m not saying that she shouldn’t have a boyfriend (IF IT WAS HER BOYFRIEND), but she should’ve been smarter about all of this.

    It’s sad to see that this happened, but it’s most likely better for her in the long run.

  12. Craig says:

    “In the context on the H!P, I suppose she got what she deserved for breaking the rules.”

    Aargh this make Craig angry. Craig SMASH!

  13. Tsuji_Eriku says:

    All of my friends who are also fans of HP, really wouldn’t give a hot damn if we saw those pics online. We would still buy the music(at least I would buy it & Langdon would continue to leech & download it all =)) & support her & C-ute. Fans in Japan feel betrayed by her being with a boy & “ruining” some “image”. That is the difference of mindsets I was talking about Jarret.

    Easy now Craig! fall back, fall back.

  14. jinryuichi says:

    hi,… If this is any consolation -> i found from a japanese bbs that they (the fans) have identified that stalker along with his number, and has branded him a loon. probably gonna do something bout him… Peace ^_^

  15. Johnny says:

    Sweet revenge!

    They better take photos of that guy…

    …right after the beatings.

  16. Craig says:

    Craig awakes in a bloody mess with some polaroids of a mangled Japanese guy “Oh no what did I do!”

  17. Tsuji_Eriku says:

    really!??! that’s kinda cool. now I’m confused. I thought she got the axe because of all the fans complaining.

    I hope they sort him out.

  18. Garamond says:

    In my opinion they shouldn’t beat the stalker up, but stalk him for a while instead. Someone should for instance make their way into his home and plant some mini-cameras here and there, and then publish them on the internet. I bet that could make for some interesting footage.

  19. jinryuichi says:

    I at least, hope that the stalker gets some beating for a bit…
    I think a lot of the fans in Japan have a sound mind like us. Don’t know who complained it to the agency, but the stalker who took the pictures had become the scapegoat. Man… I want to see the year end without another case like this.

  20. Kd says:

    “Leaving to continue their studies” is a euphemism in H!P now, isn’t it? ^_^ It generally means “Leaving to get away from idol oppression” now, or something similar.