The year in idol pop began on a very dark note: NGT48’s Maho Yamaguchi addressed a recent assault she experienced this past December. “Even though this kind of thing happened, I was forced to take a break as though nothing happened; they’re just brushing it under the rug,” the idol tweeted, on the same day she discussed the event during her Showroom stream. The company saved face by firing and replacing management staff. Yamaguchi ended up leaving the group altogether, but not before revealing that her company pressured her to apologize. If she hadn’t, others would’ve been forced to read an apology note on her behalf.
It might feel uneasy to hear and read about new idol music from this quarter with Yamaguchi’s case in mind. The year already has brought a spoil of great singles from all levels of the scene. The list covers more than enough variety in style, be it rap, metal, electro and many more. But her situation shouldn’t be ignored for keeping the spirit of feel-good entertainment. The audience is held accountable in their media consumption; at the very least, idol media should not be consumed so passively.