Filed under: Johnny's Entertainment, NEWS, Opinion | Tags: Yamapi, Yamashita Tomohisa
This has been circulating madly amongst NEWS and Yamapi fans, but for those who don’t know yet: a few days ago, Yamashita Tomohisa (NEWS, probably better known now as Yamapi) went on a private trip to Korea with his friend Shirota Jun (D-Boy’s Shirota Yuu’s brother) and his manager. It went all well, but news of his trip somehow leaked on the sixth, and at the airport for his return flight… well, I’ll let the video speak for itself. (You might want to turn down the volume.)
(edit 4/23/2008 – original YT video taken down, Mezamishi news report substituted)
More than a thousand fans turned up at the airport in just hours; since this was a private trip, there was not enough security at the airport to handle this. After he arrived, the fans just all mobbed him. While fighting to get his way through, he had his shirt ripped, was grabbed at, had hair pulled out, and a gift thrown at him. His manager and Shirota were angry at the fans and reportedly cursed, but Yamapi stayed silent and even gave a wave. However, as the fancam shows, as soon as he entered the gates he collapsed onto his knees.
Fangirls are universally pretty crazy; that’s a given. Japanese fans scream and wave uchiwas and some stalk their idols, but it’s a general given that Chinese fans are crazier with their idols, and Korean fans are the most enthusiastic of all. You always see Korean bands like DBSK and Super Junior surrounded by fans.
I love Yamapi, so I have a big personal say in this, but I think it is absolutely disgusting what these girls are doing. Screaming I get, mobbing I get – but to almost physically attack your idol? And another video – without sound, but watch for at around 15 seconds in:
(edit 4/23/2008 – YT video taken down, download soundless clip here)
Even amongst the madness, he helps a girl who has fallen in the frenzy stand up – and what does she do? Hold her camera up right to his face. Many Korean netizens are shocked and disgusted by the whole incident, saying that the whole event is a terrible representation of Korea on the international front of entertainment.
I am extremely proud of how Yamapi handled himself in this situation. Say what you will about this kind of attention being the price of fame – very, very few people can withstand this madness and still hold his composure and temper, even think to wave goodbye. This is a man who loves his fans, is kind to them even when they are literally attacking him. I have so much respect for him – just from this incident he’s really shown his poise as a celebrity.
As for the fans – I’m going to have to say I’m not surprised. If there’s one thing I’ve found inherently different between Japanese and Korean entertainment, it’s that Japanese entertainment revolves around the idols, while Korean entertainment revolves around the fans. Let’s use two examples of companies with male idols: Johnny’s Entertainment and SM Entertainment. Korean fans of idols will stalk, mob, protest; anti-fans will attack; SM will do nothing. You have idols rushed everywhere, dangerous and obsessive fans and anti-fans, and the insane stake-out of Super Junior fans protesting a possible company move – and the company doesn’t do much.
But in Johnny’s, the fans respect the idol. Or they don’t have to – if a large group of fans do something Johnny’s disapproves of, they will cut the fans off. After Nagoya fans displayed some rude behavior, they were cut off from concert tours. JE made an attempt to put KAT-TUN out in America a few years ago, but they seemed to pull back after their appearance at the Nisei Parade had some rude fan behavior. After some unruly behavior, artists themselves have asked the fans to behave.
If I were a JE fan in Korea, I would be furious right now – it seems imminent that JE will be cutting off Korea for awhile. Recently, there have been a few moves to appeal to Korean fans, on the part of Arashi performing at a world music festival and even holding a concert there. After this incident, though, the likeliness of other or any groups performing in Korea anytime soon seems slim to none. The Korean fans have proven that they love Yamapi; at the same time, this probably drives him further from them.
I am furious with these Korean fans who were involved; I feel like I have every right to judge them so. I’ve known about crazy fan behavior of this level in the past, but never to an idol that I personally followed. To see him hold himself up until the end, at which time he just collapses, hurts. Call me crazy too, but I’ve put an emotional investment in this man and seeing him like that makes my heart ache.
As a fan myself, I love Yamapi; I long to see him in person, I would love to shake his hand, I would be delighted to even be in the same building as him. I have entertained ideas to greet him and NEWS at the airport and have tried to find them when they were near my area. But I don’t think I could bear to see Yamapi have to suffer like he did, and I definitely wouldn’t be able to bear being the one who caused that kind of trauma.
Mostly in the US but also the entire western world, there is a big paparazzi culture. Photographers make their living stalking celebrities, mobbing them, reaching for them, shoving cameras at them, screaming questions and remarks at their face, forcing them into terrible situations – I can’t think of a more fitting example than what happened to Princess Diana. These are the types of ruthless actions that people use to exploit celebrities at any expense to the celebrities themselves.
If you are so “in love” with your idol that you yourself would rush him, claw at him, scream in his ear, shove your camera right in front of his face – do you really love him at all?
24 Comments so far
Leave a comment