When Idol Scandals Aren’t Really Scandals: Hagiwara Mai of C-ute

  • We have heard about how the Japanese idol industry is quite strict with their policy of not allowing their idols to date. Idols who are caught dating might face the consequence of getting fired. Sometimes, just being seen with a person of the opposite gender can spell trouble for the idol. Back in April 2016, Mai Hagiwara (萩原舞) from the all-girl band ℃-ute, was spotted hanging out with a guy, which fueled rumors of her dating.

    Shukan Bunshun’s website released the photo and although the two of them had not been holding hands, the rumors were huge enough for Mai Hagiwara to address it.

    Hagiwara Mai

    Born on February 7, 1996, Hagiwara Mai is the youngest member of the girl band, ℃-ute, which was formed by the popular company Hello! Project that also houses the iconic group Morning Musume. Hagiwara Mai used to hold the record for being the youngest member to join Hello! Project. As ℃-ute is pretty successful in Japan, the rumors were bound to affect Mai’s career if she did not address them.

    The Scandal

    Hagiwara Mai dispelled the dating rumors during a fan club event that celebrated ℃-ute’s 11th anniversary at Differ Ariake Arena, and also on the band’s official blog. Hagiwara Mai claimed that the guy she was seen with was just a friend, and nothing more. She bumped into him at the train station and then they proceeded to walk home together.

    Mai said that she did not think much of walking together with her male friend and now realized that it was a rash action and apologized for it. She said her action made her felt like she was betraying her fans and she also felt like a burden to her band and company. Initially, she thought of quitting the group but upon discussing it with the rest of the members, they decided against this and to simply keep moving forward. Mai also mentioned that she was terrified to face her fans during the fan event, but was glad that it turned out well in the end due to the support they offered. She also urged the fans to continue to support her group, even if it may seem like a “selfish request.”

    While it is known that popular idol companies like Hello! Project do not allow their idols to date, international fans may find it difficult to get used to this policy. It may seem bizarre that Mai had to apologize for being seen with a man and felt compelled to leave her band, but that’s the way the idol industry works in Japan. What are some of the strangest “scandals” you’ve heard of in the J-pop industry?

    Related Articles:
    The No-Dating Policy for Japanese Female Idols
    How Is Scandal Between Celebrities Received By the Japanese Public?