Atsuko Maeda, Haruka Ayase awarded damages over tabloid photo montage

Charlie Hebdo got itself into tragic trouble over its depictions of Islam.

In Japan, an equivalent would be if you tried to fictionalize the Imperial Family. People have tried it and have ended up dead.

But only slightly less powerful is the yakuza-connected entertainment world, which holds a massive sway over the press.

Only the weekly tabloid press, for all their smut, do a fine job in defying the control freaks that are the jimusho agencies. These magazines almost invariably feature a gravure idol on the cover but inside cannot use official press photos of the idols and actresses.

Instead they use paparazzi shots — dark images of celebrities disappearing down alleyways with their lovers.

But heaven forbid they get creative. Because then they will get sued.

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Last week the Tokyo District Court on Thursday ordered the publisher of weekly magazine Shukan Jitsuwa to pay eight Japanese female celebrities ¥800,000 (around $7,000). Why? Were they defamed?

No, in November 2013 an issue of Shuwa Jitsuwa ran an article with images of actresses like Haruka Ayase and former AKB48 idol Atsuko Maeda in naked photo montages.

We cannot find the images anywhere online — once again, the power of the agencies at work.

Several of the actresses in question are no stranger to nearly naked photo shoots that are created for the express purpose of fan masturbation. But apparently the tabloid went too far and “insulted” the women.

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Other actresses/models in the gang of eight included Yuka, Satomi Ishihara, Ryoko Shinohara, Norika Fujiwara, and Sayuri Kokusho.

Yuka, Maeda, and Ayase have all done some VERY provocative bikini shots in their time. Sorry, but there’s one thing we can’t stand — hypocrisy.

So it’s fine for these ladies to be paraded as sex symbols but it’s not okay to show them “naked” in obviously fake image montages?

Perhaps we should be grateful for small mercies. The plaintiffs (or their agencies) had requested ¥11 million (over $90,000) each!

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