Music idol group producer accused of sexually abusing 17-year-old singer

There has been a lot of outrage recently about male hosts in Japan exploiting vulnerable women, young and old, in order to get them to pay the ridiculous fees their clubs charge. This includes forcing underage girls into prostitution.

We shouldn’t overlook the dark and controversial world of music idols, however, where the casting coach is commonplace (as it is in gravure modeling). Things get particularly murky in the far less lucrative world of minor and underground idols, who don’t get mainstream exposure and are more vulnerable to managers and so on promising success and money.

A 40-year-old idol producer has been arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing a 17-year-old high school student who belonged to a music group he was producing.

The second grader alleges he abused her on three occasions at hotels in Tokyo and Osaka in February and March this year, promising her that they would get married after she finished her idol career.

takumi sanada japan music producer idol group arrested sexual assault

“I thought I had to do everything the producer said.”

Producer, Takumi Sanada, has admitted to the allegations of abuse (the language is a bit different in Japanese: the charge is waisetsu koi, which more conventionally translates as “lewd/obscene acts”). “I have a wife but I wanted a relationship with a young girl.”

Sanada is a musician himself and the head of a music production and direction company, and the personal producer of several idol groups, including COMIQ ON! (there is speculation that one of the group’s members is the victim).

He first got to know the girl in October 2021 and she joined his roster of idols. In February this year, he started claiming he would leave his wife for her and, having allegedly groomed her, began a sexual relationship with the girl.

The victim’s family went to the police in March, leading to Sanada’s arrest this week. Sanada has given the girl a new phone, possibly in a bid to avoid detection from her family. Her father found her social media exchanges with the producer on the phone and realized what was going on.

While MeToo has uncovered several sexual predators in the Japanese film industry and a BBC documentary resulted in the very belated exposure of Johnny Kitagawa’s crimes against male idols, the music industry in Japan, especially the idol industry, has so far escaped wider scrutiny, despite rumors of abuse and exploitation for decades.

An AKS manager was arrested in 2015 for filming illicit videos of the idols under his care. It is surely only the tip of the iceberg.

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  • Blahblahblah April 25, 2024

    I’m amazed that Japanese parents seem to continue to be so supportive of their daughters pursuing Idol careers when it leads to ending up a producer’s sidepiece at best or – in many cases – a relentless chase for fame that eventually leads them to nude modelling, prostitution or outright hardcore porn in a bizarrely large number of cases. Like Rikako Inoue only recently. I’m sure her brothers are oh so happy.

    It’s like ‘not being famous’ just isn’t an option for them, no matter how low they have to sink for it.

  • Mike Travels April 26, 2024

    the only thing more amazing than the continuance of these creepy underage idol industries in Japan is the fact that seemingly anyone ever arrested for anything in Japan immediately admits to all charges and provides a motive. Joe Stalin would be proud!

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