In what is sadly actually a seemingly rare victory in these cases, an unnamed Japanese idol won a lawsuit against her company over a dating ban they tried to enforce. The company sued the idol for violating her contract after she was found out to be dating a fan, and as ridiculous as that sounds, idols have lost these cases before.
The lawsuit, overseen by district judge Katsuya Hara, involved an unnamed talent agency and a now-23-year-old woman (also unnamed). In April of 2012, the woman entered into an agreement with the company to become a member of a multi-performer idol group. Among the provisions in the contract she agreed to was a clause stating that “If performers are found to be dating a fan, they will be sued for damages.” Nevertheless, the woman began a relationship with one of her male fans around December of 2013. Slightly over half a year later, in July, she announced that she wanted to quit the idol unit, and did not appear in concerts that she was scheduled to. Once the details of her contractually prohibited relationship became known, the company filed a lawsuit against the woman and her boyfriend, seeking some 9.9 million yen (US$82,500) in compensation for violating the agreement and business damages.
The idol got sued for almost six figures because she started dating somebody, basically.
Thankfully the judge wasn’t having much of that and dismissed the suit, basically due to common sense.
Judge Hara issued his ruling this Monday, in which he partially acknowledged the logic behind the production company’s mindset. “Fans desire integrity in idols,” he stated, “and as such, prohibiting romantic relationships, from the management’s perspective, has a certain amount of rationality.” However, in Hara’s opinion that wasn’t the only issue at play. “The enrichment of one’s life that comes from association with the opposite sex is covered under the right of self-determination,” he said in his final statement, which also included the assertion that “Association with the opposite sex is part of the pursuit of happiness. Even taking into account the unique circumstances of being an idol, prohibiting such associations is going too far.”
I don’t see how all of these lawsuits don’t end up going in this direction.
Yeah, I understand they signed the contract, but it’s not like you can sign somebody to be a literal slave. And it seems like being able to date without having your life financially ruined would fall under reasonable human rights.