Idol fan calls in bomb threat after he fails to prevent merch incineration

Obsessed idol fans reacting to news about their faves that they dislike by burning things is disturbingly common, but in a rare reversal of sorts, this time we have an idol fan who wanted to prevent an idol item of theirs from being burnt.

Takehiro Tsutsumi, a 45-year-old idol otaku living in the town of Ashiya, Hyogo Prefecture. Like a lot of idol singer fans, Tsutsumi purchases merchandise from artists he admires, but back in early October he threw out a T-shirt for one of his favorite groups, on burnable trash day, only to later try to reclaim it. He managed to deduce that his home’s burnable trash gets taken to an incineration center in Osaka City’s Nishiyodogawa district, so he contacted the facility and told them “I want you to return the female idol group T-shirt I threw away.” Unfortunately for Tsutsumi, the incineration center staff had been working efficiently and the delivery batch that included his idol shirt was now nothing but smoke and ashes, and the center informed him that they were unable to return it.

Okay, a bit weird, but worth a shot if it meant a lot to him. This is definitely where normal people give up … but not this guy, who proceeded to let the salt consume him or something and belatedly decided a bomb threat was the right way to go.

On December 1 he took to social media, but not to ask the group to reissue the shirts or to see if a fellow fan had a spare they’d be willing to part with. Instead, he posted a message saying “The Nishiyodogawa Incineration Center will explode in two hours.”

The facility was quickly evacuated. The subsequent investigation led the authorities to Tsutsumi, and though the lack of any explosives found at the facility suggests the idol fan had been making an idle threat, on Monday he was arrested on charges of forced obstruction of business activities.

Thankfully it was harmless, but the stewing on it for months and then deciding that a threat was the best way to go about this is a not-so-nice reminder of just how toxic these parasocial relationships can become. If you’re reading a generally cynical site like this, you’re unlikely to be in that category, but even to a lesser extent of letting it have inordinate control over your life, it’s always nice to remind yourself to not get anywhere close to that point.

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