CRIMES

Japanese teen pop starlet moved to ‘safe house’ after fan’s rape threat

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 October, 2016, 4:13pm
UPDATED : Monday, 31 October, 2016, 11:32pm

The management agency for an up-and-coming Japanese pop idol have cancelled all her public engagements and moved her to a “safe house” after a fan hinted in online comments that he would like to rape her.

A message on the web site for Magical Girl Riripom, who made her singing debut in 2013 and claims to be “eternally 16 years old,” apologised for the abrupt cancellation of her commitments.

In the statement, the starlet said a fan had used blogs, web sites and social media networks - under multiple identities - to threaten her “without ceasing, over a long period of time.”

Requests from her management company to the individual had also been ignored and Riripom said “it has come to the point where I feel the danger”.

Earlier messages were merely “hurtful,” the idol said, but the final straw appears to have been a posting that stated, “Going to prison for three years for raping her wouldn’t be so bad,” the RocketNews web site reported.

Riripom’s representatives are consulting with police, who have opened a criminal investigation with the aim of filing charges.

The management company said they have made no decision on when Riripom might resume her pop career, adding that they were “putting priority on the safety of her life and body.”

Riripom has been moved to a safe house in Tokyo and is under strict instructions to avoid all forms of social media. And while such precautions for a relatively unknown pop star might seem a little melodramatic, recent events suggest that the management company’s actions are prudent.

In May, a 20-year-old college student who was also moving up in the music world was stabbed more than 20 times in a frenzied attack by an admirer.

Mayu Tomita was on her way to a meet-and-greet event with fans in Koganei, western Tokyo, when she was attacked.

Tomohiro Iwazaki, 27, was arrested at the scene after making no effort to escape and told police that he had wanted to marry Tomita. He had become angered after she had returned a gift he had sent her.

Tomita had filed a complaint with police after Iwazaki sent threatening messages via social networking sites. She was in a coma for more than two weeks after the attack.

In 2014, two members of the hugely popular all-girl band AKB48 were assaulted by a fan with a saw at a “handshake event” for fans in Iwate Prefecture.

Rina Kawaei, 19, and Anna Iriyama, 18, sustained relatively minor injuries - broken bones and lacerations - in the incident, as did a member of staff at the venue, before the assailant, Satoru Umeta, could be restrained.