Why is Sakura Miyawaki being hated on? Fans rally to defend IZ*ONE star after she shared her views on marriage

Fans have set unrealistic expectations that idols cannot be in a relationship

                            Why is Sakura Miyawaki being hated on? Fans rally to defend IZ*ONE star after she shared her views on marriage
Sakura Miyawaki of IZ*ONE (Sakura Miyawaki/Instagram)

Who would have thought that being a celebrity and wanting to fall in love could bring on so much hate? If that question sounds absurd to you, that's because it is. But sadly, one particular Japanese pop star is facing harassment today (January 20) for a personal opinion. Sakura Miyawaki, most commonly known as a member of the J-pop group HKT48 and the Japanese-South Korean girl group IZ*ONE, shared her views online about what it must be like if you have a career as an idol and a desire to get married at the same time.

Members of South Korean-Japanese girl group Iz*One attend the 2018 Mnet Music Awards at Dongdaemun Design Plaza on December 10, 2018, in Seoul, South Korea (Getty Images)

According to a Japanese translator that shares updates on popular groups via her Twitter, "Sakura was responding to fan mail from someone who said a singer/former idol they've been supporting for 15 years got married to one of his former classmates from high school." She noted, "so it made things kind of weird."

As per the translation, Sakura felt that it is better for an idol to stop being one if they have fallen in love and want to be in a committed relationship. "I can't imagine an idol that gets married and then continues on as an idol," Sakura said. "For a singer it might be ok and it happens, but I don't think it's right for an idol who can't be dedicated to one person."

She then noted the respectable option of publically making the news of leaving the job before getting married (That is because there are strict rules for idols under many Japanese agencies who want a romantic relationship — more on that below). She added, "In that case, I think it'd be better to publicly announce your intentions to stop being an idol before getting married."


Her comments drew harassment from online users, but the good news is that the singer has many fans who are quick to protect her. Numerous fans rallied together to defend Sakura causing the subject of her opinion to begin trending on Twitter. "The way sakura was being realistic and was thinking about the importance of a healthy married life. Thinking about what a person's husband/wife would feel. She understands the real priority not some sick obsession. Yet you all think she was criticizing your faves," said a fan.

"Defending sakura with the rest of my remaining brain cells. she's such a sweetheart and she does not deserve this," a fan tweeted while another wrote, "Listen, Sakura is talking to a fan that time and she just gave her opinion. In the end, she stated that whatever the fan would do, she knew he would be happy. She is not referring to any Kpop idol. She is a Jpop idol for 10 years and their culture there is different from Kpop."

One fan said, "another day another slay of miyawaki sakura being a queen. no offense but it’s kinda embarrassing that y’all are popping veins fighting wars for these married idols who literally dgaf about you meanwhile, sakura is staying relevant doing the bare minimum. i see why y’all are mad."





Japanese idol dating ban

As an aforementioned fan stated above, rules/cultures differ between J-pop and K-pop stars. In order to sell a fantasy of being accessible to their fans, most Japanese idols are not allowed to pursue romantic relationships. In some cases, they have to obtain permission from the agencies to get married, as noted in a 2016 article by BBC on the Asian pop music industry. Such treatment has often been regarded as inhumane.

According to The Japan Times, it is not only agencies that are to blame but many fans for their unrealistic expectations of idols to commit beyond their sexual independence. The "no dating" clause of the contracts has resulted in some idols facing lawsuits for breaking it, as they're accused of damaging agencies' reputations. In 2014, Minami Minegishi from the girl group AKB48 shaved her head and wept in apology, after breaking management firm rules by spending a night with her boyfriend.

What are your thoughts on dating/marriage as an idol? Tell us in the comments below.

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