Young Magazine, AKB48 Idol's Book Revised Due to 'Inappropriate' Image
posted on by Samuel Wolfs
The official website for Kodansha's Young Magazine posted two new notices to further explain the delays on the magazine's next issue and AKB48 idol Tomomi Kasai's photo collection. An "inappropriate" depiction of Kasai led to the delays.
On Friday, the editors of the magazine wrote:
Thank you for always reading and enjoying Young Magazine. Due to an inappropriate depiction in Young Magazine issue 7, we are delaying its January 12 release. After part of the content has been revised, all serialized works that were scheduled to be published in issue 7 will instead be published in issue 8 on January 21. To all of you readers who were waiting excitedly for the release of the photo book, and also to Tomomi Kasai and her fans to whom we caused much worry, we sincerely apologize from the bottom of our hearts for causing you distress.
The editors later wrote on Saturday:
Thank you for always reading and enjoying Young Magazine. We would like to address concerns from readers that the “Tomomi Kasai First Solo Photo Collection Tomo no Koto, Suki?" [Do You Love Tomo?] book, which was scheduled to be released on February 4, now has no release date. The reason behind this is because part of the photos to be included was deemed inappropriate. We are currently examining the content once more. We are considering a new release date once the content has been revised. The new release date will be posted on the homepage as soon as it is decided. To all of you readers who were waiting excitedly for the release of the photo book, and also to Tomomi Kasai and her fans to whom we caused much worry, we sincerely apologize from the bottom of our hearts for causing you distress.
Masaaki Hiruma, a media commentator with experience in editing weekly magazines, projected that the incident will cost Kodansha over 3 hundred million yen (about US$3.4 million). “If there were 650,000 copies of the magazine produced, then it wouldn't be unusual if it lost over 3 hundred million yen, with costs of the printing, ads, and editing,” he said. Although Kodansha attempted to recall the magazine issue's entire run, allegedly leaked copies were put on sale on the Yahoo! Auctions Japan site.
Kasai announced at the end of 2012 that she will graduate from the all-female idol group AKB48. The front cover of her Tomo no Koto, Suki? book would have featured Kasai nude from the waist up with a child standing behind her and concealing her nipples. Translator Dan Kanemitsu notes that the cover image can be considered child pornography under the legal definition in Japan. (The definitions in other countries such as the United States may vary.)
Tōru Okumura, a lawyer familiar with child ponography issues, explained that the legal issue is over a male minor touching a female's nipples. In his opinion, the photograph would have been "safe" if the minor was touching her breasts, but not her nipples. If that were the case, he said that it would not be legally considered child pornography in Japan — even if the nipples were exposed.
The photo collection will also feature images of Kasai in lingerie, in a bathing suit, and in various other situations such as cooking and playing with a pet dog. Kasai released her first solo debut single "Masaka" on December 26.