The recent highlighted entertainment news in Japan is that, a famous celebrity, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, was arrested for public displaying nudity when he got drunk on April 23th. Kusanagi is a member of the most popular boy band “SMAP” in Japan and his agency “Johnny & Associates, Inc.” is famous for promoting male idols. Kusanagi has a positive image featuring with his gentle personality for years. His ability of speaking Korean fluently also promotes his popularity in Korea. He is not only an actor, singer, host, but also a frequent guest in different culinary programs on Japanese TV.
The news was broadcasted widely in Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan. Because of his pervious good image, most people were surprised by his scandal. He apologized in a news conference after finishing the inquiry from the police. The ratings of TV news were increased a lot because of the live broadcasting. Then all the advertisements related to Kusanagi were removed and the estimated loss for his revenue is 3000 billion US dollars. Kusanagi is also the spokesperson for national digital TV. Even Kunio Hatoyama, Minister of Internal Affairs in Japan, blamed him seriously as, “disappointing person.” Besides, Kusanagi will stop working for several months. The scandal brought Kusanagi the most serious crisis in his career life.
(img from: http://www.zaeega.com/archives/50786609.html)
Some people may think the society and media over react, but idols are usually strictly regulated by their agency in Japan because of the high awareness of their images. They are not allowed to do anything that might damage their images. So, how can social media help Tsuyoshi Kusanagi’s career life? Absolutely, some people started to make fun of him, one of the poster for digital TV was modified into his announce of resignation from SMAP. T-shirts with his quotation when he was arrested, “What’s wrong with being naked?!” are available online. On the other side, online fan clubs proposed several actions to support their idols. For example, blog stickers, ask fans to write postcards to Kusanagi and send them to Japan. Some other fans also doubted police’s enforcement of the law is proper or not. In addition to show their supports, fans in Taiwan also cared about their discussion on the public online forum and wouldn’t be misunderstood as supporting their idol single-mindedly by ignoring the misbehavior. They also regulate their messages related to the event. Those actions from loyal fans may not prevent Kusanagi from judgment from his agency and the society. However, they will help him through the hard time by the heart-warming messages.
For the agency, it is important to process PR. If I were a staff, I may post an official announcement to fans on all the online platforms. The main message in the announcement will include apology for the misbehavior and the disappointments from fans. Also, show the willingness to deal with the legal issue and judgment from the public.
So, in your opinion, how can social media help Tsuyoshi Kusanagi’s career life?