You’ve got to watch the quiet ones
So there we were quietly letting the morning show wash over our sleepy heads, when suddenly there’s the newsflash jingle and the headline appears at the top of the screen.
Was it an earthquake or other such calamity? Had someone died? Were the North Koreans firing more missiles?
None of these things, in fact. No, the information deemed newsflash-worthy was that some famous bloke had been arrested after being found naked in a Tokyo park.
You might think a newsflash a little OTT for that, but that was merely for starters. What followed was a media meltdown. Frantic ‘reporters’ gathered outside buildings where nothing appeared to be happening, breathlessly delivering no new information whatsoever. Scale models of the neighbourhood where the indiscretion happened were built and used to illustrate the scene far better than the words “in a park” could possible have done. Estimates of how many billion yen this was going to cost the entertainment industry were rolled out as talking heads nodded, clucked, and tutted through frowns. It even made international headlines.
For readers outside Japan, I’ll back up a little and explain.
The nudist in question was one Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, member of what’s laughably still called ‘boy-band’ SMAP, though none of its members have been boys for close to 20 years. SMAP is the definition of ubiquitous. For a band that can’t sing, they’ve held on for astonishly long. They’re on TV pretty much all the time. They’re on TV between the programmes too, being among the country’s most sought-after celebrities for endorsements. They’re on the radio, on posters, they do theme songs for other programmes, they’re even allowed to act. You can’t escape SMAP. Resistance, I assure you, is futile.
Tsuyoshi, who aside from all the celebrity nonsense seems like he’s probably a decent sort, is apparently the quiet one. So it was probably bound to happen sooner or later.
The gist of it is that Tsuyoshi went out and got absolutely shitfaced. What happened next is unsurprisingly hazy, but it all culminated in him shouting and moaning, stark naked, on a park bench. Someone complained about the noise, the cops turned up, Tsuyoshi took exception and went ape-shit. He is reported to have “violently resisted arrest”, shouting “What’s wrong with being nude?!” He has a point (which was plain to see). So multiple rozzers bundled him up in a sheet and carted him off to the copshop.
Poor Tsuyoshi’s biggest problem is that there’s simply nothing happening in Japan at the moment. Prime Minister Aso resolutely refuses to call an election. Kim Jong Il’s run out of rockets. Sakura season’s long gone. The media were like starving lions being thrown a juicy fresh Christian.
The usual routine for celebrity indiscretions (like Shinsuke Shimada punching a woman in the mouth, for example) is garden leave of between 1 and 6 months, followed by well-prepped press conference with tearful apology and bowing, and then everyone gets on with it as if nothing happened.
But in the meantime, the primetime TV schedules will have gaping holes that, alas, have to be filled. Everyone in TVland is going to be doing overtime, no Golden Week holiday for them next week! And all because a popstar behaved like a Finance Minister proper rockstar.