Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez: Why Japanese Pop Stars Cannot Date Like Them

Dear Japanese pop stars,

I read this week in The Atlantic that you aren’t allowed to date. What’s up with that? According to article author Patrick St. Michel, the ban on dating is “intended to preserve a performer’s pureness, youth, and accessibility.” If you guys sully that purity, your careers are likely to crash and burn. One of your number, Jin Akanishi, secretly got married, and subsequently found himself with a disbanded fan club and a pink slip from the upcoming TV show he was set to star in.

And now I find out that South Korean talent agencies enforce dating bans too? Korean-Pop idols can get the bans lifted, but usually only after a few years in the business, and once they’ve established an astronomical level of popularity. Sometimes, as in the case of two near-30-year-old ladies in the band 2NE1, management companies can promise a ban lift, and then snatch it away indefinitely so that K-Pop stars will keep making music without the distraction of true love (or, you know, casual dating).

You guys, just come to America. It’s so great to be a celebrity here. Take Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez for example. Everybody thought that if the Biebs started dating, all his fans would abandon him and latch onto the next floppy-haired 14-year-old lesbian lookalike. If they couldn’t imagine themselves as his baby (baby, baby, oh) anymore, they would have no use for him.

But it turns out that many American fans don’t care if you have a girlfriend or boyfriend. They will continue to imagine that they can become your significant other anyway! In fact, they might get even more into you once they see how romantic you can be, and how cute you look making out with someone on a tropical island.

Sure, the less famous person in your pair might get some death threats. People on Twitter might spew a bit of vitriol at them. But “@selenagomez stay away from Justin pedophile, retard wait I’m gonna kill ya in the night underneath your smelly bed” isn’t that scary or horrible … right?

Plus, you could be obsessively detailed in every magazine, with people making up all sorts of potential scandals (is Justin going to cheat with Carly Rae Jepsen??) or insisting that your relationship is more serious than it actually is (Selena is pregnant with Justin’s baby, and/or they’re moving in together!)

Okay, none of that sounds good. But at least you’ll be totally free to do whatever you want, as long as 1) Your manager says it’s okay; 2) The general public won’t react poorly to it; and 3) It ties in with the image you’re trying to project.

What’s that? You say you think America doesn’t know how to deal with pop stars dating either? You’ll just stick to your own way for now, until somebody figures out a way to both be really famous and have a normal love life? Fair enough.

Yours truly,

Laura

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Laura Hankin

Laura writes, acts, sings, teaches, and does about twenty other things that she'll refrain from mentioning here. She graduated from Princeton University in 2010, and now enjoys a live-in love affair with NYC.

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