Shukan Bunshun: Angel or Devil?

Shukan Bunshun (週刊文春) is a tabloid magazine responsible for uncovering celebrity/public figure mischiefs. The magazine is responsible for the revelation of many such scandals as AKB48 Sashihara Rino’s ex-boyfriends, former Funky Monkey Babys vocalist Funky Kato’s affair with his friend’s (comedian Shibata Hidetsugu) wife, and Becky’s affair with Gesu no Kiwami Otome vocalist Kawatani Enon. Recently, the magazine reported on Komuro Tetsuya’s affair with a nurse during the time when his wife, former globe vocalist, Keiko was ill.

Komuro Tetsuya is one of the greatest Japanese producers of our time, responsible for such artistes as TRF, globe, Amuro Namie, hitomi, Kahala Tomomi, and Suzuki Ami. He has also provided songs to many familiar names like Hamasaki Ayumi, Koda Kumi, BoA, Mochida Kaori, and even Laura Fygi, and Backstreet Boys.

When Amuro announced her intention to retire, Komuro decided to collaborate with her one more time, and little did anyone expect, Komuro ended up retiring earlier than Amuro because of the scandal. Komuro denied any misbehavior when the report first surfaced, but the musician eventually announced his retirement, effective yesterday.

I have mixed feelings about the existence of the magazine because it’s hard to tell whether they are playing the role of maintaining ethical behavior in the Japanese society or creating havoc in people’s lives. However, seeing the behavior of reporters at the magazine reflects a certain part about the Japanese society, i.e. public figures are answerable to the general public and are held accountable for their behaviors. This can be seen in that each time some scandal happens, a press conference will be held by the accused.

When the journalists ambush celebrities to seek their comment on suspected mischiefs, they approach them with very poor attitude as though these celebrities owe them an explanation. While the celebrities can easily brush them off and refuse to answer because of the poor attitude, more often than not, they would stop to listen to the reporters because by the time the reporters approach them, these magazines would already have had all the evidence needed, making celebrities wary about what is going to be published about them (and they probably hope that by being nice to the reporters, these magazines will spare them).

Of course, if the celebrities didn’t do anything questionable, there would be nothing for the magazine to report about. But it is still ultimately the responsibility and privacy of these people. Why would a magazine think they have the right to be the Big Brother, constantly monitoring their behavior? Put simply, that’s just stalking and should be made illegal, and I honestly see no merit to such magazine’s existence other than to quench the thirst of voyeuristic human.


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