While the rest of the society goes about leading a normal dating life, it’s almost impossible for the celebrities in the entertainment industry to publicly dating without being in the limelight. Perhaps the reason why most of the relationship among the celebrities doesn’t lasts long in the entertainment industry as career always come first.
In the American market, the entertainment companies were never strict on the dating rules and celebrities are allowed to be in a romantic relationship in whatever way they want.
However, in the Asian artist industry especially Korea and Japan, most of the entertainment companies set a list of strict rules in which the celebrities especially the idol groups must follow and some even had dating ban with a specific time frames.
A recent controversy of the member of the Japanese idol girl group AKB48, Minami Minegishi, who shaved her head as a penance for dating has caused uproar among the fans. The public began questioned about the reason behind the unnecessary action over a dating ban.
What’s worse was when they found out AKB48 isn’t the only girl group with dating ban as this happened in the world of K-pop too. Even though the punishment isn’t as extreme as what happened to Minami Minegishi, but the idols in Korea are committed to a long-term contract (usually 4-5 years) that sometimes even dubbed as a form of “human slavery”. There comes to a point that the slavery-like contract becomes the serious concern in Korea when the media revealed the harsh-long term contract for every idol group.
In the Japanese culture, the love-ban law is to ensure the idol groups (both male and female) maintained their pure and innocent image that appeals to most fans, since the public would see them as ‘potential partners’. The idols who are committed to such a law have given up on relationships, freedom and their private lives to achieve their dreams and hope. Many referred the no-dating rules as a dehumanizing rule and the entertainment company has gone overboard on the rules.
For Minami Minegishi’s case, Minegishi stated in the video that her action is completely up to her decision in order to join the group again and she apologized for her reckless behaviour that has hurt the fans. However, this outrageous act has broken the heart of many fans as the idols believe the dating ban is necessary to maintain a good image and to please fans.
In Korea however, the representatives from several entertainment companies explained they prefer the dating ban solely because of management problems. They further explained the management are responsible for protecting the idols from getting hurt from scandals, especially during the debut stage because they are still inexperience in handling themselves in scandals.
Some of the entertainment companies even go to the extent of keeping the girls from using cell phones for fear their conversations might be tapped and leaked to the public. Hence, the public criticized such action has invaded a person’s privacy and it will affect the idol’s emotions and mindset.
For certain girl groups who have members older than 20, the members are not allowed to date as well because of the possible side-effects on the popularity of the group. However, secret dating is common in the K-pop world, as a lot of idols have been seen going out together. Some of the entertainment companies would quickly deny the rumours and end the relationship before it gets out of control or leads to a sex scandal. This is because sex scandals might be the end of the idol’s career life and even if they stay in the entertainment industry, the image is already ruined and the idols will have a hard time struggling with her career.
As for now, the dating ban in the Korean entertainment industry isn’t as strict anymore, because a lot of idols have stood out about their relationships to the public. Take JunHara’s relationship as an example. Goo Hara is a member of the popular K-pop idol girl group, KARA and has stated that there isn’t any dating ban in her company as she was packed with busy schedules. Despite the busy schedules, the member was revealed to be in a relationship with the famous boy idol group’s member, JunHyung from BEAST. Their relationship was even confirmed and announced by the respective companies when the news first broke out in the Dispatch, the famous Korean media. The Wonder Girl’s member, Sunye also made an announcement last year about her relationship with a non-celebrity boyfriend and she even got married in January this year.
All in all, the primary concern on the Asian artist industry is that dating ban rules still exist among the idol groups. Even though their priority is on the career and the fans, but the idols are humans too and shouldn’t they be allowed to be in love and lead a normal dating life too?