Japanese Man Arrested for Stalking Idol Uta Kawase

Japanese Man Arrested for Stalking Idol Uta Kawase

July 27, 2023

In Tokyo, a 34-year-old male resident of the Toshima ward was apprehended by the police on July 20th under the suspicion of stalking Uta Kawase, an idol associated with the 22/7 idol project. The accused confessed to the charges.

Japanese Man Arrested for Stalking Idol Uta Kawase
Uta Kawase

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As per the authorities from Toshima’s Mejiro police station, the suspect allegedly pursued Kawase on three separate occasions between June 14 and 18. He followed her to her home, workplace, and nearby train stations, taking pictures and videos of her. Interestingly, the suspect came under investigation for a different incident, but it was during this investigation that the police discovered pictures and videos of Kawase on his smartphone.

In response to the stalking incidents that had been happening since mid-June near her home and workplace, Kawase, who portrays Nicole Saito within the 22/7 group, decided to take a short hiatus starting from June 22. She had already reported the stalking incidents to the police.

Due to the mental trauma she endured, Kawase hasn’t suffered any physical harm, but it has taken a toll on her well-being. As a result of her hiatus, she won’t be able to participate in the group’s “Nananiji Natsu Matsuri 2023” concert tour, scheduled for July.

This isn’t the first time the group has faced stalking issues. The project’s website had previously addressed similar problems, where certain fans engaged in stalking behavior and violated the privacy of group members.

The 22/7 idol project, produced by AKB48 founder and producer Yasushi Akimoto, centers around a “dimension-crossing” concept. It began with eight anime idol characters, whose voice actresses performed as real-world idols. The project received thousands of applications and held multiple rounds of auditions to form the group.

Starting with animated music videos in 2017, the group released their first character videos in English in May 2018. The 22/7 anime premiered in January 2020, with 12 episodes and an additional “extra episode.” The group’s popularity extended internationally, with the anime being streamed on platforms like FunimationNow and Crunchyroll.

In 2021, the group held its second audition to recruit new members since the initial recruitment back in October 2016.

Source: asahi