Fanservice is pretty much a prerequisite for Asian pop idols–be it cute conversations at fansigns and meets, heartfelt speeches and shoutouts at concerts and events, flashing the occassional ab, or even just posting selfies. But for most idols, cheeky affection and accessibility are tempered with chaste distance and celebrity. You may fantasize about getting to hug & kiss your oppas and senpais, but deep down, you know: it’s never gonna happen.
Unless you’re willing to go….~underground.~
While an agency called Johnny’s has monopolized Japan’s male pop idol industry for years, maintaining an especially unattainable idol status for its mainstream bands by shunning social media, the indie scene is cornering the market on thirsty fangirls with its post-concert meetups, where one can pay to take a photo or even buy a minute of one-on-one time with a band member.
With prices ranging from 1,000 to 1,500 yen ($9.17 – $13.80) per photo or minute of facetime, lesser-known bands rack up extra cash by flirting, hugging, and “finger kissing” fans. And fans can’t buy up more than one minute at a time; if one wants more interaction with their idol, they have to get back in line and pay up again.
Reportedly, these underground bands can earn several hundred thousand dollars per month from fanservice alone. As such, the paid PDA is likely more lucrative than the music itself. At what point does a concert just become a host club?