Sunday, 4 January 2009

2008 OTN Awards: Part 1

2008 is over, as some of you might have noticed. And after almost a week of sporadic deliberation, and even more sporadic caring, I have decided on the categories and winners of the 2008! Osu! Tatakae! Nippon! Awards! It has truly been a journey.

There are ten categories, and contenders have been considered from all Japan-related news stories I've read throughout 2008, not just in the paltry 3 months this blog has existed. Strap in, here we go!

Most Unbelievable Death(s) Of The Year Award

This award doesn't go to the seven people who were stabbed to death in Akihabara in June, as you might have expected, because those deaths were both tragic and tragically believable. No, the Unbelievable Death(s) Award goes to the three seperate people who managed to get themselves killed by foot massagers in December.

The method was ingenious. Each of them had the cunning idea of taking the fabric cover of the foot massagers off, applying the foot massagers to the back of their necks, and then having the foot massagers roll up the backs of their collars thus asphyxiating them. In response, the company that makes the devices, the Matoba Electric Manufacturing Company, issued a statement belatedly asking people to please not be lethally stupid.

Most Unexpected Celebrity News Award

There were lots of new stories I remembered for this award, all coincidentally involving gravure idols and models. Either they lead particularly exciting lives or I'm somehow gravitating towards certain types of news reports. I guess we'll never know.

Coda Risa was arrested for possession of drugs, Leah Dizon got pregnant, Sawajiri Erika announced her engagement, but none of these were as shocking as the death of Iijima Ai. She was discovered dead in her apartment on the 21st of December after a friend became worried that she hadn't heard from her in days. She was found lying face-down, and the medical team stated on site that she'd been dead for a few days and that they couldn't yet ascertain the cause. Since the 24th no further statements have been released.

For those who don't know her, Iijima was one of the most popular AV stars in the late '80s and early '90s, leaving the industry in '92 to release a single and start appearing on daytime tv. She was a figure of female empowerment throughout the '90s, talking openly on tv panel shows about the dangers of STDs and the idea that it's ok for women to feel good during sex, whilst the other female celebrities sat there cutely, looking on and giggling. Iijima had a semi-autobiographical book, "Platonic Sex", published in 2000. There, as well as in various interviews and public speeches, she recounted her ascent from a horrible life in which she was homeless during her teens and raped at 14, to a life in which she attained national celebrity, having dinner with Koizumi Junichiro and campaigning prolifically for AIDs awareness.

She's died at the ridiculous age of 36, and it's understandably quite a big deal to a lot of people, me included. In the media nothing gets more coverage than a scandal or a story involving salacious revelations, and it often looks like the media are conspiring to create as powerful a state of shame as possible in which society can wallow self-pityingly. But Iijima refused to be ashamed of her past and showed that it's possible to change your life and the lives of those around you.


Christina Martin said...

Stabbings in Akihabara?!
That's awful.
It's such a fun place.
All games stores, arcades, Super Potato and the like.
Ah, I want to go back!!