Illustration for article titled Japanese Idol Group Charging Fans Who Dont Wear Sickness Masks Because Of Coronavirus
Screenshot: Sweet Bullet Club
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Numerous events scheduled for the next few weeks have been canceled in Japan and abroad. Idol group 2o Love to Sweet Bullet isn’t rescheduling upcoming events, but rather charging extra for fans who don’t wear masks.

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2o Love to Sweet Bullet isn’t a mainstream idol group. It’s what’s called a chika aidoru (地下アイドル) or “underground idol” group.

As IT Media explains, the group sells short photo sessions and chats with members, but maskless supporters will have to pay an extra 1,000 yen ($9) in light of coronavirus concerns. Getting your photo with a 2o Love to Sweet Bullet idol is something like 1,000 yen, so not wearing a mask is double the price at meet-and-greets.

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According to Nikkan Sports, the group’s management is quoted as saying that fans are quite concerned about the idols getting sick, but acknowledged that because of shortages, not everyone is able to buy masks. (Earlier this month, the group handed out 50 masks to fans at an event as a coronavirus countermeasure.)

By introducing this system, the group’s management says it’s trying to shine a light on the necessity of masks in the hopes that Japan will rectify the situation of people being unable to purchase them. This is a rather strange way to make that point. I sure hope their fans are washing their hands and the members don’t get ill.

According to IT Media, other groups are taking the necessary steps to not get the coronavirus. For example, boy band Arashi has canceled a show in Beijing, while mainstream idol group AKB48 has postponed an upcoming handshake event.

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored six books, including most recently, The Japanese Sake Bible.

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