“Land of molesters” trends in Japan as a way to shame offenders after Korean DJ is sexually harassed during live show
Words such as “land of molesters” and “disgrace of Japan” started trending on Japanese X (formerly Twitter) after Korean celebrity DJ Soda reported being sexually harassed by fans during her live performance in Osaka, Japan on August 14. Users condemned the behavior of the Japanese eventgoers and expressed frustration at such an incident ocurring. At the same time, some users made comments implying that the artist “had it coming” for wearing revealing clothing, further fueling the anger of the public.
The South Korean DJ that goes by the stage name DJ Soda held a live performance at the Osaka Music Circus Festival on August 14. Following the performance, she updated her social media, reporting that she had been sexually harassed by fans during the performance on her Instagram and X accounts. The artist explained that near the end of her live shows, she always gets close to her fans to interact with them, but as she did so during her show in Osaka, she was touched inappropriately by multiple fans. Videos and photos from the event show eventgoers touching DJ Soda’s chest and grabbing her arms and shoulders as soon as she approaches them, and she can be seen losing her balance and trying to defend herself before moving away from the crowd.
DJ Soda mentions feeling scared and humiliated, never having experienced such an act in her 10 years of being a DJ, holding live shows under the same conditions in front of various crowds around the world. News of the incident quickly spread beyond the circle of fans of the artist, gathering the attention of the Japanese public. The fact that a foreign artist became victim of sexual harassment at a local music festival made many users feel embarrassment towards their country and anger towards the offenders, which led to the words #痴漢大国 (eng: “land of molesters”) and #日本の恥 (eng: “disgrace of Japan”) to trend on X for a significant time. Users shared photos which revealed the perpetrators’ faces, calling for their arrests, and expressed regret at the degree to which inappropriate touching is treated as a matter of course in Japan.
The above post provides a side-by-side comparison of DJ Soda’s live performance in Osaka, Japan (left) and Bangkok, Thailand (right) in an attempt to demonstrate that crowds inappropriately touching an artist without consent is in fact, not the norm. Other videos of DJ Soda’s shows in other countries were also shared online, in reaction to which users expressed shock at how much the Japanese public tends to normalize the occurrence of sexual harassment.
Among the responses, there was also inevitably a wave of victim-blaming, with some users implying that the artist is also responsible for what happened to her because she wore revealing clothing during the live performance, and DJ Soda spoke out strongly on the topic, asserting her right to wear what she wants and not be harassed for it.
While the act being condemned by a majority of the public is undoubtedly a good thing, users also couldn’t help but notice how different the tone and intensity of the response is when such an incident occurs on an international level versus when it happens locally, as a part of everyday life, calling for people not to turn their backs on the latter.