Mayu Tomita, a Japanese pop star, was stabbed more than 20 times by a deranged fan after she refused a gift he had sent her. A man was arrested after allegedly attacking Mayu Tomita, a 20-year-old university student and pop star, in Tokyo this weekend.
Mayu was left in a critical condition after her assailant stabbed her in the neck, back, chest and arms. This incident took place two years after two Japanese members of the popular band AKB48 were victims of a fan who attacked them with a saw in May 2014, which the Guardian reported on.
Tomohiro Iwazaki was known to Tomita as a stalker, and the young musician had already complained to the police about his online behavior. According to the Kyodo news agency, early stages of the investigation have revealed that the police had not acted on her complaint.
Early reports confirm the police were trying to identify who had sent inappropriate messages to Mayu Tomita, but had concluded that there was no risk of imminent assault.
Iwazaki said the pop star had returned a gift he had sent her without explaining why. The 27-year-old told investigators he “became mad and stabbed her numerous times.” Apparently, it was not the first time the fan was trying to reach out to his idol and he had been repeatedly posting comments about her on social media networks, including Twitter.
Police arrested Iwazaki right after the incident and retrieved a knife from the scene, a small concert venue in Tokyo. Mayu was about to go on stage when the stalker attacked her.
Just two years ago, a 24-year-old man attacked two teenage members of the girl band AKB48, leaving Rina Kawaei and Anna Iriyama in hospital with multiple fractures. The “fan” had attacked the pop idols with a saw at a public event, as the Inquisitr reported.
— 冨田 真由 (@tomitamayu) March 24, 2016
Early reports mentioned the police received a call from a witness and arrived at the scene finding a bloody knife with an 8.2cm blade. Violent crime is rare in Japan, where it is illegal to carry a blade without reason and guns possession is strictly limited.
Iwazaki was still at the scene when the police arrived and proceeded to arresting him for attacking Mayu Tomita. He is now facing charges of attempted murder.
The culprit of the attack on the AKB48 band members pleaded guilty to the charges in November 2014, and is now serving a six-year prison sentence.
Mayu Tomita was found unconscious and is still in critical condition.
Tomita, who, confusingly, shares her name with an AKB48 member, was chosen in 2011 to perform in an online series, Secret Girls, a show about five junior high school girls who are secretly J-Pop stars. Mayu was known under the name Eye in the series.
Japanese pop stars are known to be under a huge amount of pressure to keep up appearances of girl-next-door, not disclosing any details of possible relationships and staying in character constantly.
Japanese pop star Mayu Tomita in critical condition after being stabbed multiple times. Man arrested. https://t.co/HikrwcIt6T— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) May 23, 2016
Competition is rife in Japan and pop idols constantly have to find renewed ways to keep their fans’ attention, by wearing shorter skirts, doing crazier stunts, or producing weirder music, as Cracked reported.
With such a cult built around pop idols in Japan, it’s little wonder many fans are completely obsessed by the young girls they see perform and believe they can befriend, or even get together with.
Mayu Tomita is no exception, and regularly performs in small venues, does “meet and greets” with her fans to seem approachable and accessible. Boundaries are increasingly blurred between the fiction universe built around those girls and the reality of their lives. Unfortunately, this means unstable fans will often go way too far.
[Image via Twitter/@tomitamayu]