The Japanese media love a scandal and so far 2018 hasn’t disappointed in that regard. Two recent stories centered around J-pop idols have been mostly ignored by mainstream outlets, but both have taken off online thanks to web publications, hinting at a shift unfolding in the nation’s news landscape.

In late March, teenager Honoka Oomoto died in an apparent suicide in her home prefecture of Ehime. She was a member of a local idol-pop group called Enoha Girls, and weekly tabloid Shukan Bunshun’s website has been investigating the incident. On May 19 it published a story online built around comments from the young woman’s mother, who said the pressures of idol work contributed to her daughter’s death.

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