National / Social Issues

Spa! magazine publishes apology for ranking colleges based on sexual availability of female students

Kyodo, Staff Report

Weekly tabloid magazine Spa! issued an apology in its latest edition after a list it published in December — which ranked colleges based on the perceived sexual availability of their female students — received heavy criticism and led the publication to re-evaluate its editorial process.

In its Dec. 25 edition, Spa! published a list of colleges with female students considered “sexually easy” according to Keiji Isogimi, the manager of matching site Lion Project. In an interview with Spa!, Isogimi went as far as to describe how to “coax” women and gauge their interest in sex based on their clothing and appearance.

Criticism quickly erupted, with many calling the article sexist and disrespectful to women. An online petition demanding an apology gained more than 50,000 signatures.

In its Jan. 29 edition, which went on sale Tuesday, the tabloid’s editorial department published a formal apology to the universities named in the list and the students attending them.

It also apologized to women and readers who “were offended by the article, which lacked consideration for the dignity of women.”

It ran an article saying that Kazuna Yamamoto, the organizer of the petition and a fourth-year student at International Christian University in Tokyo, had reached out to the tabloid and met with its editor, Takashi Inukai, and other members of the editorial department.

The article said that in the meeting, Yamamoto expressed concern over the tabloid’s objectification of women and emphasized the importance of activities that advocate the significance of sexual consent.

The editorial department will share the content of those discussions with the rest of its staff, the article said, adding that it will constantly check future articles on sexual issues from the perspective of sexual consent.