Popular TV personality Becky and Diet member Kensuke Miyazaki were both recently caught in cheating scandals. Both cases involved the breaking of marital vows and in both instances the public figures involved suffered harsh consequences.
Miyazaki was forced to resign and Becky has all but disappeared from the public eye. What interested me was the reaction from foreign media. There were multiple articles that defended Becky against stuffy, sexist Japanese society.
However, I would argue that the swift and harsh reaction to infidelity says something good about Japanese culture. It says that Japanese people hold their political and thought leaders to a higher standard of conduct.
Whatever your view on the concept of sexual morality, we should at least want our politicians to have integrity. That means honoring your vows.
To most Japanese, political leaders that betray the loved ones closest to them are unfit to ask for the public’s trust. Entertainers like Becky become rich and famous because of their fans, not because they are supremely talented. Those fans have a right to want to support people of good character.
Ultimately, Becky is replaceable. There are 10,000 young women just as cute and talented as her waiting for their chance to show that they can do what she does and not sleep with married men.
There are rare cases of artists or leaders who are so talented that you might look past their personal life. Becky and Miyazaki are not on that list.
I don’t agree with Westerners who take issue with Japanese society’s “puritanical” standards. Those standards are one of the things that make Japan unique.
Most people here probably don’t think the country would be improved by adopting the West’s relaxed standards on marital fidelity and promiscuity.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.