And another on bites the dust. Kobushi Factory’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year continues apace with the announcement of the retirement of Rena Ogawa today (Japanese). She had been diagnosed with anxiety disorder back in July, around the same time it was discovered she had been dating a boy (OMFG, a 17 year-old girl dating! How will we ever respecter her?!) I think Up-Front was cool to let the dating thing slide — they actually seem to be one of the few J-idol agencies who don’t give many shits about this — but Ogawa’s anxiety eventually did her in. They gave her a few months to deal with the issue, but after consulting with her doctor and taking stock of her future, Ogawa apparently decided to move forward with her life as a civilian.
I feel bad for her. Show business is a high-stress career that not everyone is cut out for. Like millions of young Japanese girls, she probably dreamed of being an idol, and unlike the majority of those girls, she actually realized that dream, only to have the mental stress of the job build to the point where she was physically unable to perform. On the positive side, she can straight up tell Friday to fuck off without consequence now, and that’s not nothing. I wish her all the best in her future endeavors.
As for the future of Kobushi Factory, I predict they will emerge from this stronger than ever. With all of the loose ends tied up, they can now focus all of their energies on moving forward as a six-member unit and re-establishing themselves as a group to be reckoned with.