To be fair, this scandal happened quite some time ago: Bunshun published the article about upcoming singer Yuuri being in a relationship with Juice=Juice’s Takagi Sayuki on February 11. Long story short: Takagi left Juice=Juice the next day, the group postponed their upcoming single for a month (now to be released on April 28), her contract with Up-Front was terminated on March 31 – from her side.
I won’t lie: This whole thing shocked me. Just last year I wrote about H!P members dating while being active idols and how this rarely has any consequences. One dating scandal that had an aftermath was Taguchi Natsumi, but Taguchi left on her own, with insiders saying that her dating wasn’t as bad as her continued appearances with Ogawa Rena, especially on Ogawa’s Line Live. My conclusion from all this was that Taguchi felt guilty and didn’t want to face the fans afterwards. Following this, I thought the same was the case with Takagi.
In general, it’s silly that a „dating scandal“ should have any consequences for a girl like Takagi. She was never the wota-favourite, her role was the absolute singer. On top of that she’s been an idol for nearly ten years (more than ten if we count her Egg/Kenshuusei days). At 23 years of age, she was an adult woman – and, let’s be honest, in terms of H!P she was already at the end of her idol career. In fact, she has been reaching out into more public singing, having been invited to TV shows together with Morning Musume’s Oda Sakura. There’s been quite a lot of fans who would have loved to see a Takagi/Oda duo under Up-Front. Unfortunately, this hope has been crushed with Takagi’s terminated contract.
One question stands: Did Takagi withdraw on her own? Or was it indeed the agency who told her to leave?
The original statement by Up-Front and Takagi could be interpreted as her own decision. However, the statement following her contract termination made it clear that she didn’t want to be part of Up-Front if it wasn’t in Juice=Juice – throwing up some question marks regarding whether or not how much of it all was her own decision.
If Up-Front indeed was behind her departure from Juice=Juice I would be utterly disappointed.
Of course, it’s an economy, and idols are supposed to act a certain way. But it looked like Up-Front would slowly be stepping away from this. Past cases, for example of Hagiwara Mai, Okai Chisato, Hamaura Ayano, Onoda Saori showed that the agency would not always react on dating rumours. Maybe it was different this time because the boyfriend in question, Yuuri, was a famous person. But still – this is a very disappointing outcome.
On a happier note, it seems like Takagi is working towards her solo debut. She has opened up her own Twitter and Instagram accounts. We will see what the future brings, and I wish her all the best.