Tokyo college seniors expelled over project ‘to protect ugly women’

Shukan Shincho July 8
Shukan Shincho July 8
Tokyo Metropolitan University, or TMU, was formed in 2005 by the merger of four public institutions of higher learning in the Tokyo area. The institution was in the headlines recently when two of its seniors majoring in system design were summarily expelled.

The two had come up with a project they named “Dobusu wo Mamoru Kai” (Group to Protect Ugly Women).

“They went around on the street accosting women, saying they were ‘researching an article,'” a source at TMU tells Shukan Shincho (July 8). “Later it was determined that the video, showing the faces of certain women, had been posted on YouTube without the subjects’ permission.”

The school’s investigation found that on three occasions the pair had gone to Shibuya, Shinjuku, Tachikawa, and other places in Tokyo and filmed a total of six female subjects “on location.” At least two of the six had data posted in a manner that enabled them to be identified by name.

The one shot at Tachikawa, filmed on June 12, ran for about six minutes in length. Its opening included this introduction by the producers: “Presently in Japan, dobusu (ugly girls) are endangered with extinction a possibility. Through dissemination of information more women are finding it easy to improve their appearance through cosmetics, fashion, and hair styling, and in addition thanks to advancements in cosmetic surgery they are able to boost their appearance to the minimum level.”

The producers of this goofy video were actually dumb enough to include their own names in the credits at the end.

“After they submitted the video a friend who saw it chewed them out, and they deleted it, but the next day it was resubmitted,” the aforementioned school source relates.

By June 17, copies of the video had been spreading like wildfire all over the Web, and the following day TMU’s home page posted an apology from the president.

Then on June 24, the school announced that the two would be expelled from the institution. A third student who had provided the background music for the video was suspended from attending classes for one month.

The reasons given for the expulsion were for having made persons’ images public without permission; causing psychological harm to said persons; and damaging the university’s public image.

Shukan Shincho reports that the families of the students involved have been subjected to abusive telephone calls. From his home in Tottori Prefecture, father of one of the two told the magazine, “I saw the offending video. It was done in the humorous style of a TV variety show, but was lacking in morality and was cruel to the persons involved.

“I first learned about it in late June,” the father continues. “A complete stranger called me up at work, telling me she was in the process of organizing a protest and saying, ‘Do you know what your son’s been up to?’ Why didn’t he drop out of the university of his own volition?'”

Both students were in the process of job seeking, but their future prospects with employers appear to be in doubt.

Source: “‘Dobusu wo mamoru kai’ de shutodaigaku wo taigaku ‘bakatare daigakusei’ oya ga naiteita!” Shukan Shincho (July 8, page 40)

Note: Brief extracts from Japanese vernacular media in the public domain that appear here were translated and summarized under the principle of “fair use.” Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy of the translations. However, we are not responsible for the veracity of their contents. The activities of individuals described herein should not be construed as “typical” behavior of Japanese people nor reflect the intention to portray the country in a negative manner. Our sole aim is to provide examples of various types of reading matter enjoyed by Japanese.

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