TOKYO (TR) – Four former members of an all-girl idol group have filed a suit against a talent agency that seeks 4 million yen in compensation for unpaid wages, reports TBS News (Nov. 14)
At the Tokyo District Court on Tuesday, the former members of Nijiiro Fanfare, aged in their teens and 20s, claimed that agency D-topia forced them to work for free for two years and made threats should they seek work elsewhere.
The seven-member group made its debut in October of 2015. The group released one album and made roughly eight live appearances each month.
According to the suit, the plaintiffs say D-topia forced them to sign their contracts that were not valid. Each contract indicates that a monthly salary of 38,000 yen would not be paid due to the covering of costs for various fees and lessons. Over the two-year period, the plaintiffs say they were not paid.
The contracts, which spanned five years, also include a clause that prohibits the idols from working in the entertainment industry as performers over a two-year period after leaving Nijiiro Fanfare.
“I thought it would be paid if we became a hit idol group”
“Although my salary was virtually zero in the beginning, I thought it would be paid if we became a hit idol group,” one of the plaintiffs, who joined the group as a middle school student, was quoted by the Asahi Shimbun (Nov. 15). “When I think back, I just worked for nothing. I want to continue to work in the entertainment business.”
Between May and August of this year, the plaintiffs told the agency that they were leaving the group. A “graduation” concert was held in September. But the plaintiffs have not sought other entertainment work due to the aforementioned clause that prohibits such action.