Tomomi Kasai photography book cancelled over underage handbra

Tomomi Kasai was a member of Japanese pop group AKB48 until a few weeks ago, when she launched a solo career. She had a photo book due out in February entitled Tomo no Koto, Suki? (Do You Like Tomo?) from publishing giant Kodansha. Things were looking up for Tomomi Kasai, until …

Shukan Young Magazine - Tomomi Kasai on cover of cancelled issue A preview of Tomo no Koto, Suki? was slated to appear in manga weekly Shukan Young Magazine, also published by Kodansha. That issue was suddenly pulled the day before it hit newsstands. The problem: an “inappropriate” photo showing Tomomi Kasai topless with her big boobs held by a young boy (he looks around 8, but it’s hard to say) in a “hand bra” pose.

Apparently no one in the book or magazine editorial process at Kodansha saw any problem until the last minute. They eventually published a revised edition of that Shukan Young Magazine issue, but Tomo no Koto, Suki? has been scrapped altogether. The reprintings and delays will reportedly cost Kodansha several million dollars.

Sources Tokyo Reporter and Anime News Network both show the pulled photo. Googling “Tomomi Kasai topless” shows hundreds of sites where you can see the photo.

Kodansha deserves its financial, legal and PR woes. The image is fairly tame, and the boy will likely not be traumatized by a premature handful of boobies, but taboos against sexualizing prepubescents are proper. This was clearly someone’s misguided notion of “pushing the envelope” or being “edgy”, and it’s mind-boggling that no one nixed it before it reached the printing stage.