Japan Idol Who Went Viral Quitting Group Gets Best Revenge

Japan Idol Who Went Viral Quitting Group Gets Best Revenge

Want more UJ? Get our FREE newsletter 

Need a preview? See our archives

Onodela Popko
Pictures: Twitter
Former Idol Onodela Popko made waves when she quit her group after just one week over bullying. What's she up to now? Racking up wins, it would seem.

They say that the best revenge is to live well. Onodela Popko (小野寺ポプコ) seems to be living that maxim to its hilt. The former Japan idol, who quit her group in a video that went viral several years ago, resurfaced in the news this week. The good news? Since leaving the idol world, she’s been racking up win after win.

Onodela Popko signs off after one week

The viral video from 2019 is a taped performance of the group asterisk* east. The snippet shown, however, isn’t a typical idol performance.

Three members of the group, which had formed just one week before, are on stage dressed in the group’s official uniform. The members say that Onodela will miss today’s performance, However, in the video, we see Onodela enter in her street clothes.

“I’m Onodela Popuko, and today is my last day with this group,” she announces. She then turns to her now-former colleagues and flips them a middle finger.

A sound technician cuts off Onodela’s mic. But she’s not done! She stands at the front of the stage and, in a booming voice, details that she’s leaving due to bullying from the group as well as the group’s management team.

“I’m an adult,” she says, “and I don’t wanna be involved with behavior like this. I experienced stuff like this in high school – seeing it play out here is appalling.”

After telling people to follow her on Twitter, she says, “It was only a week but I enjoyed being an idol. Thank you, everybody!”

Advertisements

She then hands the mic to a cast member and walks off stage. Two of the cast members clap, unsure of what else to do. A third, on the left, claps lightly on her wrist in a sort of modified “golf clap.”

Before Onodela leaves, she stops and flips the three remaining members the bird again. This time, with both fingers.

Onodela Popko flips her former idol gorup members the bird before walking off stage.

Where is Onodela Popko now?

“Photos taken from my graduation. A happy Onodela.” (Source: X)

Asterisk East didn’t long survive that bombshell. According to idol fan sites, the group broke up in December 2019.

After that, most of the members dropped into obscurity. One member, Kurobane Yuno, joined another idol group that petered out not long after. Peperin, who hailed from Hong Kong, returned home after her visa expired. Neither she nor Chihiro, another group member, have been heard from since.

But what about Onodela? What’s she been up to in the five years since that trending moment?

Despite being out of the idol world, Onodela maintains active X and Instagram accounts where she occasionally posts her Ws. And she’s racked up a few of them.

In a social media post in 2021, she reflected, “That video occasionally goes viral on TikTok. People have said, ‘Don’t let that be the high point of your life.’ That’s always in the back of my mind, so I’m letting you know what I’ve been up to.”

What she’d been “up to” was working at a hedge fund and attending Waseda, one of Japan’s most prestigious universities. After that, she said, she intended to attend the University of California at Berkeley.

And attend she did. In posts to X this week, Onodela announced that she’d graduated from UC Berkeley’s Haas Business School. She posted a small clip of her graduation ceremony on X. She also lashed out a little at people who’d re-posted pictures and videos of her classmates in an attempt to find a clip of her speaking in English.

Her graduation announcement made news in Japan, where it was picked up by the magazine Josei Jishin and posted to Yahoo! News Japan. Onodela seemed thrilled by this and said, “I really wanna show my parents…but I didn’t want to worry them about my idol activities, so I still haven’t said anything.”

Japan’s rough-and-tumble idol world

Idols are big business in Japan, where groups such as AKB48 attract intense fan followings. Abuses within the idol industry have also long been the subject of controversy and media attention. One of the most notable cases was Yamaguchi Maho, whose story went viral when her agency pressured her into apologizing after she talked about fans who’d sexually assaulted her.

Some idols have also felt pressure over an unwritten rule that active idols should remain single. Last year, Fujisaki Nagi, one half of the group Saishu Mirai Shojo, broke that mold when she revealed that she was a single mom to two kids.

In recent years, the manga and anime Oshi no Ko has received massive attention for its spotlight on Japan’s idol world. It’s received praise for tackling some of the abuses found in the idol business – but also criticism from idol fans who say the picture it paints is too dark. (There’s also the fact that the main plot involves an idol’s adult male fan being reborn as her child.) Deceased pro wrestler Kimura Hana’s mother has also criticized Oshi no Ko for purportedly using her daughter’s life as a plotline.

Sources

ライブ中にいじめ暴露&脱退宣言した元アイドルの“衝撃的な現在”にネット騒然「圧倒的強者」「とんでもなく優秀」. Josei Jishin

中指立てグループ脱退 元アイドルの近況にSNS驚愕「かっこよすぎだろ」. Livedoor News

アステリスクイーストは今どうなった?メンバーその後も含めて紹介!画像. Ano Geinoujin no Ima

Want more UJ? Get our FREE newsletter 

Need a preview? See our archives

Jay Allen

Jay is a resident of Tokyo where he works as a reporter for Unseen Japan and as a technial writer. A lifelong geek, wordsmith, and language fanatic, he has level N1 certification in the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) and is fervently working on his Kanji Kentei Level 2 certification.

Japan in Translation

Subscribe to our free newsletter for a weekly digest of our best work across platforms (Web, Twitter, YouTube). Your support helps us spread the word about the Japan you don’t learn about in anime.

Want a preview? Read our archives

You’ll get one to two emails from us weekly. For more details, see our privacy policy