Mahoshojo Riripomu, a Japanese idol who is unknown to most Japanese people, has revealed on her blog that she is in the process of getting plastic surgery on her eyelids. Not just that, she even decided to show the post-surgery healing progress (with photos).

What had led Mahoshojo Riripomu to do this?

Japanese idol business: a very short introduction

If you are a fan of Japanese subculture, then you would already be familiar with the concept of idols and idol groups.

Although the history of idols streams back as early as the 1970s, a recent outbreak of idols was probably ignited by AKB48. What made this group particularly popular was that they successfully closed the distance between members on stage and the fans by regularly hosting off-stage 'interaction' events, where fans are able to shake hands or take photos with their favorite members.

Once people in the industry realized that idols could be a great business model, some talent agencies began launching their own idol groups, like Stardust Promotion - whose Momoiro Clover Z became such a hit, they are currently ranked the top female idol group for 4 years running, according to one survey.

Under the limelight's shadow

The idol industry in Japan is saturated. Tokyo Idol Festival (TIF) - known to be one of the largest idol events - featured over 150 idol groups in 2 days. And there are many, many more idols who didn't even make it to (TIF) that most people (even idol maniacs) are unaware of.

In most cases, it's smooth sailing for idol groups that are launched by major talent agencies with good industry network and substantial financial backing. Not so for those wannabe idols who are engaged with smaller, less powerful agencies. It's a different world altogether. There's always stories about disbandment, as well as sexual harassment (or even assault) by their managers.

Mahoshojo Riripomu's coming out

On November 5, 2015, Mahoshojo Riripomu posted a message on her blog. In it, she revealed that she had undergone an eye-lift surgery and the reasons for doing so.

I always lacked confidence about how my face looks.

From when I was younger, I used makeup and eye-lift goods, which began putting strains on my face. Recently, my eyes did not open, and I had inflammation on my eyelids.

Every time that sort of thing happened, I hated my deteriorating face so much that I broke many mirrors, and started crying out loud all of a sudden.

My parents and my friends suggested I should do cosmetic surgery. I thought about it for years, but now that my skin was in really poor shape, I thought it was the only way for me to carry on being an idol, so I had to do it.

I already told my agency about the surgery, but people there didn't know much about post-surgery recovery process so they ended up booking me into live events straight after my surgery. But my eyes were so swollen, and the effect of anesthetics and other drugs in my body meant that getting out there on the stage was a bad idea.

Putting a smile on everyone's face. That's what I want to do with my life. Cosmetic surgery was not an easy choice; I don't believe for a moment that just becoming prettier is going to make a world of difference.

But I do feel now that, in order for me to go to a higher stage, I have to work even harder.

I intend to get on the stage, so long as my face is ok.

I'm sure not all fans will appreciate this; some may even stop being my fan.

But I hope that people understand that it was a positive decision for me.

from Mahoshojo Riripomu's blog (abridged)

In a later blog, she even revealed how her healing process is tracking... (WARNING: Graphic Content Below)

Straight after the surgery...

The day after the surgery... Very swollen now...

7 days later - starting to look 'clean' at this stage...

After removing the stitches...

On her blog and on her Twitter, she says she decided to show these photos so that it might help people who are unhappy about their appearance and thinking about having a surgery.

But when considering the dire circumstances of struggling idols, it may be a tactic to try and increase her fan base. Whether you look at it from the view of entertainment industry or from the view of women's complex regarding appearances, it shows a glimpse of some of the unfortunate situations in Japan. There is a tendency for people to feel that they have to change themselves, instead of being comfortable just being themselves.

Critic Go Yoshida shared his view about cosmetic surgery among idols. While Yoshida is sympathetic towards those who only convert from single eyelid to double eyelid, he likened eyes that are "opened up" to Ultraman, a well-known Japanese superhero character:

Well, what can we do to help this poor girl who went under the knife? I guess the least we can do is post a music video of her. Hope you enjoy it:

By - grape Japan editorial staff.