Working child celebrities to the bone
I’ve always wondered at the way these kids are (over)worked, and why their activities aren’t more regulated. There ARE laws, but as the article points out, they’re largely ineffectual. I suspect the bottom line always wins out, and with management companies running what amounts to basically short-lasting-celebrity machines, these Lolita-bots are milked for all they’re worth — ew, sorry, unintentional (mixed!) metaphor — before being cast aside into old has-been territory (at the ripe old age of twenty?). Or whatever.
I suspect legal ramifications need to be enforced, and strongly. In the States, you work with child actors for your allotted hours in a day, and once they’ve maxed out their limit, you’re done. No “one more take” or “but we’re almost done!” You work with them while you legally can, and then you deal with it.
Child Actors and Singers and their Killer Schedules
“In Japan, teenage entertainers are prohibited from appearing on air after 10pm.”
Young teen stars were the center of attention in 2007 in the entertainment industry.
As adolescent entertainers win over fans, concerns have been growing about whether their excessive schedules could cause harm or have unwanted repercussions on their health. …
“The King and I”‘s Park Bo Young, Ju Min Su
The young actor playing Oh Man Seok’s childhood role in SBS’s Monday-Tuesday drama King and I, Ju Min Su, suffered a car accident on his way to work and had to have emergency surgery on his spleen, then went to continue filming. On top of that, the young actress playing Gu Hye Sun’s childhood part, Park Bo Young, had to act with Ju Min Su while soaked in water for ten hours. It’s a schedule harsh even for adults to handle.
For adolescent singers, it’s the unrelenting constancy of their schedules that makes them severe and difficult to endure. They have to participate in musical and arts programs that broadcast every week, while attending school in the mornings. Aside from those broadcast programs, there are district and county festivals, university festivals, and other outside events they must attend, leaving them no spare time to rest.
Sun Ye, the leader of the group Wonder Girls, who have been on the receiving end of negative criticism about their singing skills, recently said, “These days with the changing of seasons, we have to take good care of our voices. But after chasing such busy schedules, I haven’t been able to sleep much, and as I thought, it hasn’t been good for my voice. Yesterday, I was so busy with our activities that I could only sleep about two hours, and I’m really lacking sleep.”
Wonder Girl Seon Yeh
The Labor Standard Act, which restricts labor by those aged between 15 and 18 to seven hours per day, and forty hours per week, hasn’t not been successfully applied to these young entertainers. These young entertainers step into the industry as minors in the hopes realizing their dreams of becoming stars, giving up all of their time (even time that should go into developing their own minds and bodies) to their schedules.
In Japan, youngsters under the age of 18 are prohibited by law from appearing on broadcast programs after 10pm. In Japan’s largest year-end broadcast, NHK’s Red and White Competition, underage groups and singers participating in the show all appear before 10pm. After that point, only adult entertainers appear. The same goes for other broadcasts and even radio. Any underage stars appearing on shows that air in the middle of the night are pre-recorded.
Adolescent stars are once again on the rise. If we cannot protect their health, we cannot protect their futures. If broadcast stations and management companies cannot regulate the situation themselves, the law will need to look after them.
Allowing these young stars to continue in these grueling schedules for the sake of their immediate popularity is an exceedingly short-sighted concept.