The latest focus of Japanese otaku types is a 14-year-old English girl who calls herself Beckii Cruel. The Isle of Man native has developed a growing fan base from the videos that she started posting on YouTube in March. Most of them feature her dancing in her bedroom to J-Pop and anime tunes. Media hype here has compared her to another recent import, Leah Dizon (though their looks and otaku appeal are about the only similarity), and her videos on the local NicoNico Douga site have been viewed over 3 million times. She recently performed at the Enta Matsuri in Tokyo’s otaku mecca of Akihabara (photo), with some 600 fans turning up to show their support. Not one to miss out on a commercial opportunity, a DVD (“This is Beckii Cruel”) is due for release on December 19th. Judge for yourself: Beckii Cruel’s YouTube channel.
• There were no major new revelations today at the trial of former top idol singer Sakai Noriko (38). The huge media and public interest in the case was clear from the long lines of people waiting in the rain to get one of the 20 public gallery seats at the Tokyo District Court. The number was reported as 6,615, making it the second highest ever, after the almost 12,300 who tried to see the trial of Aum Shinrikyo cult leader Matsumoto Chizuo in 1996. Sakai admitted to all the charges against her – possession and use of amphetamines – and said she had been using the drugs once or twice a month for the last four years. She said she thought she and her husband, Takaso Yuichi (41), would probably have a better chance of rehabilitation if they divorce. Takaso was tried last week on the same charges, and they have a 10-year-old son. Asked about how she planned to return to society, Sakai said she hoped to study nursing. Prosecutors are seeking an 18-month prison sentence. The verdict will be handed down on November 9.