Continuing a long tradition of strange and questionable merchandise, music label Ariola Japan has released a series of cute, themed doormats each decorated with a picture of an idol. Their quirkiest feature is a pressure-activated speaker which allows the mat to apologize when stepped on.
With the recent controversy surrounding Yamaguchi Maho, a member of Japanese idol group NGT48, questions have been raised as to whether this product was in poor taste. Yamaguchi, 23, was allegedly assaulted by two men outside her apartment, and later made to apologize by management after sharing the disturbing details on social media.
Yamaguchi was questioned at a fan meetup as to whether she approved of the new but potentially offensive line of merchandise. “I think it’s cute” she responded with a nervous smile. NGT48 management later confirmed in a statement that all members should have no problems with their likeness being stepped on.
High-tech “smart” models, which interface with home security systems, can selectively reject unsolicited visitors such as boyfriends.
The doormats will hit store shelves this February. Each comes with a 3-year-warranty before being considered “retired”, at which point the manufacturer highly suggests throwing it out and purchasing a new one.