AKB48 singer's YouTube apology still stirring debate

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

  • 1

    Marilita Fabie-Fujisawa

    What about disbanding the band and form a better decent singing group. Take some tips and points from the TV show GLEE..more entertaining for all walks of life..even the old will be able to take pleasure from the beautiful songs selected. It will bring a different ambiance into their homes. Make improvements in their fashion..not skimpy under wears worned by young girls totally unfit to their ages...poor girls, they've been so manipulated by all this businessman in the music industry that prefer money than an honest to goodness entertainment..,!!!!

  • 11

    Matthew Simon

    So ridiculous, the whole group defines irony to the n'th degree. A group of young girls and women who are supposed to represent wholesome and pure youth forced to dress in skimpy uniforms and lingerie, who are then chastised for having a normal relationship. I guess the operate under the Snack bar code, of always appearing available and accessible for men. I can understand the appeal to young women. It is many girls dreams to be a singing star and to be famous. But to force apologies for doing what is natural and to twist a young woman's mind into the belief that she needs to apologize for doing what is natural for any person is disgusting. I also would point out that I strongly believe that her shaving her head was probably forced in some way shape or form by the management as a condition of here staying with the group or at the very least a publicity stunt.

  • 2

    Wakarimasen

    And still the "scandal" rolls on. Masterful marketing ploy from AKB management. South will be back soon, rewarded for taking one for the team (in more ways than one).

  • 3

    bass4funk

    So ridiculous, the whole group defines irony to the n'th degree. A group of young girls and women who are supposed to represent wholesome and pure youth forced to dress in skimpy uniforms and lingerie, who are then chastised for having a normal relationship.

    That's what you would call a serious "contradiction." You are allowed to ooze sexiness and to look like a quasi-AV star, provided your actions are innocent, you look innocent, you are naive and remember the cardinal rule, Never, ever break the hearts of those crazy Otakus! Yeah absolutely ridiculous!

  • 3

    Kimokekahuna Hawaii

    How can you possible keep track of so many girls.. its like a girls school... or is it a cult.

  • 2

    zenkan

    There are young girls and women all over the world sufferering at the hands of repressive men and oppressive regimes - all they want is freedom for their views, and yet for some of them this leads to punishment and death. What a slap in the face for all those women. WAKE UP Minegishi! You should be campaigning for your rights - to privacy and being an adult and fair treatment at work - not making excuses and apologies and turning yourself into a pariah.

  • 0

    iichiban

    If it was a marketing gimmick, i think it has backfired on AKB48.... they should never have posted it in the first place, it has only given them wrong name...

  • 3

    paulinusa

    "“Whether positive or negative, the more news is better for AKB."

    And more money for management.

  • 0

    ebisen

    She shaved her head AFTER she spent the night with a male - imagine the horror experienced by mid 40's salarymen, losing their biggest fantasy about this "virginal pure girl", and the loss she therefore brought to the group...

  • -4

    Kuribo1

    What a bunch of bleeding hearts. Good lord, she made a mistake she felt bad and she says she is sorry. She says she felt bad for disappointing her parents or kohai or what ever. You people make such a big deal out of it. She can quit if she wants and she said she does not want to quit, it is up to her. Everything is up to her, yet all these comments about womens right and what not it is her right to do to herself what she wants. SO if she wants to stay or cut her own hair or apologize for her behavior that she thought was a mistake, then let her. People making something so big out of something so small.

  • 2

    Elvensilvan

    bottom-ranked “research student” status.

    This caught my attention ... could it be a poor translation of "研修生" or trainee? 研修 is literally research and 生 could be translated student.

    Anyway, about the debate, I agree that members should have some degree of freedom for their own private lives, specially if they're not doing anything illegal or scandalous.

    Dating? Staying over a boy's apartment? Having a relationship? Last time I checked, these are very normal and widely accepted practices here in Japan.

  • 0

    avigator

    I recently learned this childish obsession started after WWII in Japan. Is is a way to control the population? Different countries have different schemes to control and manipulate their people.

  • -6

    kaitoyojimbo

    What a bunch of bleeding hearts. Good lord, she made a mistake she felt bad and she says she is sorry. She says she felt bad for disappointing her parents or kohai or what ever. You people make such a big deal out of it. She can quit if she wants and she said she does not want to quit, it is up to her. Everything is up to her, yet all these comments about womens right and what not it is her right to do to herself what she wants. SO if she wants to stay or cut her own hair or apologize for her behavior that she thought was a mistake, then let her. People making something so big out of something so small.

    I agree with you completely Kuribo, i love how people are making such a stink about this but how k-pop idols practically prostitue themselves in their videos, or how a lot of them watch porn for inspiration i think it's just trolls are Happy for a chance to attack AKB, people want to control everyone to do what they want with this political correct Bull s*** instead of letting people make their own choices and choose their own life

  • 1

    Yubaru

    Recently, another girl had to cancel a planned photo album that contained a photo showing a little boy covering her bare breasts from behind, raising questions of child pornography.

    But she wasn't in AKB when the book was scheduled to be released, she quit in December if a previous article here is to be believed. So it shouldn't be connected to AKB either.

  • 1

    tkoind2

    Agree. Stop supporting this production company and their twisted policies. No girl should be forbidden to have a normal young social life for a job. No human being should be humiliated for having a suitable relationship. No contract should be able to prevent someone living a normal life.

    All that considered before what should be equally obvious. The AKB franchise is borderline kiddie porn for middle aged men. Thus the "availability" element in the company's marketing of the girls. No teenage girl would care if that singer was dating an Exile guy. Quite the contrary, they would see that romance as exciting and would likely improve the fame of the young girl and guy.

    So who are we trying to make happy here with AKB48 and their "Availability" element? Again, dirty old guys who fantasize about very young girls.

    Put an end to this silly talentless band.

  • 0

    ben4short

    I imagine the withdrawal symptoms will be tough, but perhaps our esteemed JT editors (taking it one day at a time, as advised) can try to go an entire week (at the very minimum) without including an AKB story or photo on these hallowed cyber pages. Up for the challenge?

  • 2

    Wolfpack

    Agree. Stop supporting this production company and their twisted policies. No girl should be forbidden to have a normal young social life for a job. No human being should be humiliated for having a suitable relationship. No contract should be able to prevent someone living a normal life.

    My understanding is that this young lady can have the normal social life that you refer to. All she has to do is quit her job and voila' she can date any and every guy she wants. When she is no longer an idol then she can be a normal girl again. Call it the price of fame or whatever, but she obviously regrets what she did and wants to make amends.

    She is an adult so she should be allowed to make her own decisions in life. She is also human and has made a mistake. All of this nonsense about her being abused by her agency and that her her human rights are being violated is ridiculous. She is famous and has been making a good living at what she is doing. However, her agency has standards that she has agreed to conform to. She has the choice not to if she so chooses. They are not called "idols" for nothing.

  • 2

    tkoind2

    Wolfpack. You are missing the point. Why should anyone have to give up a normal life to have a job, even an idol job? Think man, why should any person have to choose between those two poles? When in fact human rights should assure both are possible.

    The problem is we get into this habit in Japan where we ok with essentially people being put into impossible situations. The Salaryman who works until he dies because he cannot push back on unreasonable expectations. The kids who kill themselves because of unreasonable and draconian educational expectations. And then idols who are whole different form of slavery in Japan. Most not even making much money doing it.

    You should be able to work in any career without having to give up your childhood, teen years and humanity. And society should not support anything that would require that you do. The fact that you and other are ok with this is wrong. People should be have irrational expectations put upon them for any career.

  • 0

    Cos

    I ask again. Can you drop the photo or at least make it appear after people click ? I don't want to see the show with school girls that forgot to put on their pants on the front page.

    She is also human and has made a mistake.

    Her parents made the only mistake, which was sell her to that prod company. After 10 years there, half of her life, her constructive years, she is no longer able to go back to normality. She is not an average 20 yr old at all. Some other teen idols have explained it : "I take a career break because I'm in my 20's and I realize I can't buy train tickets, my own food or whatever without the help of my agent...".

    she wasn't in AKB when the book was scheduled to be released, she quit in December

    So she was still in when the photos weret taken and she marketed them as "AKB" girl. You'd tell me she left 10 yrs ago and has had another career in between...

    So it shouldn't be connected to AKB either.

    People can't nor connect. They will surely not be legally sue, but they are morally responsible.

  • 0

    Droll Quarry

    She signed a contract, she accepted the money and now she is crying when the company is expecting her to honor the contract. I see it every day in the work place. We require our employees to wear uniforms; we require a certain level of personal grooming, etc. We explain this up front with prospective employees and give them written copies of the company policy. They sign the contract, take the money and then start violating the dress code and complaining that is violates their freedom of choice. This employee has just demonstrated a total lack of integrity to me and immediately goes on my flagged list.

  • -4

    GW

    People making something so big out of something so small.

    Really? WTF, how'd you like to lose your livelyhood simply because you had sex with someone...................that is seriously WRONG & is abuse PERIOD!

  • 0

    Droll Quarry

    GWFeb. 06, 2013 - 12:52PM JST

    So agreeing to a contract and then ignoring the stipulations of that contract is alright? She was not forced to agree, it was her free choice. She got caught with her nickers down and to her credit, she is trying to make amends.

  • -1

    gogogo

    In her nearly four-minute video released on the group’s Internet site, a tearful Minegishi, shorn of her silky black hair, sobbed hard and pleaded with her fans to let her stay with the band. She said she shaved her head as an act of contrition to her “thoughtless and irresponsible behavior.”

    That says it all, the video was released on the group's internet site, had she released it herself on her own youtube that would be believeable, it is all a marketing plot.

  • 3

    Laguna

    ...an economist and AKB fan.

    Head explodes.

  • 3

    tkoind2

    Droll Quarry, but should a company be able to impose such a contract from the start? It should not be legal to impose unreasonable requirements. Especially if those requirements could cause lasting issues for a child or young person.

    It is healthy for a teen or young girl to isolate her social life in exchange for money? The answer is clearly no. While it may not be illegal (yet) in Japan, it should be.

    To rationalize this ignores the key issue of her rights as a human being to live a normal well adjusted life, idol career or not. The imposition of those restrictions should be contrary to labor standards. And if they are not, they need to be.

    In any case it has exposed a terrible aspect of the "talento" world here. A world that is largely wage slavery anyway.

  • 2

    tkoind2

    One more thing Droll. If a contract is immoral or unethical, it should not stand. So yes, it is ok to break such an agreement. And doing so should be done to challenge such idiotic standards in the first place. Too bad this girl did not take the high road on this and become a campaigner to eliminate such contracts.

    I guess we will have to wait for a more courageous talento to do so. But that time will come. And public should support that person.

  • -3

    CGB Spender

    Look girl, you had your five minutes of fame. Now move back into the row of your group where you can share the absolute lack of talent, depth and artistic identity with the other members of your group while continuing to be the shallow puppet of the industry that you have always been.

  • 0

    Yubaru

    She is also human and has made a mistake.

    What mistake did she make? Join AKB perhaps?

    I am on the fence with people who say that if she wants a life she can have one by quitting her job, and those that say she signed a contract with the express knowledge that pretty much everything she did public or otherwise would be subject to the whims of Akimoto and the AKB management team.

    If I was in the US I would have to agree with the latter, but this is Japan and the former takes precedence in many cases directly in the contract or otherwise.

    However I believe this is a type of power harrassment, self-inflicted ot otherwise and that she was told to do this as a sign of repentance to her fans. Aint no way a normal female of that age is going to lope off her locks like that, unless she was going through an epiphany and thought she was Brittney.

  • -3

    Droll Quarry

    tkoind2Feb. 06, 2013 - 01:28PM JST

    What you are saying is the employer has no right to any expectations from his employee at all. If you felt mucking out stables of horse dung was degrading, would you take a job mucking out stables and then complain that you should not have to do the job? The whole employer/employee relationship is getting twisted in to days society. Everyone wants the money but not the responsibility that goes with it. Professional sports finally got smart and started putting punitive clauses in their contracts to control the behavior of "rock star" athletes who's first action after signing on the line was to go out and get too wasted to perform.

  • -3

    viking68

    Just so everyone knows, mouseketeers (sp?) also have strict rules against dating and sex. They are supposed to be virgins and can be kicked out for publicizing the fact that they had sex.

    Brittany Spears I believe even got in trouble once with Disney for dating or saying something about a relationship. She was also "dating" Justin Timberlake while at Disney. So, protecting this image of chastity is not exclusive to AKB.

  • 0

    ambrosia

    Droll: We explain this up front with prospective employees and give them written copies of the company policy. They sign the contract, take the money and then start violating the dress code and complaining that is violates their freedom of choice. This employee has just demonstrated a total lack of integrity to me and immediately goes on my flagged list.

    I get what you're saying but do you hire 13-year olds because that's how old this woman was when she started out with AKB? I think that most of us, whether we like AKB and their management or not, can agree that a 13-year old has little comprehension of what the terms of a contract really mean and someone who has been in a group like this since she was 13 isn't your garden variety employee who's not too happy to be doing a little extra unpaid overtime. This group has essentially been a family or at least a second family to her since she was a child. The decision to shave her head may have been solely hers but in all honesty can you not accept that the pressure of the management and group might have led her to this decision and that that's not really a normal or healthy employee / employer relationship?

    Drawing an analogy between her and a professional athlete isn't exactly fair either since most athletes don't turn pro until they are at least 18 and for many, not until after they have been to university.

    Though I certainly don't agree that "everyone wants the money but not the responsibility that goes with it I do agree that employer / employee relationships can be twisted and that this whole story is a perfect example of a "twisted" relationship.

  • 0

    Droll Quarry

    ambrosiaFeb. 06, 2013 - 02:49PM JST

    A minor can't legally enter into a contract. This girls parents or guardians had to do the deed (so to speak) , they sold her into slavery. But all that is another subject. The point here is; she was of legal age when she decided she would ignore the rules. She had the choice of walking away but she chose to continue her employment and disregard the rules until she was caught.

  • -1

    Kyle Alpert

    @DROLL

    Believe it or not, some people feel/are religiously obligated to respect no obligations, especially as it pertains to social obligations (i.e. simple honesty). They prey mostly on women and the young, convincing them its there 'human right' to abuse the expectations of others. Everyone has a right to opt out; no situation is 'impossible'. This woman made her choices, choices that have lead to her having a richer life than most of her critics. And pushing her to demand more is the height of scumbaggery. In the real world, the squeaky wheel gets replaced.

  • -2

    AKBfan

    Many posters seem to think that she has a right to do as she pleases no matter that she is in the best group in the world. I strongly disagree. If she were a Catholic priest or nun, would it be ok for her to break her vow of celibacy? If she were a pilot, would it be ok for her to take drugs or drink? If she were a policewoman would it be ok for her to date a yakuza? If she worked in a department store would it be ok for her to refuse to wear their uniform or to turn up to work unwashed or looking bad? I am sure many can think of even better examples of jobs which require a degree of restraint or have a code of conduct. She should be dimissed from the group for her selfish act.

  • 0

    ambrosia

    Actually, it's not really another topic since this is the life - slavery, as you suggested - that's she's known since she was 13 and to completely disregard that means you consider her the same as a typical employee, which she most certainly was not. The point isn't only that she broke the rules but that the rules are a bit peculiar and somewhat indicative of how, what is meant to be a job ends up taking over one's life, particularly in Japan. Rather than ask employees to adhere to such rigid and, to some degree, ridiculous rules, why not be reasonable?

    Yes, she could have quit. I'm not arguing that and that wasn't my point. I don't even have a problem with her being demoted, as stupid as I think it is. I, like many who have posted here and elsewhere, simply find it bizarre and a bit over the top that a young women would feel compelled to shave her head as an act of contrition and find the whole relationship between AKB, their employees and many of their fans to be peculiar and a tad pathetic, to say the least.

    If your point is simply that she could have quit and you don't want to discuss any other aspects to the story then I'm not really sure why you even bothered posting more than once. You've made your point and it seems there's nothing more for you to say about it.

  • -2

    AKBfan

    Ambrosia if she was 13 when she strted out she would have had her contract signed by an adult on her behalf as she would be too young to do so unassisted, no? and agree, Mouseketeers also have to show they are pure. Minami has benefittted greatly from being part of AKB and she should meet her obligations and make the sacrifice of not sleeping with some 19 year old boy band wannabe.

  • 0

    NeoJamal

    Also Minegishi isn't exactly the most popular senbatsu member, other than the 26,038 who voted for her in the last election, who really gives a crap who she's getting porked by?

    I bet she's not even in the photo above. That's really how much the mainstream subscribers who don't go to Akihabara to see their stage play care about her.

  • 0

    ambrosia

    viking: To the best of my knowledge there was a mouseketeer "revival" from 1989-1995 but you're writing about them in the present tense. Do they still exist and where can one read about the rules? I haven't been able to find anything. And what do you mean by "publicizing the fact that they had sex"? Does that mean that if they had sex and their employers knew but the employee never publicly spoke about it, it would be okay? Would it be okay if the employee never spoke about it but the supposed news was broken by the paparazzi? What was the maximum age limit for a mousketeer?

  • 2

    bruinfan

    I am probably wasting my time even quickly reading this, but one point of curiosity is how much the singers really get paid. Do they get a percentage of their endorsement money (i.e. Itano Tomomi, etc.)? I know they agent gets nearly all of it...

  • 0

    ambrosia

    *AKBfanFEB. 06, 2013 - 03:32PM JST Ambrosia if she was 13 when she strted out she would have had her contract signed by an adult on her behalf as she would be too young to do so unassisted, no? *

    Where have I ever suggested otherwise? And, what is your point?

    *

    and agree, Mouseketeers also have to show they are pure.*

    Again, as I asked viking, do the mouseketeers still exist? The information I've found seems to indicate that they broke up, ended, whatever mouseketeers do when they are no longer mouseketeers, in 1995 or 1996. That was 17 years ago, at least. Where can one find information about the rules of being a mouseketeer and this supposed rule of "purity"?

    **Minami has benefittted greatly from being part of AKB

    **

    How exactly has she benefitted, unless you consider fame the greatest benefit? I'm being completely serious. It's all fine and dandy to say that she has benefitted but what is your proof? Do you have any idea what type of renumeration she has received for being a member of the group?

    and she should meet her obligations and make the sacrifice of not sleeping with some 19 year old boy band wannabe.

    Why? Again, I'm being totally serious. As someone who really does not care what my favorite performers do in their spare time as long as it is legal, and even then I'd give certain leeway depending on what crime they'd broken, I would really like to understand the thinking that goes on in the mind of a fan who wants their favorite performers to adhere to rules of "purity". Is it just that she broke the rules that bothers you or is it that you really want to believe that performers of her ilk should remain "pure" and if so, why? Why does it matter to you?

  • -1

    ambrosia

    bruinfan: I've asked that very same question a number of times now and gotten no reply despite all of the rebuking of this woman who has supposedly benefitted immensely from being part of this group.

  • -1

    my2sense

    Article on the Sydney Herald was so spot on with this absurd situation... I am also one who believes this crap was whipped up by the managers as this idiot event went global. Drama Queens.

  • -2

    AKBfan

    Ambosia It doesn't matter to me necessarily - although the girls being young and pure is a big part of their appeal to most of their male fans. She has benefitted both financially and in terms of future prospects (likely she would be behind the till at Peacock if not for AKB and she will always be a ble to go on to some kind of gravure or AV career). No you didn't say she was unassisted but yuo fdid say she had little comprehension. I disagree and also think that whichever adults assisted her with the legal stuff should have ensured she understood. anyhoo, not that tough to understand the concept of "don't sleep around or you are out of the group". Yes, the Mouseketeers are no more (1996 is right) but that doesn't detract from the point that it is not unknown for acts whose image is part of their appeal to be restricted from (mis) behaving by their employers. Think of the counter - would Rihanna's fans like her if she looked and behaved like Kapren Carpenter? No. they expect her to dress and behave slutty and date a woman beating thug. Likewise many male rappers have to talk the talk and walk the walk to prove their cred to their fans. AKB is the opposite. Purity and lack of other male "competition" is what the otaku want from "their girls"

  • -3

    genjuro

    Agree with Droll and AKBFan. She signed a contract, along with her guardian/parents at the time, and she's bound to honor it. She's a first generation member, and while not as popular as the others is still considered a senior in the group. If AKB were any stricter and not discriminate among members, they would have kicked her out or forced her to quit as they should have Sashihara with her scandal last year. They did this to two other lesser-known members late last year when those girls' purikuras showing them with their boyfriends were leaked by fans. And Masuda Yuka, possibly one of the best voices in the group, quit when she was found leaving her stage play co-worker's flat the next morning. If Minegishi had any integrity, she'd have done the same and not have had to shave her head looking like an Asian Sinead O' Connor with an unsteady hand on the clippers.

    But in reality, it won't really be a surprise if many of the girls are dating. Akimoto, the brainchild of this enterprise, was also behind Onyanko Club, that big all-girls group in the 80s which also had a strict no-dating rule. Now, those members are coming out and revealing on talk shows that they, too, at that time had boyfriends but were very clever not to get caught. That's probably the only difference between the these idols from then and now.

  • 0

    ambrosia

    She has benefitted both financially and in terms of future prospects

    Again, please offer some numbers. As an employee one can naturally be expected to be paid for the work done (and to follow certain rules) but I know of no job, besides perhaps certain religious orders, where one is expected to not just maintain the aura of "purity" but to actually adhere to it privately.

    (likely she would be behind the till at Peacock if not for AKB and she will always be a ble to go on to some kind of gravure or AV career).

    Is a job at Peacock not a worthy one in your eyes? Is a career in porn somehow supposed to be a benefit for having been in a singing group for 7 years? Wow, is pretty much all I can say to that.

    No you didn't say she was unassisted but yuo fdid say she had little comprehension. I disagree and also think that whichever adults assisted her with the legal stuff should have ensured she understood.

    I never said she had little comprehension. I said "a 13-year old has little comprehension of what the terms of a contract are". That is an important distinction because I do not think most, if any 13-year old could understand the terms of a contract and certainly not the long term ramifications. That is not something unique to Minegishi.

    and also think that whichever adults assisted her with the legal stuff should have ensured she understood.

    That is pure speculation on your part. By that token, my speculation would be the opposite because her parents may not even have understood the ramifications of contracting a young girl to abstain from sexual relations for as long as she was in the group. It's not a normal thing to oblige someone to do so it would be natural that they may not have thought about that part of it in the long term.

    not that tough to understand the concept of "don't sleep around or you are out of the group".

    Actually, in English the concept of "sleeping around" means to engage in casual and indiscriminate sexual relations. To most that certainly means more than one sexual relationship, which to the best of my knowledge, no one has suggested this woman had.

    some 19 year old boy band wannabe

    How exactly is he a "wannabe"? According to this and other articles, he is in a boy band. That would seem to contradict the meaning of "wannabe".

    it is not unknown for acts whose image is part of their appeal to be restricted from (mis) behaving by their employers

    Again, I never said this was true one way or the other but simply asked if anyone had proof or a place where I could read these supposed rules because my search has turned up nothing. Besides that, I really think that comparisons to AKB48 and The Mouseketeers is a straw man argument. The Mouseketeers did not dress, dance or act suggestively in any way, unlike AKB whose videos are very suggestive. Additionally, the main appeal and target of the Mouseketeers was children. They were not meant to be proxy relationships for pathetic, borderline hebephile grown men, who are very clearly one of the main fan targets of AKB.

    Think of the counter - would Rihanna's fans like her if she looked and behaved like Kapren Carpenter? No. they expect her to dress and behave slutty and date a woman beating thug.

    Is Rihanna contractually bound to dress and behave "slutty" and "date a woman beating thug"? Were Rihanna to begin dressing and acting differently I think she would still have a large following. Pop stars reinvent themselves all the time. Prince, Madonna, David Bowie, Jennifer Lopez all come to mind as entertainers who changed their styles of dress, singing, etc. and managed to stay very popular so I'm not sure why you think Rihanna wouldn't be able to do the same.

  • -1

    ambrosia

    Many posters seem to think that she has a right to do as she pleases

    Yes, imagine that. Many posters feel that a grown woman ought to be able to have a sexual relationship if she chooses and find it peculiar that a contract would oblige her otherwise.

    no matter that she is in the best group in the world. I strongly disagree.

    So do I, though I don't think we're disagreeing about the same thing.

    If she were a Catholic priest or nun, would it be ok for her to break her vow of celibacy?

    Are you seriously comparing being a Catholic priest or nun to being in a singing group? As for what happens if priests break their vows, do you read the news? I think the answer to that is either nothing or they get moved to a different parish so the kids' parents don't find out.

    If she were a pilot, would it be ok for her to take drugs or drink?

    Ah, no because she might crash the plane and kill everyone. Do AKB double as pilots in their spare time? More importantly, do they endanger their fans' lives by not seeming to be "pure"?

    I am sure many can think of even better examples of jobs which require a degree of restraint or have a code of conduct.

    I'm sure you can too.

    She should be dimissed from the group for her selfish act.

    Yes, how horribly, horribly selfish of her to want to engage in a very human, adult, sexual relationship rather than maintain a facade of purity so that a bunch of pathetic, grown men can lie on their futons, in their parents houses, imagining that they are the ones making her act so "selfish".

  • -1

    ambrosia

    It doesn't matter to me necessarily...

    I think that's where your whole argument went horribly wrong.

  • 2

    The passage

    I think people are missing the real horror story here, and that is that a paparazzi followed them on date, followed them home, and then stayed outside (whilst probably trying multiple ways to look IN) until they both left, then sold the story to gutter press. If none of that had happened, there wouldn't be a story, and the person doing all that really would have known the impact, otherwise they wouldn't have gone to so much trouble. Real low grade human trash.

  • 0

    ambrosia

    looking like an Asian Sinead O' Connor with an unsteady hand on the clippers.

    Now, if she could only sing like Sinead.

  • 1

    GW

    Purity and lack of other male "competition" is what the otaku want from "their girls"

    Thats just sick, no other interpretation possible.

  • -1

    ambrosia

    The passage: I think people are missing the real horror story here

    That is definitely one of the horror stories here but I think the other one, perhaps the most horrible one is this:

    AKB is the opposite. Purity and lack of other male "competition" is what the otaku want from "their girls"

  • 2

    The passage

    @ambrosia Hmm, that is what is being sold, but honestly speaking though, I don't think that they (all) really feel that way but it does help the marketing a hell of a lot! One lone voice doesn't speak for the whole demographic! ;)

  • -1

    humanrights

    I was chastised for having a relationship with a co-worker in Japan, its not just a Akb problem but nation wide. Companies have too much power controlling every aspects of your private life, they are insane! I ended up quiting and so did she because of the bullying by other co-workers and the owners.

  • -1

    ambrosia

    humanrights: That's not just in Japan but in many countries and for a variety of reasons. Click on the link below for a logical and legal explanation of inter-company relationships. I do agree with you that companies, particularly those in Japan, have too much control over their workers' private lives and in my 20+ years here, it's still something that I find odd. I find it odd that company's want to have so much control and I find it odd that workers are willing to give up so much control.

    https://www.dailyjournal.com/cle.cfm?show=CLEDisplayArticle&qVersionID=87&eid=798584&evid=1

  • -1

    ambrosia

    The passage: I'm not sure who you mean by "they"? Do you mean the adult, male fans? If so, we're going to agree to disagree because I do think that most of them feel pretty much the way I've spelled it out. The ones I've read about certainly do and the ones I've met do as well.

  • 1

    The passage

    @ambrosia happy to disagree - I also read articles to support my statement and although I don't know that many AKB fans, the ones I do are basically "human". I know I can't convince you as there is no "trust" between us in real terms, which is the same in reverse!

  • 0

    oberst

    The management should encourage the girls to date.................this wil send the message to the fans that THEY have a real chance, not just fantasy in the head.

  • 0

    Tiger_In_The_Hermitage

    whats the big deal? Give the girl a break.

  • 0

    KariHaruka

    But fans view them as friends or sisters, not out-of-reach superstars who date other celebrities.

    These 'fans' should join the rest of us in the world. These are young cute girls who wouldn't be interested in a middle aged otaku regardless if they were single or not!

    Have we seriously got a point now where a 20 year old girl feels the need to shave her head as an apology for doing nothing more than spending time with a male.

  • 0

    Letsbengoshi

    What she did -- the extreme, over-the-top, public penitence -- sounds like something a North Korean would do to avoid 15 years in a work camp. I'm not making fun of her, I'm feeling very sorry for her.

  • -2

    buzzyboy

    I find it interesting that many people commenting here assume that the AKB otaku fans are righteously upset because a real guy "took their girl" and did what they, the fans, would secretly love to do with the objects of their affection. But consider....If you were the father of a 15 year old girl who didnt come home on time, because she is off with her boyfriend somewhere late at night, what would your feeling be? And if she was 20.... well, okay , so she is an adult now, but wouldnt you feel slightly....well... overprotective? I think many observers of Japanese culture on this website take it as a given that Japanese middle age otaku men are sukebe, as if otaku and sukebe were a synonym....whereas in fact, it is more likely true that AKB otaku are either overprotective "fathers" who feel protective of the honour of thier idols (shades of Islam??) or emasculated men who would never want to have sex with an adult woman because they have been desexualized by Japanese otaku/sararimen/kawaii/take-your-pick-culture. Thoughts?

  • 0

    Fadamor

    AKB management erred in posting the video on their site. Regardless of whether they instigated the head shaving or not, the posting of the video shows their tacit approval of her actions.

    That said, if they DIDN'T force her to shave her head and it was indeed her own decision, then I'm not sure there's any real story here. AKB management has a responsibility to maintain the image of their "product" and one of the rules agreed to by the prospective members is that they will not sully the promoted image of the group by dating. If a member wants to start dating, they have to realize they will need to leave the group to do so. For this member to date, then perform an act of contrition and appeal to the fans in order to remain in the group seems a bit manipulative by HER, not management. She was given the rules of employment and chose to break them. In any other business that would be a virtual submission of a letter of resignation.

  • -2

    Yardley

    I'm wondering if there has been any fallout for the young man she stayed with. Anyone know?

  • 0

    San_Diegan

    @Matthew Simon

    Very Well Said! "So ridiculous, the whole group defines irony to the n'th degree. A group of young girls and women who are supposed to represent wholesome and pure youth forced to dress in skimpy uniforms and lingerie, who are then chastised for having a normal relationship."

    But then, "But to force apologies ." It was a marketing ploy~~

  • 1

    KariHaruka

    If you were the father of a 15 year old girl who didnt come home on time, because she is off with her boyfriend somewhere late at night, what would your feeling be? And if she was 20.... well, okay , so she is an adult now, but wouldnt you feel slightly....well... overprotective?

    If my 15 year old daughter was out late at night with someone as the parent I would be protective because shes a child. But at 20 its not something to find unusual because she'd be a adult.

  • 0

    ambrosia

    well, okay , so she is an adult now, but wouldnt you feel slightly....well... overprotective?

    No. I wouldn't feel overprotective towards a pop singer to whom I have no connection. Why? Because I live in reality!

    buzzyboy: whereas in fact, it is more likely true that AKB otaku are either overprotective "fathers" who feel protective of the honour of thier idols (shades of Islam??)

    I knew plenty of Muslims and not a one who feels like an overprotective father towards a pop singer to whom they have no connection. Why bring Muslims into this? Fathers from across the world, be they Muslim, Buddhist, Christian or atheist, often feel overprotective towards their daughters.

    or emasculated men who would never want to have sex with an adult woman because they have been desexualized by Japanese otaku/sararimen/kawaii/take-your-pick-culture. Thoughts?

    I think that the men are part of Japanese culture and have been active participants in their own desexualization.

  • -1

    Christhian Mora

    The last part of the article say it all.

    > Experts say the penalty was distasteful and raises human rights questions.

    “This is too much ... Even a criminal defendant wouldn’t have to shave her head,” said Hisamichi Okamura, a lawyer and expert in information and networking. Kazuko Ito, another lawyer and a rights group leader, said the case underscored the exploitation of girl idols in the male-dominated society.

    Minegishi is the latest AKB member caught in a scandal. Last year, Rino Sashihara, 20, was forcibly transferred to a less-prestigious AKB affiliate in southern Japan over a love scandal. Recently, another girl had to cancel a planned photo album that contained a photo showing a little boy covering her bare breasts from behind, raising questions of child pornography.

    A sociologist and media critic Hiroki Azuma said it’s all part of AKB business.

    “Whether positive or negative, the more news is better for AKB. That’s the cult of AKB system and how they make money,” he tweeted.

    "Purity" its just part of the package. Japanese Idols, specially AKB48, are just a plastic product made of affinity and less talent. Looks like management overacting on this so much. But you cant blame them when you have a bunch of compulsive fans (wotas) who buy literaly 5 to 15 CDs each, when a single is released. Managment and merchant maximus AKA Akimoto Yasushi, wont let all that sales just go away.

    What should they do? Kick out Minegishi from this group, thats all. With a little of luck she could return in one or two years. No scandal no problem.

    Now for me the debate here is about human rights and contract obligations. Its a contract over a human right? Can you give up your right to love or have a relationship because of a job? Any job. IF this contracts really exist... Its ethic to do this kind of contracts? Are we talking about that this contracts are covering also the FREE TIME of an employe? And not just labort time obligations? Because this incident was in the FREE TIME of this girl. Wasnt in a rehearsal, or a stage, or concert, or TV show.

    Do you remember how hard women have fought for they right to stay in a job EVEN if they get pregnant? This incident recalls me this fight.

    Personally I hope this contracts stipulations didnt exist. This is more like an unwrited rule, just to keep the fans interested and traped in a fantasy so they can "support" (buy CD and stuff) the idols without questioning. Because been a Wota is that ; support without questioning. And you know what happens when people loose the capacity of questioning... They become zombies of the system.

  • -1

    Daijoboots

    photos showing her leaving his apartment wearing a baseball cap and surgical mask

    Whoa! Sports and nurse play, together at last!

  • -1

    Daijoboots

    This is more like an unwrited rule

    No, it's not. As many others have pointed out, she is bound by a contract with terms and conditions. Too hard to honour them? Leave at any time. Not smart enough to not get caught? Try a different baseball cap or much better yet - location - for breaches of contract.

    All this blah blah about equal rights etc is off the mark. The group is marketed in a certain way and that is that. Want a normal life? Don't be part of this abnormal and nationwide famous group.

  • 0

    Christhian Mora

    She can leave the group, she can could never been part of it in the first place. We all know that.
    But here we are.

    The fact its that I strongly doubt about the "official" part of this rule because... well a lot of logical things. Idols had, have and, I bet whatever you want, will have Boyfriends, friends, sexual parnerts, etc. This has been ALWAYS. So I believe this has to do with "pretend to have and respect the rule". Its just all about hidding well. Again we all know that.

    But in this GAME of image, this rule writed or not has generated a situation that its shamed some sector of japan in some way. A lot of people dont like this kind of actions.

    Yes, the easy answer is to leave this abnormal and nationwide famous group, but... fame is fame, money is money. fans are fans. Some people said that any artist have the fandom that deserves... I wonder, what kind of fandom this " abnormal famous group" deserve?.

  • -1

    Daijoboots

    its shamed some sector of japan in some way

    Did you mean shaved? Or does this have something to do with having your cake and eating it too? And then having another slice, and another, until you're a proud member of the most obese group in the world.

    Can't date? Boo hoo. Terminate your contract with the country's most famous group and pursue a normal hohum life. Don't sign up agreeing to terms and conditions and then breach them in the open.

    Or don't go to your equally famous lover's apartment, but meet him somewhere else. Anywhere else.

  • 1

    kurumazaka

    AKBfan and others arguing the "she signed a contract" argument, I get you and you have a point. But doesn't it bother you that these young women are expected (and would guess, required) to pose in their undies for all the weekly rags yet are not allowed to date? They are expected to be sex symbols yet are kicked out for immoral "selfish behavior" if they actually have a relationship. Seriously AKBfan, that doesn't bother you a bit? And AKB fan, the Mousketeers were not required to pose in their undies for Weekly Playboy. That is a really lame analogy.

  • 0

    AKBfan

    WAs looking at a picture of her a few years back (and with hair) and she hasn't aged well (or maybe it is the buzz cut). This might be engineered to get publicity and get her out.

  • 0

    ambrosia

    WAs looking at a picture of her a few years back (and with hair) and she hasn't aged well (or maybe it is the buzz cut).

    She's 20, for Pete's sake! You sure must like 'em young to think that a 20-year old has "aged".

  • 0

    Alejandro Dela Cruz

    Poor AKB women :(

  • -1

    7solace9

    The idea of cute and sexy without being promiscuous would seem to stir up both attraction and respect for a person. So, I like what AKB48 is doing. To discredit their management with "bullying" does not seem right since they did not ask her to make this public apology video with a shaved head. That is her own expression of contrition, and I hope she can find her peace and be a good example to others.

    Also, this article seems to bind dating with sex and many comments note this as a societal norm and prize of human freedom. But, liberty's virtue is not found in the lawlessness of the libertine, but in the right to do and say what is true and good which follows moral logic and social ethics. The video seems to acknowledge the truth that setting passion before reason was not good. Heart to Minami for the courage to express that so openly and honestly for others and her self.

  • 1

    Juju1

    What a stupid cardinal rule to forbid the girls from dating! Huh to promote a clean image!? Please ... I shouldn't have to explain what message their outfits are sending.

    Minami shouldn't have shaved her hair off. So pretty, it was unnecessary and the apology would have been sufficient. But then again, why apologize for fulfilling a need of what an adult at her age would want!?

  • -3

    Melissa Wiseman

    A contract is a contract, and these girls knew right from the very beginning what that contract entitled if they didn't like the terms then they shouldn't have signed on the dotted line in the first place. SO do I feel bad for her nope! Everyone needs to stop blaming management for simply enforcing a rule in which EVERY girl knows about. And by the way this isn't the first time a girl has broken this rule so I'm pretty sure the whole shaving off the hair thing was 100% her doing.

  • 0

    Wakarimasen

    Her hair must be growing back a bit by now. either a new scandal is due soon or we will see her back in the group....

  • 0

    Aaron Loki Brummett

    She has integrity.

Login to leave a comment

OR
  • 営業/建設機械  

    営業/建設機械  
    MB Japan 株式会社、埼玉県
    給与:給与要相談 歩合制 給与参考例・・・2013年度営業職月給平均 45万円  
  • TOEICインストラクター

    TOEICインストラクター
    Berkeley House Language Center / バークレーハウス語学センター、東京都
    給与:時給 3,000円 相談可
  • TOEFL・IELTSインストラクター

    TOEFL・IELTSインストラクター
    Berkeley House Language Center / バークレーハウス語学センター、東京都
    給与:時給 3,500円 相談可
  • 海外留学担当者

    海外留学担当者
    Berkeley House Language Center / バークレーハウス語学センター、東京都
    給与:月給 25万円 ~ 35万円 相談可
  • PR and Communication Specialist

    PR and Communication Specialist
    Italian Chamber of Commerce in Japan、東京都
    給与:給与についての記載なし

More in Arts & Culture

View all

View all