AKB48 singer shaves her head as act of contrition for dating

AKB48 singer shaves her head as act of contrition for dating A tearful Minami Minegishi, with her head shorn, apologizes for her "night of passion" in this YouTube video on Friday.

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  • 53

    borax

    I feel like some kind of line has been crossed here, I'm not sure. All I know is this is sick.

  • 66

    smithinjapan

    The woman is an adult for god's sake! That she has to shave her head, beg for forgiveness, and pray and beg to be kept in a bad that is completely devoid of talent shows beyond a doubt how ridiculous the band and its management are. She won't be allowed to stay in, of course -- god forbid she leave behind the days of 'innocent teenage girl in lingerie gyrating her hips' to be in a real-life, private relationship! And now how many middle-aged men will drool over her pic with the head shaved? They don't want to see a young woman forced to be contrite over being human, teary-eyed, and begging, with no cute little locks bobbing as she shakes her butt!

    Poor woman. I hope she DOES get canned just so she can later realize how superficial the band and management are, and how wrong she was to feel bad about being free.

  • 38

    bilderberg_2015

    Jesus, what a pathetic state of affairs.

  • 16

    sighclops

    Pfft pu-lease. They're all in relationships!

  • 41

    sighclops

    The volume of AKB48-related articles on here is getting out of hand...

  • 23

    Brainiac

    I wonder why this is not considered abuse. How can her parents stand by and watch that? Why don't they pull her out of the group?

  • 8

    Allie Chambers

    I'm back and forth about this. She signed a contract. The Idol industry in Japan is very strict and always has been and she knows this. It's terrible for her, and the fact that she felt she had to shave her head to apologize is very sad, but that's the way it is. That being said, I think the idol industry needs a major overhaul. I'm sure a lot the girls of AKB48 are in relationships or getting some, and all the guys in Johnny's are doing the same, but the fact that they have to hide it and the repercussions are so severe is frightening. The sad thing is, the guys and girls who follow "their" idol so closely CAN think that they are "their" idol and that they have a chance with them and if god forbid they slip up (this can hardly be called a slip up) then their fans can FREAK OUT and get angry, and stop following them. I never understood that part. I like some Jpop Idol groups, but that whole bit just freaks me out.

  • 6

    Gnhham

    She's probably begging because the money is good and steady. I agree with smithinjapan about hoping she gets canned and then maybe realizing the band is superficial.

  • -1

    koeskus

    I do know that even if she broke the rules, her hard work up to this point has taught us many things. And her strength has been part of AKB's support for the past 7 years. I respect her as a person. For someone so close to the goal, it must be difficult and takes a lot of courage to start again from beginning.

  • 4

    akkk1

    hoping she gets canned and then maybe realizing the band is superficial.

    Unless getting canned will set off suicidal actions.

  • -4

    oberst

    I think a mandatory virginity test is in order...........................LOL

  • -11

    darknuts

    She even looK's cute with a shaved head.

  • 5

    gogogo

    She should be allowed to date! The management team are doing something illegal by disallowing it.

  • 34

    andrew-s

    What a sad pathetic time in society we live in. A 20 Year old woman has to shave her head and beg forgiveness for having an actual human relationship instead of some sick imaginary one exclusively with deluded fans.

    Amazes me such a degrading inhuman state of affairs is not only supported, but encouraged by society. Anything for a dollar hey

  • 12

    Emily Millar

    Sigh...yet another case of bullying and power play. And what will happen to her gentleman friend? Precisely nothing.

  • 0

    rickyvee

    the britney spears of japan

  • -20

    Cortes Elijah

    The owner of AKB is sad because she cheated on him lol. The owner is obviously a sexually twisted wierdo. Still this girl should have kept her legs closed.

  • -16

    nikku510

    She wants to stay in AKB and she makes all of her decisions herself. If she wants to stay in the game she has to play by the rules.

  • 2

    Crazedinjapan

    Why should she have to appologise for being human??

    There is nothing shameful about what she did , heck they could have even used this to promote safe sex or something .....millions of people do this everday around the world.

  • 5

    talandisjr

    Wow, this is really terrible. Who cares if she had a relationship? I was not into this whole AKB thing because of its superficiality, but now it seems like a wacked-out cult. Yuck. I hope the poor lady recovers her mental health and esteem and moves on from this horrible group.

  • 1

    Triumvere

    All I know is this is sick.

    QFT

  • -23

    Cortes Elijah

    All you guys arguing who cares she was in a relationship? AKB48 are not allowed them. End of your little debate, she broke the strange rules of her posessive employer and now she pays for it.

  • 6

    Surf O'Holic

    Ridiculous, this obsession with these nitwit girls .

  • -1

    T_rexmaxytime

    You know, this is all a set-up... It's a make a drama

  • -3

    bicultural

    Not that I care, but apparently she cut her hair off by herself without consulting anyone. In Japan it is said that a woman's hair is as important as her life. Considering that, I think she's quite sorry for her actions. Regardless, Akimoto has demoted her to "trainee" level.

  • 1

    T_rexmaxytime

    And she was fake crying...

  • 11

    Ninjazilla

    Publicity Stunt. AKB48 are so fake they make the original Morning Musume look like the Beatles.

  • 0

    passingtime

    Lame.

  • 8

    Bad2Dbone

    Ironic , now she will be into Exile!

  • 8

    Zen student

    Sheesh. Pathetic.

    I know a contract is a contract but this is just ridiculous. So degrading and humiliating. So, she has to apologize for behaving like a perfectly normal human? Gawd.

    It's a pity she didn't give the AKB48 management the middle finger! Because that's what they deserve.....

  • 1

    Wakarimasen

    Smith - i get your point, but calling anight in the sack with a boy band memeber a real life private relationship is going too far. Anyway, not beyond the realms of possibility that this was all set up by the Svengali who runs the whole AKB freak show.

    The picture is awful - looks like some French wartime collaborator just before being beaten to death.

  • 8

    Farmboy

    Every day, the paper is filled with murderers, rapists, assassins, terrorists, robbers, molesters, and now ..... daters!

    Oh, no! What is the world coming to?

  • -31

    AKBfan

    She has let the rest of the girls down with her selfish behaviour. she is right to be sorry and showing her pain. They should still kick her out od the group.

  • 2

    Disillusioned

    She even looK's cute with a shaved head.

    Eh? This photo looks like it was taken in a prison.

    I think the article sums up AKB48 pretty well, "a money-printing juggernaut " and "the band is heavily marketed on its sex appeal, with skimpy outfits" You can bet that the girls get very little of the cashola compared to the producers.

  • 3

    madammika

    Oh for goodness sake - she is an adult and yes there might be strict rules in the "idol" world of Japan but talk about outdated!!! Sheesh....give us some REAL headlines....!

  • 4

    FullM3taL

    This is beyond pathetic. That's all.

  • 7

    hotbertaa

    I can imagine this will make the foreign press. Yet another story of 'crazy Japan'. Sigh.

  • 1

    Alex Einz

    I am not sure how shaving her head would increase her chances of staying in the group....unless she doesnt actually want to stay and just wants media attention to move on to a better target... she is either has a plan or just dumb... I would err on the dumb...smart girl would make sure not to get caught in the first place

  • 12

    Thunderbird2

    Jesus wept! This is medieval - first thing I thought of was the French women who had their heads shaved for sleeping with German soldiers after the Allies liberated their country.

    They are a bloody pop group, not a bunch of nuns for Grud's sake!

  • 0

    Alex Einz

    I am not sure how one night romp reduces popularity though...I would think its the opposite..because cant fathom how sleeping with a virgin could be attractive... but I guess everyone and their fetish

  • 0

    Serrano

    Being unmarried and spending the night with a man would be cause for much more severe punishment in certain parts of the world. Can you believe that?

  • 10

    Alex Einz

    Off with her head I say! She broke countless hearts of middle aged dirty salaryman....

  • -2

    Tessa

    This is medieval - first thing I thought of was the French women who had their heads shaved for sleeping with German soldiers after the Allies liberated their country.

    That's what I thought, too.

    And that ugly pic is going to haunt her forever.

  • 4

    TheInterstat

    It is all part of the marketing plan; anything about flagellation / suffering / man dominance, etc., sells like wildfire in Japan, because that is what society dictates as being correct. It is childish, pathetic and creepy.

    This is just another aspect of the whole thing, and not out of the blue.

    Ridiculous and weird.

  • 6

    Kimokekahuna Hawaii

    OMG.. what is wrong with you people.. this is like High School bullying .. she should quit the damn band.. start her own career.. and fall in love.. this is why birth rate is down in Japan.. because of this abusive attitude toward women by Japanese men.. just stop it.. love is beautiful.... that is terrible.. I am so sad..

  • 3

    Yubaru

    I wonder why this is not considered abuse. How can her parents stand by and watch that? Why don't they pull her out of the group?

    She is 20 years old. An adult acting like a child. She knew the rules, and so do the paparazzi, they were probably just waiting in the wings to catch her.

    My opinion? So what......it would surprise me if it was all a ploy by Akimoto to gain even more publicity for the group. I can just imagine the conversation;

    Akimoto: "Minami, want to make some cash? You have to shave your head and get embarrassed and everything, but over time it will make you even more popular. I can just imagine your come back. You up for it?"

    Minegishi: "Sure Boss, what do I have to do?"

    Akimoto: " You know that guy from the wannabe Exile group?" All you have to do is spend a night at his apartment, I'll have chaperons there so everything will be cool"

    Minegishi: "Sure Boss anything you say! Oh how much do I get for shaving my head?"

  • 6

    edojin

    Another great PR gimmick. Her agent is eating this up. More money, perhaps even some lucrative advertising in her future. And once again everyone is paying attention to the AKB48.

    She'll be forgiven ... as all the wayward stars usually are ...

  • -1

    TheInterstat

    Yubaru; spot on.

  • 1

    Cos

    Please JT, can you drop that photo. That's not art, that's not news, that's just sick.

    These AKB48 are really crossing the line. The concept of kids selling bikini photos instead of going to school was already nasty. At that point, it's getting painful to see.

    She should be allowed to date!

    She is allowed. She can just quit and look for another job, then sue them for abusive job contract.

  • -1

    KariHaruka

    Will this be a wake up call that changes need to be made in not only AKB48 but J-pop it self? It should be but sadly I doubt that it will be.

  • -2

    Serrano

    Minami has a really cute bellybutton.

  • -1

    edojin

    *Cos *(above) asks JT to drop her pitiful photo. We'll it's all over TV ... the whole, ugly sobbing bit ... and, of course, the ugly scalp hairdo ... So JT may as well keep it posted here. Saves time glancing over at the TV screen to see the actual sobbing stuff ...

  • 14

    DP812

    Anyone who says "a contract is a contract" needs to shut up. Your employer should never have any say over whether or not you can have a relationship, it's crossing a line. And as for the "fans" who feel "betrayed" -- grow the hell up. You never had a chance with them to begin with. Stop living in a fantasy world.

  • -3

    Cos

    We'll it's all over TV

    I read news so I don't have watch them on TV. Well, no media is right to relay that. Just by saying she appears to have burnt a fuse, everybody could get the picture.

  • -1

    davarm

    Given her age, this is sheer Chauvinism. Important! --- who "ordered" her to remove her hair (or persuaded her this should be done !!!)

  • 1

    Hermi Kaliwoda

    ???? First impression was that she was member of a crazy sect like AUM, but then I read the text. Sick.

  • 6

    budgie

    It's disgusting that the Japanese media and entertainment establishment would expect such humiliation as retribution for simply acting human. AKB's so-called 'fans' - a bunch of middle aged pervs, when they're not bending over the TV screens to look up the skirts of their idols' schoolgirl costumes, should be ashamed of themselves.

  • 1

    proxy

    It seems to me that people need a lot more sex. The youth of Japan need role models for shagging; she should get some kind of Chrysanthemum award for promoting sex in a sexless country.

  • 16

    Scrote

    Members of AKB48 are paid a salary, i.e. they are employees. Therefore, a rule stating that they cannot date men or they will be fired is illegal. Why doesn't the labour standards office investigate?

  • 0

    tokyobakayaro

    must never disabuse their legions of male fans that they might one day stand a chance with their fantasy woman.

    Ok, now I see the purpose of that business. Sell hope.

  • -1

    Yubaru

    Anyone who says "a contract is a contract" needs to shut up. Your employer should never have any say over whether or not you can have a relationship, it's crossing a line. And as for the "fans" who feel "betrayed" -- grow the hell up. You never had a chance with them to begin with. Stop living in a fantasy world.

    Is it a safe assumption to guess that you don't live in Japan? While what you wrote is the "norm" in other places around the world, all I can say is welcome to the world of Japan and so-called "idols".

    It's screwed up? No doubt. Off the wall wrong? Probably so. But THIS is Japan and here stuff like this is, well, normal.

    Please JT, can you drop that photo. That's not art, that's not news, that's just sick.

    It's all a part of the "game". Hey Brittney did the same thing, for different reasons of course, and it got her more press coverage than anyone could have imagined.

    Minegishi's handlers played this one to the "T". They couldn't buy this much free advertising. Japan idol Inc at work.

  • -1

    Yubaru

    she should get some kind of Chrysanthemum award for promoting sex in a sexless country.

    Sexless? Have you seen all the J-porn out there? All the soaplands? All the cabarets? Etc etc etc....and you still call japan sexless? Me think not.

    Repressed yes, sexless....no.

  • 1

    rydangel

    i don't understand why a legal adult women can't date. yes maybe the minor members shouldn't date, but the twentysomethings should be able to. and japan wonders why their birth rates are dropping. shaving her head seems to be an excessive form of contrition to me. an apology maybe on her knees should have been enough. she's 20 not 15. i could see if she was in high school.

  • 2

    YongYang

    And then Japan wonders as to why there are hoards of nerdy needy Japanese men who in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, feel they have a 'relationship' with someone they don't even know. Talk about shaping people's psyche to 'weird'. Lolita, child porn, stalking, 'she's mine' Christ. Stop this crap. NOT healthy.

  • 1

    sandiegoluv

    What a bunch of hypocritical nonsense. First of all, she is 20 years old. Second, this is stupid beyond belief because the company sure has no qualms about putting them up in magazines in their bikinis in middle teens to be locked at by a bunch of perverted old men to look at on the train and to drool over. Third there girls are not that attractive at all to deserve anytime on TV as well. They look like just every other girl wlaking down the street. And last....

    and must never disabuse their legions of male fans that they might one day stand a chance with their fantasy woman.

    What kind of sick nonsense is that? Oh and lets not forget that this was her own doing. YEAH, RIGHT. NObody buys that nonsense. The company has clearly overstepped their bounds of normal in this. I cant get over how she could be demoted for THIS, but they can put pictures up of her in her bikini at such a young age in magazines.

  • -4

    waltery

    She looks like Britney

  • 1

    Pidestroika

    Absolutely meaninglss rubbish! Japan has nothing else to do than talk on a daily basis about these totally untalented kids. Lamentable!

  • 1

    japan_cynic

    I think it is absolutely shocking and disgusting that women are still treated in such an appalling manner in Japan. What happened to the right to a private life?

  • 2

    Saul Schimek

    Japan_Cynic:

    or anywhere else for that matter...

  • 1

    ChibaChick

    I'm with Sandie - so dressing up as underage girls in next to nothing for the titillation of a bunch of middle aged perverts for whom the lines between fantasy and reality are frighteningly blurred is ok, but a normal healthy relationship with a peer is beyond the realms of decency?

  • -2

    Tessa

    I think it is absolutely shocking and disgusting that women are still treated in such an appalling manner in Japan.

    That's actually a good point. Would a male starlet be expected to shave his head and make a tearful public apology for the sin of spending a night with a girlfriend?

  • 0

    harvey pekar

    FREE AKB! LET THEM LOVE! FREE AKB! LET THEM LOVE!

    To love is a basic human right, to deny that is to not allow someone to be human.

    FREE AKB!

  • 0

    Himajin

    A sobbing Minegishi told fans she had decided to shave her head as an act of contrition after a popular weekly magazine published claims of a night of passion with a 19-year-old boy band member.

  • 0

    hkitagawa

    oops, not so nice without hair.

  • 2

    sf2k

    Japan, what are you doing?

  • 1

    Betraythetrust!

    Modern society gone mad! The modern feminist dream of doing anything for success(cash), is one of the main causes of this kind of nonsense. You hear claptrap from "fans" of these modern day slaves, saying they are empowered, getting rich etc. No, they are being abused and society says nothing about it!!

    This is the usual combination, greedy men making money, pervert men paying for stuff from these females and the females thinking they are free and liberated when in fact they are slaves. Daft ideas are put into these girls and their mothers heads that this will all lead to happiness and liberation and as the vile photo shows, it leads to nothing of the sort.

  • 2

    JacopoMTK

    Those contract rules are going far beyond the limits in my opinion... I can understand that they're idols, that have a public image to maintein but for god sake...they're human,they have feelings and the right to have a personal life too.

  • 1

    lapinsubmarine

    poor girl, hope she finds herself jumping out of this money machine and enjoy her life. hey.. you still look cute minami!

  • 0

    Alex80

    I think this could be only for advertising.

  • 8

    tkoind2

    Just one more reason to hate the whole AKB48 thing. The girl is 20, only psychotic morons would expect girls that age to become pop-nuns and lack any interaction with boys. The agreement requiring that should be illegal in the first place. That is a profound invasion of personal liberty and no company or act should be able to require that of an of age person.

    Now I get it for the teenage girls, who should not engage in illicit activities or in lurid acts with men. But even the younger ones should be free to date their school mates like any normal kid would.

    To force these young women not to is tantamount to cult like mind and action control.

    Best for everyone if we just disband the whole thing. Between this treatment of the girls and the sick obsession of so many Japanese over these children, it is a black mark on the culture of Japan anyway and we would all be better off without it.

  • -2

    isoducky

    This is all kinds of bad and the PR team for AKB needs to resign for letting this video get on to Youtube. AKB, whatever your opinion of them, is an international brand. Members have visited the United States to promote 'culture' and anybody interested with Japanese music or modern culture will eventually run into some information about the Idol groups. AKB being one of the biggest has the most to gain or loose based on how much people can see. Having a member appear on Youtube looking like someone who has just gone through a nervous breakdown is damaging to the groups market appeal, which is about 85% of their business.

    What we is a 20 year old 'woman' was caught in a public relationship. She shaved her head (Whether or not it was self inflicted can't be seen, but it does not look professional or planned), and gave an apology that looks like it was prepared (think forced). It can be inferred that this the fate that awaits those who 'misbehave' but it also sends a very dangerous message to young women who would like to enter this business.

  • 2

    spudman

    Three words for the AKB147 thing " Get A Life"

  • 1

    The passage

    How low do things really have to sink before this ship goes down? So she spontaneously shaved her head and produced her own Youtube video (she doesn't start or end it, someone else does)? What utter crap. Akimoto knows how to spin a story and is doing just that. The fact that the rest of the media takes the bait is just utterly amazing. What a complete and total waste of bytes. AKB48 fans, FHS, stop this machine PLEASE!

  • 0

    Heda_Madness

    Whatever you think of AKB48 is completely and utterly irrelevant with regards to this story. At best, it's ritual humiliation at best it's total and utter abuse.

    She may have signed a contract but that allowed this and if so it's completely and utterly immoral.

  • 1

    Open Minded

    The whole AKB48 teens group should have learnt from the female Judo team. All of them self-shaved to protest against this young girls exploitation by ludicrous and perverse managers.

    I just hope her action will make the future candidates thinking twice before signing such a kind of basic liberties resignation.

  • -2

    Avalon

    When I first saw the photo I thought she has cancer. Pfff. Everything's alright girl! Move along!

  • -7

    Korlacan Khanthavilay

    It's not illegal. There are certain jobs, that requires a specific set of standards to be met. Because of this, they can discriminate.

    If popularity drops, they can drop you. If you can no longer sing, they can drop you. If you can no longer dance, they can drop you. If you dated someone and they find out, they can drop you. Being an idol is hardly a standard job.

    Do I feel the management company is out of line? No. They are catering to a set of fans that like to imagine their idols to be pure or whatever it is they are viewing them as. If they don't have that, then their popularity declines and then they just become dead weight for your company.

    Her shaving her head. Well, that's her own fault for doing it. She decided to do it, not the company. I mean the Rino Sashihara simply got demoted and she didn't shave her head. Can end the same way for Minami Minegishi. Personally, I think she should just move on. Time to live that normal life.

  • -3

    bass4funk

    Maybe she's sorry and contrite, but on the other hand, she's probably happy that the truth came out. She has nothing to be ashamed about, if anything, she should be ashamed to be in such a stupid group like that. No dating, good luck with that, why they didn't give these girls chastity belts if management felt like that. You can't stop what will naturally progress in time. These are human living beings, not puppets on a string. I hope she leaves the group or gets canned and then she can move on, find a nice guy, or date and have fun, something that these girls are not allowed to have. People are going to do what they are going to do, no way you can stop it, and if they think so, these people are bigger fools than I thought. I don't begrudge the woman for doing what a girl her age normally does. That IS what real freedom is all about, being happy. She's a person with real feelings, not a criminal.

  • 5

    hidingout

    Just look at that face. Tells you everything you need to know about the "tarento" industry in Japan.

    Empty, incestuous and virtually devoid of any real talent.

  • 2

    Cos

    damaging to the groups market appeal

    They still exist after Ai Kago. The same pimps, they took fresher Lolitas. What kind of parents can put their 12 yr old daughters in that hell ?

  • 0

    DaveAllTogether

    Well . . . Minegishi was always the weird one of the group. I feel bad. Granted, she knew the rules, but in this case the rules are wrong especially when you consider that she is TWENTY years old. It would be nice to see a show of solidarity from the all the other members of AKB48,000 but we all know it will not happen. Do you think Yuko Oshima would jeopardize her position as the most popular?

  • 1

    DaveAllTogether

    Does it surprise anyone that comments are disallowed on her YouTube apology?

  • 1

    Yubaru

    Does it surprise anyone that comments are disallowed on her YouTube apology?

    No, seeing as how the so called "apology" came from the official AKB youtube link. Hence my belief that it's all a set up and Akimoto's plans to get free advertising.

  • 1

    SuperLib

    Are they jedi?

  • -5

    sillygirl

    This is just so sad. Looked at his picture and who can blame her. He is a hottie and she is/was/will be again cute.

  • 2

    GW

    Like I have been saying for ages this akb48 stuff is SICK SICK SICK on so many levels, reading this blurb, CLEARLY the whole akb thing needs to be scrapped & "management" publically shamed bigtime!

    Even better "management" should collectively hike the nearest mountain & do what honourable!

    Clearly these supposed contracts need to be voided & this whole sick thing dismantled, OMFG!

  • 0

    bokuwamo

    Not sure which is sadder, this story making news. Or the supporters of this band and this woman, that gave them the fame in the first place.

  • 1

    humanrights

    oops I did it again! ''I apologies for living my youth..''

  • 1

    Ranger_Miffy2

    What if ALL the band members shorn their hair in support? I'm sure they are so hot and thwarted that this is a natural alliance. Would they still be seen as cute? I do not doubt it for a milla-second.

  • 0

    The passage

    >Her shaving her head. Well, that's her own fault for doing it. She decided to do it, not the company. I mean the Rino Sashihara simply got demoted and she didn't shave her head. Can end the same way for Minami Minegishi. Personally, I think she should just move on. Time to live that normal life.

    Yes, but.... she didn't publish the video. It was published by AKB48. It is an attempt to generate more attention (successful) and hence more money. It is nothing to do with morals, it is nothing to do with contracts. It is "here is an opportunity to make money" and so far, 4.5 million people have been suckered into watching the video. You're right though, she should move on, and maybe discover she doesn't actually have the talent to survive in the real world.

  • 2

    Fadamor

    The volume of AKB48-related articles on here is getting out of hand...

    Most of the articles are of a "meh" variety, but this one actually has a bit of news-worthiness to it. Think about it, the band's management has basically taken over these girls' personal lives. It's one thing for a company to dictate how someone behaves when working, it's quite another to dictate who an adult can and cannot see when not working. Their control is so great that this woman publicly ruined her image in order to try and get back in their good graces. This is the epitome of bullying.

  • -1

    The passage

    ost of the articles are of a "meh" variety, but this one actually has a bit of news-worthiness to it. Think about it, the band's management has basically taken over these girls' personal lives.

    That makes it ultra-meh!!

    It wasn't a spontaneous act, it was staged. Look at the video lighting - pro level? Look who published it, AKB48, not the individual.

    All a major game, and really time it stopped!

  • 3

    Mike Critchley

    This is so beyond pathetic, words escape me.

  • 1

    Open Minded

    And as we are inflating the word of mouth re AKB48, the managers are smiling while seeping cool cocktails with sexy hostesses in a cozy club. Job done within 24 hours for zero $ spent!

    Most likely one of the greatest marketing campaign in terms of ROI!

    OK, at the expense of one member cut off. But like lizard, it is replaced quickly.

  • 1

    NZ2011

    Mike, your right, no other words.. pathetic.

  • -10

    hobart_mark

    Tramp

  • 2

    Kabukilover

    This is terrible. The girls in this band ought to have the right to date and to their privacy. The people run this band are no good and ought to be put in their place. Girls, unionize and stand up for your human rights.

  • 0

    Bakakun

    Tomorrow's JT news: Latest trend among Japanese girls: Minegishi shaved head look.

  • 0

    SpanishEyez37

    This is SO wrong, on so many levels. I don't get the ''no-dating'' policy. I think it's to ensure they don't get pregnant or what?

    I can't imagine letting my daughter join a group or a band that restricts her from being a normal adult. Mind. Boggled.

  • 0

    Fadamor

    It wasn't a spontaneous act, it was staged. Look at the video lighting - pro level?

    You're kidding, right? I haven't watched the video but assuming the picture here is a still from the video, what I see is a woman sitting in a room with a rectangular fluorescent light fixture above and to the left of her face. You can see the reflection of the light fixture on her forehead and the lighting throws stark shadows down and to the right. All-in-all a decidedly UN-professional lighting job. The management of AKB48 could have been the one to make the video and release it, but that looks more like a conference room than any sort of camera or video set.

  • -3

    Yubaru

    Now let's see how many young girls follow in her footsteps!

  • -1

    bicultural

    Thanks for the thumbs down for sharing information that was not in the original article. I am in no way an AKB fan. Perhaps I should have ranted on how juvenile Takamina is.

  • 1

    nandarou

    Stupid.... She is already 20yrs and she is not allowed having relationship... Who cares she has a bf or not...

  • 0

    Thunderbird2

    The more I read the article the worse it gets... I mean to me it sounds like some kind of sentence with pay:

    "You will do this, do that, wear this, not wear that... and you will not get involved in a relationship or be seen with a man. Your fans are losers and can't get a real woman, therefore you will provide them with that fantasy. Yes girls, you are not a pop group, you are objects of desire.

    "Any breaking of the rules will result in ritual, public humiliation..."

    Quit, Minami, and find a better way of life... you don't need this kind of treatment.

  • 0

    danalawton1@yahoo.com

    Idiocy.... why does the Japanese public hold these Pop Stars to Higher Moral Standards?

  • 0

    tenguleavings

    It truly would be a shame for all the 35-yr-old losers' fantasies to be trampled by the knowledge that the women being paraded before them solely to collect their cash are actual human beings with their own lives. And for this woman to shave her head as contrition for living her life as she wants to, not because that's wrong, but simply because she's terrified of being kicked off the gravy train--disgusting.

  • 2

    tkoind2

    I boycott everything AKB48. Sick, pathetic pop fluff designed for desperate 30-40 year old guys with school girl fetishes. And then there are the young girls who sadly dream about being one of them.

    Japan should stop obsessing over cute fantasy realities and get on with solving its problems right here in the real world. This girl looks like a cult victim. And I guess in reality she is.

  • 0

    avigator

    All I can say is "welcome to Lala Land"

  • -1

    Al Stewart

    It's really sad that she felt she needed to do something like this. The worst part is she feels that she is wrong for trying to pursue and regular life. If anything I hope that she doesn't decide to take her on life out of depression. I'm glad that fans are fighting for her. And i hope someone gets through to her and she realises that she did nothing wrong.

  • 0

    badman

    I see a lot of comments condemning the management company and while I do not agree with their stance, I do not believe that is the problem.

    The girls sign contracts clearly stating the expectations, professional and personal. They know how they have to act, good or bad that may be.

    The problem is Japanese society or more specifically the male fan base that needs to have this myth of availability perpetuated. How many other cultures have this kind of artificial relationship cultivated on such a massive scale?

    The root issue needs to be addressed. Once we address the reasons that young Japanese men prefer to live in a fantasy world rather than engaging in actual relationships, then things like this will happen less often.

  • 2

    crazydom

    It really speaks of a central sickness with Japanese society as a whole that the public even tolerates such ridiculous rules. Can you imagine the outrage and backlash if a company tried this in America, Germany, Canada, etc?

    The fact that the Japanese public at large just ignores a company controlling its employees very lives, down to whether or not they can engage in sex, is immensely disturbing and really shows the dark underbelly of Japanese society.

  • 4

    wontond

    Ridiculous that a job can have this much control of someone's life, even if it is a manufactured pop group.

  • 0

    wtfjapan

    damn looks like a Chihuahua with that haircut

  • 2

    TigersTokyoDome

    In all seriousness, in any other country Minegishi would be suing managements ass for wrongful demotion and career blocking based purely on her personal life and not on her ability. Only in Japan can you demote your (20 year old) employee for having a relationship and not get your ass sued.

  • -5

    Peter Payne

    Waiting for her to start AV. rubs hands together

  • 3

    doedel

    Currently 133 Comments, ... Whatever it was, self-imposed or arranged by management - looks like they succeeded with getting plenty of attention from all camps.

  • -2

    WilliB

    " redeem the girl next door image "

    but the girl next door in Japan certainly dates! I think what they wanted to say was "the sexed up kiddie Otaku image"

  • 1

    Meagan Hiatt

    This is stupid. Her fans probably hope she can have a 'normal' life- date and fall in love. Im on Minami Minegishi's side. Screw AK-whatever it is. Minami- don't let the 'band rules' make you let go of someone who makes you happy!

  • -1

    Cos

    The girls sign contracts

    First, laws are always stronger than private contracts, so even if you signed for something abusive , voluntarily or by ignorance, you have no obligation, you are bound only by the parts of contract that are legal. Then do you think primary schools old girls choose a job and go discussing contract options ? Now she is 20, she started at 12, so probably she arrived there at 10.

  • 0

    joserock

    I think In return for their chance to grace television screens, subway adverts and the covers of Japan’s countless celebrity magazines, members of the collective must adhere to strict rules of behavior.

  • 1

    Archalis

    Japan is steeped in tradition that goes back thousands of years. Many japanese still believe in giving an apology in such a way and if that is her belief it is not my place to say what she believes is wrong! As stated prior to this comment a woman's hair is as precious to her as anything, to give it up is saying I am bared naked before you begging forgiveness. I do not care who says it is barbaric or such it was her right to shave her head and make her apology as she saw fit and she has done so. She has been demoted to trainee, she has been punished for breach of contract.

  • -1

    aidenrock

    I think While much is made of their supposed innocence, the band is heavily marketed on its sex appeal, with skimpy outfits and coquettish smiles the order of the day.

  • 3

    roughneck

    Boycott AKB48.

  • 1

    praack

    Archalis- tradition is one thing- but that tradition was not for women to follow- she appears close to the end, what is next for her? jump in front of the train? some other method? she appears to have nothing left than to apologize to the world , shave of her wonderful hair and pray.

    that is wrong, that is not tradition anymore -that is cruelty- she is woman who has spent the last 5 years living in the shadow.

    it is time for AKB48 to change

  • 1

    motytrah

    @Peter Payne That's certainly where her career is going to end up. You'll make some nice bank off that I bet!

    One thing people don't understand is the talent agency has all the power. Sure idols today do much better than 80's idols. Back then they lived in nice company owned apartments and dated who the company told them to date... until the next new thing came along and they got tossed aside with almost no money or rights. Now days the idols will get paid $100K+ when they reach high level. But it's pennies compared to what a similarly popular western act would make.

    A number of posts say she should just break off and become a solo act. Yeah, Japanese media isn't western media. Getting dropped by the talent agency means no media exposure at all. It's a very difficult path. She's pretty much at the mercy of the agency.

  • -1

    Anna-Maija Juuso

    My God ! She shave her hair for being a normal person?Now this is really the time for the normal insane japanese people to stand up.No matter what contracts maybe have been signed...Show your respect and come to the 21st century.

  • -1

    Archalis

    The tadition is usually followed by men or boys as a sign of contrition or punishment. Not always. You can not compare Japanese culture to that of the west. Do not get me wrong, she is one of my favorites of the group, but she has the right to apologize as she sees fit. and no one has the right to judge the way she does this until you have actually been in position and mind state. I honestly hope she gets counciling and can work through this. But look at the base, she signed a contract, she broke the rules thinking she would not get caught. Whether the contract seems right or wrong is not the issue. The actions are. This may lead to some reworking of the contract clauses overall and I hope so.

  • -2

    The passage

    @Fadamor You should watch the video before commenting. This is completely staged. The lighting, focus, and sound are done by pro's. I didn't say it was a high quality production, they have tried to made it look like a spontaneous act done by herself. It isn't. Please don't be fooled

  • 1

    telecasterplayer

    A) This is hideous. If Japan looks at this and still can't admit it has an gender equality problem, then the rest of the advanced Democracies and Consumers in advanced Democracies need to start thinking about our future relationship. Did this guy shave his head? B) Someone affiliated with a Japanese boy band is dating GIRLS?
    C) Japan Today is actually providing a link to something related to the subject?!?! Welcome to the 21st Century!

  • 1

    HawaiiVisitor

    It is disgusting that this woman is forced to appease her mind controlling management.

  • 2

    Bondsan

    Even I am shocked and I don't follow AKB48 at all ... perhaps this event will bring some sense to the group ...

    Maeda chan got out at the right time though ...

  • -3

    kevind

    here we go again i am sick of this one pathetic promoter who brainwashes these poor girls and controlls their sexuallity should be a crime but this is japan and the news is always kids being bullied women being controlled and athletes being beaten by coaches if anyone wants a taste of what its like to live in north korea just take a trip to japan

  • 2

    JoeBigs

    Honestly too silly all the way around.

  • 1

    GW

    AKB48, a 90-strong pool of girls in their teens and early 20s, is a money-printing machine that makes much of the accessibility—and the implied availability—of its idols

    This part really made me feel sick to my stomach, that J-society caters, in fact promotes for $$$$ a sicko male fantasy is way beyond disgusting,

    I'd say akb48 is a form of human trafficing, NEEDS TO END!

  • 0

    eye

    ...and here we are still hoping that bullying will be looked upon as unacceptable in Japan.

  • -1

    gokai_wo_maneku

    What this means is that in about 1 week, half the girls in Harajuku will have shaved heads.

  • 0

    globalwatcher

    This news is spreading like a wild fire to the world. As long as the news like this is coming out of Japan, the world does not trust Japan as a member of truly developed countries. Yokoso Japan? LOL

    I believe Japanese women are still in exploitation. Goodness sake, she is an adult. She did not do anything wrong.

  • -3

    Shanique Smith

    She made a deal with the devil. Adult or not....a deal is a deal.

  • 3

    jjss5324mx@hotmail.com

    What so wonderful world!!!!.This is like the muslim society!!!. If this behavior can be compared with the muslim punishment, the social protest in Japan is much less than in Pakistan, Iran or Afghanistan. I cant believe that someone think that "she signed a contract".....No,no. This punishment is too much within a modern society . The next step is :"use a letter in your face".

  • -2

    Shanique Smith

    One other thing....hair is really beauty. Helps hide a lot.

  • -3

    TakahiroDomingo

    this is modern democracy, where it is legal to sign a contract of your own free will to be a modern slave, where among a bunch of other things your sex life belongs to your slave master. BTW, shouldn't the constitution or something forbid these loopholes in law to protect people against such barbaric modern slavery practices?

  • 2

    globalwatcher

    She made a deal with the devil. Adult or not....a deal is a deal.

    Does anyone know a name of the devil (a promoter)? Please let me know. I truly appreciate it. Thanks. He is the one who is exploiting these women. He is a scum.

  • -1

    Noliving

    The top demographics from YouTube on this video:

    Top demographics Male, 45-54 years Male, 35-44 years Male, 55-64 years

  • 2

    globalwatcher

    She made a deal with the devil. Adult or not....a deal is a deal.

    Does anyone know a name of the devil (a promoter)? Please let me know. I truly appreciate it. Thanks. He is the one who is exploiting these women. He is a scum.

    I am very serious to know this man's name. Please help us. He will be notified a legal action by the International Human Rights Organization in Washington DC.

  • -2

    Wolfpack

    BTW, shouldn't the constitution or something forbid these loopholes in law to protect people against such barbaric modern slavery practices?

    Slaves cannot quit their job anytime they want. She can. She is growing up and probably isn't fit for the idol game anymore. She is an adult and can make her own life choices.

  • 2

    Weasel

    The whole AKB48 concept is a level of weirdness that I'll never (hope to) understand.

  • -4

    wtfjapan

    20 wow thats too old, thought she would have graduated and moved onto porn by now?

  • -3

    DarkKnghtZ

    Why is this even controversial? nothing like a female crying about something to get the feminists up in arms! Did she sign a contract? Yes. Are people expected to work/live by the expectations/boundaries of that contract? Yes. As a matter of fact, not only did she want to be in AKB48000, I imagine her parents had to be part of that contract signing since she was like 15 when she joined. If at any point she felt she couldn't live up to those obligations, she could have quit. Her job is to sing, dance, and be cute and "available" for her fans. I actually like this girl because she is quite different from the other akb48000 girls, but a contract is a contract. She should be kicked out. (That is actually a good thing for her)

  • 1

    Kapuna

    "I wonder why this is not considered abuse. How can her parents stand by and watch that? Why don't they pull her out of the group?" The answer Brainaiac is......wait for it...............MONEY!!!

  • 0

    wtfjapan

    yep already made the Yahoo news in Australia!! one thing that always gets the gaijin attention is the "Japan Weirdness"

  • -2

    Manuel D. Valencia III

    Big deal! What's the point? She did this to herself. Are we suppose to feel sorry for her?

  • 3

    japan_cynic

    It's controversial because it is unconstitutional and illegal even in Japan, but of course no-one here will do anything about it (or even talk about doing anything about it).

  • -2

    ambrosia

    The only real way to instigate change in the entertainment industry is with your pocketbooks. The problem is, I'd be willing to bet, that the vast majority of people posting here, myself included, are not fans of AKB48 and have never bought their music or products with their image. The people who are fans and have bought those things are mostly either young people, who wouldn't dream of boycotting the group or their management agency because of this, or they are older men who fetishize the sexualization of girls (or women who look like girls), and have no problem with her having shaved her head because, after all, she's besmirched the purity of their little fantasy girl group. Bottom line, this is Japan so it'll be news for a little while and then nothing will happen. If the Japanese don't have the good sense to care or be embarrassed by this, I refuse to give it any more time than it has taken me to write this.

  • 2

    Blair Herron

    She made a deal with the devil. Adult or not....a deal is a deal. Does anyone know a name of the devil (a promoter)? Please let me know. I truly appreciate it. Thanks. He is the one who is exploiting these women. He is a scum. I am very serious to know this man's name. Please help us. He will be notified a legal action by the International Human Rights Organization in Washington DC.

    The scum’s name is Yasushi Akimoto. On December 1, 2012 at NHK-FM radio show he said, “I never said there is a rule that the members cannot have romantic relationship. It’s just an unwritten rule.” However, two members, Yuki Kashiwagi and Rino Sashihara said they signed the contract that said “no romantic relationship”. Several members left AKB or got demoted to lower status because they had romantic relationships.

    Interesting interview to the producer by CNN

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbhFViGPJHo

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    Wakarimasen: "Smith - i get your point, but calling anight in the sack with a boy band memeber a real life private relationship is going too far"

    What's going too far about it? First off, we don't know that it was just a fling, or if they have had feelings about each other (and seen each other in secret) for some time -- all we know is that this time she was caught. Secondly, even if it was just a 'fling' or a one-time deal, that is still a human relationship, and many young people do that kind of thing (hell, not just young people). She's an adult, and a lot of adults do that at some point in their lives. A little thing we call hormones. But again, we don't really know what the details of the relationship were (or at least, given how little I care about the band -- and this makes me care even less than zero -- I don't know any more than this about this particular incident), there's not much to go on.

  • 0

    wontond

    Minegishi should have just told her management that she's not dating the guy, just fornicating. If part of the groups popularity is based on their attainability, then what's more attainable then a promiscuous girl.

  • -1

    DarkKnghtZ

    "It's controversial because it is unconstitutional and illegal even in Japan, but of course no-one here will do anything about it (or even talk about doing anything about it)."

    Really? I am unaware of any law or part of the Japanese constitution where it states that you cannot agree to NOT do something during the course of your contract with an employer. Please tell me where this law/phrase is, because I had to agree to quite a few things which I cannot do during the course of my employment.

  • -2

    FPSRussia

    Ladies, you should be in an uproar. They are not allowed to date? WRONG, the truth is they are not allowed to have a life.

    This is disgusting. She's a normal girl with hormones. First love is normal. They should seriously bust this group. The other girls don't have her back? Obviously not.

    I already don't like this group, but now I'm more disgusted by the management. Too many companies infringing on our personal freedom. If you have Facebook or Mixi they want to track you. I wonder how far this company is going to manage these girls. Invasion of privacy perhaps?

    This is pretty pathetic.

  • -1

    japan_cynic

    Even in Japan, people have the right to a private and family life, including freedom of association. These are not at the whim of an employer, even if the employee signs a contract.

    Article 13.All of the people shall be respected as individuals. Their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness shall, to the extent that it does not interfere with the public welfare, be the supreme consideration in legislation and in other governmental affairs.

  • 2

    gokai_wo_maneku

    It is well known that the reason members of boy bands and girl bands cannot have girlfriends or boyfriends is that it would ruin the fantasy of the fan that they might be the lover, at least in the fantasy of the imagination. Many of them get involved in these contracts when they are 13 of 14, and don't realize they may someday want love in their life.

  • 0

    cramp

    lol is this real life? japan, sometimes i think you are beyond hope

    mind=blown

  • -1

    interuni321

    I totally agree with Hiroki Azuma, the idea they can`t have normal personal lives and should have to resort to shaving their heads in contrition is absolutely disgusting!

  • 1

    602miko

    amen to all commentors ...

  • 1

    Cho88

    Just clicked on the statistics of that apology video :

    Top demographics Male, 45-54 years Male, 35-44 years Male, 55-64 years

    That creepy part aside, this whole story really is asburd.... I didn't know that they weren't allowed to have dates or any kind of love life...

  • 0

    Bondsan

    Hmm the story is also on BBC News ... and I didn't realise the apology video was on the AKB48 You Tube channel ... pretty weird the owner of the band allows a 21 year old woman to appear like this, it almost has a sadistic air about it.

  • -2

    jjss5324mx@hotmail.com

    This affair repeat the famous scarlat letter:"In June 1642, in the Puritan town of Boston, a crowd gathers to witness an official punishment. A young woman, Hester Prynne, has been found guilty of adultery and must wear a scarlet A on her dress as a sign of shame. Furthermore, she must stand on the scaffold for three hours, exposed to public humiliation. As Hester approaches the scaffold, many of the women in the crowd are angered by her beauty and quiet dignity. When demanded and cajoled to name the father of her child, Hester refuses."...The story is from the northamerican puritanism. Four centuries ago!!

  • -1

    Nagata Ken

    But nobody's fault that people want to follow their idols, as anyone who follows his heroes, etc ... humans fall and there's no doubt. Just to be a little more understanding at the time of fall that we've all had people who see us as trust or special. For AKB48, well if you had a failure XD ok now, as I did not die and if I had to make good ok. Do not know what the fuss n.nU. .. As you see it as lowered or humble, they (and somewhat me too) just see it as a form of repentance from deep. It's just forget this and now, if you still remember anything then served to do that (uff. .. I think I'm saying the same thing my mother said when I did something like n.nU). Lesson: learn from our mistakes, apologize and move on even if difficult. Usually there are many sad cases and if you cling to someday see famous people that something went wrong, but they are entitled. nn the big problem is that they see it as humiliation n.nU. .. (if you see what is happening in India XD) for me is just humility, repent of their failure and ready. There is nothing to make it look like humiliation. <<

  • 3

    hannasummer

    Wow so cruel, that this woman even feels the need to do that, is just so wrong. She could be traumatised. Japan, what do you do to the women. It seems like they are centuries beyond. Please value human rights. To see that they uploaded it on their companies account, just tells you that it wasn't really her own decision, but also supported by their company. This is too much. Public humiliation and worse. The video will hunt her lifelong.

  • -1

    Derek Vasconi

    While my heart goes out to Minami san, I'm looking at it like this: A talent agency wants to sign me because of my natural good looks. They offer me GOD knows how much in money. They tell me either officially or unofficially to NOT DATE so that I can live up to the idea of what an "Idol" is in Japan. I would not only sign the contract, but I would sign it in BLOOD and not even THINK of dating another human being until my contract is up. If I was given an opportunity like this where I could be on television commercials, be part of AKB48 and be popular all over the entire world, and yes, be loved by sicko old dudes and also hopeful teens and even some not so bad fans in between, then yeah, I would give up just about anything for a chance like Minami san had. On the flip side, Minami san probably felt the same way at first, but maybe it got tiresome for her. Maybe she was lonely. Maybe this was all part of a dramatized act to get more interest in AKB48 (although God knows they are BEYOND popular now as it is so I don't see this really being true). Whatever her reasons were, that dream of fame and being in the spotlight wasn't as big for her as it would be for some other people. So really, at the end of the day, would any of you NOT sign the contract that says no dating until you are done being an IDOL, which is the anti-thesis of dating? I bet the only people that would answer they wouldn't sign a contract like this are the ones that have never lived on welfare, never had a dream of being in the spotlight, or are just plain self-righteous or don't possess the narcissistic gene that all actors and singers and famous people tend to have, which usually is what drives them to do crazy things like sign contracts that say give up your rights to first love in the first place. Just saying people enough with the bashing of Japan and the way Japan works....walk a mile in somebody's shoes who has a dream like the girls in AKB48 do, and you'll realize it's about a chance to do something outside the boring confines of society and be part of INFLUENCING society, for better or worse.

  • -2

    lucabrasi

    It's not real. It's a ploy to attract attention to AKB48. Judging by the comments here, it's a ploy that worked.

    Stop taking it seriously, people!

  • 0

    The passage

    @Derek

    Ever been 20?

    Fantastic age - full of realisation of dreams, and a huge part of growing up..

    Honestly speaking, there could be a case to take to human court of rights n the Hague - this is so unreal.

  • 0

    Betraythetrust!

    @Derek,

    They do not get rich from this.

  • 2

    globalwatcher

    lucabrasiFeb. 02, 2013 - 11:46PM JST

    It's not real. It's a ploy to attract attention to AKB48. Judging by the comments here, it's a ploy that worked.

    Stop taking it seriously, people!

    Ploy? Too late now. This news is spreading in all over the world (BBC, facebook, twitter). Japan is now perceived as a country of women exploitation or slavery. Very bad PR of Japan. The world is raising a legal petition against AKB promoters seriously..

  • 0

    lucabrasi

    @globalwatcher

    No. I reckon this whole episode was planned. The AKB promoters couldn't care less about Japan's image abroad. They've won their publicity and they're going to make lots of money out of it. The opinions of foreign journalists are utterly irrelevant.

  • 1

    globalwatcher

    lucabrasiFeb. 03, 2013 - 12:20AM JST

    The AKB promoters couldn't care less about Japan's image

    Well, if that is true, he went too fa for the ploy. His name has been submitted to the International Human Rights Organization for a violation as well as legal petitions have been issued all over the world against this guy. He needs to hire international legal teams for upcoming challenges seriously. Bad.

  • 1

    globalwatcher

    I need to add this to my post.

    If this is a ploy as you described here, the world will demand Yasushi Akimoto (a promoter) to shave his head in public (you tube) and apologize that he did not mean to upset the world.

    I would like to see if he is a man enough to do this. He is probably too weak to do so.

  • 0

    Viviana Guadagno

    Middle Edge !!!

  • 2

    Vienna1sausage

    This is merely a reflection of how unsophisticated and backward this culture really is.

  • 1

    Lowly

    Slavery.

    Whether a real story or PR stunt.

    If globalwatcher is right about the human rights thing, I hope the guy gets caught w/ his pants dn and gets taken to the cleaners. But that too is probably just fireless smoke.

  • 0

    Lowly

    derek-

    They dont get much money for what they do. And as for signing a dating contract just for a short period of time, we're not talking about a one yr job when you're 25 or 30 for a laugh and a buck and to do something new, we're talking about something that lasts from 12 or 13 to 22 or 25. It's a really big piece of time.

  • -6

    Kuribo1

    You people commenting on this are ridiculous. Blaming the culture, blaming idol society etc. This was all on her, she shaved her head, she regretted her actions for disappointing people and maybe she really is sorry for her actions. No one told her to do any of this. Entirely onto her she chose to be at a boys house knowing in a contract she can not and she shaved her own head and made the video. Big deal everyone is up in arms over this, what the heck do foreigners even know about it anyways. Maybe she does feel she let her parents down or her younger members for not being a good role model. People just need to mind there own business and let her do her own thing, if she wants to quit she can if she wants to stay because she likes being there then fine to just follow the rules. Stop putting the blame and human rights violation garbage into it.

  • 0

    DudeDeuce

    I am sure the AKB fans were not all that disappointed. This only gave them more fuel for their solo intimacy.

  • 0

    Elina Purina

    I think there are quite a lot of women that looks pretty good with shaved head :)

  • 1

    globalwatcher

    You people commenting on this are ridiculous. Blaming the culture, blaming idol society etc.

    First of all, I have never seen AKB, I do not care what they do in Japan. Well, it is easy to say but the world has a secound thought about Japan. Japan is a regressive country.

  • -1

    ambrosia

    Oh dear, I thought I had nothing more to say on this story and I suppose this isn't really a comment but more of a question, or a couple of questions.

    There's been a lot of talk about contracts, so at what age is one legally allowed to sign a contract independently in Japan? This woman joined the group in 2005 when she was 13 or 14 years old. Am I correct in assuming that she had to have her parents or guardians co-sign the original contract? Does anyone posting here work in the entertainment industry and have an idea of how often new contracts are drawn up?

  • 0

    Edel García

    I appeal to all those poor children who are being manipulated by recording industry, to come together and make a public protest against that handling .We are young only once . Life is about living without such stupid restrictions. Life is yours.

  • -4

    Kuribo1

    Well, it is easy to say but the world has a secound thought about Japan. Japan is a regressive country. Who cares what the world thinks, America rarely cares about what anyone else thinks so why does that matter.

  • 4

    midnull

    ...wait...so why is she apologizing? Why is she making this everybody's business? You had sex. That's what people do. That's what animals do. You're 20 you're not a kid, you having sex doesn't automatically make you become a woman... WTF is wrong with these no talent AKB48 morons?!

  • -3

    Anna-Maija Juuso

    ...ment sane means normal and sensible.Sorry mispelling a word can make a huge difference,,,

  • -1

    Jeff Vachon

    So she got laid! What's the issue? They are supposed to be seductive yet virginal? Is the implication that they masturbate frequently but never have sex? Gimme a break!

  • -3

    southsakai

    Who was the boy band member ? He needs to shave his head too.

  • -10

    Cortes Elijah

    So much heart broken people here. All of you are missing the point. A contract is a freaking contract. If you break it you can expect to be punished. She signed it in the first place then she failed it. Stop defending her like a bunch of stalkers. She knows the penalty. She even shaved her head and cried a little. She deserves it. Get over it guys.

  • -1

    LOVEnotWAR

    "While much is made of their supposed innocence, the band is heavily marketed on its sex appeal, with skimpy outfits and coquettish smiles the order of the day."

    You heard it here first. Smiles are not innocent. In fact, smiles are marketing sex! Also the writer should take a walk out into the real world and discover what a skimpy outfit actually looks like! That whole sentence is like something out of the Twilight Zone!

    "and must never disabuse their legions of male fans that they might one day stand a chance with their fantasy woman."

    The only one being disabused here is this poor young women being denied her natural human right to a physical relationship, something that is ridiculous for anyone to believe can be signed away via contract. The producer of this rubbish should be facing human rights abuse charges at the ICJ.

    One can only hope this whole incident will spark a reform of that sick rule of AKB's. After all, if the fans need a dream, they can dream of stealing her away from her boyfriend can't they?

  • 2

    Lowly

    I appeal to all those poor children who are being manipulated by recording industry, to come together and make a public protest against that handling .We are young only once . Life is about living without such stupid restrictions. Life is yours.

    I appeal to all the poor children (and adults for that matter) who are being manipulated by the music industry into thinking that what they are consuming is actually music, instead of canned zombie-making mantras that are already lip-synched karaoke before even making it to the karaoke boxes.

    Protest against that lie, listen to great moving orchestras, "outside" jazz, rock played from the gut, traditional folk music from around the world, yr own traditional shakuhachi and shamisen music. Life is about being free and being human and actually feeling something. Life is yours. Fight the Borg!

  • -1

    my2sense

    I agree with a 100 posts... BUT... did an image search of her and it opens up a new can of worms. Honestly... these people are in their own world. This thing is their world.

  • 1

    Joseph McColley

    Well this surely doesn't help with the Japanese government's attempt at using pop as a soft power diplomatic tool.

  • 1

    Serrano

    Minami could keep this look and become a pro wrestler.

  • 0

    Eautaceux Janais

    What if...all of AKB shave their heads for breathing!

  • 0

    heretoolong

    I bet if it had been a bloke, and he did the ubiquitous bow, then all would be forgotten as they would say, "meh, he's a bloke right?"

  • -3

    Marilita Fabie-Fujisawa

    There's a tv series called GLEE, both of the main stars are having a relationship on and off screen. o one makes a deal Bout it..it's none if their business wht they do in private. I truly have to agree to smithinjapan!

  • -1

    Derek Vasconi

    *Betraythetrust!FEB. 02, 2013 - 11:55PM JST @Derek,

    They do not get rich from this.***

    What? You're joking right? You don't think being in the insane amount of tv commercials they are in and all the dvds they sale plus all the performances they do that they aren't rich? Yeah right. And even if what you said is true, do you know how many of them can go on after they graduate from AKB48 to highly successful tv, music, and movie careers, not to mention all the print ads they do and radio sponsorships? I mean, it's almost laughable to suggest these girls aren't set for life at least in terms of opportunities, if not in terms of financialy stability. Unless of course they violate the rules they are given. And as for the other person who asked me if I was ever 20, yes, I certainly was. From 20 to 28, I played in a band and toured the world and devoted my LIFE to music. I gave up a huge piece of my world to do something I loved and I don't regret it at all. If anything, I wish I was still doing it now. But when I was doing my best to be in a successful band, I couldn't have any kind of normal relationship. It just wasn't possible. So trust me, I know about commitment and I praise any of the girls in AKB48 or ANY idol group that do their best to uphold the fantasy image they are selling. It can't be easy and my heart goes out to Minami san for acting like a normal human being, but she was given a DREAM CHANCE that many people only wish they had. I think what I'm having a hard time with in all of this is that so many people are saying something is wrong with Japan somehow that Minami san felt she had to shave her head to say she was sorry. I think I would do more than just shave my head if I just had realized my dream opportunity just got flushed down the idol toilet because of what I did, but then again, we will never know for real how Minami san really felt about everything.

  • 0

    cierzo98

    I'm sure Alan Shirahama feels great about it. He has a night opf passion with a girl he likes and she apologizes for it on YouTube and TV, saying it was thoughtless and immature and seeking forgiveness. He must really feel that he made an impression on her, after a night with him is receiving the same sort of regret and shame as going on the game, taking drugs or lying ariound drunk in the street. Maybe he should do the same.

  • 1

    Betraythetrust!

    @Derek

    No, i am not joking. These girls are paid a salary, they do not get percentage of sales. A small amount of the girls may find work after in glamour or porn industry mostly.

    You may have devoted your life to music yet you would have had control of what music you made and what you say in public. These girls have none, they are slaves. The only riches are made by those who control them.

  • 2

    Lowly

    Derek,

    Sorry, I fear you are not well informed about the state of the entertainment industry in Japan. I have to hurry to work, but do a little research. They are not free agents, and there are no copyright laws or anything protecting them. For one thing, none of them said "let's start a band", they merely auditioned for a company's idea of making a band. In short they are employees. Further the business is very very nepotistic and small, ie blacklisting works. If they do something that "shames" the co. or that the co. just doesn't like, they will be fired and you will never hear from them again. THey will NOT get other recording jobs w/ other companies. No one will touch them. Occasional exceptions, sure. But very occasional. That is one reason why you often see an arc of actresses/ models going from standard shows to soft porn to just porn. Most/ a lot of famous TV actors/ models get a salary of 20 or 30 mahn a month. Not a bad wage, liveable, but completely unrelated to the amount of air time/ products pushed. A VERY few of the top folks get any kind of real royalties. My guess is the way akb works w/ the voting, the low end '(not famous) kids get 10 main a month? (not livable) and whoever's in the number one spot gets a special bonus, w/ others in between. Probably zero rights for residual fees after they leave the band because it is not music owned by them. Opportunities? Sure, maybe, like I said if no feathers ruffled. But again, these girls "talent" is being normal, unexceptional girl next doorses, so really nothing to fall back on. And, But didn't that girl who left akb a yr ago already go into porn?

  • 0

    blendover

    This certainly makes a big spash in terms of publicity. Having your head publiicly shaved, or suffering other indiginities, for engaging in illicit sex is an ancient practice and triggers a strong reaction. But it is hardly the kind of publicity that the AKB48 managers are looking for. What are they going to do with her now that she has no hair? It makes no sense unless this girl has already decided that her career with these people is over.

    If that is the case, then presumably she wants to get money talking to chat shows etc. etc. about her terrible life. Not a great career choice. Although I suppose she could write a book giving the inside scoop or something.

  • -1

    nedinjapan

    Let me explain why such a thing happens. AKB48 represents a popular product in the form of a 'fantasy of sexy girls' which is marketed to a large group of 'otaku' men. These men are paying money for the product because they can all own the fantasy, unless these 'fantasy girls' have a real life and an actual boyfriend, which destroys the whole fantasy. To keep the illusion of the otaku men, these girls have to show how sexy they are but are banned from having actual sex with any man, because they belong to the dream world of all these men, who are customers, and customer is god in the Japanese business world.

  • 1

    Wolfpack

    There really isn't a "no dating" rule. In actuality it is a "don't get caught dating" rule. Minami knew the risks - she is a big girl. She is a young adult woman that made a mistake and she is very sorry about it. That's really all there is to it.

    This group has an annual fan election. She will know the impact of this misstep after the votes are counted.

  • 0

    Nessie

    the britney spears of japan

    The Britney Shears of Japan

  • 0

    whiskeysour

    OMG she's riding an Alpacka bearback..... O my gosh !!!!!!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRUP8olh1zg

    This is funny !!!! PR & Gossip machine running on overdrive.... This is to fake and to weird to be true.

    1) I'm not going to watch the Youtube video. -

    2) I'm not going to pay attention to a NO Talento group. -

    3) I'm not going to investigate or research a group that produces crappy Shrill like music. Sorry I'm not that gullible. -

    Now let's think a moment......

    1) If this was true she WOULD quit the group entirely and profess her love for the bandmate of group X.-

    2) If this incident was TRUE she would elope and go to Hawaii for marriage w/ bandmate of group X.-

    3) If this was true she would profess women's rights and the right to date anbody she wants while in this group.

  • 0

    whiskeysour

    So, this is Fake PR story... This has been done by Britney Spears. But the Britney S. thing was actually a true Meltdown to the funny farm.

  • 0

    Wakarimasen

    Poor girl. For all we complain about AKB this is a huge number of comments on her "plight". She needs an older gentleman to take her under his wing.

    Smith - not disagreeing with you but still think a one night stand with a boy ban member not likely to be a proper "relationship"

  • 0

    Derek Vasconi

    I had mentioned that the girls in AKB48 would be set for life, but I wasn't talking about the ones in the lower echelons of the group. They obviously aren't getting paid anything. But the top girls get paid AWESOME wages every year. When you add up how much the top girls get year after year, YES, they are millionaires as I said. I did my research too. Check the link at the end of this post. Not to mention, many of them HAVE gone on to do commercials and tv. The ones that get kicked out or stop being in AKB48 before maturing into the group, they have had baaaad luck in their post AKB48 careers. We all know some of them went into porn and God knows what else lol. BUT I think what is an even bigger reward than money is the prestige and honor and pride it is to be in a group that is so recognizable in Japan, and that's saying something considering their girl next door image! I would kill to be able to be that accessible to fans who actually would like me and respect what I do. Sure, they have sicko perv fans, but that's in any type of performance medium. I feel for Minami san because maybe her dream is gone, but that's how it is in Japan. You sign a contract, get paid a decently large amount of money (if you earn it in the ranks) yearly, and then enjoy the fame and success and most of all, the PRIDE and HONOR of being in AKB48. From being in a band that so many times knew the names and the dreams of EVERY SINGLE FAN standing in the front row at my shows, I can tell you that it's the connection with the fans that is the most rewarding part of being in a showbiz like occupation, and for that reason, I know Minami san probably hurts the most from losing. I'm still a fan though!

  • 0

    Derek Vasconi

    Sorry, forgot the link: http://www.tokyohive.com/2011/03/which-akb48-members-earned-the-highest-annual-income/

  • 0

    Ebereson

    The poor girl is innocent because she is an adult.As a 20yrs girl,she has right to date any person she likes.And for the group to put such inevitable law is against human right.They have to change that law immediately to avoid total destruction of the group.

  • 0

    CrisGerSan

    I am not going to continue reading the comments in this article most are without tact or sensitivity. This is a sad event but she acted with courage and did what she felt was right. I am sure the group supports here, and that things will work out in time. If it is the agreemenet of honour and she broke that agreement then it is her right to make amends as she wishes. Lets respect her and the group..and i dont like some of the commentary in the article demeaning the group and mentioning negative press comments. There is much that is good about this group and it deserves respect.

  • 0

    ratpack

    Lets take this one step further. What would the masses say if this girl jumped off a building tomorrow? Who would their focus be aimed towards? The fact that she did something horrible by breaking a PATHETIC rule in the first place? Or Would they be attacking the management for imposing PATHETIC rules on these girls lives in the first place? Personally I'm for the latter. The fact that the management company has 24/7 control over these girls is just plain dumb. The only thing dumber are the parents who allow their children to sign such ridiculous contacts.

  • 0

    Mirai Hayashi

    The whole AKB48 concept is just ridiculous. They tell these poor girls who are in the prime of their lives that they cannot date, or have relationships with men, so that they can market them to mostly socially awkward middle-aged men as being "available" or "untouched", giving them the implication that these girls are "saving themselves" for them.

    To most of these members, these silly little girl bands become their lives, and when they get involved in these media instigated "non-scandals", it devastates them. Their careers are essentially over for doing something that is totally human. This IS crossing the line.

    Japan really needs to find better ways to market talent. Instead of marketing teenaged girls and young women as PROPERTY to socially awkward men fantasize about "hooking up" with them, they should try finding and marketing REAL talent. Talented people do exist in Japan, but unfortunately the media would rather exploit young girls to the socially awkward. Its really sad and frankly VERY disgusting.

    My advice to Minami Minegishi and the young girls in AKB48 and all its variants...QUIT! If your fans and the people who are exploiting you cannot except hat you are a human being and have natural human urges that we are all hard-wired to feel, then simply QUIT, continue your relationship, and find something better to do with your lives other then getting off a bunch of socially maladjusted people. If you TRULY have talent, some other producer will pick you up..if you don't...well, that's life! Find something you are good at and enjoy doing and do it...and something that doesn't require to pretend to be a virgin with who has no sexual urges...

  • 0

    Lowly

    Sorry, but you sort of proved my point Derek.

    While it is a little more than I had thot, For how much their endorsements are actually worth, and how much airtime, live shows (ticket sales) and cds they have sold, that is a very tiny figure on your link, IMO. How much do you think top performing artists in the US who get an equivalent amount of air time are making??? These kids are hired employees, not artists.

    Further, they would have to be making that much for more than 4 yrs in a row to be what you described as a "millionaire" and that's only if they spend zero of it in that four years. And I don't imagine any of them got that the first few yrs they worked. Also they of course have parents and siblings in their lives. So, no, they are not millionaires by any stretch, they are not getting paid for what they are doing, and their company gets most and keeps all the rights, and I imagine residuals after they leave. They are comfortable for now But they do not have any freedom, they are hired and have to adhere to the rules of the company.

  • 0

    Mirai Hayashi

    definitely NOT millionaires. I heard that many of these girl band members get paid a flat salary...no percentage of profits.

  • -1

    Bondsan

    By the sounds of some of the comments she would probably make more giving some 'exclusive' interviews to British tabloids on what really goes on in the group ... and these rules about no dating etc ..

  • 0

    Vienna1sausage

    The reason these girls and talents in general make little money is because they don't have any discernible talent...At least nothing more than the average person on the street. In fact , many of them are hired because they they are, in fact, very average.

  • -1

    Matthew Simon

    is AKB 48 a code name for a concentration camp? That's what it looks like from this angle.

  • -1

    JTDanMan

    Just when you think you'd seen it all...

  • -2

    seesaw1

    LOL. The group should change name to Nuns house...or something! Poor girl, no sex no life.

  • -2

    CrisGerSan

    I am sorry but many of the posters here just dont understand that the rules are respect for the integrity of the group, and establish a zone of trust among them that allows they to perform and sing and share from the heart, not from other motives. It is sad to see many people do not understand this at all, and blame them or the producers for all sorts of sad things. The Girls enjoy the work, love it in fact and many many people love watching and listening to them., I urge any who have doubts to take them elsewhere, as this is a good group of decent girls who are enjoying a unique chance to share and to give. Let them be that...and question other places and things. Your doubts will not make this group any less of a deserved success that it is. I am proud of her for being brave and honest. I am sure the group is supporting her fully. A fine example and so different from how western performers of the same type behave...or even think of doing. thanks for this coverage and the good coverage of Japanese entertainment.

  • 0

    LH10

    are you freakn kidding me?! shes a god freakn adult already! lol!!! u telling me they are not allowed to date?! wow japan...she's innocent! sheesh! poor girl

  • 0

    Lowly

    CrisGerSan-

    "playing from the heart", "unique chance to share and give" etc

    Ya, that's what I feel every time akb plays their songs or appears on tv. Really Really deeply, like Christian revival.

    They are hired models. They aren't musicians. They aren't deep, or if they happen to be so, the akb organization certainly doesn't let them show it.

  • 1

    globalwatcher

    AKB48 singer shaves her head as act of contrition for

    More and more are suggesting that this is an act of ploy. If that's the case, she does not know a meaning of shame. Is she financially supporting her family in poverty?

  • 0

    Gaijintoday

    As a curiosity, does anyone have a ballpark figure of Yasushi Akimoto's networth?

  • -6

    Droll Quarry

    From the large number of posters that seem to think an employer cannot legally require standards of conduct, standards/level of performance/production and specified behavior from employees, I am starting to understand why the unemployment levels are so high. The opinions expressed, speak volumes about the integrity of individuals who would seek employment, sign a contract agreeing to the conditions of employment, take the money and then go into the whine/victim/Idon't wanna do that mode when they have to do the actual work they are getting paid for.... and OBTW i already spent your money!

  • -3

    Droll Quarry

    GaijintodayFeb. 07, 2013 - 05:25AM JST

    You can do get a good idea from this:

    < AKB48 Yearly Income Ranking >

    1. Maeda Atsuko (19) – 20 million yen ( approx. $243,000 USD)

    2. Shinoda Mariko (24) – 20 million yen (approx. $243,000 USD)

    3. Oshima Yuko (21) – 18 million yen (approx. $218,730 USD)

    4. Kojima Haruna (22) – 16 million yen (approx. $194,426 USD)

    5. Itano Tomomi (19) – 16 million yen (approx. $194,426 USD)

  • 0

    DudeDeuce

    Yeah but the salary of the boss is generally much much higher than the salary of the artist. Plus he was already sitting well being the founder and producer of the Onyanko Club when they came out. He owns the company that releases the CDs that go many times platinum and the promotion company that books shows that sells out stadiums across Japan. I would say he is in the $300 million-$600 million range.

  • 0

    Lowly

    Droll Quarry,

    It sure looks like good money to some one like me who makes no where near that amount, but as I said before, asnd as dudeDeuce has attempted to put a number on, it is nowhere near comparable w/ the actual sales of their cps/ other goods. This is simply the glamor end of the wage slave situation.

    Could you imagine Nikki Minaj or mick Jagger making that? Or how about the star qb for the Ravens after the super bowl?

    It is one thing to have a contract stipulating not being oafish in public, but to not have a love life of any kind in your free time? And has she been shirking the singing and the dancing?

  • 0

    Okaji Masatoshi

    ITS NOT japanese general will.only akb48 is crazy.

  • 1

    Alejandro Dela Cruz

    AKB48 rules is just simply pathetic, why do they prohibit their women members to date? and she's already 20, that's far from being a teen. Why does she have to shave her head and ask for forgiveness? If friendship is so important to her then she should've just kept it, it's not like she was born to make everyone praise her for her looks and do everything so she can stay within the group, but i guess for this girl fame is everything...

    Oh well, this is just sad and weird.....

  • 1

    GMO_Nation

    "Gotta get it in" LOL What is it with female pop stars shaving their heads these days. She's a grown woman. SMH

  • 1

    globalwatcher

    AKB48 Yearly Income Ranking > 1. Maeda Atsuko (19) – 20 million yen ( approx. $243,000 USD)

    2. Shinoda Mariko (24) – 20 million yen (approx. $243,000 USD)

    3. Oshima Yuko (21) – 18 million yen (approx. $218,730 USD)

    4. Kojima Haruna (22) – 16 million yen (approx. $194,426 USD)

    5. Itano Tomomi (19) – 16 million yen (approx. $194,426 USD)

    Surprised to learn they do not make a lot of money at all. Pathetic. Where the rest of money goes?

  • 1

    kcjapan

    AKB48, a 90-strong pool of girls in their teens and early 20s sounds more like a soft porn trolling experiment set up to make their creators rich beyond anyone's wildest dreams.

    Teen stars, boy bands and AKB48 are all just the disposable labor of pop culture.

    Sad that the adoring fans don't get it.

    Poor Minami Minegishi may pay a high price for the wealth she creates for others who could not care less about her.

    Sick, at what point is it just a form of indentured servitude? Nothing to be proud of, or pay with your life for. Minegishi needs care and compassion, not shame.

  • 0

    globalwatcher

    Sick, at what point is it just a form of indentured servitude? Nothing to be proud of, or pay with your life for. Minegishi needs care and compassion, not shame.

    If this was a act of ploy, then she needs to grow up quickly, nothing else.

  • 1

    Wakarimasen

    You have to at least concede that the bloke who thought this lot up and runs them knows what the public want. even JT'ers have made this a top tpoic of debate.

  • -1

    Wakarimasen

    And even if they are just employees they make way more than the average wage in Japan.

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