It’s not about cultural tradition but rather AKB48’s cardinal rule that disallows its 90-strong pool of girls to have serious or more than relationship beyond the “one-sided romantic feelings” for a boy. Such a pitiful management rule that members of AKB48 must obey or they face sanction, suspension, or thrown-out of the group – meaning cutting-off their source of livelihood and these girls don’t want to mess with this, or do they?
Minami Minegishi of Japan’s AKB48 shaves head as act of contrition for spending a night of passion with a boy band member. The 20-year-old starlet appeared disgraced on her YouTube video following Tabloid magazine Shukan Bunshun published article on Thursday of Minegishi, who had long, silky hair at the time, was snapped leaving the apartment of Alan Shirahama, 19, a dancer in an off-shoot of the popular boy band Exile.
The YouTube video shows a sobbing Minegishi apologizing with a shaved head pleading to stay in the group.
“I don’t believe just doing this means I can be forgiven for what I did, but the first thing I thought was that I don’t want to quit AKB48,” she says in the video, which had been viewed on YouTube more than three million times.
The tryst was “thoughtless and immature“, she told fans.
“If it is possible, I wish from the bottom of my heart to stay in the band. Everything I did is entirely my fault, I am so sorry.”
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.
Fans have frequent opportunities to meet their favourites, who are rotated in and out of the public eye, according to popularity.
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 behaviour.
In Japan, shaving one’s head has long been a public display of contrition, although is usually only done by men or boys.
In June last year, another AKB48 member, Rino Sashihara, 20, made a pained apology after a magazine article revealed her free-wheeling history with a boy. She was demoted to a regional sub-group as a punishment.
They are allowed to have “one-sided romantic feelings” for a boy but can never progress beyond hinting at their crush — and must never disabuse their legions of male fans that they might one day stand a chance with their fantasy woman.
AKB48’s management office said Minegishi will be demoted to a trainee team as punishment “for causing a nuisance to the fans“, with the demotion effective from Friday.
But many of those fans took to Twitter to defend the star, saying there was nothing wrong with an adult woman leading a “normal life“.
Most recently, a photograph that showed naked former AKB48 member Tomomi Kasai with a young, apparently Caucasian or Eurasian child cupping her breasts, set off police probe and led to the pulping of about 670,000 copies of a popular weekly magazine.
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