• Fri, Feb 1 2013

Japanese Pop Star Shaves Head And Cries As Penance For Sleeping Over At A Boy’s House

A member of the immensely popular Japanese pop group AKB48 named Minami Minegishi has staged a tearful public apology after soiling the group’s honor with her behavior. Her terrible crime? Getting caught leaving a boy’s house in the morning by the paparazzi. They don’t even know if she went all the way. And you thought American teen pop stars had it hard! (Actually, you probably didn’t.)

In penance for her crimes, poor Minami has shaved her head and posted an apology video to Youtube (above). Here’s what she is saying in it:

I’m Minegishi Minami from Umeda team B of AKB48.

I’m very sorry to have caused enormous worry to members, fans, staffs, my families and a lot of other people with the article in the weekly magaizne that is published today.

(Deep Bow)

As the 1st generation member of AKB48, the group that has formed in 2005, it’s my responsibility to always behave as a good role model to juniors. I deeply regret what I did this time. It was a thoughtless deed and I was completely lacking self-awareness as a senior member.

My brain blanked out and I’m still unable to figure out what to do, what I can do. But after I saw the magazine a little ago, I couldn’t help but doing something. And I decided to shave my head without consulting any member or staff at my agency.

Although I don’t think I would be forgiven by doing this, the first thing that I went through my head was that “I don’t want to leave AKB48.”

This is a place where my dear members, who I spent my blossom of youth together, are. And it’s unimaginable to even think about leaving the group where I’m with so many wonderful and sweet fans.

I understand it’s wishful thinking, but if it’s possible, I would like to still be AKB48′s Minegishi Minami.

This is all my fault.

I’m truly sorry.

I will leave my hereafter to the hands of Akimoto-sensei and management.

Though I haven’t been able to tidy my mind up, but I just wanted to tell my current feeling to you.

Thank you so much for listening to me.

That’s some serious Scarlet Letter shit, no?

For her crimes, the band’s management has demoted her to a junior member of the group, which they run with the iron fist of the gulag. Seemingly modeled after Joseph Stalin‘s idea of what a pop group should be, the group contains over 90 members ranging in age from their early teens to mid-twenties. There are different levels of membership in the group, and the members are supposed to be essentially interchangeable, although Minami was one of the group’s more popular members.

As much as I appreciate the naked admission that teen pop is formulaic and evil, it’s obviously fucked up that a 20-year-old woman should be made to feel that shitty about doing something so normal. Add in the fact that this is not communist China, but Japan, an ostensibly free society where you can buy panties from a vending machine, and it gets even worse. Women are just as objectified in Japan as they are in the west. They should at least get to have some sexual agency!

There are probably more layers to this situation that I, as a westerner, don’t understand, so feel free to fill me in if you do. But all in all, I think this is really sad, and hope things get better for the members of AKB48. In the meantime, I would like to extend an invitation to young Minami to come be a pop star in America, where you can basically finger your girlfriend in public and people will think you are being super cute. She can bring her alleged boyfriend with her. Who, I should note, is also a pop star but has not received the same blowback. I wonder why?

(Via JapanDailyPress)

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  • JennyWren

    Ugh, it’s a real-life Perfect Blue situation.

  • Amanda

    My dads the same way. I’m almost 20 and have been with my boyfriend for over 4 years and am not allowed to sleep over his house or have him sleep over mine because apparently it’s ‘sinful’, & any time he suspects that I’ve stayed over there I am shamed & called a slut, whore, sinner, etc. It sucks, and I can’t really do anything about it, either since I live with my parents & don’t have anywhere else to live.

    • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

      Crazy idea: stop talking to your dad. He’s being abusive and you don’t need to subject yourself to that kind of bullying.

  • MR

    Economic modernity mixed socially and traditionally with so many aspects of a developing nation. Japan’s human pulse is strange – you feel it when your there.

    • MR

      Strange in the sense of something we are not accustomed to. Sounded bad the way I said it above. If you have a chance try to the see the film, ‘Last Samurai’. I think it’s the only good thing Cruise every did without Kidman – biggest mistake he every made was breaking up with Nicole. What I meant is Japanese society has a pulse and it’s different than ours. There’s this silent harmony and not so silent at times, but they can’t step outside its boundaries.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Masters/100003256844489 Mike Masters

    I hear they have masterbation bars in Japan if she gets too horny. No reason to violate an oath about being celebate. But she is hot hot hot. A lot of women today have shaved heads & I think this looks very sexy. She is very sexy too but then I think Asian women are the hottest women on earth.

  • ericam

    The boyfriend wasn’t punished in the same way because he doesn’t have a no-dating clause in his contract. His company’s response was basically “we don’t really know about it or care.” AKB48 members aren’t allowed to date or have boyfriends at all under their contracts, in case it shatters fans’ illusions or something. I believe the official reason the agency gave for demoting her was “causing a nuisance to fans.” Urgh.

  • Jess

    Living in Japan, I’m inclined to think that this video and her shaving her head is a publicity stunt that is going to make her more popular than before. From what I’ve heard of the general opinion in Tokyo, everyone is just like, “why did she go and do that?” (the head shaving and the video, not the staying at a guy’s house). Though I do think AKB is twisted to have a no-dating clause in their contracts, she did sign that contract, hence the scandal in the first place.
    By the way, though this is off topic, panty vending machines are totally illegal in Japan. Never seen one in my life.

  • gtharby2

    It’s a messy situation, but to put it simply it’s not Japan pop culture as a whole that is the problem here, but rather anything aiming at a subset of the Japanese population who make up the largest source of income for AKB48, in particular obsessive otaku.

    AKB48 is designed to have idols that portray an image of purity and innocence that are not in a relationship that satisfy the fantasy of lonely otaku in Japan. These otaku send lots of money on AKB48 stuff (some well over a thousand a year), and everything about AKB48 is designed to get as much money out of otaku as possible. These otaku though are quite willing to stop spending money very quickly as well when their fantasies are broken, and their biggest criteria is that they are innocent and not involved with any man. With the hundreds of millions of dollars annually that AKB48 brings in, and the nature of the biggest spenders, it’s easy to see how a situation like this can become a train wreck, and how it prevents these girls, who often join in their early teens, from having anything close to resembling a normal life while they are involved.

  • jun

    Actually this also applies to boyband members. They are not allowed to date, talk about dating, or have close girlfriends. The Japanese boy idol talent agency, Johnny’s, forbids its members from getting married. So it’s not an against-women thing.