Japanese Girl Band Member Shaves Head As Punishment For Sex

Minegishi Manami, a member of Japanese girl band AKB48, shaves her head in penance for sleeping with a boy.

A member of AKB48, one of the most popular girl bands in Japan, has just had her hair close-cropped in penance for her ‘overnight stay’ with a guy. Is this right to forbid a woman in her twenties to develop her own romantic relationships? Is it inevitable if she wants success as a pop idols? Is this public embarrassment or an appropriate punishment for breaking a contract? Or, thinking more cynically, is this just a ploy to keep the band in the news after the recent corporal punishment case at an Osaka high school?

The video of Minegishi’s apology has already been viewed over 4,000,000 times, and regardless of the reason for her drastic haircut, the issue certainly raises questions about women’s sexual freedom in Japanese society.

From Yahoo! Japan:

AKB48’s Minegishi Minami (20):’Overnight Stay’ at a Young Dancer’s Place Reported by Weekly Magazine, Minegishi Apologises on YouTube on January 31

Appearing in the video with close-cropped hair, Minegishi says in a tearful voice: ‘I am sorry for all the troubles I’ve caused you — members, fans, staff and family. As one of the first members who joined the group, I should have been a role model for the other girls who joined after me, but what I’ve actually done was careless and thoughtless.’ She also explained why she’d had her hair cropped, saying: ‘My mind went blank, didn’t know what I could do, but I couldn’t bear do nothing once I saw my scandal published a weekly magazine, so I decided to have my hair close-cropped without talking about it with anyone’. She tearfully continued: ‘I know it’s naive of me but I don’t want to quit AKB48. It’s all my fault. I am terribly sorry,’ then bowed deeply.

Minegishi Manami at a bikini shoot before cropping her hair.

Minegishi Manami at a bikini shoot before cropping her hair.

Furthermore, the manager of AKB48’s theatre announced on their official blog that Minegishi will be she’s going to be demoted in rank down to a trainee on February 1.

The story of Minegishi’s ‘overnight stay’ was published on January 31 by Shukan Bunshun. According to the magazine, she stayed at the dancer’s place in Setagaya ward on the night of January 17. Her partner was Shirahama Aran (19), a dancer from ‘GENERATIONS’, who are a younger version of ‘EXILE’. They first met in autumn 2011 when both were performing the play ‘If you were…’

Since all romantic relationships are forbidden in the group, she showed her contrition by having her hair close-cropped.

he object of Minegishi Minami's affection, Shirahama Aran.

The object of Minegishi Minami’s affection, Shirahama Aran.

From YouTube:

The video in which Minegishi makes her apology, and explains that she shaved her hair off to show how sorry she was for breaking the rules of the band:

Comments from 2ch.net:

斑(芋):

Isn’t this culture of accepting an apology if someone shaves off their hair a bit weird? Especially when there are some people nowadays who do it themselves for the sake of fashion.

エキゾチックショートヘア(神奈川県):

Wow, that really is close-cropped w Still, she’s minging.

斑(芋):

Akimoto (AKB48 manager): ‘doing something like this would save her from her criticism (with a smirk)’

ユキヒョウ(岩手県):

Close-cropped, hilarious www This has set a good precedent, let’s find out all the scandals and make JKC48.

ターキッシュバン(東京都):

Ha, sacked or not sacked, surely she’d have her hair cut this much.
Nothing left if not in AKB.

スコティッシュフォールド(山口県):

YouTube is international, a Japanese shame to the world.
It’s just like a girl being a hostage of terrorists and apologising or something.

クロアシネコ(栃木県):

It’s abuse of human rights not to allow them to have their own romantic relationships I reckon?
They still can’t moan, otherwise they’d be sacked.
Total power harassment preying on the weak, sick eugh.
Fingers crossed Akimoto is going to be punished!

ヤマネコ(庭):

Is this what she gets in return for a quick shag?

Comments from Itai News:

シャム(茸):

Gross wwwwwww Turns me off.

コドコド(やわらか銀行):

The physical punishment at Sakuranomiya high school has been such a big thing in papers and now she’s shaved her head?(゜д゜)

ジャガー(やわらか銀行):

Close-cropped hair now? SO timely, well setup, AKB is such a business.

ヒマラヤン(関東・甲信越):

Straight after the Judo thing at high school? That’d give the world the strong impression that Japan ignores women’s human rights w.

クロアシネコ(栃木県):

Let’s spread this around the world and see how they feel about it. Westerners would definitely find it weird.

マンチカン(東京都):

She’s 20, she only shagged a guy, she didn’t have to shave her head. Surely she’d have kept shagging him if it hadn’t been revealed by the media.

アンデスネコ(東京都):

Awful. It’s just abuse, isn’t it? Does this make her fans any happy?

ヒョウ(新疆ウイグル自治区):

It suits her. Better looking now.

スペインオオヤマネコ(茨城県):

What about telly? Can she still make appearances?

キジトラ(東京都):

They’re more like a religious organisation now w

黒(千葉県):

It’s going way too far to make her do this.

スナネコ(京都府):

This is a human rights matter now. The Japanese media is bloody useless and I don’t suppose they can’t recognise what they’ve done or atone for it until they get forced to by external pressure.

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  • Poko chan

    This is not punishment for “sex”. This is for scandal.

    • Kate

      Well there wouldn’t even be a scandel if paparazzi weren’t stalking her to take pictures of her leaving. They created a scandel, although why a 20 yr old having a boyfriend and spending the night with the boyfriend is a scandel IDK.

      • Poko chan

        Not dating with a boy is a strict rule for the members of AKB. One of the girls broke the rule before she did had been removed from the AKB member and she was moving into a branch group of AKB in Indonesia.

        Fans and other people did NOT force her to shave her hair. She did it by herself.

        • Poko chan

          And one more thing: the media often use a tactic of “Enjou Shouhou,” which is, a marketing strategy that can get more critisism or emotional reactions from people. So they can get more attention without costing too much on advertising.

          I dont know much about AKB, but since there are a lot of girls who are almost identical in character to each other, i think its one of the AKB marketing strategies as usually happens in japan.

        • cb4242

          Problem is, you have these manic Otaku culture that is destroying these girls lives. They can’t have boy friends, are not allowed to date? Sounds more like a cult to me. These people have too much time on their hands if they think, they should be pure and no one should de-flower them. These creeps should come up from behind the shadows, get away from the PC and manga comics, go out and get a job!!! I feel sorry that these girls are not allowed to be who they are, so they have to deprive themselves of simple, normal everyday pleasures. Good for her, maybe she’ll get out and stay with this guy. Trust me, most of these girls have boyfriends, they might be more discreet, but nothing pure about these women, they are human beings, NOT SUPER human beings.

          • tonkotsu

            no one forced them to sign up for it. they knew the conditions.

          • linette lee

            none of the stuff these idols put out is real about them. All that image good girl good boy and purity is all fake. The company sign them up and train them and packaging and plastic surgery. They are selling sex image. Not music. It’s an image they are selling. On camera you won’t see the real person. It’s a show.

            Musicians like gaga,bruno mars, Justin bieber, Jay chou..etc…you will feel their personalities when they are talking in front of the camera. They don’t pretend or act. They smile when happy and curse when paparazzi piss them off…all real emotion. They are not actors. They are musicians. Fans get to know them through the music they write.

          • MiichanFan

            Just gonna throw this out there…there’s no plastic surgery in AKB aside from a couple members who had reconstructive plastic surgery to correct poorly healed broken noses.

          • Linette lee

            Reconstructive surgery for broken nose. Hahahahha. Lol…….i got my laugh for the day. So now i understand the japanese and korean culture. Japan call it reconstructive surgery for all the broken nose. Korea call it make up for all the broken eyes.

          • MiichanFan

            No. I’m serious. One of the members had a severe broken nose when she was young and it healed improperly and caused her to have breathing issues. Have you ever even looked at the members of AKB? Aside from Itano Tomomi there’s no one in the group even remotely close to appearing as if they’ve had plastic surgery!

            Stop commenting on things you know nothing about. All you’re doing is spreading lies and your own warped views. What’s next?

            “All the members are in the porn industry. Why? Because I spout off whatever I want and because I said it it MUST be true.”

          • Cyberia

            “All the members are in the porn industry. Why? Because I spout off whatever I want and because I said it it MUST be true.”

            It’st like, pot, meet kettle.

          • dk2020

            lol they got nose jobs which is pretty common in East Asia .. is it coincidence they all got their noses broken at the same time? how often have you got your nose broke? It’s not a common injury ..

          • linette lee

            look who’s back. I like your hoodie. So gangster.

            I know you like this.
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK8mJJJvaes

          • dk2020

            i’m not a hipster .. awww I know u missed me ;)

          • MiichanFan

            “they all got their noses broken at the same time”

            …what? There’s never been an instance where ANY members has had a broken nose while in AKB…

          • dk2020

            Well that was before I read your other replies my bad .. I actually agree with you, this is no big deal, her hair will grow back and she shaved her head on her own .. better contracts and bad management is their own fault, but that’s the music business anywhere .. how many members are in AKB? Deeper than SNSD ..

            On a good note, M-Flo is making a come back, one of my favorite Jpop groups from back in the day!! Yeeeee! Verbal is Zainichi btw .. the MV doesn’t make any sense but a dope song nonetheless ..

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-pc5_3uhBk

          • Ray

            You make it sounds like you know all those musicians very well, in real life as well. How much info did you learn about them that’s is not conveyed to you by the media?

            Don’t suggest that idols images are all fake just because its a good image and the “bad boy” or “rebel” image given out by your example is instantly “real”. There are always some good sides and some bad with anyone.

  • Kate

    So their company won’t allow them to have relationships? Sounds very controlling and oppressive. I thought japanese women were pretty open about sexuality considering I read that something like 6,000 + new girls join the AV industry yearly and hostess clubs are pretty popular and doesn’t japan supply most porn to korea and china? Or are there different sets of rules for different women? Are girl groups are suppose to pretend to be virginal and pure while still dressing and dancing provocatively to play into some weird fantasies? Eh I know some people will say “westerns are morally corrupt and that’s why they think women who have sex with men as OK” but imo id rather live in a culture that doesn’t slut shame a woman (always conviently ignoring the countless men who sleep around) for simply wanting a basic human need such as sex. She’s 20, not10, she is a grown woman, its her body, she should do what she wants and say to hell with the the opinions of people who want women to remain sexually oppressed and servient.

    Anyway she still is pretty without hair and at least she can play dress up with wigs.

    • hun

      It’s a contract that these girls sign up for at very young ages stating that they can’t have relationships because it ruins the “pureness” persona that the companies sell(Japan,Korea has the same concept). Although she did breach the contract, the shaming that she had to endure through was unjustified. You can even see some of the japanese comments on here where they are expressing disgust on what the idol/otaku culture are doing. Just because there’s lots of girls going into the AV industry it doesn’t mean every girl in japan is open about sex.. but as a comparison to other cultures i guess japan are more sexually open about it. I’m not sure what supplying porn to china and korea has to do with anything o.O, last i heard porn was illegal in korea, correct me if im wrong though.

    • Jurippe

      Though I’m sure there’s an expectation for all girl groups to be somewhat chaste in their image, only idols are expected to actually hold up that end of the bargain in a written contract.

      I mean, the whole idol phenomenon is sexist in both ways. On one hand, the girls are expected to be chaste so entertainment companies can milk money out of pathetic old men lusting over pre teen girls. It’s a retarded cycle.

    • tonkotsu

      these idols (YOU SEE THAT?) sell their image. You think most of them could get by on actual talent?

      once you ruin that image, that fantasy, that purity, it’s over.

    • AnthonyLudovici

      Most women do not want to sleep around, it hurts them emotionally and psychologically.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/VictimOfBoredom Matt

    Knowing the ingenuity and boundless creativity of the Japanese, I wonder if this is a bold, “out-of-the-box” marketing ploy to cater to the under-served demographic of sickos who get off on watching bald prepubescent-looking girls tearfully cry in morally disgraced humiliation in front of a camera.

    It’s not exactly a step down from parading them around in bikinis…

    • https://www.facebook.com/dinie.akhemu Gerhana

      yeah appealing to lust or emotion is always a good strategy to hook people in. I think the target audiences for this are more general than the pervert behind the computer. Like the bullying case with one Kpop group which also brought the attention of people who are not Kpop fan.

  • AnthonyLudovici

    I like the fact they hold idols to standards like this.

    It makes a better role model for girls than the likes of Lady Gaga.

    Women need to learn there are things in life other than sex, drugs and other mindless frivolities.

    • Kate

      Believe it or not but most women everywhere in the world (western countries included) don’t “partake in random sex, drugs, and extrene behaviors” . The US has wholesome singers too like Taylor Swift, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Mandy Moore, etc who are sweet, wholesome good girls. Lady Gaga is a way extreme example and by the way Lady Gaga is hugely popular in Japan. This is not “a role model” thing, this kind of thing is exactly what girls shouldn’t be seeing unless you think stalking, public humiliation and slut shaming a normal 20 yr old girl is a good thing?

      • Flora

        Actually, all those girls you just held up as bastions of wholesomeness are well known to sleep around with their costars (I believe one of them was nearly fired by Disney for sexting one) & any other male celebrities they come into contact with. Heck, Swift alone has publicly gone through 5 boyfriends these 2 months alone – it’s turning into a running joke here in the States.
        If anyone in Hollywood still counts as a good female role model, it’s women like Lady Gaga & Pink. Sure they dress in the extreme, but they’ve never been in a sex scandal, take their work seriously, and have been honest about their lives & emotions rather than hiding behind a candy-coated persona.

        If I had a daughter, I’d definitely want her learning those lessons instead of “look sweet, but act buckwild when no one’s watching”.

        • Kate

          That’s the point of what I was saying, the media in any country has different genres of “singers” who they fit into a mold and market. Of course none of the girls I mentioned are “virginal, pure” girls (despite what their PR managers try to sell) and its the same thing for these japanese or korean starlets as well. Their images are just to sell things to people, but in reality they are normal developing women who think about and have sex like any normal person their age now and since humans have existed. The comment above mine was saying that these women “are ideal for how woman should behave” but those girls really aren’t like that and the only difference between them and lady gaga is how they’re marketed but realy they are all just humans who do human things like sex. The whole “pure virginal” thing is only something men tell women to control them while they themselves go out and screw mistresses and prostitutes and whatever but then expect/demand women be pure just for them. This is why I don’t understand the outrage of a 20 yr old having sex when everyone knows in reality everyone has sex and its HER body and life and she is entitled to live however she wants.

          • tonkotsu

            it’s japan /story

        • Kate

          Oh and ty for the thoughtful reply!

          • gangnamstyle

            hate you mad cause hes right, dont hate the player

  • ChuckRamone

    I don’t know why I thought of Sinead O’ Connor. I guess ’cause I’m old. You guys probably don’t even know who that is.

    This AKB48 girl had to do it for the sake of her band’s image as sexually pure. Other Asian pop stars have this image to maintain, and fans get upset when their fantasy is ruined. Kinda weird still. It’s very medieval. She also has the option of quitting the band, but then she’d probably just have to live her life as a normal person, doing boring jobs and occasionally being recognized as that former pop star who did something scandalous.

    • Cyberia

      Sinead O Connor shaved her head to make a statement about the corruption of Catholicism. this person, not so much.

  • Your Sexy Cousin Rex

    Wasn’t there an AKB48 member who just got into porno? I wonder what sort of punishments she has received.

    • hun

      It was an ex-akb48 member named Rika Nakanishi who goes by Rico Yamaguchi in the porn industry but last i heard she quit the av industry already as well. DONT ASK ME HOW I KNOW THIS.

      • bluesummers

        I can tell you how you know — you watched her movies like the rest of us.

    • MiichanFan

      Yep. If by ‘just’ you mean over 5 years ago.

      She had already quit the group. Therefore there was no need for punishment.

      In the event that your comment is a joke…it’s awful and your sense of humor is terrible.

      • Cyberia

        “In the event that your comment is a joke…it’s awful and your sense of humor is terrible.”

        LMAO @ you being personally offended at everything said in this thread. Get a life?

        Regardless of whatever the hell happened, this groups STAYS a talentless cesspool. Her “singing” sounds like a cat being dragged full-speed across the Californian highway.

  • YourSupremeCommander

    Since when does overnight stay ‘with a guy’ mean spreading your legs and let it go in?

    • Kate

      It doesn’t. She could of just stayed over with him because she is his friend or because it was late or whatever. However in a society that apparently likes to slut shame young women who aren’t married then they just wildly accusing this poor girl and drive her to do something extreme for repentence. Its insane.

      • MiichanFan

        Um. This isn’t what slut shaming is. Slut shaming is when women call sexually active women sluts because they’re jealous or uncomfortable with their own bodies or their own sexuality.

        Japan has one of the largest sex trades in the world…they don’t really have a problem with sluts.

        She didn’t repent for the act of staying over at a guy’s place. She did it because she caused the group bad publicity. It has to do with the group mentality that Japan favors. She was so distraught that she caused the image of the group harm that she did something drastic. All the girls have boyfriends. They’re just not allowed to end up on the cover of a national magazine and cause a worldwide shit storm.

        …which, in sensationalizing this story, you are only adding to.

        • Cyberia

          “She did it because she caused the group bad publicity. It has to do with the group mentality that Japan favors.”

          And guess why it was bad publicity, hmm? Could it be that these Japanese 40-year-old male virgins fans can’t stand the thought of her having a public relationship? That they’re still operating under the delusion that she’s some 12-year-old virgin?

          “She was so distraught that she caused the image of the group harm that she did something drastic.”

          LMAO, you don’t really buy this, do you? And why would a public relationship be harmful, exactly?

        • thefreeair

          Um! The definition of slut slaming you insist on hurling around this thread is almost absurdly narrow and lightweight. By completely ignoring the broader culture of controlling, objectifying, and turning female sexuality into a commodity, your screeds read more than a little disingenuous. Couple of things:

          1. Slut shaming isn’t just women being catty assholes. Men do a lot of slut shaming too, which I would expect an enlightened feminist to be cognizant of. Further, this goes beyond jealousy and insecurity. The misogyny inherent in slut shaming is very much about resenting women’s choices and agency. it’s about putting the offending woman in her place. I find your decision to frame the issue as women being bitches very telling.

          2. What the hell does Japan’s sex trade have to do with its acceptance of “sluts” ( Ahem! An advocate for women using that term? calling sex workers sluts now, are we?)? “Hey, you know what proves our culture likes and respects women? The sex trade!” And I’ll bet parents nationwide encourage and support their daughters in entering into this distinguished and honourable profession too! I’ll bet sex workers are greatly respected and highly regarded! Don’t get me wrong, it would be great if they were, but… no. That’s overwhelmingly NOT how it works.

          3. This was my favourite: “She didn’t repent for the act of staying over at a guy’s place. She did it because she caused the group bad publicity” … by staying over at a guy’s place!

          Please explain this to me. If there weren’t some sexist (or at least sex negative) notions involved, why would this even be a scandal? Tell me. What’s the scandal about? Not the breech of contract nonsense, I mean. Let’s get to the root of why the contract even exists. What’s behind it? Hmm?

    • tonkotsu

      eastern mentality =/= western mentality

  • Flora

    There comes a time in everyone’s life when one has to stop, take a GOOD look at what they’re doing, and ask “Is this really worth it? Am I going to be happy with my choices so far down the road?”

    This is that girls’ moment.

    • MiichanFan

      Indeed…

      She decided that it was worth it and she is happy with her decision. She shaved her own head. I think that’s enough proof right there.

      Nice try though.

      • Cyberia

        Yeah, I’m sure you have first hand knowledge.

  • Jurippe

    I heard she shaved her own head. The company doesn’t really like it when AKB members do things that impact their profitability: ie date or shave their head.

    Either way, it’s what they signed up for. It’s quite draconian, but she’s a popular member and has a bright future in the entertainment industry. She should have just graduated like one of their other most popular members did this morning and went ape shit with the sex.

  • Geo

    It would be wrong to be harsh on the girl if she was in a serious relationship, but she was just sleeping around, it might be a bit extreme for a ‘punishment’ but what a terrible role model for kids.

    • PixelPulse

      Having sex without being in a committed relationship doesnt make you a terrible role model.

    • MiichanFan

      What’s too extreme? The demotion?

      That’s the only punishment that occurred here. She shaved her head on her own accord.

  • linette lee

    Publicity stunt.

    Idols/non musicians depend on packaging and good image to maintain popularity.

    Musicians depend on their talent and ability to produce good music to maintain popularity.

    You think musicians like the group evanescence or linkin park will lose their popularity just because they sleep around or smoke weeds?

    • MiichanFan

      Why do you assume it’s a publicity stunt?

      AKB doesn’t NEED more publicity. They sell 1 million+ copies of every single they release. They pack their theater twice a day every day. They sell out the biggest venues in the country. This isn’t even good publicity…so why would they choose to create this?

      Just because you don’t know anything about AKB48 doesn’t mean they’re not insanely popular.

      • thefreeair

        Gee, why would a group that THRIVES on being popular need more publicity? Do you not understand how celebrity works? There is no such thing as bad publicity.

  • PixelPulse

    This is way too much of a punishment for maybe having sex. Yeah sure, cultural difference blah blah blah but seriously shes been in the group for 8 years and they demote her to a trainee and post a formal apology with a shaved head is going overboard. I understand that a lot Asia likes the “pure girl” thing and puts it into contracts but come on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mika.morissette Mika Morissette

    Absolutely disgusting…

    JapanCrush tries not to editorialise and gives news as it is, but I would really recommend an commentary on the video in the Japan Times about how deranged and disgusting the whole idol culture is: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/culture/2013/02/01/music/akb48-members-penance-shows-flaws-in-idol-culture/#.UQydfR1QFK0

    • MiichanFan

      That entire article is pure sensationalism.

      She’s not apologizing for what she did in bed. She’s apologizing for getting caught, getting outed in a tabloid and giving the group negative publicity.

      EVERY star in Japan has a strict contract. The stars that CAN date have to ask their agency’s permission before they can go out in public with their new-found love! They’re even required to ask before they get married! Male idols are reportedly required to appear in husband roles in dramas and movies before they can announce their marriage plans. This is apparently so that fans can get used to the idea of them being married…That’s both women AND men who are treated poorly! Stop trying to scream misogyny!

      The media has sensationalized this story. Minegishi’s head shaving was her own decision. What this article fails to mention was that she did it in the dressing room of the AKB theater with scissors while members of AKB’s staff begged her to stop. Had she not gone to the extent of cutting off all of her hair this story wouldn’t be in the news at all!

  • https://www.facebook.com/dinie.akhemu Gerhana

    whats that Judo thing at high school about? anyone know?

    “Straight after the Judo thing at high school? That’d give the
    world the strong impression that Japan ignores women’s human rights w.”

  • linette lee
    • Jurippe

      I’d agree it’s culture if you read the netizen responses at the top. Most of them think the no dating rule is pretty stupid too. If you look near the bottom, one of them said it’s a human rights issue.

    • MiichanFan

      Plain and simple: There is no “No dating rule.” It’s a no PUBLIC dating rule.

      Why is it so hard for you people to envision the PR nightmare that AKB would have on it’s hands if it had to worry about 200 girls going out on dates and going to see their boyfriends every night? They’d just be a tabloid gold mine!

      Members are free to do what they want as long as they don’t get caught in public doing it.

      Also…since you used it as an example: Since when is swimwear softcore porn? Please let me know. I’m quite concerned that the pool and the beach may have become overtly sexual places since I last went…

      No matter what your gender is, misogyny is also manifested when you claim that a woman who appears in a magazine in swimwear or skimpy clothing is only doing it for a man. It’s called slut-shaming in psychology circles. You’re uncomfortable with your own body so you feel the need to humiliate other women who do not have self-image issues. Just thought I’d throw that out there since you decided to pull the “softcore porn” card.

      • http://www.facebook.com/anabelenruiz90 Ana Belen Ruiz

        Your comment is so naive. Or you are probably a male.

        Girls like those who dream of fame, at that age, really don’t know what they are facing. They just sign a contract, and then do whatever their agencies tell them to do. Also, what they have to say.

        The rule of dating is cruel in fact, being in public or not, it’s a nonsense and sick. After seeing them posing provocative like the pictures above…

        And japanese society IS sexist, not only said by me.

        Stop trying to defend what is indefensible.

        • MiichanFan

          So you’re saying that a 20 year old woman isn’t smart enough to make decisions on her own? The hell is your problem?

          Plenty of these scandals have blown over with no repercussions for the member involved. It is only the ones that cause a huge PR nightmare for the group that leave them in a position that requires them to do something.

          Is Disney being misogynistic when it’s child stars get caught having sex so they drop them like a hot potato? If not, then neither is AKB48.

          You have no idea what the group does 99% of the time. You have likely watched 10 seconds of one video and are basing all judgement off of that.

          Male idol groups and Kpop groups punish their members for scandals, too. The difference is that they handle things behind closed doors. AKB48’s entire concept is based on making the inner workings of the group public. That’s the only reason this is even out in the open. There are multiple cases where male idols got married or were found with women and they were barred from performances for months or even removed from the group.

          • linette lee

            ……..Is Disney being misogynistic when it’s child stars get c………………….

            disney child stars are watched by 2 yr old to teenagers. What are you talking about? And none of them take photos like this.

            http://livedoor.blogimg.jp/aklog/imgs/5/b/5b64f6ed.jpg

            You can understand why it is very strange to the non japanese people because you japanese folks hold idols to a standard that they “pure” and “innocent” but turn around and have them take soft porn photos selling them and marketing them. How crazy. And those idol girls do know what they are doing. They know they have to take those photos. They know they are selling their image and body and not their music talent.

            And nothing wrong having a boyfriend in a serious relationship. She is old enough to decide to stay over if she wants.

          • MiichanFan

            “And none of them take photos like this.”

            A number of them have taken naked photos which were then leaked. They were then dropped by Disney and shamed by pretty much everyone who wasn’t fapping over the images.

            AKB is no longer set up to appeal solely to crazy fans. They have long since mainstreamed their business model. They do still have to appeal to wotas though. That’s just part of the game.

          • Cyberia

            “Is Disney being misogynistic when it’s child stars get caught having sex so they drop them like a hot potato? If not, then neither is AKB48.”

            You’re seriously comparing child pornography to what AKB is going through?

            “So you’re saying that a 20 year old woman isn’t smart enough to make decisions on her own? The hell is your problem?”

            Apparently since you think the situations are comparable, wow.

          • MiichanFan

            You’re seriously bringing child pornography into a conversation where NO ONE EVEN MENTIONED IT?

            You’re a complete fool. Just go away.

          • thefreeair

            “Is Disney being misogynistic when it’s child stars get caught having sex so they drop them like a hot potato?”

            Um, YES! Disney has a long and colorful history of sexism and misogyny.

    • Elf Queen

      OMG. She looks so miserable in the first and second picture.Just a little girl who looks scared. My daughter is 9 and if anybody would make her this miserable I wouldn’t be happy (polite way to say,punch them in the face)

      • MiichanFan

        Oh my god. Are you serious with this comment? Gravure is not something forced on these girls. There are plenty of them that don’t do it because they are not comfortable with it. They don’t force them into anything and the fact that you even assume that to be the case is shameful.

        Have you ever thought about WHY you feel that women that show their bodies are being forced or are shameful? Psychologists call it slut-shaming. It’s a form of misogyny. You aren’t comfortable with your own body…you may even be ashamed of it. It’s not necessarily your fault and it’s likely perpetrated by a society that wants women to feel that they should cover up their bodies and be ashamed of themselves. It’s ok. It’s a common, but damning belief.

        You are, in essence, crying out that these images are misogynistic then using a misogynistic reason to back up why you think they are wrong! When I read your comment, I read this: “Omg. I cant believe those evil men forced this poor defenseless girl to do this! Someone should stop them!” Pretty demeaning to women, no? Are you claiming that women can’t make a decision like this on their own without being forced?

        Next time, before you call foul on some simple pictures in a magazine featuring WILLING models you should stop and think about why you find it so wrong. I’d say it’s due to your own insecurities and you own faults. Not the model’s.

        For the record: She posted on her blog about the first two images when they were taken saying, essentially “I’m 18 now and I wanted to look more seductive and more like an adult.” God forbid an ADULT woman make the choice to take a picture of herself! BLASPHEMY!

        TL:DR : You are being a misogynist and you are commenting on a culture you don’t understand.

        • Ray

          Hmm I always thought that it was quite hypocritical when someone suggests that, so there is a “name” for this behaviour! Good to know.

          • MiichanFan

            Yes and it’s unfortunately very common in Western culture, especially in the USA. Women and men alike are taught from a young age that their bodies are something to be hidden and that they should be ashamed of certain parts of their body.

            Much of it stems from the Puritanism and hardline Christianity that were once the cultural norm in America. When you go to Japan or other countries that tend to identify themselves as a non-religious people, they are almost always more freely expressive and more comfortable about themselves.

            I often find myself laughing when people like many of the ones we’ve seen in this post use the rallying cry of feminism even though a real feminist would be appalled to hear what they have to say!

            The topic itself is quite interesting…and distressing at the same time.

          • MarcoFNTS

            You seem to be prude-shaming Elf Queen (and a whole culture) by saying she’s slut-shaming these girls, isn’t that a little hypocritical? And you have a very puerile understanding of what slut-shaming is (and the psychological veneer you want to add to your words is really sad). I live in Toronto, Canada, and here anybody can do whatever they want with their bodies, men and women, both publicly and privately. This is the place where SlutWalk started, we have North America’s largest Pride Parade every year. There is a nudist beach with a lovely view of downtown on the same island where a children’s amusement park is located (and nobody is scandaled). A person can also chose not to expose their bodies or have sex with anybody if that’s what they want, but there isn’t a whole music industry (and legions of fans) demanding chasteness from pop stars in exchange for fame, that is sick and twisted. Besides, you are, probably willingly, missing a very important point: these girls are expected to show their bodies, but they are not allowed contractually to publicly admit to having sex with anybody because of the perception that this tarnishes their “image”. These photos are not acts of self-empowerment as you claim, they would be if they were in control of their bodies, but on the contrary, they are acts of submission. This is the reflexion of a very disturbing trend of growing conservatism in current Japanese culture in which, for instance, more and more young people (more than the previous generation) think women SHOULD stay home “because it makes them happy”. These photos you’re defending are not a sign of freedom but of suppression.

            http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/02/a-pop-star-shouldnt-shave-her-head-in-shame-for-having-a-boyfriend/272907/

          • MiichanFan

            I’m glad you think you know about Japan…but you really don’t. Something you read on the internet or in some idiotic college “textbook” doesn’t count as fact in the real world.

            I’m also glad that you feel that conservationism is disturbing. An ENTIRE way of thinking to you is apparently disturbing but yet Im sure you view yourself as a bastion of open-minded thinking.

            Seriously. Get a grip. These girls are fine. They’re able to leave these jobs any time they want. There’s a current trend of upward mobility of women in Japanese culture that’s never been seen before, women get preferential treatment in many ways in Japan, too. You argument doesn’t hold water at all. You can’t just say “Women in Japan stay at home because it makes them happy” and have it be true.

            As for this being submission…what are you talking about? These girls are raking in cash. What’s next? Are you going to say that strippers and internet cam girls are engaging in submission because they get paid stacks of cash for taking off their clothes? Please…

            Check your sources and come back another time. You’re simply dead wrong here.

          • Cyberia

            “Women and men alike are taught from a young age that their bodies are something to be hidden and that they should be ashamed of certain parts of their body.

            Much of it stems from the Puritanism and hardline Christianity that
            were once the cultural norm in America. When you go to Japan or other countries that tend to identify themselves as a non-religious people, they are almost always more freely expressive and more comfortable about themselves.”

            Except, you know, your celebrities can’t have public relationships. Don’t forget Japan’s non-existent lgbt stance, their racism, the infantilization of women, strict gender roles, need I go on?

          • thefreeair

            A real feminist would recognize the nuance of the issue noting that a young woman has the right to do what she wants with her body while still recognizing the culture of objectification that limits her choices and agency. ie. It’s okay to pose for the male gaze, but it’s not okay to derive some personal enjoyment from your own sexuality by, you know, fucking your boyfriend behind closed doors.

        • Elf Queen

          Im just stating my opinion that to me she looks miserable.Maybe she is not,who knows? And Im extremely comfortable with my body.

        • Cyberia

          LMAO the delusion is just rolling off you in waves. Take a seat and a gender studies class while you’re at it. How the hell is making her shave her head for having a relationship not the DEFINITION of slut-shaming. You are a horrible human being.

          “For the record: She posted on her blog about the first two images when they were taken saying, essentially…”

          Yes, because celebrities NEVER retract statements and offer non-apologies for their sake of their management. Wow, you are dumb as fawk. You are literally the equivalent of the “omg i saw it on the internet so it muust be truuuee” moron.

          • MiichanFan

            Nah. I just think about things critically and don’t jump to wild conclusions attempting to bring ridiculous feminist views into everything.

            Seriously. ‘Fawk’ you. Go back to your own little corner of the internet and stay the hell out of mine.

    • mattman_183

      Wait, did you just label an entire culture over the rules of a girl group? Also, Snookie.

  • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.williams.50159 Anthony Williams

    it will grow back… get a grip.. lol

  • bluesummers

    It’s a media stunt by AKB48 managers to cause reactions and curiosity. New pics have surfaced where the girl took pics with her…other idols and she’s smiling happily holding the peace sign. Furthermore, if they didn’t want to cause anymore embarrassment they wouldn’t upload it on youtube with the comments disabled

    http://www.sankakucomplex.com/2013/02/02/akb48%e2%80%b2s-minami-minegishis-sex-shaving-shamed-japan/

    • MiichanFan

      Your first mistake was believing ANYTHING you read on Sankaku complex.The picture didn’t “surface.” She posted it on her own Google+ account talking about how great HER FRIENDS were. They showed up at the theater and waited to comfort her. Even graduated member Maeda Atsuko was there. She smiling because her friends are with her and her job was spared. Why is that so wrong?

      Your fallacious analysis of something you’re completely in the dark about simply makes you look foolish. Could you please just go back to whatever it is you normally like?

      It’s just fantastic that you’re getting your news from someone who hates Japan as much as Artefact does though. Keep doing that and maybe one day you’ll be just as cynical and hateful as he is.

      • http://twitter.com/MasterWota Yoda

        You are right. Yeessss

      • Relivash

        Uh Artefact is more pro Japan >.>

        • MiichanFan

          …yeah…ummm…no.

          If you think “pro-Japan” is telling lies to make Japanese stars and everyday people look bad then he’s the most pro-Japan person I know.

          Unfortunately for him that’s not what pro-Japan is. He gets thousands of trash comments on that site…but the ones that are actually well thought out and prove him wrong get deleted. He posts porn on a weekly basis and honestly seems to do everything in his power to harm someone’s image in every post.

          He regulary goes on lie-filled-article vendettas against groups and stars (Aya Hirano, AKB48 and Morning Musume to name a few) and they last for months at a time. (Some of the anti-idol stories that people use are legitimately just lies made up by Artefact.)

          He makes up 90% of the “comments from 2ch” that he uses in his posts. Oftentimes the things he claims 2channers say aren’t even Japanese sounding and sometimes they’re not even really things that are possible to say in Japanese…

          He’s gone to Danny Choo events solely to heckle him more than once even though he used Danny Choo for advice when he started his site.

          The way he writes, even when he’s not trying to be incendiary and hateful is…well…incendiary and hateful. Every freaking sentence is sarcasm!

          There’s more but I’m not going to make more of a text wall than I already have. If you choose to believe Sankaku then you’re not getting a picture of what Japan really is. You’re not even getting a good picture of real life…all you’re reading about is Artefact’s little dream world that he’s created to make himself some mad cash.

      • bluesummers

        I’m sorry, I was under the impression that she shaved her head because she was supposed to be ashamed of something.

        Taking a picture of your bald head with your bff’s takes away all the meaning of doing it in the first place.

        But hey, since I’m some “cynical and hateful” guy off the internet even though you’ve never met me, I guess you can spin it any way you want, eh? Hah.

        • MiichanFan

          In what way exactly does it invalidate everything?

          She was scared that she’d be kicked out. She was scared that her friends, mostly members of the group would then shun her.

          Japanese culture is very different from what you’re likely used to. Apologies are almost always over the top. Things are very quickly swept under the rug after one has apologized and most of the time they just move on with life. She showed her remorse. She got her punishment. What more do you want from her? Why should she sulk for days on end? Her apology was accepted many times over and her friends were still there for her. I think that’s more than enough of a reason to be happy. (also…if you know miichan then you know that she is not very happy in that picture…that’s a forced smile if I’ve ever seen one. I personally think it was meant as a sort of “I’m OK. Don’t worry about me.” picture.)

          I’ve said my piece. Anything more would be beating a dead horse.

          Sorry for jumping on you like a rabid dog when you mentioned Sankaku…that site is literally the gutter of the Japanese online news scene and anyone, even it’s users, will tell you that it’s one big pack of lies.

  • Paul M

    So if they haven’t kicked her out the band are they going to wait till her hair grows back or just stick a wig on her? One of the many reasons why I don’t like the commercial pop music industry. I heard that Girls Generation also have strict contractual obligations including not getting into relationships, living in the same house together and having their diet strictly controlled.

  • nintendo-nerd

    Shaved or not, she is still pretty.

    • nitrostat

      if i didn’t read the story or see the pictures… your comment would have a whole new meaning to it… LOL

  • Cleo

    how much money is at stake for her to go overboard like this?

    • MiichanFan

      Even when the group was only moderately popular the top members of the group made the equivalent of over 400,000 US dollars a year. Now that the group is the top selling group in Japan I’d say it’s easily over a million after AKB and the Agencies take their cut. It’s well known that most big name stars make 10,000-20,000 dollars to appear on a TV show…and some of the AKB girls are on 3-4 shows a week…You do the math.

      I don’t know how much she’ll be doing after this…but she used to host her own show and she was a regular on at least 3 others (not necessarily every week). She was just recently able to buy her family a new home in the Tokyo area (as have a few of the other AKB members) and Tokyo real estate is some of the most expensive in the world. So that should speak a bit about how much she gets paid.

  • elizabeth

    Role model my foot. The bikini photo pretty much sealed the deal with or without the sleeping part. This whole cutesy ‘innocent’ girl band business is just marketing tripe.

    • MiichanFan

      What’s wrong with someone taking photos of themselves in a bikini? Japanese culture doesn’t encourage people to be ashamed of their bodies like Western culture does…

      Look up the concept of slut-shaming. It’s a form of misogyny and you seem to practice it. Assuming you are a female, you could really learn from Eastern culture…Maybe then you’d stop being so ashamed of your own body and rid yourself of Puritan-era thought processes…

      • elizabeth

        I do not need to show off skin to be proud of my body. There are classier ways to make that statement. Having read your responses to criticisms here, won’t even bother to address the other points you raised.

        • MiichanFan

          Good. I would have just shut you down anyways. I’m glad you know to quit while you’re ahead!

      • Cyberia

        What’s wrong with someone public dating? Western culture doesn’t encourage people to be ashamed of their sexuality like Japanese culture does…

        Look up the concept of slut-shaming. It’s a form of misogyny and you
        seem to practice it. Assuming you are a female, you could really learn
        from Western culture…Maybe then you’d stop being so ashamed of your
        own sexuality and rid yourself of Puritan-era thought processes…

  • MiichanFan

    Sigh…some of you people in this comment thread make me sick.

    • linette lee

      We are just teasing your japanese porn culture. Like how some koreans tease all Chinese are criminals and illegals.

      • MiichanFan

        Ouch. I’m SO hurt by your comment.

        In about a week I hope you’ll remember this piece of advice: “Watch your step when you hop down off that bandwagon.”

        • linette lee

          okay…you go watch more porno with so called innocent 18 year old. lol

          • MiichanFan

            <3

          • linette lee

            I just google them. Which number is minegish?
            Well, at least not all of them look like clones. They actually look different with different facial features. They dress like japanese animation characters.

            http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-yrMDvEPS-U8/T9N7d11AUjI/AAAAAAAAAjM/O-jGSECqTQ8/s1600/4thsenbatsu.jpg

          • linette lee

            You japanese folks don’t have talents like the old japanese days. Where are talent like this.
            中森明菜 was popular like for a decade. I don’t really know her, but I remember her when I was a kid. I just googled her. She can really sing.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HW2XmrpOSJE

          • dk2020

            lmao .. linette will u just get off hating asian pop in general, or make your own damn music and go try out in all those singing variety shows that are so popular in asia right now. jpop is dope like utada hikaru, m-flo, crystal kay, the blue hearts .. smh, you’re not japanese or korean so how the hell do you even know what they are saying? you’re trying to tell japanese people about their own music .. smfh .. fail.

          • linette lee

            You crazy. If I have music talent like Justin bieber or Jay chou, I won’t be here talking to you. I will be making hundred millions. Didn’t you claim western and chinese music are horrible now a day? I say they are not compare to Japanese to korean. you fail….

          • dk2020

            OMG Justin Bieber is garbage just like cpop! Now I know you’re jealous of kpop and jpop success overseas ahaha you like One Direction too? You don’t know jack about American music you fob!

          • linette lee

            justin Bieber is not garbage, You have poor taste. Justin writes and produce all his own music and some of them are not bad at all. The boy can play like 3 or 4 instruments and compose his own music in his bedroom since he was a kid. He is talented. I don’t like his songs though. But I do acknowledge this boy has talents. You go tell your kpop to start producing and write their own music instead of plagiarizing the western music.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8B2dX3FLTo

            And yes, majority of the cpop idols are garbage. They have no talent just like majority of the jpop and kpop idols. That I agree. Except for Jay chou and maybe JJ Lin. JJ lin is also a composer and plays piano, drums, and guitar and writes all his music and produce his own album.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=_FUPY9DHCh4

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vi5awqcyJ9U

          • linette lee

            Justin bieber was so young when he first debuted. So young and so talented.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kffacxfA7G4

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXUSaVw3Mvk

          • linette lee
          • dk2020

            bieber is garbage ..bruno mars is way better than this kid .. thats the thing, I’m not into pop just because everybody else likes it .. I have my own tastes and I don’t follow the crowd like you do ..

  • Relivash

    Everywhere that I read about this, people are screaming “misogyny”. It isn’t. She shaved her head (no matter how sad it is). She signed a contract, and broke it.

  • Mr. Ed

    I’m getting flashbacks of the puritan days. Scarlet letters sewn on clothing and slut-shaming taking place in the town square. Is this really 2013? Shit, let the poor girl bone her boyfriend for fuck’s sake! Fans who get upset about this are so pathetic.

  • Hokhok

    so what? whats the problem to have sex? hypocrites society! since every 1 from 200 Japanese women appear in Porn movie!

  • Kimi ray

    No sex allowed for real couples but thousands of porn movies released everyday! what a sick society!

    • linette lee

      it’s not right for the idols to have sex in privacy. They must apologize for being caught. They can only have it on DVDs special edition…hahahaha.lol….

  • http://twitter.com/chinche09 Cincinn

    WHY hasn’t the dude shaved his head??? Last I heard it takes two to do the horizontal mambo!!! Shave his head!!!

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/VictimOfBoredom Matt

      No one forced her to shave her head. She did it on her own accord.

    • Golbinnom

      he’s not an idol

  • monmon

    Kinda dumb that they should have this kind of contract. As long as the idols are showing up for work everyday…

    Still, I like the new look. Kinda suits her, actually. lol

  • dim mak

    She should’ve just been like, “fuck y’all I’ll kiss boys if I want”

    • linette lee

      ………..”fuck y’all I’ll kiss boys if I want”…………

      yeah,,,,my favorite comment for the day. hahaha. lol. She should say that in this video and add a middle finger with it.

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  • MyOpinionIsBetterThanYours

    Shaving your head won’t bring back your “pure” idol image, just look at Hirano, Minegishi is a disgrace on an equal level. Disgusting.

    That’s why 2D will always remain superior when in comparison with 3DPD.

  • don mario

    jesus christ, japanese guys need to man the fuck up BIG TIME. they cant hack it when a girl from a band -who they will probably never even have any interaction with in their sad little lives-dates someone? these people got some serious issues.

    the girls are responsible to, all in all a sad state of affairs.

  • poko chan

    Don’t mix up with the porn industry and idol industry in Japan. They are completely different things.

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