Japan pop idol shaves head after sex scandal


TOKYO—A Japanese starlet who shaved her head and issued a tearful YouTube apology after spending the night with a man was scrambling Friday to redeem the girl next door image of all-female group AKB48.

Pictures of the roughly-shorn head of Minami Minegishi, 20, were emblazoned on national newspapers and Japan’s Twitter scene was abuzz Friday over news that the pop princess had broken the band’s cardinal rule: No Dating.

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.

“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.

Minegishi, who had long, silky hair at the time, was snapped leaving the apartment of Alan Shirahama, a dancer in an off-shoot of the popular boy band Exile.

Tabloid magazine Shukan Bunshun published its article Thursday, and hours later Minegishi was pleading to be allowed to remain with AKB48, one of the world’s most successful acts by revenue.

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 juggernaut that makes much of the accessibility — and the implied availability — of its idols.

Fans have frequent opportunities to meet their favorites, 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 behavior.

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.

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.

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.

A television commercial in which the girls seductively passed candy from mouth to mouth was a huge hit, despite — or because — of its homoerotic overtones, which sparked complaints from more conservative sections of society.

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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  • Andres Bonifacio

    Where can I download  this sex scandal?! LOL!

    • Jon Paul

       You know how to use google?

  • gloriouspark

    she is not a starlet but a member of female group as stated. majority here thinks why should she be harshly judged when others(young nubile talents) are freely going out for dates and far worst.

    • Jon Paul

       Are you reading!!! They have rules to follow strictly. “NO DATING, PERIOD!”

  • Ruzanco 聖者紅玉 (ルビートラ)

    It’s a sex scandal? not even a dating scandal first?! D:< It was her decision to shave her head and had insisted to go on air (streamed online) so she could explain herself and apologize publicly. The management was not the one who pushed her to do this, although, AKB48 has a strictly NO DATING rule. The scandal was basically that she was seen together with a man, so people think they are dating. There are no reports that she had a sex scandal. If she does pictures or videos would already been leaked to the web. The rule she broke was meeting some guy not having a SEX SCANDAL.

    About Tomomi Kasai, I want to blame her agency, publicist or whoever made that cover for her Photobook. It was her first photobook and to think they blew it because of that picture. IMO, the agency or publicist should have known better. They should have foreseen this before that picture ever got out or leaked. Oh, one more thing, she is still part of AKB48 as of today, but only had announced that she will be leaving the group, the date about her leaving the group will be announced soon.

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