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A Japanese tabloid caught Minegishi Minami, who is a member of the country’s most popular music group AKB48, leaving the house of a male pop group earlier in January. Today, Minami posted the above video to AKB48’s official YouTube channel in which she apologizes for what she’s done. She also reveals that she’s been demoted within the group and…to punish herself, she has shaved her head.

So this is blowing up on Japanese Twitter right now, as it should be because this is about as terrible as the Japanese music industry gets. For idols like Minami, dating is a humongous red flag as it supposedly ruins the fantasy element at play (many male fans form “connections” with specific members of these groups, so having said member dating/hanging out with other men kills that). Other AKB48 members have been fired for doing the same thing Minami did, but she is popular so she has been spared…though I think what she has had to do is way worse. Shaving your head and then delivering a teary-eyed apology on YouTube while still being demoted?

(Also, if you believe the “she did this on her own free will” line, you should understand nothing about a group like AKB48 operates in such a loose way. This appearing on their official YouTube channel indicates this is endorsed by the people running the show. I also am guessing they told her to shave her head - they’ve had other shamed members of the group do things like run in charity marathons to “redeem” themselves, so this seems like something they’d cook up).

Here’s the dark side of the Japanese-music industry…and to some degree Japan itself, a country ranked 101 in the Global Gender Gap rankings…where young women who want to become pop stars have to do ridiculous shit like this for the terrible crime of…acting like regular human beings. This is some Scarlet Letter type stuff, but sadly common in an entertainment industry that needs major changes.

Only somewhat redeeming thing coming out of this? People on Twitter seem shocked by this, which means AKB48’s management will notice and (maybe? please?) think about not doing stunts like this anymore. If nothing else, they’ll probably remove the video.

EDIT: To get a sense of how fans are reacting to this…including people who really believe she chose to do this…click here. A lot of comments on it now.

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  3. dementiaparadox reblogged this from mbmelodies and added:
    Fucking Japanese.
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  20. japanisgay reblogged this from starmie and added:
    …like this video regardless… o.o
  21. magslivs reblogged this from bourgeoisboheme and added:
    not as terrifying as what goes on every day to women, and men, in the music and movie business in Japan and Korea. I...
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