Monday, February 4, 2013

Japanese Pop Star Shaves Head After Sex Scandal

By JONATHAN HICAP, Manila Bulletin
MANILA, Philippines - The Japanese music industry is reeling from a sex scandal involving a member of top girl group AKB48 and a Japanese-Filipino member of GENERATIONS boy band.
AKB48 member Minegishi Minami, 20, shaved her head after a Japanese weekly magazine published a report and photos of her spending the night and leaving the house of GENERATIONS member Shirahama Alan, 19. The two starred in a 2011 drama.

After the report came out, Minegishi posted an apology on YouTube and pleaded that she wanted to stay as member of the girl group, who has strict rules on dating.
Because of the scandal, Minegishi was demoted to trainee status on Feb. 1 and will remain in AKB48.
In her YouTube apology, Minegishi said she was so sorry for causing the scandal.
(Top) Minegishi Minami before and after the scandal and (bottom) Shirahama Alan.
(Photos courtesy of Minegishi's Google+ page, LDH and screen capture)
"I am very sorry for worrying the members, you fans, staff members, my family, and many people for the article about me on a weekly magazine that will be released today. As the first generation member of AKB48 that was formed back in 2005, I was supposed to be in the position where I always had to act as a role model for the junior members. However, what I have done was such a thoughtless and a lack of self-awareness behavior," she said, according to Tokyohive.
She added, "I do not expect that I would be forgiven by doing this, but what I first thought was that I did not want to quit AKB48. I was unable to think of leaving AKB48 now where the members I love and spent my youth together, and you warm fans are. I know this is being over optimistic, but I want to stay as Minegishi Minami of AKB48 if possible."
The video has since been made private on YouTube.
Meanwhile, Shirahama's agency was quoted as saying that  "We leave his private life up to him."
Shirahama, whose father is a Japanese and mother is a Filipina, debuted as member of Japanese group GENERATIONS last year. He is also an actor and dancer.
On Google+, Tomonobu Togasaki, AKB group theater general manager, answered questions from fans regarding Minegishi.
Was it necessary to shave her hair?
"It wouldn't be necessary even if you ask if it was necessary or not. It was just that Minegishi really wanted to convey how strong her feeling was."
Did anybody stop her from shaving her hair?
"I heard that when she came out from the make up room, she had already shaved her hair. It seems that the staff beside her did stop her. However, I heard that she said that people might think of her as a fool, but she really wanted to put her reflection into action, so she cut her bangs using scissors without losing control over herself."
Isn't it unfair that the punishment for each of the members who had scandals were different?
"It would be better if we can establish the same rule. However, we are experiencing a dilemma because it is difficult to conceive a common rule since each member is under a different situation.
"For example, a member had been warned many times, but did not listen to anyone and created a scandal. There was also a member who wanted to pursue her dreams and was about to plan on graduating when a scandal about her was exposed. There was also a member whose past was discovered. There was also a member whose scandal was not exposed, but still had a huge rule violation. Please do understand that we have to make decisions with consideration to many circumstances."
There was a photo of Minegishi, which has been uploaded on the internet, where she looked like she was having fun with the first generation members. Did she really reflect on her actions?
"Before the rehearsals of the theater performance of Team B, I saw Minegishi who came to apologize with an exhausted expression on her face, so I can say that she has reflected on her actions. At the same time, it seemed like she was trying her best not to make people around her feel worried. I think that is the reason why the members of the same generation as her were encouraging Minegishi who was feeling depressed."
Link to my original article on Manila Bulletin online:

Email me at sangchusan(at)

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