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I don't expect to be forgiven by doing this, but the first thing I thought was that I didn't want to quit AKB48." The article in question came out in the Shukan Bunshun magazine last week, and showed alleged photos of Minegishi leaving the house of boy band member Alan Shirahama.Clad in baseball cap and cotton surgical mask, Minegishi was aiming to dodge paparazzi, but evidently her disguise didn't work.When AKB48's agency released the Minegishi video along with a blog post demoting her to the "training" ranks of the 88-member-strong group, it was only the most extreme example in a long line of similar incidents. That's the age of majority in Japan; two weeks previously, she had celebrated her coming-of-age day along with every other Japanese person who reached the age of 20 in the past year.As an adult, how is it even possible to be stopped from forming a relationship by your employer?I'm not sure I know any Japanese people who would admit to liking AKB48, let alone owning any of their CDs.
Now, as journalist and ethnographer Patrick Galbraith told The Verge last year, it's all too easy to stereotype otaku culture.
With its streets of manga stores and maid cafes, Akihabara is the otaku capital of the world, and it's no coincidence that AKB48 was born there.
In a declining music industry, producer Yasushi Akimoto worked out how to strike gold: create a group laser-focused on the one demographic guaranteed to hand over money, no matter what. Not only did Akimoto make AKB48 appealing enough for people to buy the CDs, he figured out methods of convincing devoted fans to buy the same CD multiple times.
The result was the profoundly disturbing apology video posted last week and later pulled from the official AKB48 You Tube channel.
Such "scandals" are common in Japan; despite the flagrant marketing of J-pop idols as sex symbols, any hint of them engaging in an actual relationship is harshly frowned upon.
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," which went on to sell close to 2 million copies at 1,600 yen (around $20 at the time).