No pop star should shave her head in shame for having a boyfriend

9 February 2013 / 3 years 8 months ago

A writer feels that AKB48's Minami Minegishi -- or any pop star for that matter -- should shave her head in shame for having a boyfriend. The writer, Patrick St. Michel, is a journalist living in Tokyo who is familiar with the J-Pop culture. In an article in The Atlantic, he reflected on the video posted at around 10pm on Jan 31 which shocked many -- showing a teary-eyed Minami Minegishi apologising to her fans for spending the night with a male friend. She had shaved her head to atone for her 'mistakes' and said that the group had demoted her to the 'trainee' team for being caught leaving a young man's apartment several days earlier. Michel said that the disturbing video highlights the nature of the Japanese entertainment industry and the growing gender problem in Japan. One of AKB48's rules, like many other J-pop groups that fall under the category of 'idol music' abid by, is that the members must uphold a pure image because 'idols' like themselves are perceived to be more 'accessible than other pop stars. They are the 'idols you can meet' and they are expected to develop personal connections with fans -- so this would mean that they can't smoke, make trouble and of course, date.Because of this emotional bond with fans, idol group members can't do anything that might suggest that they are independent from fans -- which is a major problem in the Japanese showbiz industry. While the rules apply to both male and female idols, female idols are usually the ones getting in trouble because they are expected to fullfil their male fans' fantasy -- which is to be submissive like how Japanese women are traditionally expected to be. Michel also quoted Ian Martin from The Japan Times: "...idol institutionally incapable of dealing with independence in young women." He sums up his article by Japanese pop stars are being controlled by the backward demands of their conservative fans. View the gallery of Minami Minegishi and AKB48 in the gallery below.

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