Minami Minegishi, a member of the Jpop group AKB48, shocked viewers when she appeared on the group's Youtube channel with her head shaved in a tearful apology for being caught with her boyfriend, Alan Shirahama. AKB48 members are prohibited from dating, and Minegishi apparently shaved her head in anguish over being caught by a tabloid leaving the home of Shirahama, a dancer in the group EXILE.
AKB48 is a hugely popular group, with approximately 90 members. They are based in Akihabara, and take their name in part from the neighborhood known as a geek's paradise. The group has had 13 consecutive #1 hit singles, and made more than 200 million dollars in 2011 in Japan alone. It is believed that for the transgression of spending the night with her boyfriend, the 20 year old has been demoted from "senior" status to "rookie" within the group. In the Youtube video, viewed almost 5 million times, Minegishi begs not to be kicked out of AKB48.
Alan Shirahama's agency released a statement, saying "we leave his private life up to him. He told us they are just good friends and nothing more." Netizens have largely come to Minegishi's defense, demanding that group members be allowed to "lead a normal life." One shocked fan tweeted, "what's the point of this public execution show? It's like something from the war or a totalitarian state." You can watch the full video below:
What do you think of Minami Minegishi's shocking video? Is it fair to demand that performers abstain from dating?