There is not one day that goes by without AKB48 being on tv these days. This week’s Shukan Bunshun had 4 ex-AKB members as a panel to talk about their experience as part of the extremely popular girl group.
According to the article, when they first formed, girls had to clean the toilets of their theatre in Akihabara. Once they got popular though, the story changed, “The girls would say that the lunches from the convenience store are too greasy and would not eat them. Back when we first started, we had to share those bentos.” But now, they have lots of rules, like they can’t eat anything Maeda Atsuko had put her hands on.
They even talked about the discrepancies within the group. An ex-research student said that popular members had their luxury apartments’ rent paid for, while she had to take a 2hr train ride just to go to work everyday and she had no salary. An ex-regular member said that she only got 50,000yen a month as salary.
They also rotate costumes within the group, and they’d stink from sweat because of the strong stage lights so their changing rooms always smelled bad. “It was hard putting on costumes when the person before you had strong armpit sweat.”
The most interesting topic was how Itano Tomomi was able to go to the beach with a bunch of guy friends and Oshima Yuko told on her to Akimoto Yasushi later on. Itano got scolded of course. And Tomochin is not the only girl in the group who has a strong interest in the opposite sex, Oshima, Kashiwagi, Sashihara, and Kojiharu are all carnivorous women. Even though members of AKB are banned from being in relationships, it is clearly not the case for the popular girls.
“If you’re a research student or you ranked low on the popularity chart and they find out you have a boyfriend, you’re automatically kicked out of the group. However, they turn a blind eye when you’re part of the media senbatsu.”
However, there was a girl who was in the senbatsu but was forced to graduate because she frequently stayed out partying too late. “She was underage and would drink at clubs along with stay at guys’ homes. She’d show up the next day in the same clothes and the same hair.” They did say the name of the girl, but people have said that was Ono Erena.
Some ex-members have said that there might even be a tell-all book one day from one of the ex-members. “The group is over. There was a girl who was forced to graduate and went back to her hometown to become a cabaret girl. I was thinking about doing the same. Since people might remember my face, it would just be like one of those handshake events they had us do when we were members and we had to pretend to like the person.”
In the article, it even talked about Minegishi talking about the fans that were waiting for her outside. “It’s okay, those people like to wait anyway.” When Shinoda Mariko got gifts from fans, she allegedly threw them into two cardboard boxes and gave those gifts away because she didn’t want them. On top of this, the ex-members also talked about how many of the girls had plastic surgery within AKB. Within the ex-members, many had to turn to mizushobai after they were fired from the group.
I have no idea how to translate mizushobai, so let’s call it prostitution lite/'nightlife entertainment'.
azashi.seesaa.net via uso-ippai