It seems like J-pop netizens aren’t all that forgiving when it comes to sex scandals and shaving heads after all. AKB48 member Minami Minegishi, who figured in a controversial “walk of shame” incident last January appears on the cover of women’s magazine Fujin Koron and gives an honest interview. But netizens aren’t having any of it and blasted her for doing so.
Minegishi famously shaved her head after being caught by photographers leaving the house of pop-group Generations member Alan Shirahama. She then had to make a tearful, public apology video and was demoted to a kenkyuusei, or “trainee”, by AKB48’s management. Her magazine cover is her first “public appearance” with her shaved head, since she wore a wig during the shows she attended as a trainee.
You would think fans would welcome this latest in-depth interview, where she talks about how she feels really bad about ruining the image of her group and hurting her family was the worst part of the whole thing. She also shared that her goals right now are to be a good daughter to her parents and to graduate from AKB48. But the reactions of netizens to her magazine interview were mostly negative, saying that the interview was just trying to get sympathy from the fans and wasn’t heartfelt at all.
The incident last January gained worldwide attention and put a spotlight on the world of J-pop, where groups like AKB48 do not allow their young members to have sexual or romantic relations while they are still under contract. While some consider that to be unrealistic, given that most of these boys and girls are at the age where dating should be normal, it is a reality that you have to accept if you want to be a pop star in Japan. And given the backlash that Minegishi has faced because of this, despite the apology and public humiliation, other J-pop stars will be even more careful.