Tuesday, February 26, 2013

J-Pop Scandal of the Month

The big headline news this month in Japan is about a member of the girls band AKB48. She cut off her hair due to her embarrassment for being caught staying overnight with a man. The horrors. The fact that she acknowledged her scandalous behavior is what made the headlines. This “sleep over” became such a big deal because members sign a contract when they join girl bands. The girls are not to have sexual relations while they’re in the group. Yes, you basically have to be a nun while you’re in a J-pop girls band.

As an act of contrition, singer Minami Minegishi cut off her beautiful long hair. This ritual of shaving ones head as an act of self-punishment goes back to ancient times in Japan. So when Minami made a video apology sporting an almost shaved head, no one was surprised. It seems her act of contrition has worked so far. I haven’t read that she’s been kicked out of AKB48. (Don’t get me started on how stupid some of the band names are in Japan.)

I decided to call my friend Midori to get her take on the big scandal. “So how do you feel about the whole Minami shaved head deal?”

She sucked in a breath. “Very embarrassing.”

“Really? I mean all she did was sleep with a guy.”

I heard nervous tapping on the other line. “I know, but she is supposed to be better than that.”

“Oh. So she can’t be attracted to guys at all?”

“I know it sounds harsh but she signed a contract. She knows what is expected of her.”

“But who can blame Minami. Aran is hot!”

She stuffed back a laugh. “He is cute, but rules are rules.”

“Boy, you Japanese are a bunch of hard asses.”

“Why thank you. It takes many hours in the gym.”

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