In its latest issue, tabloid Shukan Bunshun reported that AKB48 member Minami Minegishi spent a night at the home of pop-group Generations member Alan Shirahama and posted a photo of her leaving his house on the morning of January 17th. The 20-year old pop star was seen wearing a white breathing mask, a cap, and an oversized jacket, as she strolled on the sidewalk outside Shirahama’s apartment building in Setagaya Ward. The scandal caused AKB48’s management to demote her to kenkyuusei (“trainee level”) beginning February 1, as stated in the band’s official blog.
Soon after, a video was posted on AKB48’s official YouTube page showing a somber and tearful Minegishi, now sporting a shaved head, apologizing to her fellow members, the fans, management, her family and the public in general for the article about her. She said that she has lost track of her responsibilities as a senior member of the pop group and that what she showed was a “lack of self-awareness behavior.” She maintained that she didn’t want to leave the group, but that she is leaving it up to the group’s manager, Akimoto Yasushi, to decide on her fate.
Both Minegishi and Shirahama are not only musical pop icons, but they have starred separately in a number of television shows as well. In 2011, they appeared together in a reading drama called “Moshimo Kimi ga.” Also worthy to note is that the management of AKB48 has a strict rule that its members are not allowed to have sexual or romantic relations while they are with the group. Minegishi’s apology video can be seen below, along with an English translation.
I am very sorry for worrying the members, you fans, staff members, my family, and many people for the article about me on a weekly magazine that will be released today.
As the first generation member of AKB48 that was formed back in 2005, I was supposed to be in the position where I always had to act as a role model for the junior members. However, what I have done was such a thoughtless and a lack of self-awareness behavior.
Since my mind is still in blank, I did not know what to do or what I can do, but as I just saw the magazine, I could not sit still, so I decided all by myself to shave my head without even telling the members or my agency.
I do not expect that I would be forgiven by doing this, but what I first thought was that I did not want to quit AKB48.
I was unable to think of leaving AKB48 now where the members I love and spent my youth together, and you warm fans are. I know this is being over‐optimistic, but I want to stay as Minegishi Minami of AKB48 if possible.
It was all my fault about this. I am very sorry.
I will leave everything to Akimoto-sensei’s and the management’s judgement. Though I haven’t been able to sort out my feelings, I just wanted to tell you how I was feeling right now.
[via Tokyo Hive]