Friday, February 1, 2013

This is not how I wanted to start out February

Okay, I'm aware of the no dating rule. As an idol blogger, you pretty much have to be and when I first found out about it a few years ago, I wasn't okay with it. I thought it was an unrealistic favor to ask from a bunch of teenagers and I thought it was completely unfair that an idol could lose her career over dating someone else. However, over time I've learned to suck it up and deal with it. I'm aware that the rule can't change because idols are market as pure and unobtainable to please the views of a portion of the fanbase. Wotas like they're idols virginal and pure and an idol dating would shatter that image. And since wotas make companies money, the no dating rule ain't going anywhere any time soon. I've seen many a dating scandal during the two years I've been following idols ranging from bizarre to absurd and I've seen a range of punishments too. Sashihara Rino got transferred to HKT48 whilst Masuda Yuka left the group. Some less popular members left in that same route too and I've learned to simply let it slide because I know it's never going to change. Do I still personally think it's a BS rule that's unnecessary for teenage girls/guys to follow? Absolutely but I've been conditioned to deal with it.

But when it affects my oshi in the most cruel and vicious way possible, I have a problem with it.


I was livid- correction: I still am livid. You should have seen me yesterday; if I'd written about this yesterday, my post would have just consisted of a garbled and angry tirade about idols and dating. Even after taking a day to cool off and gather all my thoughts together, I'm still hurt, shocked, enraged and sad. Have I told ever you guys that Minegishi Minami is one of my favorite members of AKB48? In fact, her and Akimoto Sayaka are probably my top two in the group. Isn't it ironic? My two favorite members of AKB48 are both being shafted in almost the exactly same way. I love Miichan's mischievous but sweet personality and I love that a member I actually like a lot is in Senbatsu. So two days ago, when Shukan Bunshun (the magazine that also wrecked Sashihara Rino's career) published an article about Miichan leaving the house of Generations members Shirahima Alan, I was slightly worried. I didn't want Miichan to go the Sasshi route and get transferred or graduate and with the string of AKB48 graduations happening right now, I was a little nervous.

However, I hoped that as a more popular member (and a member of no3b to boot), management would sweep this little scandal under the rug due to the lack of evidence and whip up an excuse for Miichan's behavior. After all, the evidence wasn't that incriminating right? It just showed her leaving some other guy's house and that was it! Anything could have happened behind those doors and surely it wouldn't lead to management demoting Miichan or worse, forcing her to graduate, right? Wrong. Yesterday, a video was uploaded to AKB48's official Youtube channel of Minegishi Minami, head shaved and teary-eyed, delivering an apology to her fans. It was also announced that because of the scandal, Miichan was being demoted to Kenkyusei aka Research Student. And I think we all know that 95% of the Kenkyusei either never get promoted to the actual group or drop out because they're never getting promoted to the actual group.

I just... I don't even know how to react to this. When I woke up and read the news that Miichan had been demoted to KKS... I felt like I'd been punched in the stomach. No, I... you know that feeling you get when you find out something terrible and your stomach feels like it's going to fall out of your chest and you feel like you're gonna throw up? That is how I felt. And then I watched the video. Oh god, the video. Even without the translation, I could tell how torn up Miichan was, sitting there with all her hair gone and trying to hold back tears. I could hear the sincerity in her voice despite the language barrier; I could hear how awful she felt and how hard she was taking this. You know who she reminds me of? Fantine and Evey combined, only even worse because the emotions Miichan felt were real and not scripted. I hate seeing people cry; I hate crying myself and to see this beautiful, happy idol just sitting there as though all the happiness has been sucked out of her is absolutely... desolate.

Honestly, I think it's the video that's gotten me so riled up about this scandal. The sheer fact that Miichan went to so much effort to apologize and how show how truly remorseful she was and then that still apparently enough of a punishment for her is what pushes me over the edge. To think that she felt like she had to go to this length under a group operating on a ludicrous rule of the idol industry it both sad and terrible to me. Miichan shaved her head to apologize; she willingly sacrificed one of the most defining aspects of an idol's appearance to show how sorry she was. In Asia, shaving your head is a big deal; it shows utmost remorse and yet even then that still wasn't enough for Miichan. Now she has to start from the bottom and claw her way back up to the top which is harder than simply starting fresh in another group. Unlike Sasshi, who was getting a push at the time of her scandal, Miichan has no push. She had a solid position in Senbatsu but now that this has happened, so much for that. Now she'll probably go join Akimoto Sayaka as yet another idol ruined by a scandal blown way out of proportion.

And we all know the guy's going to get off scot-free. Why not? He's not an idol; he doesn't have the obligations that a female idol does. But it still makes me mad that Miichan has to take all the flack while he gets to shrug this off; I don't know, maybe it's the inner feminist in me but it doesn't seem right. But then again, this entire situation seems wrong. I think I know how the fans of Hirajima Natsumi and Yonezawa Rumi feel now. I never wanted something so terrible to happen to Miichan; even if she wasn't my oshi, I still wouldn't want this to happen to her. The lengths she felt she had to go to redeem herself for fans show just how fucked up this no dating rule is for idols. Do you have any idea what it's like to be a teenage girl? To spend years and years singing about love but never actually experiencing it yourself? Because idols fucking do. Is it really so shocking that these girls want to experience that love they've sung about for so long? Even when they sign a contract and know what they're getting into, teenagers are impulsive.

For the first time, I have this seething, boiling hatred for this superficial and stupid "no dating" rule, mainly the humiliating repercussions that come with it. And what makes me even angrier is that the only reasons it's still around is because the faction of obsessed wota fans will flip their shit if their oshi dares to make romantic contact with another person. Well you know what? If agencies can't lift the no dating rule because of those deluded wotas whose hearts will break if they find out their oshi is capable of loving another person, then maybe it's time those views need to change. Maybe it's time all you dumbass wotas with your deluded and misogynistic views get your heads out of the clouds and just come to accept that your idols aren't virginal goddesses that exist solely to please you. Maybe it's time you stop flipping your shit over the idea that idols date other people- oh, who am I kidding? It's like asking an Atheist to get baptized at Mass. The goddamn dating rule is more outdated than Mad Men but it's not going away anytime soon. And anyone who thinks that Miichan got exactly what punishment she deserved No human being deserves this.

This happening makes me wonder why I'm even following AKB48 anymore. I know that sounds really melodramatic but I'm serious; why am I following AKB48 now? A lot of my favorites are either graduating or getting shafted out of Senbatsu, the girls getting pushed now I either don't know about or don't care about, I haven't liked any of the songs since Acchan's graduation, and now this. What's keeping me here anyways? Other than Takamina, Mayuyu, and the hope that AKB48 will release some music I actually like... not much. I don't even have the heart to review their latest song. Hell, I don't wanna review anything by them right now and I know that sounds childish but I don't. I don't want to acknowledge an agency who bends an idol into thinking she's worthless for doing something completely normal. I'm sick and tired of all these scandals and graduations; it's not why I became a fan of AKB48. You have one year to get your shit together before I jump ship, Aki-P. As for Miichan... I hope I see her in Senbatsu again. I know now it's a long shot but I just want to see bright, happy Miichan, not someone so torn up and broken. Miichan didn't deserve this; no idol deserves a punishment so degrading and harsh. If I had it my way, idols wouldn't even be punished for dating. But as an English-speaking American girl, I don't have much of a say in that, do I? But please, if anyone has the means to reach out to Miichan in any way possible, please do so. Please let Miichan know that we're all here for her and that we'll all support her.

As for you, Shukan Bunshun, I hope you're happy. I hope you're fucking happy.

13 comments:

  1. If you're crying right now, the best I can do is give a virtual hug.

    *hugs*.

    What quite frustrates me as well is that none of the girls had even spoken up for her (perhaps as part of Japanese culture? Quite a contrast to the Kpop industry), but I see what might go through the crazy wota fans' heads (believe me, it's no different to what happens to sassaeng [stalker] fans in Korea). Well, the wotas are the ones who mainly drive the idol business, so I can see how they can affect the company's flow of profits.

    I strongly agree with your statement of Shukan Bunshun. Worse still with Aki-P's treatment of the situation. Inasmuch that Aki-P might 'lose face' from such news, it is ridiculous to exercise one's power from a contract based on a single report without even listening to other sources for a more coherent report. Yes, he could have ridiculed Shukan Bunshun for insufficient evidence, and he could have even ATTEMPTED to clear out the truth. In fact, the idol business can be ridiculous with its dependency on profits generated by wotas, who would be sensitive to private issues like the aforementioned scandal.

    Miichan appears to have been dehumanised by the idol industry, like many other idol bands. The best we can do is hope for change in the entire system; as big this seems, it's probably the only way that everyone will be happy.

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    1. Thanks.

      I think it's just the culture that prevents the other girls from speaking up about it. I hate it but from what I've seen, Japanese culture doesn't condone the act of speaking out. But it just drives me even crazier that the oppressive culture is so controlling of an idol's image, along with that certain section of wotas.

      I fucking hate Shunkan Bunshun; it strikes me as one of those trashy tabloid magazines we get in America that's constantly spewing bullshit for some quick money. Only it's apparently taken more seriously in Japan than our tabloid magazines. What gets me is the lack of evidence about what Miichan really did; the photo is highly circumstantial. And management didn't even *try* to clear up the rumor.

      I feel so sorry for Miichan and I really hope this isn't the last we hear from her or the issues with the no dating rule. I wish there could be a change in the system; I really do but it's never going to happen.

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  2. I'm totally pissed off with this as well and i'm not even a fan of the 48 groups.

    It's pissed be off that Sashihara gets to carry on with her career, all be it in another group, with all the pictures that SHE HERSELF sent that dick of a fan/ex while Miichan basically is getting forced out with the little information that those retards at Shunkan Bunshun had.

    Since the beginning of 2012, it felt like to me that Shunkan has been trying to get to de-thorn AKB from their control over the entertainment business and to an extent, i kinda saw it coming, but to make a girl decided to do a Britney is lower then low.

    It's like, they can't touch managements favorites, so they'll destroy everyone else.

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    1. I also think Miichan's punishment is really disproportionate to what she really did. Sasshi's scandal had so much more evidence and she pretty much escaped free of punishment.

      I hate Shukan Bunshun so much right now. They've just been throwing so much shit at these girls and it's totally low. And it's all probably just for a big fat paycheck at the end of the day. It absolutely sickens me.

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  3. When I learnt of this madness, I almost punched a hole in my monitor! I mean, even though I'm not really into Miichan, this is very, very harsh punishment! Seriously, like, Shunkan Bunshun, what... the...f*ck?! Those dicks will ruin anyone as long as they get scoops!

    I mean, they'll do everything to ruin AKB (and others)! First, Sayaka (I'm not sure if THEY'RE the ones behind this), Sasshi, Yuka, and many others...IDK others... and what did management do about this???

    I just... this dirty finger's for you, Bnshun! And another! And another!

    To Nia: I was the one who asked for the Perfume list in "How I Got Into Perfume"

    P.S.: I wanna hug you, too, so here's a virtual hug...:')

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    1. Hi, Anon! You know, you can change your Anon name so I can recognize you more easily!

      I know, but Shukan Bunshun's like any other tabloid magazine and they'll dig around for anything just to get a paycheck. And since AKB48's such a big target, it only makes sense. Still, I feel bad for all the other idols whose careers have been ruined by this god-awful magazine.

      Management's also a huge part in this considering they're the ones who take all these scandals seriously and punish the girls.

      Thanks for the virtual huge. :)

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  4. Not a fan of AKB48, but well, this is too much of a punishment for an idol.....I find it rather inappropriate... Although she said that the whole shaving her head is her decision, I kinda doubt that, maybe there was an external factor that made her do it too? Idk... but I pity her even if I don't know much about her, she's one of those akb members that I recognize.. And it's kinda unfair to demote her to a research student while Sashihara was just transferred to another group.....

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    1. I agree, it's a highly inappropriate punishment for an idol, whether this was Miichan's decision or not. I think what made her shave her head was that she felt genuinely guilty, so guilty that the only way she saw as acceptable repent was to shave her head. Miichan's a really great idol with a vibrant personality so the fact that something so awful happened to her is terrible. As for Sashihara, I think the main reason she was transferred was because she was getting a mild push to the front (in Senbatsu elections she was #9 in 2011; in 2012 she was #4). Unlike Sasshi, Miichan was getting no push but had a stable position in Senbatsu until the scandal.

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  5. What makes it even worse is that Michan is probably the most kindhearted girl in the company. There are many examples of her carrying Mayuyu on her back when the girl was too tired to walk and caring for Yui and Kasai when AKPranks reduced them to quivering basket cases.More on this later.......

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  6. By the way, I am sure that she was forced to do this.AKB goofballs who think up the publicity stunts have never had an original idea of their own. They usually steal everything from Walt Disney and model their princesses accordingly. Humm--do we remember Brittney Spears and her haircut?... Exactly! You can be sure the tears were real,especially since she was probably told that management would cover for her when the photos taken by press who "just happened to be there"(yeah-sure)would be released. They know how to make the girls cry at AKB and this was not the first time they hurt Michan.They tried to make her jump off the Macao tower on a bungy cord and before that scared her and Yui to death by bringing a very large and very alive poisonous snake to the dinner table.She was then made to drink what appeared to be snake venom.Nice people....

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  7. I apologize to Nia for the typos. My punctuation and grammar have suffered due to extreme anger at yet another AKOutrage.

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  8. Sorry to keep posting, I'm somewhat upset. I am not the anonymous with the orange logo, I am the anonymous who e-mailed you about the Tomomi pic . I will change my ID to Snow Whites' Prince if you tell me how. Too unhappy about AKBs' victims to figure anything out for myself at the moment,,,,,,,,,,

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  9. Hello Nia, I am the anon who sent the Tomomi Kasai editorial to your e-mail address as you indicated that you would like to read it. I have been busy trying to finish the 300 page novel I began as tribute to her when she first became sick and was hospitalized in 2008. This was before her appendicitis. I will be off to Akihabera again soon. Just to let you know... Did you actually receive my e-mail? I received no reply from you , but my e=mail address has been hijacked. If you receive unusual mailings from my e-mail, please let me know.
    P.S. As I mentioned in the editorial, I never returned to my ballet after my friends "graduated" as AKB would put it. My great love for AKB is waning. I do not even listen to them anymore since they hurt Michan. I will always support Tomo - now and forevermore. When she leaves, AKB will cease to exist for me but I will always try to help her in any way I can. The book is dedicated to her.
    Yours Truly," Snow White s Prince on a White Horse" (The blogger formerly known as anonymous) PPS- there are several of us as you know. I ma not the February 2 blogger...

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