AKB48 imouto group NMB48 has courted fan ire after it was discovered that a sign in the background of a backstage shot of the group revealed they were throwing all the gifts their adoring fans gave them straight into the trash as a matter of course.
After buying hundreds of CDs in order to get a handshaking event ticket, many fans bring gifts for the girls to the events, which are graciously accepted.
The group does however publish detailed regulations about what will be accepted, with prohibited gifts including animals, foodstuffs, electronics, data storage media of all kinds, cash and coupons, cosmetics, drugs, explosives, and – of course – underwear.
What actually happened to the gifts may not have weighed too heavily on the minds of the kind of people to buy 100 copies of the same CD, but the mystery was in any case solved by a chance glimpse of signage in the back of a recent group photo.
Why they were doing this is perhaps best not dwelt upon, but fans examined the photo in forensic detail and soon deciphered the writing on a handwritten sign in the background:
In translation (in Japanese it reads “プレゼントは11/23処分します 置いてある物は各自で処理してください”):
Presents to be disposed of on the 23rd. Please deal with anything left over individually.
Amongst fans perhaps expecting the girls to sleep with their creepy gifts by their beds, the revelation that they will soon be consigned to a landfill will likely not be taken well:
“If you are just going to bin it all, don’t accept it in the first place!”
“How did he spot this!”
“If it’s not money, it’s garbage!”
“Difficult issue. If they really did use any of it they would only encourage more.”
“Looking at the list, what exactly can you give them anyway?”
“That’s NG according to the list!”
“I’m sure this sign is just for what is left over after they have taken out what they want!”
“The fan letters go straight into the shredder too I guess.”
“Definitely throw away any food your fans give you!”
“I bet they did get some weird stuff sent them, so it seems a given they’d do this.”
“Expect cameras and recorders in those soft toys.”
“Their fans are a bunch of perverted maniacs so there is no telling how those presents have been interfered with.”
“I appreciate they are not wise to eat any of their gifts, but some of that stuff is expensive and can at least be resold.”
“It seems the correct decision by their management.”
“Warning: Please sort your gifts into the following categories: plastic articles, glass and other incombustibles, paper, articles including batteries, and miscellaneous combustible materials.”
Those with a taste for irony may note that fan treatment of ***48 CDs is not much better…