AKB48′s general producer Yasushi Akimoto has denied there is any rule against his girls getting all the action they want, and says those girls who end up being sacked, demoted, relocated to distant islands or shaving their heads in shame all do so for quite unrelated reasons.
The scandal engendered by Minami Minegishi’s dating-induced head shaving penance and sacking, as well as the regularity with which AKB48′s lose their jobs if seen in the company of an unrelated male, were commented upon by AKB48 general producer Yasushi Akimoto in a recent radio interview.
In fact he maintains the girls are free to indulge in all the romantic activities they want, their sackings apparently being only coincidental:
“I don’t want to talk about any more it as it will cause misunderstandings.
[However he talks about it at length anyway...]
The rule about there being no romance allowed is used as material and talked about and stuff, but there is certainly no such rule.
It’s like a highschool baseballer looking to play in the major league at the Koshien stadium – he probably wouldn’t have time to pursue romantic relations.
But I’m saying if they really like someone it can’t be helped.”
Instead he blames their creepy fans for forcing him to not punish the girls he manages:
“Think of what the fans who support them feel is acceptable when these scandals occur.”
He also explains why the level of sanction which is applied to the girls for reasons entirely unrelated to their dating varies so drastically, with some girls sacked and others given free reign:
“There is no rule against it, and no penalty is established. As well as warnings from a manager after rumours begin to circulate, we have to consider their past activities, their character and so on.”
The girls must choose between their own relationships and the one they have with their creepy obsessive fans, he concludes:
“We try everything, and we still get blamed for it all.
They are free to make their own choice when it comes to romance, and they may may choose romance even when their fans hate knowing they have a boyfriend.”
The general conclusion amongst idol watchers is that his explanations are disingenuous at best:
“Despite the fact you made her shave her head?”
“Why are these girls being sacked then?”
“So now they can all have as much sex as they want?”
“If their relationship status is no problem, they can just employ porn stars then.”
“They are already porn stars in waiting.”
“AKB should at least use a guy who can lie a bit less transparently.”
“He is really vague and it is hard to understand what he is talking about. And this from the charlatan who originally came up with the idea of rigging the Oricon music charts by tying handshaking event tickets to multiple purchases of CDs.”
“He’s just trying to blur the issue as much as possible.”
“So it is not forbidden, but if you are busted and your popularity tanks they fire you?”
“What about the ones who get transferred to some distant region after their scandal? You can’t say they weren’t being retired. To say nothing of shaving your head…”
“Of 20 relationship scandals with the AKB groups, 7 have been fired, in 8 no action was taken, and a further 5 engaged in penance of various kinds.”
“Basically they have an unwritten rule that it is forbidden and anyone who is found knows they are likely to be sacked.”
“Here we have HKT/AKB48 member Rino Sashihara on TV stating explicitly that the contract she signed includes a ‘no romance with the opposite or the same sex’ clause:”
“Pity the idiot otaku who believed this and still gave her all their money.”
“If they are free to pursue loving relationships why do they instead choose to make tearful apologies whenever they are found out?”
“The marketing underpinning this group’s success is undeniably creepy.”
“Minegishi and her new concentration camp survivor/brainwashed cultist look don’t really support what he is saying. And this is starting to be treated as a human rights violation after it was reported internationally.
He is just desperate to dodge the blame by calling it ‘material’ and so on, although it is hard to see anyone believing him with all the sacked girls in his wake.”
“He is getting serious heat for banning his young employees from having personal relationships, so now he is trying to maintain it was all ‘voluntary’ on their part. Kind of like all that ‘voluntary’ unpaid overtime happens at Japan’s dodgier companies.”
“I think it is just a case of them being free to do it as long as they aren’t exposed.”
“Does nobody here believe idols are just naturally pure and always obey their agency’s instructions? Nobody?”