Idol Life Isn’t the High Life

Usually when I discuss K-pop and J-pop, it’s all about the music, but today there’s something a little more serious that has come to light. Being an idol in Korea or Japan is all about the image, no matter if you’re male or female, and every aspect of an idol’s life is strictly regimented to uphold that image. When that illusion of perfection is tarnished, however, the repercussions can be severe, and in this case that’s blowing up the internet gossip sites and fansites alike, the consequences almost seem akin to the abusive hazing rituals that we’ve come to know in America.

In the final days of January, Minami Minegishi, one of the members of Japanese super group AKB48, was caught leaving the home of another male pop star (Alan Shirahama of GENERATION) after spending the night with him despite the strict ‘no dating’ rule within the group. After being exposed, Minami was demoted to the position of kenkyuusei (trainee) despite being one of the longest participating members, being part of AKB48 since it first started in 2005. Not only that, out of a desire to show how truly sorry she was, she shaved her head and issued an apology on YouTube.

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