Minegishi, a founding member of the group, reveals in the above video that she’s shaved her head, which, according to the BBC voiceover, is a somewhat traditional Japanese act of contrition. She tells the camera:
“I was supposed to set an example for younger members, but my actions were extremely careless and senseless… My mind has gone completely blank. I don’t know what I can do or what I should do, but I couldn’t bear to do nothing… Everything I did is entirely my fault. I am so sorry…”
3. According to the band’s official blog, after news of her boyfriend broke, AKB48 demoted Minegishi to “trainee level.”
Photo taken Feb. 1, 2013.
4. Minegishi’s relationship with Alan Shirahama, a 19-year-old fellow pop star, violated AKB48’s rule strictly forbiding their members from dating.
Photo taken Jan. 12, 2013.
5. The band has 88 members, ranging from teenagers to girls in their early twenties, and are one of the highest-earning musical acts in the world.
Photo taken June 6, 2012.
6. They’ve sold 20 million CDs and hold the record for most amount of singles sold by a female group in Japan.
7. AKB48 has had a number of controversies surrounding them in the last few years.
Photo taken June 25, 2011.
8. The group has been criticized for sexualizing young women, with music videos involving members hugging and taking baths together, which some have accused of being possible child pornography.
Photo taken June 5, 2008.