Well, the information is still coming in. IXA Ready was the first to catch it in our wotasphere, as was noted yesterday, with Pure Idol Heart and Okay! Musume Time now chiming in. Gaki of PIH is passing along the official version, including statements from the two NMB members, Matsuda Shiori and Yoshida Akari. Once again, these idols have volunteered to enter suspension due to personal reasons – anxiety, doubt – that may or may not be a whitewash over the more damning reasons that may (or may not) exist.
However, those other reasons are not confirmed yet. IXA Ready mentioned the rumors that these two idols had allowed young men in their hotel room… Gaki alludes to this but points out it’s not been completely verified. If the girls did indeed let male fans into their room – or any fans, whatever their gender – that’s bad judgment right off. Whether or not anything further happened in the room with those fans…? I don’t even know if I want to know that, though that speaks to even worse judgment.
Chiima of Okay! Musume Time wonders why this is happening to such a new group as NMB48 and believes that these two young idols aren’t very cognizant of the entertainment industry they found themselves in. She is not a fan of NMB48 but she is concerned about idols and hopes these girls will return to the stage if and when they are ready. Gaki sees this as perhaps being a sign of growing pains – pointing out that the departure of “weak-spirited” members also happened in the early days of AKB48. This is a particularly compelling idea to me, if only because there are so many young women being pumped into the 48 franchises and as I’ve said before, the law of averages mean some of them behaved like normal females their age.
Too much is left unanswered, and the voluntary (or “voluntary”?) suspensions seem like a way to nip such questions off in the bud. Considering how minor these idols are, I think NMB48’s management made a smart calculation there. And with any luck, we’ve finally hit an end to the scandals and suspensions. At least, for a while.