Hirajima Natsumi and Yonezawa Rumi quit AKB48

Interrupting my already delayed broadcast of this year’s AX xD to bring you this really sad news:

Hirajima Natsumi 1st generation member of AKB and Yonezawa Rumi 3rd generation member have resigned as of today and won’t be involved in any more AKB related activities.

The reason why they resigned was because they had private locked twitter accounts where they uploaded private pictures including some pics with guys. Rumi also wrote a post about how she was recently single for the first time in 4 years (great job covering it up FWIW) and something about wanting to find a new bf.

See, this is why the “no dating” rule is stupid. I understand (well, not really comprehend, but I try my best) that wotas need to support girls who are pure and virginal and don’t even talk to any other male member of the human species because if it’s any other way it kills their fantasy of their idol being a perfect doll waiting for them or whatever, but uhhh could they get a little in touch with reality?

That was harsh, yes, but I can’t word it any other way :s I don’t mean to be insulting, because all of us have a different reason why we are into idols, and that’s respectable, but I can’t believe that at this point in life, with all the evidence that many idols date while they are doing the job (Oshima Mai, Ono Erena, Fujimoto Miki, Kago Ai, Tsuji Nozomi, Yaguchi Mari, Matsuura Aya etc.) they still think that the girl they are fans of is a *special snowflake* who goes home every night to comb her hair and put on her cozy pjs and fall asleep with her mom stroking her hair.

If we go by statistics there must be girls who fit this bill, but the majority of them are probably in between, who knows? My point is, nobody should butt in their personal life and try to dig their past or their private affairs. It’s disgusting.

I assume that most idol fans are familiar with the concept that most of what we see is an elaborate illusion, and that the girls behind the idol mask can sometimes be different from the persona they assume on stage, hell, they aren’t even marketed as girls per se but as idols with their distinct stage name and whatever; some of them even have a different name in real life! I don’t think that all of them are ultra happy 100% of the time in their private lives or that they are super excited to meet some pervert at a handshake event who makes disgusting sexual comments at them like what happened with Chiyuu (nor do I think that in their private lives they would react with a polite smile to all the rude people who shake hands with them or hell, even be willing to shake hands with random strangers at all!) but all of these things come with the job description.

However, and I feel really strongly about this, I think that once they are out of the spotlight, they aren’t the “Idol Product” anymore. Once she leaves the theater Nacchi becomes Sato Natsuki, Acchan becomes Maeda Atsuko and so on, and we may never know how big the gap between the two is, because if they are good at their job they will charm us with their charisma and make us fall in love with an image, a fake perception.

I think that just like giggling stupidly whenever someone talks about love comes with the territory and they are supposed to save face in their job and pretend that they don’t care about boys at all and that they have never kissed anyone even though they are 25 what they do in their free time is nobody’s business and wotas should back the fuck off, seriously.

I understand that there’s a rule in their contract against dating, but do you people really think that out of 200+ teenager girls none of them is dating anyone or fooling around or whatever? You’d have to be very naive to think otherwise, especially because when you’re young hormones are running rampant and you won’t be able to make cold headed choices in the face of “temptation”.

I wish Nacchan and Yonechan the best, they were both greatly underappreciated which probably prompted their quick dismissal without much fuss. I hope that both of them can go on to have fantastic fulfilling jobs and lives and that they don’t regret what they did in the future.

Kudos to Akimoto for saying that AKB is not the be all end all of showbusiness and that they can still have a great career despite of this circumstances. I think he knows much more than he lets on, especially if you analyze some of the lyrics he has written before (particularly Renai Kinshi Jourei and Idol Nante Yobanaide)

I know that the rule will probably keep existing for as long as idols do, but I can’t with this anymore, especially because regardless of how you want to spin it I can’t help but see it as sexism (especially because of how differently male idols are treated…) and I can’t deal with any more of that shit right now after the (female) doctor who is in charge of picking people for the residency I want to apply to said that she hates women because they are catty and problematic and they can’t carry the chairs around (wtf even) so she tries to never select women from all the candidates that apply. I hate the world sometimes.

EDIT: And lol @ the people saying “You are just UNEDUCATED and don’t understand japanese culture and that’s why you think this rule is bad”

I mean, really? You think slut shaming is an educated position? Oh god.

And also, there’s a huge difference between understanding why something exists and agreeing with it existing. I know full well the implications of the rule, and I also know that it will never stop existing as long as wotas still exist, doesn’t mean that I will stop thinking that it’s useless and stupid and that it’s honestly problematic that people can’t function correctly in society and have to cling to this super high expectations of purity for girls they will never even really meet in real life, and if they do they don’t  stand a chance with them anyway (I’m talking about the extreme wota here, not the casual fans).

Blergh this topic makes me rage.


  1. Pingback by Latest AKB Scandal Re-Ignites Familiar Idol Dating Rules Debate | International Wota on January 28, 2012 7:00 pm

    […] Hirajima Natsumi and Yonezawa Rumi quit AKB48 – Aitakatta! Two Scandals with One Stone – New School Kaidan Hirajima Natsumi & Yonezawa Rumi Leave AKB48 – Pure Idol Heart Hirajima Natsumi, Yonezawa Rumi leave AKB48 over photo scandal – Tokyograph It’s Not Over Yet For Nacchan and Yonechan – IXA Ready […]

  2. Comment by Natalie (DSQ) on January 28, 2012 7:14 pm

    I think I know who you might be refiring to with that ‘uneducated’ quip, it kinda made me rage too.

  3. Comment by Dan on January 28, 2012 11:58 pm

    This ‘rule’ policy remain me of my time in japan where I attended a wedding (western style) and every male there wear the exact same colour suits and tie. They wore like a white/grey tie for wedding whereas I am the only one wearing a red tie with patterns. I felt so out of place and think its strange to have such dress code but I am sure they think I am the one who is strange. Such is Japan. Following rules are so important there.Thats one reason that put me off from continuing to stay there. Sorry, off topic here but my point is AKB48 is a group base in Japan and they take their rule so seriously that its a disgrace to society, friends, family or even the country if you break them. Unfortunately, thats a culture gap that we can never overcome or understand or want to understand. I have had countless arguments with my Japanese partner about this.

    As for the no dating policy, AKB48 is created for wota in the first place. I asume they are the ones who spend the most money. Their theatre is even base in Akihabara so having such a rule to provide those fantasy is simply a stragegy to market the group and make more cash. Breaking such rule not only make the girls unpopular but the whole group itself maybe affected. Thats why their management need to move quickly to remove them. I don’t agree such rule either but I learned to accept thats just how Japan is and AKB is from Japan which is why all this happened.

  4. Comment by Jenny on January 30, 2012 12:37 pm

    The rule is stupid.. I agree.. But it might also be because boys just cause trouble. They might break a girl’s heart and make her so sad that she can’t work. They might be angry because of the revealing clothing the girls wear. They might even demand that a girl stops working because it takes up all her spare time… Stuff like that..

  5. Comment by Shaun on January 30, 2012 1:43 pm

    Don’t blame all the guys. Only some of them are the idiots you’re referring to.

    Cat should’ve read my comments (MSHunters) on Stage48 already so I won’t have to repeat much. But I have to emphasize on this:
    The rule exists not because they want it to, but because they have to. The rule governs so that mistakes can be avoided.

    It is not a want; it is a necessity. Stupid or no stupid, chaos would ensue without that rule.

  6. Comment by Cat on January 30, 2012 9:28 pm

    First of all, thanks for commenting 😀 I said it in my post, I know that the rule won’t go away, that’s not the discussion, but simply how pertinent it is or how much sense it makes from my POV. I disagree with both of you guys and I think people are taking their examples to the extreme in some of the forum discussions xD

    @Jenny: You could still be really upset or heartbroken because a friend of you walked away on you or there’s a fight in your family or you’re depressed for whatever random reason. There’s always going to be reasons why you might be not feeling 100% ok and you still have to go out there and do your job to the best of your ability, and these reasons aren’t always bf-related.

    @Shaun: I don’t think chaos would ensue? Something I find funny is that some people (not you in particular, people I’ve read in forums) say “Oh, if they let them have boyfriends then they’d bring them along to the events and smooch them onstage” or “They would start dating the managers and producers” and I’m like really? I honestly have never seen any japanese singer or performer who does any of these things openly. I mean, there are some singers or entertainers in general who don’t have a no boyfriend policy to follow, let’s use Perfume for example, since they are kind of idols.
    Paparazzis have caught the girls with their bf in their private lives, but they’ve never EVER brought them on stage, or brought them up in an interview or blogged about them, because that has nothing to do with their work.
    If the girls want to date and be low key about it, I don’t see a reason why they shouldn’t do it *shrugs* It’s a win-win situation IMO, and I suspect that it’s what happens in real life anyway with managers and the such trying to cover up for them so they don’t mess up too badly.

  7. Comment by Kitsy on January 31, 2012 1:02 am

    Does it matter if the rule is stupid or not?

    There are plenty of “stupid” rules out there in the world – not chewing gum while in school for example to stop kids from putting gum underneath their seat or something.

    That doesn’t mean, however, you’re not breaking a rule when you break a stupid rule. They entered into a contract which clearly had this listed and they entered into public life. Ultimately, they made a stupid decision which effects not just them but puts the careers of other girls in question in Watarirouka Hashiritai’s case. The word for when you do something you want even though it could have huge ramifications for other people when you are explicitly told not to isn’t stupid… it’s rude and selfish. Yes, having a boyfriend is a wonderful thing as is falling in love and everyone should experience it. But if you have a contract which has other people who depend on you for a code of behavior and you actively choose to do something in breech of it knowing the consequences…

    I can see why people could get angry. Quite easily.

  8. Comment by Cat on January 31, 2012 11:28 am

    I’ve said it before a few times, and I’ll say it again. I know that the rule isn’t going anywhere ever and that wotas will be wotas. I also never said that Nacchan and Yonechan didn’t deserve what they got, it’s only natural and I’m sure they were well aware of the implications of their behavior.

    I’m just rambling about stuff I personally think about this rule, even though I know it’s pointless, and my opinion won’t change anything, I just wanted to voice my thoughts *shrugs*

    And I won’t talk about the “selfish” part because I can see your point in the argument, and it was definitely unprofessional, but I’ve never believed in self sacrifice and martyrdom to be honest. Sure, they made a mistake, nobody is saying they didn’t or that they shouldn’t be fired or whatever, they made their bed, now they have to sleep in it.

    I’ve taken risks myself and done things that could potentially get me in a lot of trouble with my super conservative family, and yes, it might hurt their feelings and whatever, but ultimately it’s my life and I’d do those things again if I had to choose. I’m NOT justifying them at all, just saying that I completely understand where they come from.

    Just like when they interviewed Yaguchi Mari about her relationship that got her fired from MM when she was the leader, she said “Sometimes there are things you just have to do” and I agree with her. This is all obviously in a personal level and obviously just my opinion. They got what they deserved for breaking the most important rule in their contract, but I understand why they did it and I think it’s alright to make those decisions too.

    Nobody is perfect, and if the other girls in AKB are talking about how much they love both of these girls and will support them in everything they do even though they all think it’s a bad thing to do, I don’t see why the fans have to act like they just set an orphanage on fire and clutch their pearls so much.

    Sure, they deserved it, they were unprofessional, now they are out of the group. I don’t think it’s going to be THAT harmful to AKB as a whole or its image or whatever because they weren’t frontgirls. The group is not going to come tumbling down, Warota is not going to be finished, Team B and Team K will keep performing in the same way. It only changes things for Nacchan and Yone fans, but that doesn’t threaten AKB’s status either, so seeing so much vitriol about “how they are going to kill the group” or “how they create a negative impact on the way people view the group” just makes me shake my head in disbelief.

    There have been many scandals in AKB, there will certainly be more to come. These girls are not going to sit and fasten their chastity belts all night in a dungeon, and there are many factors why this is an undeniable truth, it hasn’t changed since the 80s with Onyanko Club’s members dating, it won’t ever change as long as the industry exists because the rule will keep existing too.

    And also, I don’t even think these things are THAT damaging to their reputation in general, honestly. Girls like Fujimoto Miki or Yaguchi Mari were fired from Morning Musume because of their boyfriends, and they still work as talentos and get invited on TV to talk about it like it’s no big deal. People are overreacting IMO.

  9. Comment by Shaun on January 31, 2012 12:43 pm

    I agree with the overreaction and all and truthfully, while I made many comments and voiced many thoughts, one thing I always told myself was that this entire this is just an exaggeration from some people (for pretty obvious reasons). Regardless, the world ain’t gonna end of anything; AKB and everything should still be normal (although I heard Yonezawa introduced the guys to some SKE members? *gulp* that’s just causing me worry).

    Anyway, didn’t intend to make “chaos would ensue” sound like World War III or anything. xD
    I sorta meant that the rule keeps things in check. Without that rule, idols are pretty much.. Well, not idols (regardless of how innocent the person may be).

  10. Comment by Cat on January 31, 2012 4:05 pm

    ^lol yeah, I understand that, it’s unfortunate, but that’s how it is and I don’t see it changing anytime soon

  11. Comment by andrew on February 2, 2012 1:51 pm

    i hope they both do well post-akb
    i used one of my election votes for yonechan, and i would’ve done so even with knowledge that she had a boyfriend
    wonder what nacchan’s dismissal will mean for warota though… back to 5? replace her so it stays 7? let it be 6?

    i always thought the rule was because of a very vocal minority of fans
    (given the reaction aya hirano gets, they are not afraid to abuse the girls they once followed day and night, it scares me really)
    i felt that the reinstatement of several members who had boyfriends pre-idol employment, was evidence of that it really shouldn’t be an issue

    but in some ways the rule is what puts the perception in about the whole idol and chastity thing…
    like cat said, there isn’t outrage when someone who doesn’t have a no dating rule is going out with someone

  12. Comment by Dan on February 3, 2012 5:38 am

    Yeah, I also hope the girls will move on and find another way to succed under their own names. While all of us have our opinion about the rule and its existent, one thing I noticed is that the majority of the people on all sort of blog and forums are sad that they are gone. I am a bitsad that nacchan is gone too even though I just started the fandom compare to others. I’ll just have to look forward to the new single and move on and wish the girls all the best.

  13. Comment by Cat on February 3, 2012 5:25 pm

    @andrew and Dan: I’m glad you’re supporting the girls though 🙂

  14. Comment by Yominis on February 7, 2012 2:28 pm

    It’s still pretty rare in AKB48 but I think that number of these incidents will rise unless they learn how to be discreet. I mean look at Morning Musume. Yaguchi, Fujimoto and a few others weren’t careful enough but Takahashi, Niigaki(both were in MM for more than 10 years) and lot of others were smart enought not to be caught. for example Tsuji Nozomi admitted that she has a bf only when she was already pregnant and getting married…

    And that rule is not as stupid as it seems to be.
    With boys it’s not so strict because they can be players and most fangirls would think that it’s hot. But when girl dates someone, than if she is a good sweet girl (and fans want their idols to be) than she is with him because she really loves him, wants to marry him,… And fans are like “What? She is not my Miki anymore?!” The other option is admitting that she is dating him just for fun. And come on, no fan wants his idol to be a slut…(if i exaggerate)
    If you look at it from this point of view it quite makes sense, doesn’t it?
    (Sorry for my English ;-))

  15. Comment by Yominis on February 7, 2012 2:31 pm

    But that doesn’t mean that I’m fan of there kind of rules. I just understate them. But I think they are poinless because everyone knows that the girls are dating. Fans just like the thinking “maybe this one not”

  16. Comment by Cat on February 9, 2012 10:11 am

    Yeah, well, fans are basically deluding themselves with everything that has to do with the idol business…

  17. Comment by Michael on February 28, 2012 2:57 pm

    Hmmmm, as much as i disagree with the rule i do feel that the girls knew the rules they were putting themselves in for when they joined. As much as we begrudge the rule when something like this happens (such a shame to lose a 1st gen member this way) its not like the gils signed the contract and then found the boyfriend clause in the small print, it has always been common practice in Japan. If i created the group i would not have made this rule, but as it is there and the girls knew the sacrifice they have to make to be a part of AKB. This is why, unfortunately, when such a massive rule- break occurs this action has to happen otherwise it undermines the rule, Yonezawa said she had barely been single in 4 years!!! If this had been one boyfriend thats fair enough but otherwise, considering the rule is there, it was extraordinarily reckless. Again, i think the rule is stupid but the girls were more than aware of it and the potential damage that could be done

  18. Comment by Cat on March 18, 2012 8:17 am

    Yeah, well, I agree that they knew the consequences of their actions and should’ve behaved in a proper way if they wanted to keep their jobs, but personally, this rule rubs me the wrong way, even though I understand why it exists and I’m aware that it won’t stop existing.

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