entertainment

One finalist for AKB48 draft this year is just 11 years old

76 Comments
By Fran Wrigley, RocketNews24

Japan’s 140-member supergroup AKB48 is holding its second annual draft next month, in which sub-teams will choose new members from a draft of 48 young hopefuls. And among the finalists is one of the youngest potential members the group has ever seen.

Unlike the rest of AKB48’s members, who are in their teens and early twenties, 11-year-old candidate Maria Imamura is still in elementary school. But that hasn’t held her back in reaching the finals of the draft, a huge event which will be televised on May 10.

Upcoming event AKB48 Group Draft Kaigi 2015 is only the second AKB48 audition to be held in this new draft style. Team captains from each of AKB48’s sub-groups will choose new members from the pre-selected finalists. Imamura’s presence on the shortlist has drawn attention not only because of her age, but also because at just 130 cm tall, she is small for her age – 17 cm shorter than the average Japanese girl in sixth grade.

In her candidate profile, Maria lists karaoke, gymnastics and dance among her hobbies. Her father influenced her interest in the pop group, she says, adding that she has wanted to be an idol since she was 5 years old, when she first attended one of AKB48’s meet-and-greet events.

If Maria is drafted, it is likely to be into one of the younger sub-groups such as Team 8, a sub-team made up of young representatives from each prefecture in Japan. Team 8 hit the headlines earlier this month when they signed 12-year-old Karen Yoshida as their newest member.

In her profile video, she says the audition was the first time she had sung in public, and cites Miyuki Watanabe as her favourite group member.

Eleven years old seems pretty young to be thrust into the limelight, especially in a group whose members are much older than her. But Maria seems to have her parents’ full support – and is there any right age to become a pop star, really?

Sources: Livedoor, AKB48 Official Site

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Saga Prefecture broadcasts its appeal by dancing to AKB48
-- Age ain’t nothing but a number! Japanese beauty pageant for women over 35 crowns newest winner -- AKB48 recruits new part-time idols

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


76 Comments
Login to comment

Let the poor girl have a childhood.

17 ( +22 / -5 )

Ah, the death throws of a Johnny's-assembled girl band: start picking them out of elementary school. They did the same thing with Morning Musume when it started dying out. Get ready for next year's pick to be a senior so the gimmick can be "not just little girls, but older ladies too!" and so they can have the largest age dynamic.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

No. Wrong. Stop. Now.

10 ( +19 / -9 )

She can do the V-sign really well!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Couldn't see the difference between 怒 (angry) and 哀 (sadness); 喜 (Happiness) and 楽 (Pleasure)

4 ( +5 / -1 )

What is the going rate for an average Japanese childhood?

5 ( +8 / -3 )

"Her father influenced her interest in the pop group..."

Yeah... That may be the problem right there... What worries me is that Akimoto had his members when twelve years old do those creepy predatory bikini pics. I don't want to this girl exploited.

15 ( +19 / -4 )

Sick...

1 ( +10 / -9 )

The utter debasement of a child.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Too young!

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Let the poor girl have a childhood.

Agree!

6 ( +13 / -7 )

After the scandal where the exmanager videotaped AKB in the dressing rooms and toilet I wonder why girls sign up for this crap. And 11 years? Waaaay to young, what the f. are the parents thinking?

5 ( +10 / -5 )

This isn't news. AKB48 has had incredibly young members before in their group, years ago in fact. Anyone remember the powerhouse SKE member Matsui Jurina? How old was she when she joined? And she's completely fine, no problems, no debasement of her life, and she has said many times she wouldn't trade anything for her life she has today. So people should really consider the fact that AKB gives young girls a chance to be idols and live out their dreams. It's no different than a young girl who auditions for a horror movie, or does commercials every week, or is a fashion model. If the girl is mentally competent to do it, then there won't be any problems. It's amazing that everyone here instantly assumes this girl is going to be subjected to pain and agony and posing in bikini pics and doing gravure work and God knows what else you all are fantasizing about what this girl's future in AKB is going to look like should she get picked. How about think something positive here? How about wish her ganbatte and maybe realize she could become the next Matsui Jurina in a few years? Also, considering the PHENOMENAL success of HKT48, whose average age is only 13 years old, my guess is that this girl is going to do just fine being surrounded by other girls close to her age that are living out their dreams. Oh, and AKB isn't going anywhere. They will continue to get bigger and bigger. Comparing them to Morning Musume is silly, as Morning Musume has never reached the level of stardom that AKB has. Want proof? Try to get a ticket to a theatre show in AKB today. Wait? You can't? oh that's right... because it's SOLD OUT EVERY SINGLE DAY. I rest my case.

-12 ( +13 / -25 )

Disgusting! This is soft kiddy porn. If the fans were the same age it would not be a problem but the fans are older men!

6 ( +17 / -11 )

The peadophiles who watch these girls will be so happy!

3 ( +14 / -11 )

SKE member Matsui Jurina? How old was she when she joined? And she's completely fine, no problems, no debasement of her life, and she has said many times she wouldn't trade anything for her life she has today. So people should really consider the fact that AKB gives young girls a chance to be idols and live out their dreams.

According to everyone here, you are wrong and in actuality she is messed up in the head moonlighting as a happy person.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Stepping up the ante from "quite very creepy" to "incredibly creepy".

4 ( +10 / -6 )

"is there any right age to become a pop star, really?" says the article? Well, is there any age to sign yourself into subservience?

Remember that rule about "no boyfriend or any other kind of relationship allowed"? (that would be bad for business) Then that girl that shaved her head, crumbling under the pressure & moral harassment?

I wonder how well an 11-year old can grow in this environment known to be able to crush & crunch older girls.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Paedogeddon is upon us

1 ( +7 / -6 )

@DaDude: Uh, you must be new to these forums. If I listened to everyone here who tells me I'm wrong, I would've quite listening to AKB and supporting them a long time ago. Every time there is a post about AKB on Japan Today, it's pretty customary for every single person to bash AKB except me. I get on here basically to defend the poor girls. I personally am friends with the family of one of the girls in AKB (don't worry, she's one of the older generation girls lol), and I see the girl in question often. She's one of the most level-headed, funny, and emotionally stable individuals I know. And so is her completely supportive family. I think the problem here is that it's easy to judge a group that you know nothing about. I would put a link here showing you what Matsui Jurina has said about being in SKE and what it's meant to her, but I'm pretty sure it would just get taken down. But do some research online... Jurina is one of the stars of AKB, she's happy to be in the group, and she has spent her entire teenage years dancing and singing for people all over the world. And people, does it really matter what age the girls are that sing and dance? If my daughter wanted to be in AKB, I would gladly let her and I wouldn't worry about the demographic of people who watch her either. The fact of the matter is that there are both older guys AND younger girls AND little kids who listen to AKB. It's not all pervy office worker types like everyone loves to believe about AKB's fan base. There are worldwide fans too wouldn't even come close to being described as "pedophile" in nature. It's insulting to a whole lot of people who see the positive in what AKB does for Japan and the world. They sing, they dance, some of them are extremely funny idols, and in nearly ten years of their existence, there has only been a handful of incidents or scandals. Their fans are loyal and happy to support their dreams. How is this ANY different than if you or me or anyone roots for young girls who are teenagers in the Olympics? Or any other kind of public sporting or media event, for that matter? It doesn't automatically make you a perv for doing so. That's just a clear demonstration of bias and judgment, and that is the real problem, not AKB or its younger demographic of girls who sign up to live out their idol dreams.

-10 ( +9 / -19 )

It's no different than a young girl who auditions for a horror movie, or does commercials every week, or is a fashion model. If the girl is mentally competent to do it, then there won't be any problems.

The difference is that child actors are strictly regulated and spend only a few hours a week being filmed in a studio. They don't have to sing and dance on a stage for an audience of grown men.

Try to get a ticket to a theatre show in AKB today. Wait? You can't? oh that's right... because it's SOLD OUT EVERY SINGLE DAY. I rest my case.

...So are the child brothels in SE Asia. Just because something is a commercial success doesn't make it right.

How is this ANY different than if you or me or anyone roots for young girls who are teenagers in the Olympics? Or any other kind of public sporting or media event, for that matter?

You must be at least 16 to compete in the Olympics... THAT is the difference.

6 ( +13 / -7 )

Just give her proper guidance and make sure she stays in school, and she should be OK. Just no bikini pics for now, please.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

No interest in AKB48 or any other part of idol culture, and in general I find adults who care excessively about it to be kinda creepy. But if you can't tell the difference between a young girl aspiring to be a pop theatrical musician and child pornography, I'd say you're getting much deeper into the category of "adults who care excessively about it" than most fans do.

Moderator: This is not child pornography.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It's simple people... AKB is a positive force in the world. They've done countless things for charity, they are a group of extremely hard working individuals who have a great dream and are pursuing it. Nothing wrong with teenagers working hard towards a collective creative goal. Or would you rather they all sit in front of television and get fat while eating McDonalds and Taco Bell? Also, the girls are all monitored and taken care and the staff of AKB cares greatly for them. It's truly a lack of insight on everyone's part here to suggest that AKB's management don't go to great lengths to make sure the girls are able to deal with everything they endure. I know from seeing it up close and personal that they do. Also, I am well aware of the age of the girls who compete in the Olympics... the point I was making is that whether they are 11 or 16 they are still young kids, and rooting for them doesn't make you pervy, or creepy, or anything except a fan. It's when you start taking things much farther than that, like, say having really terrible sexual fantasies about them or things like that, this is when I feel it becomes wrong and not cool. But so many of you are just jumping to that conclusion about their entire fanbase, and that makes you actually worse, in my opinion. Nothing wrong about totally supporting something you truly respect like AKB, and I just wish people would realize how much more wrong it is to propagate an attitude of bias and judgment about AKB's fans and being horribly presumptuous than anything AKB has ever done in its past, present, or will do in its future.

-13 ( +6 / -19 )

@djv124 Do you have anything to say about the bikini pictures mentioned here? I haven't and don't want to see them. Do they exist? If they do, are you comfortable with that?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

So what? Anyone remember Little Jimmy Osmond? Shirley Temple? Exploiting kids and cuteness is not a uniquely Japanese phenomenon...... Plus 11 or 12 or 13 is really not that much different......

0 ( +7 / -7 )

5 year old in 2018...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Uh, it's not exploitation for profit when the kids are GETTING PAID to do what they do, are well taken care, and are WILLINGLY happy to do it, along with their parents who support it. That's not exploitation, that's commerce, and if you are okay with letting your 11 year old mow the grass for pay or do his or her chores, it's the same thing. And as I mentioned, they are well taken care of. It's absolutely presumptuous to suggest otherwise. As for the bikini pics, I don't care one way or the other if the girls wear them, but the fact is that most aren't sported around in bikinis at young ages. The majority of all vids and photo shoots involving the girls in bikinis is for the 18 and older girls. Again, it's a gross assumption and misleading of facts to say that if they are 11 and join AKB, the first thing AKB is going to do is put them in a bikini video and have them do suggestive, lewd poses. That just doesn't happen. I don't follow AKB for their bikini pics. I follow them because I love their music and their positive goals and things they do for their fans. I love the concept and them as individuals, and I support anyone who is musically inclined and following their dreams. I don't even own a single photobook of any of the girls, nor do I care to. It's not about that for me. I just think they are a wonderful, amazing idol group who gets bashed for a few stupid things that happened in their past and doesn't describe them or represent who they are today.

-5 ( +8 / -13 )

@djv124 Just say it. Pictures of young girls in bikinis is stomach-churning no matter how few members are involved. It's pretty simple. You may not be into that kind of thing, but the fact that it has gone on should set deafening alarm bells ringing. I'd run a mile.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

As this is a a decision she has made with her parents support then it is not exploitation. May be a bit creepy for some tastes (although Western music and film is full of child stars) but that is a matter of taste.....

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Hi, @djv124

I have no idea how Jurina Matsui will turn out after she "graduates". Was she scarred for life after being told by grown men to take suggestive pics in lingerie while groping other girls when she was 14? Maybe, maybe not. Will her future romantic relationships be affected because she's forbidden to date or experience young love during a child's formative years? I can't say.

What I can say is if a father took the same pictures of his 14 year old daughter doing the things Akimoto has them doing for the men's magazines, he'd be arrested and the child taken away. If a parent forbid their daughter of having any contact with boys and accompanied her every single place she went, the parent would be lambasted for bad parenting.

But, under the guise of entertainment, Akimoto, and these girls' parents, seems to get away with putting young girls in potentially dangerous situations.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

LoL. If 11 yr old Imamura can't cut the mustard for the AKB gig, she can be the 4th member of Babymetal.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Really young idols here in Japan is nothing new.

If you remember the group Speed, one of the girls was still in elementary school (12 years old) and the other three were in JHS. Not much difference with this girl.

I think many of you posting here need to lighten up and allow kids to become kid stars.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

@djv124 and how old are you? if your an adult male and like to watch young underage girls prance around in short skirts, or even think its ok for older men to be fans of a group like this then im sorry you need to visit a shrink.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

smithinjapanApr. 27, 2015 - 07:22AM JST Ah, the death throws of a Johnny's-assembled girl band: start picking them out of elementary school. They did the same thing with Morning Musume when it started dying out. Get ready for next year's pick to be a senior so the gimmick can be "not just little girls, but older ladies too!" and so they can have the largest age dynamic.

They already did that last year, or was it before that. :p The housewife member "graduated" within a couple of months though

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Harvey Pekar I liked your thoughts and comments. It's a good point that you bring up by the girls being put into potentially dangerious positions, except really, that's not the case at all. They are all monitored, well taken care of, and everyone keeps forgetting that the parents have signed off on what their daughters are doing. And the girls themselves can object if they don't like what they are being told to do. I think though the issue is cultural differences. I was talking to my wife about it, and we agreed that if our daughter, who is half-Japanese, wanted to be in AKB at 11 years old, we would have no problem with it. Also, if they wanted to parade her around in videos on the beach wearing a bikini, it's okay, because that is really the only time the girls have been put in bikinis in their MVS. the only exception to this was the Heavy Rotation video, which was done by a female director who was illustrating girls' femininity through that video. I mean, I look at this logically... wouldn't it be weird to see an AKB music video with the girls on the beach and wearing sweaters and pants and it's obviously 100 degrees outside? Now, THAT would be putting the girls in a dangerous position. However, at the same time, like my wife told me (she's Japanese), she took showers with her mother and father until she was 16 years old. There was nothing weird about that to her. In America, that would be potentially considered sexual abuse. So maybe it's from this kind of thinking that Japanese as a whole thinks it acceptable to see younger girls in bikinis and not think what obviously the rest of the world might think instantly, which is that its borderline child pornography? My problem with thinking this way is that it goes to the intentions of those viewing the girls in bikinis. It's automatically assuming they are pervs because they are watching young girls in the MV's in bikinis. Could it be, perhaps, that the people watching might just like the song? Or that they might not think anything at all about the girls in a sexual kind of way while watching MV's like this? Does this mean every time I take my daughter to a water-themed amusement park and see all the young girls running around in their bikinis, and I've PAID to enter the park, that I'm a perv who paid to see young girls in bikinis for sexual gratification? It's a huge stretch to assume that about me, or anyone else, don't you think? That, to me, is the far more dangerous issue here. It's that kind of presumptuous thinking that gives birth to racism, stereotyping, and in this case, ageism (in the sense that everyone seems to think creepy old men are the core fan base of AKB, when in fact even if that were the case, because they are old and they like to watch young idol girls it's ageism to presume they are creeps for doing so). I want my daughter to grow up in a world where she doesn't have to deal with such narrow-minded thinking. And I believe AKB promotes and helps young girls everywhere live out dreams and fantasies of being on stage and singing and dancing for all to enjoy. I hope they are around at least twenty more years. I'll support them every step of the way if they are.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Pretty sick stuff this pedo-pop!

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Wow!! From that video she is clearly a great talent. I can see why she was chosen :)

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Also, I should probably say this in case it wasn't clear... if AKB for some reason decided to start putting 11 year old girls in their MVs like my daughter in sexually suggestive poses and start acting lewd about what they would have her do, then I would definitely have a problem with it. But the key word here is "Lewd," and if it were to ever get that way, I would be the first person to object and really rally against AKB to be brought down. But so far, they've managed to do an exceptional job of really promoting a positive image for their girls, and I'm proud of them for it.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

It's not enough these group managers want women who look like children for the pervs to drool over, now they have to have real little girls in the group. Soon they'll be put on the scrapheap - sorry, graduate at 14 instead of 21. Shouldn't she be at school? The parents should be ashamed of themselves.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

@Elizabeth Heath: What pervs, exactly are you talking about? I mean really, do you know any AKB fans who fit that description personally? Or do you take the same perspective as just about everyone else who knows absolutely nothing about the world of AKB and just sits by the sidelines to judge something they don't know and are afraid of. For the record, the girls DO go to school while in AKB. It's not like they just quit school, though if they did, what would be so wrong with that? I don't remember a single equation I learned in my Algebra class twenty years ago, despite graduating at the top of my class, and if I could go back and exchanged all the useless garbage I learned in school for a chance to do something creative during my teenage years, I would have done so without hesitation. But most of the girls talk about their school work in every variety show and interview they do. You would know this if you actually took the time to check them out instead of just judging them and their fanbase. And also, as a parent of a young half-Japanese girl, I would certainly have no problem allowing my 11 year old to join AKB if that is what she wanted to do in her heart. I don't see ANY shame in supporting the dreams of my child. Again, you are being absolutely judgmental and biased and stereotyping without actually knowing the real truth of AKB. This is probably one of the scariest things to k now for me, as a parent, is that there are people that actually can assume so much and know so little about what it is they are making judgments about. That's something to be ashamed about.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Q. What's the difference between a teeny-group manager and a teeny-group fan?

A. One has a loli con; the other is a lowly con.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

if I could go back and exchanged all the useless garbage I learned in school for a chance to do something creative during my teenage years, I would have done so without hesitation.

...as a parent of a young half-Japanese girl...

Then why don't you get a new hobby such as learning to play a musical instrument or paint together with your daughter? Don't you think it's healthier to spend all of your free time taking an interest in your own child than other people's children?

I think you are probably not a sexual predator paedophile but I definetly think your hobby is weird, creepy and unhealthy for society. To be honest, I have a few odd hobbies and interests of my own but I fully understand why society might think they are strange and abnormal. I don't fool myself into thinking that if only people truly understood my hobby then they would find it perfectly normal.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

becoming an entertainer at 11 isn't much different than training to become a professional athlete at an early age. in fact, the latter has to start even sooner.

i think lots of you/the media focus only on the otaku fans, but their fan base is much, much larger than that. and do you really believe that watching young girls perform on stage turns these otaku into actual pedophiles? so by that same reasoning, playing violent video games turns young kids into killers.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Some people have really dirty minds. There is nothing wrong with joining the entertainment business at a young age.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Good for her! This girl has a bright future. AKB will continue to be popular in Japan and Asia for the forseeable future.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

I was in a famous band and toured the world. I play guitar and piano. I watch AKB WITH my daughter, who is the only reason I got into them in the first place. She LOVES THEM completely. Adores them actually, and so I wanted to know why she liked them so much and that is how I became a fan. It's something we both enjoy very much as a family. So I guess that makes me a gigantic creep huh? Totally an unhealthy thing to share in an activity that my daughter highly enjoys. I'm definitely a huge threat to society for sure because I encourage my daughter to appreciate the innocence concept that AKB is trying (though apparently not as successful as one would hope) to promote.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

@djv124

I watch AKB WITH my daughter, who is the only reason I got into them in the first place. She LOVES THEM completely. Adores them actually, and so I wanted to know why she liked them so much and that is how I became a fan.

Do you think that maybe if you had provided this bit of contextual information earlier, people might have been slightly more understanding of your views? All we can do is assume based on the information you provide, that's how it works. I recommend you mention this in your first comment next time around.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

M3M3M3: Is that an apology? Here's the thing, you shouldn't assume ANYTHING about anyone on these threads, or anyone you meet for that matter. If I present a view to you where I say don't judge a fanbase based on a few bad apples, why do I have to provide ANY contextual information about this? That's just plain logic being applied to a discussion on this thread that is promoting judgmental attitudes and bias, along with ageism. All things that I am going to fight against until my last breath. I shouldn't have to get personal to make my point. And the fact that you can't see how illogical it is to call me creepy, weird, and unhealthy for society (because calling my hobby these things means you are inferring I am all these things too) is the problem I'm trying to correct here. If you don't like AKB, good for you. But you shouldn't bash those that do, and you certainly shouldn't make blanket statements about AKB or the girls who want to join the group based on pre-conceived biases you hold. I recommend you double check YOUR way of thinking about all of this, because by your logic, we should all assume the worst about people simply because we don't have contextual information to base our opinions on. I have a better idea for you and all those on this discussion thread: Just. Don't. JUDGE. Make an informed decision by ASKING me first the things I was nice enough to tell you about me and family so that you would understand my position better, rather than just call me a creep and say you "probably" don't think I'm some kind of sexual predator or pedophile (the innuendo by even mentioning this isn't lost on me, believe me). After you heard what I said, THEN make your opinion be known.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Readers, please stop bickering. Focus your comments on the story and not at each other.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

M3M3M3: Is that an apology?

Yes, of course, sorry. I always apologise to anyone that I've offended.

However, I still disagree with virtually all of your opinions about this issue. I think it isn't good for the children involved and I think it's not healthy for society to idolize child stars, even for young children to idolize other young children. I think you are mistaken when you assume that these suggestible children are participating in this with anything approaching informed consent. Also, I think you are mistaken when you say the children are being paid. The parents are actually being paid, not the children. This is because in Japan there is no such concept as a trust fund where the parent has an obligation to safeguard the money and spend it only for the benefit of the child. Unlike In the US where the parent is a trustee of the money and can be sued if they waste it all on themselves. (I think there have been a few child star cases like this recently)

That's just my opinion but I imagine we will probably have to agree to disagree.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

M3M3M3: You are welcome to disagree. Apology accepted. The moderator doesn't want the bickering to continue, so I'll just say this and then I'm off this thread. As I stated in one of my earlier comments, I know a member of AKB personally and her family. They are good people, and she entered AKB early in her teenage years. She would be the first to tell you that she wasn't coached into joining AKB, and everything she did was with informed consent. She also got paid directly, though when she was younger her parents took care of her funds for her. But it was her money. Still is, as she is one of the better earners in the group now. I think knowing about her story and what she has done that it's really upsetting to me when I read about people calling stuff like this unhealthy for society. Go check out all the philanthrophy that AKB has done. It sure is a lot more than what I can say I've done in my life. And also, I think in ANY profession, you will have good and bad things about doing it, but I can honestly say that based on all my conversations with this AKB member, the large majority of the girls in the group are pretty level-headed and mentally stable and just normal girls who happen to be living their extraordinary dreams. It's really, really a question of what would make anyone even think AKB is so bad in the first place, and I hate that it's because of the few blemishes in their otherwise awesome, record breaking and charitable history so far. But yeah, we agree to disagree, fair enough.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

She seems quite young for the casting couch the stands between her and AKB48 "fame". The family should really do their homework before signing on the final dotted line.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Meh. Shirley Temple started at the age of 3.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

11 is really too young to get into this lolicon entertainment business. Leave her alone until she at least finishes junior high school.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Remember, she's auditioning for a song and dance troupe.

Many of you posters make it sound as if she's getting into porn.

Lighten up.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

What a song and dance about a child going into entertainment. Perfectly acceptable.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

.

I don't want to this girl exploited.

Please not just this girl but any and all girls and women. None should ever be exploited but all who are in AKB are being such and no one seems to give a damn.

That is what bothers me.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Guess she will not be allowed to try out for the idol group 'chubby' girls .... amazing!

http://en.rocketnews24.com/2014/01/28/marshmallow-girls-unite-meet-chubbiness-japans-latest-chubby-girl-idol-group/

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Male AKB fans over the age of 18 should be forced to go door to door in their neighbourhood and identify themselves.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I was teaching English at this elementary school in Kanagawa, a 2nd or 3rd grade class, and we were talking about likes and dislikes. And this one girl said, I like AKB48, and pulled out this plastic file folder with an AKB picture on it. The boys started howling.

The picture on the folder was of the AKB girls in lingerie, garter belts, lace stockings, some members on all fours, two girls holding each other and looking about to kiss.

I was shocked to see this at an elementary school, it was like a Japanese adult men's magazine cover.

Once the boys started howling, the girl put the file folder back in her desk and said in Japanese, I'm not supposed to show it.

I don't know if this girl bought this when shopping with friends, or if it was given to her as a gift, or her parents bought it for her. But the teacher at least stood up and said, No, this isn't for kids.

And that's my problem with Akimoto and his exploitation of these girls, he markets these groups to young girls and grown men at the same time, and I don't think anyone is telling these young elementary girls, like my student, why this is wrong, putting young girls, like 14 or 15 yr old Jurina Matsui at the time in lace lingerie and on all fours. This 3rd grade girl sees those cute AKB videos on one hand and then sees images of these girls in full on make up in seductive poses on the other and I don't think elementary kids are mature enough to separate the images, the intent of them.

I know parents of the AKB members let the girls do this and parents buy file folders like these for their kids, so it's not all Akimoto, it's a society issue. AKB is not just a song and dance troupe, as my Japanese friends have told me, it's not their music that sells the girls, it's the girls that sell the music, put up on high stages in short skirts with older men right there, leering up at them.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

I may be a bit of otaku but this is clearly a child exploitation.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

"I want you ! I need you ! I love you !"

No. You don't. I will go to prison.

"I feel you ! I touch you ! I hold you !"

Listen. You are 11-years old. You have absolutely no idea what you are being told to say and do.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Shirley Temple lead a pretty normal life after stardom... yes there are positive points for the child, money for her future and education, great experiences, and a taste of fame. There are horror stories all over the place about child stars and the bad things that have happened to them... the stories are the same for normal children as well we just don't hear about it as much because there is not much money involved. I hope her parents watch her like a hawk and keep her safe from all forms of harm. Children are not mentally developed enough to make life changing choices, that's why she has parents to guide her and keep her safe. If my daughter wanted to do this I would keep her in my line of sight until she was in her 20's. If anyone got too close I would give the a friendly warning only one time. I'm not the meanest man in Japan but I would keep my daughter safe by any means necessary. That's a fact. Be famous, but be safe from creeps.. good luck to this young child.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I'm hearing all sorts of BS about child exploitation...

Look, she wanted to be a member of AKB48, she wanted to do something she wants to do. I'm pretty sure her parents would be somewhat against it in the first place, but she must've wanted it really badly for them to actually let her do it. ( this was the case with the first batch of the Draft Kaigi members last year, where some of them came from as far as Hokkaido )

It's what she wants to do - and if in the middle of doing it she decides that she doesn't want to do it anymore, she can quit from the group without a fuss ( 2 members from this year's Draft batch already quit ) so I'm not sure what the problem is with the "BOOO PEDOPHILE" "BOO CHILD EXPLOITATION" whiners in this forum is.

If you have nothing good to say, then shut your pie hole.

You're making the world a worse place with every character you type.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Look, she wanted to be a member of AKB48, she wanted to do something she wants to do. I'm pretty sure her parents would be somewhat against it in the first place,

And you know the parents are "somewhat" against this how? Did you read the article?

But Maria seems to have her parents’ full support

Seems to me the parents see ¥¥¥¥¥signs in front of their eyes.

It's what she wants to do

That's what parents are for, to protect their ELEVEN year old children from excesses and not play to their fantasies.

It's thinking like this that puts these young girls, not women, in to positions of being exploited. That is a shame.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

djv124:

"Also, I should probably say this in case it wasn't clear... if AKB for some reason decided to start putting 11 year old girls in their MVs like my daughter in sexually suggestive poses and start acting lewd about what they would have her do, then I would definitely have a problem with it."

Like this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeulXSZk-2o

You´d have no problem seeing your 11-year old daughter in there?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeulXSZk-2o

FYI.....that's Chinese btw, but your point IS spot ON!

One my 11 year old daughter would not be there, so there is no discussion. Parents only see $$$$$ not the exploitation.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And you know the parents are "somewhat" against this how? Did you read the article?

Yes, I read the article. D'oh.

Any self respecting, loving parents would be against overworking their kid ( bet you don't know how hard these fluffy idols work, maybe more than you do )

But I imagine that it is exactly because they are loving parents that they gave in and let her try her hand at something she wants to work hard in. It's not often that a 11 year old knows what she wants to do ( what we're you doing when you were 11? ) and really, unless you're a parent, you won't know the feeling of trying to stop your kid chase his / her dream.

Who are you to judge that all is about 円円円? Get off your high horse.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

But I imagine that it is exactly because they are loving parents that they gave in and let her try her hand at something she wants to work hard in.

You really do not know what it takes to be a parent. Plain and simple.

No "loving" parent will ever let their 11 year old child be used, and used is what will happen with any association with AKB, dont believe it, the history is out there.

You really seem to be blind to that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No "loving" parent will ever let their 11 year old child be used, and used is what will happen with any association with AKB, dont believe it, the history is out there.

Absolutely. Thats what parenting is supposed to be all about. I have an 11 year old daughter. She was a model and did some TV presenting. My son also modelled, both of them for big names like Disney. I DO know what it takes to be a parent of a kid in the industry.

Yubaru is right. And its not HIS history - its out there for all the world to see. Google it. Not hard to find underage AKB members in underwear in provocative poses. Remember the chocolate advert? Parenting is about supporting kids dreams but its also about steering them through the muck that is the majority of the entertainment industry and teaching them not to prostitute themselves for fame and fortune and have some self respect. And sorry but I count AKBs management very much in that group.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'd be more than happy to read into this "history" of yours - as long as you're sure you didn't get it from a cheap gossip site. I have better things to do with my time.

Read, visualize, and then tell me this is not exploitation. This and probably thousands of other pictures like it are exploiting these girls (notice NOT women) and are used to titillate plain and simple.

THis is from one simple goole search of AKB48...check it out and if find nothing wrong with it, I am sorry but I think there is something seriously wrong.

http://www.amazon.co.jp/%E7%9C%9F%E5%A4%8F%E3%81%AESounds-good-%E3%80%90%E5%A4%9A%E5%A3%B2%E7%89%B9%E5%85%B8%E7%94%9F%E5%86%99%E7%9C%9F%E4%BB%98%E3%81%8D%E3%80%91-Type-%E9%80%9A%E5%B8%B8%E7%9B%A4/dp/B007R84QOE

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I don't follow AKB48 but the photos I've seen of them haven't been offensive or sexy. Perhaps I haven't seen the bad ones. What does worry me, if a person perceives something as suggestive and it's not. Kids dressing up is not sexy and I worry about those who see it as sexy... including those shocked by it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They have 40-odd singles released to date and the only one you've brought up is their summer single where they wear bikinis... typical hater much? ( did I also forget to mention that single was released in 2012? )

.

What about their latest music video then ( https://vid.me/pBly ), do you have any problems with that?

Will you be ok if your 11 year old daughter was featured in this one?

.

And for people out there screaming "PAEDOPHILES OMFG" - watch this video - It's a compilation of AKB48 fans from around the world.

( https://youtu.be/iQrqdzKUHB8 )

.

Sure, there are what you might call "disgusting old men" in that video, but you will also see a variety of people there that supports the group because they know how hard these girls work their asses off.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Oh, it's just surprising...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So, she's a Hobbit! I will not shame her nor say mean things about her. When I was 12 I collected comic books. This is the best agency a 12 year old girl could work for. Good for her!

Well, King Records or Ace Deuce are actually the best. I think the reason she was chosen has something to do with the third Higurashi No Noku Koro Ni movie. The first two starred a few members of AKB48... and she looks a lot ... A LOT like the alternate universe Natsumi... This decision wasn't random!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites