One of the most popular members of NMB48, Yuzuha Hongo made the surprise announcement on April 4 that she would be graduating the Osaka group. Alongside her singing, Hongo pursues a burgeoning career in gravure (as reported before), having released her first photo book from Kodansha in 2022. A second photo book is set for release at the end of May, shortly before she will graduate from NMB48. Known as Yuzu to her fans, the idol is still just 20 years old and seems very young to graduate (though she joined way back in 2015, so has devoted eight years of her life to the Namba-based group). ...

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We've said it before and we'll say it again: the idol world is dodgy. Let's be loud and clear: we hope the young women (well, girls -- they are usually young teenagers) know about these potential risks before they get into the industry. Sure, there are respectable managers out there, but bad apples and the bunch and all that. The industry is highly competitive and exploitative, known for making its young members work long hours for little pay, and for sexual abuse (no doubt partly accepted by people in the industry as the equivalent of the casting couch). The media has reported another ...

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Hot on the heels of the revelations over Mariko Shinoda's marital problems, allegedly caused by her infidelity, comes news of the nuptial dilemmas of another former AKB48 idol. Kana Kobayashi is now aged 31 and seemed to have it all. Last March, she announced that she had married a famous investor and given birth to a child. But then on January 16, she announced on social media that she was already divorced. In fact, her husband had "another wife." If that wasn't bad enough, he was arrested in October on charges of investment fraud, sparking an online backlash against her. Her husband ...

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This story broke at the end of last year and we sat on it for a few days to see if there were any further developments. A minor scandal has emerged involving top Nogizaka46 member Yuki Yoda, after the tabloid magazine Weekly Bunshun caught her going to a luxury gym in Ebisu, Tokyo, in which she was allegedly in a room alone with a male trainer for several hours. The 22-year-old, who joined the idol group in 2016 but came firmly onto our radar when she released her hit photo book in 2020, apparently attends the gym twice a week and has the same male trainer for her sessions. As noted in its ...

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This is a story that's been bubbling along in the background for a while and has now come more fully to light. Mariko Shinoda, the celebrity once one of the big original stars of AKB48, is locked in a legal battle with her estranged husband over the custody rights to their child. Shinoda graduated AKB48 in 2013 and got married in autumn 2019 to a man she had been dating for just a few months. In April 2020, she gave birth. She became something of a model of motherhood, devoting her Instagram to pictures of her parenting. This all seemed to stop in summer this year amid a tranche of ...

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AKB48's power has waned of late and it takes a scandal to make us sit up and take notice (though the recent sex scandals involving Nana Okada and Yuiri Murayama, culminating in the former quitting the group, added a little frisson to an otherwise dull media landscape). Instead, we continue to follow what happens to the many members of the supergroup after they graduate. Though the majority vanish into the post-idol ether, a lucky few carve out careers in acting or TV, some keep on doing modeling and gravure work, and a small yet notable number move into porn. Makiho Tatsuya ...

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This week came the news that Nana Okada would graduate AKB48 after she was found to have -- shock horror! -- a boyfriend (actor Hiroki Ino). The supergroup's numbers of music idols are vast and most disappear without a trace. While it's well known that some work in porn after graduating, a luckier few go on to forge careers as models, actors, or tarento (talents) -- general dogsbody celebrities. Nishino seems to fall into the latter. Since leave AKB48 in 2017, she has continued to appear sporadically on TV, such as one show in which she flaunted her cute but out-of-shape body (in contrast ...

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Paparazzi snaps of an idol with her boyfriend? No big deal, this is the usual kind of fodder that always fills the pages of the weeklies, right? But this time, there's an amusing, possibly kinky, catch. Reporters snapped AKB48 member Yuiri Murayama entering the condo of fellow AKB idol Nana Okada for the latter's birthday party late at night on November 6. The 25-year-old was with a man who many assume is her boyfriend. Netizens peered hard -- very hard -- at the box in the bag that Murayama's putative partner is carrying. And they think they've identified it. It just might well be ...

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The mayor of Nagoya, Takashi Kawamura, has been accused of making an inappropriate hand gesture when posing for a photo with young music idols. The head of Japan's fourth largest city, and a major industrial center, the 74-year-old mayor stood for a jocular pic with several attendees at a Korean cultural festival in Nagoya held on November 12 and 13. However, it was immediately noticed that he did the fig sign with his right hand. The image of the smiling Kawamura, surrounded by women decades younger (dressed in traditional Korean clothing), with his thumb between two fingers has caused a ...

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An underground Japanese music idol group has claimed that one of its members will become an adult video star for being the least popular. Announced on September 16 and apparently running until September 19, the last day of a music festival, the Planck Stars said that the member who got the least number of snapshots taken with fans would be forced to debut in porn. Incidentally, the winner gets a free bicycle. The group claimed its members devised the campaign themselves. The original announcement got some attention back in September, but has received renewed outrage on Twitter in the ...

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