There are many mentally unwell girls in AKB48, claims ex-member
Japan Today -- Jan 17
Being an idol singer in Japan is at least as much about the personality you radiate as the vocals you produce. Sure, idol songs may be almost invariably sweet and sugary, but the performers themselves are expected to be even more cheerful, cultivating the sort of earnest, plucky persona that attracts loyal fanbases.

But every day isn’t all sunshine and rainbows for idols, even those who are part of the industry’s most successful and prestigious group, AKB48. On Jan 14, former AKB48 member Miki Nishino, who was with the Akihabara-based unit from 2012 to 2017, appeared on streaming service Abema TV’s "Ogiya Hagi no Busu" TV talk show. Now a TV and media personality, during her appearance the 19-year-old Nishino said: "There are a lot of mentally unwell girls in AKB48.”

Nishino gave examples of AKB48 members who would set up their Line messaging app profiles with statements like “I think someday things will start going my way,” or “If I keep looking forward, I can see that things will get better,” or who would make their profile pictures a solid black field. Describing such actions as “attempts to get attention,” Nishino said “It’s obvious that they’re hoping someone will help them,” and voiced her opinion that it would be better for them to “just come right out and say so.” It’s worth considering why idols might be suffering from mental or emotional distress. Though Nishino gave an obvious potential source by saying “AKB has a busy schedule, so a lot of girls [feel that way],” there’s also an intense amount of pressure placed on its members. Aside from competition with other groups in an era when the Japanese idol market is more crowded than ever before, part of the marketing for AKB48 (as well as many other idol groups) involves regularly holding “elections,” popularity contests in which fans cast votes for their favorite idol within the group, with the tallied results and rankings being publicly announced and tracked. At the same time, being part of a musical team, as with any team in Japan, comes with intense pressure to perform as closely as possible to perfection, since Japanese culture routinely stresses the importance of fulfilling responsibilities to the group over personal satisfaction.

News source: Japan Today
Aug 23
Kanagawa Prefectural Police have arrested a woman and a man for allegedly introducing a teenage girl to men for prostitution last year, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Aug. 21). (
Aug 23
A man affiliated with Japan's largest crime syndicate was shot Wednesday in Kobe apparently in connection with a feud among factions of the Yamaguchi-gumi organization in the western Japan city and surrounding areas, police said. (Japan Today)
Aug 22
Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested a 50-year-old man over the alleged abduction of a middle school girl in order to molest her last month, reports TBS News (Aug. 21). (
Aug 22
It has always been a mystery why Summer Sonic is not held in the relative cool of June or July, but at the very height of summer, when the August sun beats down upon the festival’s outdoor stages or typhoons power through the country, threatening disruption and cancellations to the event’s packed schedule. (Japan Times)
Aug 21
Japan's Prince Hisahito has paid a courtesy call on the King and Queen of Bhutan. (NHK)
Aug 19
Police in Japan have arrested a man on a national wanted list who is suspected of forcibly stopping a car and beating the driver on a highway. (NHK)
Aug 19
Anime fans from around the world continue to visit Kyoto to mourn the victims of the arson attack on a famous animation studio one month ago. (NHK)
Aug 19
More than 2,000 people tested their skills at scooping up goldfish at an annual event in Nara Prefecture, western Japan, on Sunday. (NHK)
Aug 16
An estimated 12,751 people were rushed to hospitals due to heat-related conditions across Japan over the week from Aug 5, of whom 23 died, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Wednesday. (Japan Today)
Aug 10
A male patient attacked nurses with a knife at a hospital in Ehime Prefecture, western Japan, on Friday, police said. (Kyodo)