Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.
Who Is Natsumi Hirajima and Why Is She Important?
Of all the members of Japanese musical group AKB48 that have come and gone over the years, there is one former member that now may be largely forgotten. That person is Natsumi Hirajima, a former member of AKB48 whose career with the group ended after she was caught violating the group’s no dating policy.
Why should the world know about Natsumi Hirajima?
My purpose for writing about her is not just for the sake of writing about her. The article is being written to address that there are always things we can do that are right and just and we must try as much as we can to set a good example. Natsumi’s mistake cost her the opportunity to graduate from AKB48 on good terms and because of a mistake that is considered the biggest infraction in the eyes of AKB48’s management, Hirajima will probably be considered someone who will have lost respect among current and former members and another way to describe this is a loss of face. But who is Natsumi Hirajima other than being a former member of the most famous pop music group in Japan?
Interesting Facts About Natsumi Hirajima
- Her main motto is “smile as much as possible.”
- The quote that she lives by is “do it when you can do it.”
- She is good friends with Kazumi Urano, a member of the now disbanded group SDN48.
- She is the former leader of the group called Watarirouka Hashiritai an AKB48 sub-unit.
- In her first year of junior high school, she was the vice president of her student council.
- She says that if she could be born again, she would like to be a boy.
- She likes science but she is not good at math or English.
- She admires actress Ryoko Yonekura and her reasons given for this is because Ryoko is cute and she can be a bad girl.
- Natsumi repects her father the most.
- She takes her own lunch to work.
- Natsumi Hirajima as of this writing is the graduated member with the most number of AKB48 Theater performances with 838. But I would not call her departure a graduation, something we will address shortly.
- Born on May 28, 1992.
- She shares the same birth year as Minami Minegishi and Ai Shinozaki.
The Natsumi Hirajima Scandal What Was It About?
Now we must discuss the worst part of Hirajima’s career, the one mistake that she made that then forced her to make a critical decision. She along with her band mate Rumi Yonezawa violated the group’s no dating policy. Hirajima was given the chance to apologize but she instead chose to resign from both AKB48 and Watarirouka Hashiritai. It would be on February 4, 2012 that Hirajima would greet her fans for the very last time during a handshake event at the venue called Tokyo Big Sight. She did however apologize to an audience of 15,000 fans saying that she felt miserable for standing in the way of her fellow members and she felt even worse because her action betrayed the fans.
Not only did she betray her fans with that costly mistake but she violated what is considered the golden rule of AKB48: no boyfriends under any circumstances while these girls are a member of AKB48 and its other groups.
A perspective on the Natsumi Hirajima scandal
Dae Lee of New School Kaidan, a website dedicated to Japanese pop culture offers perspective on this huge mistake saying that Hirajima’s leaving produces mixed feelings. He describes the departure as “a light mix of sympathy, disappointment, and frustration at the rules, two-faced fans and the utter stupidity of having condemning material floating around on the Internet.”
 Dae Lee, “Two Scandals with One Stone,” New School Kaidan, January 27, 2012, http://newschoolkaidan.com/two-scandals-with-one-stone/
Natsumi Hirajima With Minami Minegishi
I get the frustration of the author. While this isn’t the worst thing that someone could do, it is a mistake that Natsumi will have to live with for the rest of her life knowing that she let her fans down and put a sort of scar on AKB48. These girls basically signed a contract saying that they were going to perform while adhering to a set of rules and policies that are expected of these girls. It was reported that Hirajima had a relationship with a student at the famous Keio University. Obviously, this was a poor use of judgment by Hirajima but I forgive her for her mistake and wish her well. There were photos of the two of these girls hanging out with guys and these photos left them with a decision: either they would have to apologize and hope that they would still be allowed to stay in the group or they would have to leave on their own volition. Hirajima decided to leave AKB48.
Why Natsumi Hirajima's Departure Isn't a Graduation from AKB48
I will also say that her departure technically isn’t a graduation. It is more or less a forced departure by Hirajima due to breaking a big rule. She really didn’t have a graduation concert and she resigned in disgrace. So I cannot call her departure a graduation but the loss of a dream job due to actions that were selfish. All of us are human and we will make mistakes. But in Japan and the J POP idol industry, when certain rules are violated, that person is not the same in the eyes of the public. So there you have a look at the life and career of Natsumi Hirajima a pop idol singer that due to selfishness lost her opportunity to be recognized as a great member of a very popular musical group. She presently works as a gravure idol so her career in entertainment isn’t over but she may be forever known as a singer that made a costly mistake.
Lee, Dae. “Two Scandals with One Stone.” New School Kaidan. January 27, 2012. Accessed on July 1, 2020. http://newschoolkaidan.com/two-scandals-with-one-stone/
© 2020 Ara Vahanian