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 respects 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.
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 few perspectives 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.”
While the news surrounding this scandal is over 10 years old, it still should serve as a reminder of what not to do if you are a Japanese pop music idol. The website Japan Zone wrote a response to this scandal in early 2012, saying that in the arena of disposable Japanese pop idols it is standard practice to be prohibited from having boyfriends. Yes, that is certainly true and correct but one has to wonder why the source asserts that these pop music idols are somehow disposable.
 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
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