Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.
Japanese Pop Music Group NGT48 is Going in a New Direction
Japanese pop music group NGT48 is now undergoing significant changes as a group and so that is why I have titled this next article as such. It has now been announced that this group will end their team based system and restart their activities using a different approach. What does this all mean? I am glad that you asked because that is what the focus of this next part will be.
A Photo of Japanese Idol Group NGT48
The One Major Event That Set The Stage for the Restructuring of NGT48 Is
Whether this has happened through mere coincidence or just a random act of change, there was a major event that happened to this group that may have put things in perspective. NGT48’s operating company called AKS issued a statement in early January 2019 because one of the group’s members Maho Yamaguchi was assaulted by two men outside of her home. In a LIVE broadcast done on Twitter and SHOWROOM, Yamaguchi confirmed the report and then attended NGT48’s 3rd anniversary event on January 10, 2019. She then apologized to the fans because this news caused them to worry. In addition to this public statement, the way that the group’s management handled the issue was said to have caused a riot in Japan. As a result, Theater Manager Etsuro Imamura was replaced by Maiko Hayakawa. This is the event that sparked outrage in Japan and led to the plans for restructuring the group. This is significant because this is the first time at least in my memory that a girl group in Japan has come under controversy for an event like this. In mid-January 2019, a statement on NGT48’s website revealed that one member of NGT48 told these two men when Yamaguchi might return home. It is reported that these two men were arrested on suspicion of grabbing her face but they were later released. Yamaguchi’s apology comes at a time when there is growing awareness of violence against women in Japan.
Author's note: as I read and find out about this unfortunate incident, why would you ever reveal private information about one of your team members to a fan of the group? This is like throwing a teammate under the bus and it is shameful.
Maho Yamaguchi Speaks Out About Not Being Properly Taken Care Of
Yamaguchi revealed in February 2019 that she has not even received the proper care even now as her relations with the company AKS are on a downward slide and are deteriorating. The parents of NGT48 members even spoke out against management wanting to know why the group’s former manager isn’t even present. Yamaguchi’s parents publicly spoke out saying that their daughter cannot trust anyone anymore and she deserves the proper mental and emotional care. Something that AKS has said that they would look into.
Interesting Video About the Maho Yamaguchi Case
If someone powerful has a hard time coming out, the average women in Japan thinks, what chance do I have? But idols are very relatable. This incident could help other young women to think, if she came out, then I can come out too,” (Emiko Jozuka, 2019).
Some Information About the Beginning Of Idol Group NGT48
It is necessary of course to discuss the beginning of this group NGT48 because how can we discuss the group's rebirth if we do not discuss how the group got to this point?
Applications for membership into the group NGT48 began on April 10, 2015 and lasted until May 18, 2015. Girls that were between the ages of 11 and 23 were eligible to apply.
As of the first time that I began to cover the part about the beginning of NGT48, the group had four members. They are Rie Kitahara, draft members Yuka Ogino and Marina Nishigata, and Yuki Kashiwagi who joined the group in October 2015.
The group would start performing in its theater on October 1, 2015. Ogino and Nishigata were drafted into the group by way of the AKB48 Draft Kaigai 2015. NGT48’s theater would open at Lovela Bandai 2 in Niigata. This announcement was made at a press conference that was held on May 24, 2015. In attendance were Kitahara and the two girls that were drafted along with NGT48’s then theater director Etsuro Imamura. There was an audience of 1,100 people who were said to have cheered loudly and gave a round of applause when it was announced that the theater would open at the said location. Imamura elaborated on the reason why the theater would open at Lovela Bandai 2. He said that it is very accessible and only 15 minutes away from Niigata Station. He also said that it is a town where people of different generations can come and gather.
"Seishun Dokei" The Debut Single of NGT48
The Current Lineup Of NGT48 and Other Singles
NGT48 now has 45 original members over their 2 generations. As part of the rebirth of NGT48 it is my hope that Yamaguchi can recover from this incident and resume a normal life. Yamaguchi who is 23, was chosen as a selected member for the group’s first single called Seishun Dokei. On July 22, 2020, the group will release a new single called Sherbet Pink. But this will not be just another single for this group. Sherbet Pink will have the participation of 30 members and it will be their first and last single for the Senbatsu or top ranking girls. The center for Sherbet Pink will be Miyu Fujisaki, a member of the training girls from Niigata Prefecture. It is fair to say that NGT48 has passed their rebirth stage with success and they are now ready to embark on an interesting chapter in their career.
Emiko Jozuka, Y. W. (2019, January 16). CNN. Retrieved April 14, 2019, from CNN.com: https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/16/asia/japanese-pop-idol-sexual-assault-apology-bullying-intl/index.html
© 2019 Ara Vahanian