I will never hear a bad word said about Simon Cowell again
Whilst Simon Cowell has become a lightning rod for a lowest common denominator form of pop music as gladiatorial combat, this is nothing compared to the Japanese music market. Japan has a history of turning out girl groups that regularly change their members and give participants a high personal standard in their lives. The most famous of these groups at the moment is AKB48 which is a franchise that also touches countries like Indonesia and China.
AKB48 is an 88-strong girl group who perform daily in their own theatre, have a number of television programmes, tour and record records. It was founded by Yasushi Akimoto, a veteran of the TV and music industries like Cowell. Not all of of the women appear on stage at the same time. In addition trainees are groomed for a future role in the group. The key attribute of their image is their accessibility. Fans can see them live every day if they manage to get hold of a ticket. Being accessible also means that the girls have to have no romantic ties.
This week singer Minami Minegishi was demoted within the group, shaved her head and gave a tearful apology that has had over four million views on YouTube apologising for spending time with a boyfriend! Ms. Minegishi is 20-years old, so parential style supervision is inappropriate at best. The video looks more like she was held hostage by terrorists and is one of the most grotesque things I have seen in a long time. Mr Akimoto and company, congratulations; you’ve managed to do what PROs have failed to do and make Simon Cowell seem like a thoroughly decent chap in comparison.