Seven rules for dating my teenage daughter

To answer that, we have to look at the story of AKB48, and how brilliant marketing and institutional misogyny have exploited pop cultural loopholes for the group to take over Japan.

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But the non-obsessive fans aren't the ones responsible for the group's success — the avaricious otaku is where the money's at.

Those with the spending power have influenced a poisonous moral norm that's worked its way through Japan, and it's come to a head with the furore over Minami Minegishi.

In fact, I don't know too many people in Japan who buy music at all — and who can blame them, at around $40 a pop?

And if they were to buy CDs, it's unlikely they'd go for AKB48, who make music that would be considered impossibly juvenile by just about any standard.

Clad in baseball cap and cotton surgical mask, Minegishi was aiming to dodge paparazzi, but evidently her disguise didn't work.

The result was the profoundly disturbing apology video posted last week and later pulled from the official AKB48 You Tube channel."As an original member of AKB48, I am supposed to set an example for the junior members," she continues."But I was thoughtless and showed a lack of self-awareness.Such "scandals" are common in Japan; despite the flagrant marketing of J-pop idols as sex symbols, any hint of them engaging in an actual relationship is harshly frowned upon.When AKB48's agency released the Minegishi video along with a blog post demoting her to the "training" ranks of the 88-member-strong group, it was only the most extreme example in a long line of similar incidents. That's the age of majority in Japan; two weeks previously, she had celebrated her coming-of-age day along with every other Japanese person who reached the age of 20 in the past year.The concept behind the group was to create stars that fans could not only relate to, but actually meet.

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