AKB48’s Rina Kawaei and Anna Iriyama have been injured after a fan attacked them with a saw.
Rina Kawaei, 19, and Anna Iriyama, 18, were meeting with fans in the northern city of Takizawa on Sunday when a man lunged forward and slashed them.
They sustained cuts on their hands and heads, reported Kyodo. A male staff member was also cut on his hand.
Japan’s AKB48 holds the Guinness record for being the world’s largest pop group.
AKB48’s Rina Kawaei and Anna Iriyama have been injured after a fan attacked them with a saw
The police have arrested the 24-year-old man, identified as Satoru Umeta.
AKB48’s manager was reported as saying the two girls’ surgery was successful and they would be able to leave the hospital by Monday.
A Tokyo concert scheduled for Monday night and other fan events have been cancelled.
News of the attack was covered widely in national media. AKB48, which was founded in 2005, is hugely popular in Japan and other Asian countries.
AKB stands for Akihabara, the technology district of Tokyo, where the group has its own theatre. Members perform there almost every day.
The number 48 reportedly refers to the original number of members in the group, although it has since expanded.
The current line-up on AKB48’s website, spread over four main teams and other smaller ones, lists 140 names.
Every year tens of thousands of fans vote on who gets to join the group from a pool of more than 200 candidates, in an event that is widely covered by national media.
AKB48 members have to abide by strict rules set by their management, and are not allowed to date.
[youtube _eMD3qS6T6U 650]
Japanese pop star Minami Minegishi has shaved her head and offered a filmed apology after breaking her management firm’s rules by spending a night with her boyfriend.
A sobbing Minami Minegishi apologized to her fans and said she did not want to leave the band AKB48, in the video seen by millions on YouTube.
The production company behind AKB48 said Minami Minegishi, 20, had failed to abide by its cardinal rule – no dating.
But fans have defended her, saying she is entitled to a normal life.
Head shaving is a traditional form of showing contrition in Japan.
Minami Minegishi’s apology came hours after a tabloid newspaper published photographs of her leaving the apartment of her boyfriend, Alan Shirahama, a dancer in a boy band.
In the video posted on AKB48’s official website, Minami Minegishi said she had made the decision to shave off her long hair to show contrition for her “thoughtless and immature” actions.
“I don’t believe just doing this means I can be forgiven for what I did, but the first thing I thought was that I don’t want to quit AKB48,” she said.
At times sobbing and bowing her head during the nearly four-minute-long video, Minami Minegishi also said: “If it is possible, I wish from the bottom of my heart to stay in the band. Everything I did is entirely my fault. I am so sorry.”
Minami Minegishi has shaved her head and offered a filmed apology after breaking her management firm’s rules by spending a night with her boyfriend
Minami Minegishi was one of the original members of AKB48 when it was launched by producer Yasushi Akimoto in 2005. The band is made up of some 90 girls – whose ages range from mid teens to early 20s – who, in teams, appear daily in their own theatre and regularly on television, in adverts, and in magazines.
They portray an image of cuteness known as “kawaii”, and have become a huge phenomenon both in Japan and increasingly in other Asian countries, correspondents say.
The condition for being part of such a successful act is that the girls must not date boys, so as not to shatter their fans’ illusions.
AKB48’s management office said Minami Minegishi had been demoted to a trainee team as punishment “for causing a nuisance to the fans”.
But author and critic Hiroki Azuma said it was “disgusting” that the star felt she should resort to a traditional act of contrition when the only rules she had broken were those of her band’s.
Some fans and commentators say Minami Minegishi went too far with her public apology, and that it was unnecessary.
“What’s the point of this public execution show? It’s like something from the war or a totalitarian state,” one fan said on Twitter.