Now, as journalist and ethnographer Patrick Galbraith told The Verge last year, it's all too easy to stereotype otaku culture.And it's true that AKB48, not surprisingly, holds a lot of popularity among young children as well."Regarding the article that will be released today, I am so sorry for worrying my band members, fans, staff, family, and everyone else." She bows in contrition for a full eight seconds — slightly longer than, say, Sony’s Kaz Hirai did when apologizing for the massive Play Station Network security breach in 2011.
A Japanese pop idol, hair freshly shaved to the skin, takes to You Tube and bursts into tears as she begs for mercy over her transgression.
"My name is Minami Minegishi of AKB48 Team B," she says, referring to the hugely successful group she became a founding member of seven years ago.
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 a declining music industry, producer Yasushi Akimoto worked out how to strike gold: create a group laser-focused on the one demographic guaranteed to hand over money, no matter what. Not only did Akimoto make AKB48 appealing enough for people to buy the CDs, he figured out methods of convincing devoted fans to buy the same CD multiple times.