photographer Michael Creagh  

fashion stylist Lisa Jarvis

featuring wardrobe by Alex London Fashion House

hair Dennis Fei at Kate Ryan INC

makeup Yuko Takahashi for MAC Cosmetics & Swarovski

makeup assistant Megumi Kashimura

nails Eri Narita at Kanako Salon NYC

model Karolina Babczynska at IMG

Thoughts on the love ban rule : the philosopher’s bride

If you have watched this year sousenkyo, you probably have witnessed one of the biggest surprise of the 48group : an idol announcing her marriage. Sutou Ririka from NMB48, amidst the chaos, took 10 minutes to explain how serious she is about this, leaving the audience speechless. This is once again an opportunity to talk about the love ban rule : was Riripon right on announcing her marriage like that? What is interesting lie in the context : Sutou ririka is no ordinary idol. (you can also read a more general article about love ban rule here)

Ririka after the sousenkyo. Her T-shirt got sold out soon after.

We have to split our thoughts on two parts : Style and substance. Substance would be “why she did it” and style would be “how she did it”. First of all, people need to know that Shunkan Bunshun, famous tabloid for taking down many idol with scandals, was involved with her announcement. Few weeks before, they were already hinting to make a huge reveal on one of AKB members. It’s now obvious that this idol was none other than Sutou Ririka. We can’t really be sure when they “caught” Riripon dating her boyfriend. But what sure is, she knew she was the target and decided to not give the tabloid the upper hand and announced it in sousenkyo.

Sutou Ririka is quite the eccentric one. She reads a lot of philosophical books, has even wrote one (which was sold out soon after her announcement) and is someone very straightforward, to the point she answered in a showroom (or a stage performance) that she was indeed a virgin. Because such personality is rare, she gained a lot of fans and raised to 20th place in sousenkyo ranking. People implied she wanted to shock people, or was an attention seeker. I don’t think it was her purpose. She just wanted to be honest with fans, as deep inside her she doesn’t think she’s in the wrong doing so. We can quote few Nietzsche quote to grasp a little bit of Riripon’s supposed way of thinking :

“ There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.”

- “ One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.

-  “Whatever is done for love always occurs beyond good and evil." 

Riripon was most of the time edgy/politically wrong simply because she doesn’t differentiate her as an idol and herself. Stereotypes of an idol would be someone pure, cute and innocent; and many girls created a character to get as close as they could to this definition. But having so much girls reaching the same type of character, it’s actually those who stand out that are getting attention, like riripon. Sutou Ririka is an idol because she is true to herself.

I feel that she is an artist. She’s the kind of person that instead of following rules, she’s creating them. Idol rules were seen as a restriction to her personality. It also come to her perception of love: this is something that goes beyond everything, reason can’t tame feelings. Love doesn’t have to be justified, nor excuse itself to exist.

So in order to reach the bliss, she dived completely into love. One could question how quickly things happened. After her most recent interview, she explained she met him 1.5 years ago but only dated him late 2016, and the proposal was early 2017. Things went really fast, and it cast away the facts that Ririka was trying to be an idol and married at the same time. Actually, Cameron (NMB manager) said they were consulted before everything happened and testify of her sincerity. That’s why they support her until the end of her graduation.

Not only fans, but many 48group members were confused and surprised

Probably what was problematic was the style. By announcing this during sousenkyo, she sank into oblivion everything that happened afterwards, including Mayu’s graduation. She dynamited the sousenkyo, and it’s purpose : to be a special moment between idol and fans. What’s bugging is once again the timing: you can’t help but think what would happen if she didn’t got caught by bunshun. Was she going to continue being an idol despite dating? After all, she accepted being in NMB senbatsu despite dating her boyfriend late 2016. If she was serious about her relationship, she would already decided to withdraw from activities.

The reason comes from substance again : in her interview, she said she worked hard as an idol and still wanted to go to sousenkyo to get her ranking. She pushed her way of thinking so far that she thought that her relationship wouldn’t affect the work she done as an idol to get her ranking. This is her first mistake : Sousenkyo is not a place to drop such a bomb. It was the same situation as Oshima Yuko announcing her sotsugyo in kouhaku : she was criticized because she was shadowing other artist performance because of this. Those who defend the no love ban rule often mistake style and substance. But both are different. Simply put, she has the right to love (substance) but she failed to do it without harming others (style).

We’re not talking about delusional wota who want their oshimen pure and innocent (substance), we’re talking about 48 members (Takayanagi Akane, Oshima Yuko, Takahashi Juri, Okada Nana) who have seen her announcement as inappropriate to those who have tried to rank for many years, or to the kouhai/new members. It is quite unfair to have so many members leave the 48group being punished for being in a relationship and seeing such bold statement from a popular member right during the sousenkyo.

It’s even more irritable because Management are being super ambiguous about this. What the hell, is there a love ban rule or not? To have a flexible love ban rule between unpopular and popular members is unacceptable. Owada Nana and Nishino miki have soon graduated after being caught going out at 2AM with ex johnny’s, but Aki-p offer Ririka to stay? It’s disrespectful to those who try so hard to maintain a good example and self discipline, like Okada Nana. Management can’t claim to damage control what happened when they’ve never fixed a situation that can allow such things.

Friedrich Nietzsche is Riripon’s favourite philosopher

To have Yamamoto Sayaka apologize on behalf of NMB48 for all this ruckus tells pretty much that this situation has gone way beyond Ririka’s only persona. It concerns not only ririka, but NMB image, 48group image, management and fans. She should have taken into account everyone before taking her decision. And because things went so fast because of bunshun, she had no choice but to announce it during sousenkyo. My humble opinion would be that she didn’t act selfishly (she apologized to her senior for troubling the sousenkyo) but it expressed some sort of immaturity to not think the impact of her action to others. She’s young, and to decide to graduate and leave the idol world that she loved in few weeks apart was too difficult. I can understand cameron whe he said Riripon didn’t try to betray fans (and get it both ways).

So probably the biggest culprit would be management (they are too happy to have fan’s attention discarded from the okinawa failure) that let this situation goes on even after being aware of this. I said above that Riripon’s responsability was not engaged from a moral point of view, but i’m not sure many fans would be as apologetic toward riripon as me. What’s scary, is that management allow Riripon to participate in handshake? To face all those probable insult, criticism, all on her own? Isn’t management supposed to protect her? This is quite the ironic situation.

I will never blame her for being human, too human. 

Cheer Up Post #4965

For the anon requesting Japanese idols Oshima Yuko, Takahashi Minami, and Miyawaki Sakura, along with the anime character Usui from Kaichou Wa Maid Sama, enjoy!

Women Masterpost

***Disclaimer: Most of the images used do not belong to me. If you see one that’s yours, and you would like credit or to have it removed/replaced, please just ask.

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kami 8 at AKB48 10th Anniversary memorial event


Kami 7 [神7, literally Godly 7]

A term initially used to refer to the original seven fans at AKB’s first theatre performance. After the first sousenkyo, the top ranking seven members were often selected together for single promotions (perhaps because the 8th ranking member, Sato Amina, was less favoured by management). After the second sousenkyo, the same members ranked again in the top seven, albeit not the exact same ranks. After this, these members were referred to as the Kami 7 of AKB48: Maeda Atsuko, Oshima Yuko, Shinoda Mariko, Watanabe Mayu, Takahashi Minami, Kojima Haruna, Itano Tomomi.

In the third sousenkyo, Itano Tomomi was knocked out of the top 7 by Kashiwagi Yuki. At this point, fans began arging whether “the top 7 ranking members are the Kami 7” (aka, the Kami 7 now includes Yuki) or “these original members are the Kami 7, because they are the top” (aka because Tomomi no longer ranks <7, the Kami 7 ceases to exist).

However, as more members were overtaken by their juniors and dropped rank, it is generally accepted by the fans and media that the top 7 ranking sousenkyo members can by called ‘Kami 7’, and many members now actively aim to become part of it.


AKB0048(6) / AKB48(AX2011) : Ponytail to Shushu (ポニーテールとシュシュ )



photographer Micheal Creagh Photography
photography assistant M Jean Baptiste
fashion stylist Lisa Jarvis
featuring wardrobe by Alex London
hair Dennis Fei at Kate Ryan INC
makeup Yuko Takahashi for MAC Cosmetics & Swarovski
makeup assistant Megumi Kashimura
nails Eri Narita at Kanako Salon NYC
model Karolina Babczynska at IMG