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AKB48 members attacked by saw-wielding man

Kyodo

A man wielding a saw assaulted AKB48 during an event in Takizawa, Iwate Prefecture, on Sunday afternoon, wounding two members of the all-girl pop group and a male staffer, police said. The suspect was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

The members were identified by their management office as Rina Kawaei, 19, and Anna Iriyama, 18.

It was not immediately known why the man attacked the group or whether the two dancers were specifically targeted.

Kawaei’s right thumb was cut and fractured as was Iriyama’s right little finger, the management office said. They were taken to a hospital and underwent surgery, the office said. The singers also suffered cuts on their heads, the police said.

The male staffer suffered cuts to his left hand.

The man was identified as Satoru Umeta, 24, unemployed, from Towada in neighboring Aomori, the police said. He allegedly assaulted the young performers with a saw, prompting an emergency call that a man with a blade was acting violently in the event hall.

The fan event started at 1 p.m., according to the pop group’s website. Minami Takahashi, one of the group’s most popular members, was reportedly attending.

The all-girl pop group is hugely popular and has inspired sister groups within Japan and abroad, including one in Jakarta called JKT48.

  • Max Erimo

    Terrible, terrible act of violence, which should be condemned completely. I offer my best wishes for a speedy recovery to those who were injured.
    However, the best way to protect these valuable money making children is to restrict the chance of this type of action re-occuring by stopping any further of these types of events. There is no need for handshake parties and rock scissor paper competitions that take several hours.
    Stop the rot and protect the children. Quite simple really.
    The law of supply and demand. Reduce the supply and increase the demand. Concerts only are enough. Makes good economic sense for the top people who run these groups simply for profit.

    • greaterdivinity

      Yeah, they should just live in a bubble and never give back to their fans at all because there’s the extremely rare chance that they get attacked by one of them.

      No thanks, I’d rather they engage with the remaining 99.99% of their fans who are not totally nuts and while they may be strange, are harmless and thrilled to have opportunities to meet with the idols they love.