Chris Glenn
Radio DJ / talent, 40s (Australian)

I can understand their handlers want to keep the girls potentially available, just as I’m sure they want their stable to concentrate on their performances, not boys. It works to prevent any scandals too, while maintaining a pure image in a very Japanese way, where the puppet masters keep a very tight rein.

Nefertiti Khalfani
English teacher, 26 (American)


I don’t really know much about AKB48 and what they are all about, but it sounds ridiculous if they have such a policy in place regarding bans on boyfriends. I think (the members) should be allowed to do whatever they want.

Satoru Watanabe
Chief executive, 48 (Japanese)


To be honest, I personally feel really sorry for them, but they are teens now, and this is their job. It’s show business and they decided to get into it so, as far as I see it, as questionable as this concept may be to some, it just cannot be helped.

David Fennell
Tourist, 26 (English)


I’d say it is understandable from some standpoints, as with any stars they have to be seen as available and their appeal is based on that. Having said that, it seems to be going too far to kick someone out (for having a relationship).

Saori Iwata
Student, 20 (Japanese)


I think it is bad that the AKB girls cannot have boyfriends, as that is part and parcel of a normal life. In the situation they are in now, with the ban on boyfriends and relationships, they are just not free, which is wrong. It is not fair or OK to control them in this manner, no matter what the reasons behind it.

Kengo Miyabe
Part-time worker, 68 (Japanese)


Banning romantic relationships is necessary to manage such a large group of girls, but they are young, and anyone in the group in a relationship would be less attractive to fans. That said, I expect they would secretly defy the rule and follow their hearts, at the end of the day.

Interested in gathering views in your neighborhood? E-mail community@japantimes.co.jp

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