Idol groups — particularly one as big and terrifying as AKB48 — make their fans do crazy things. I still remember hearing news of a guy beaten near to death outside a Shibuya train station bathroom for some kind of AKB48-related misgiving when I was over there a couple of years ago.
But that all pales in comparison to the incident from last year when a man attacked two members of the idol group with a saw. That was nuts enough to make international headlines on sites that don’t normally cover this kind of thing, and the perp recently faced trial and received his sentencing.
24-year old Satoru Umeta was convicted of multiple counts of assault and violation of the Sword and Firearms Control Law – which is, for lack of a better term, the law that basically makes gun ownership a nigh-impossibility for your average Japanese citizen. The total sentence: six years.
The attack originally occurred on May 26 last year at one of AKB48’s signature hand-shaking events, and left AKB48 group members Anna Iriyama and Rina Kawaei with serious but not life-threatening injuries. The hand-shaking events — in which fans are allowed the opportunity to shake the hands of their favorite group members — were suspended by group management for a month last year before resuming with enhanced security measures.
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