After men are released and management fails to address problem to her satisfaction, she says “I don’t want anyone else to have to go through this.”

While Tokyo remains the center of the idol singer universe, Japan now has a number of regional idol units as well, such as NGT48 (a sister group to AKB48), which is based in Niigata. Unfortunately, performing outside bright lights of Japan’s biggest city doesn’t always spare them from the idol industry’s biggest problem: dangerously obsessed fans.

On the evening of December 8, NGT48 member Maho Yamaguchi (pictured on the right in the above tweet from her personal account) returned to her home in Niigata City following a performance. However, as the 23-year-old idol opened the door to go inside, she was attacked by two men who had been lying in wait. The men, both 25-year-old university students, grabbed her face and otherwise jostled her while attempting to force their way inside the entryway to her home.

Thankfully, the police were summoned before they could gain full entry, and the two men were arrested on assault charges. However, they denied any violent intent, saying “We wanted to talk with Ms. Yamaguchi, and we didn’t think it would be such a big deal.”

Considering that there are few things that make it more difficult to have a conversation with someone than grabbing their face, the excuse seems incredibly flimsy. Nevertheless, no charges were pressed and the two men were released.

The frightening incident isn’t the sort of thing the human psyche easily bounces back from, but Yamaguchi didn’t comment publicly on the attack until exactly one month later. During a live video stream on streaming service Showroom, Yamaguchi, while not mentioning the December 8 attack specifically, said that among the NGT48 members are people who are doing “bad things,” such as revealing personal information about other members of the group, indirectly implying that she thinks her attackers were able to figure out her home address thanks to another member of the idol unit. “Even though our management said they would clean up NGT48, and even though I’ve been waiting for a month, they haven’t dealt with the situation at all.”

Why are things that wouldn’t be allowed in other groups allowed in NGT?” asked Yamaguchi. “It doesn’t feel like I’m alive,” she added, and eventually the video stream abruptly ended.

The following day, Yamaguchi tweeted about the December 8 incident, saying “Last month, I was attacked by two men while on my way home from a performance. They were arrested for assault but have already been released.” That tweet has since been deleted, but Yamaguchi has sent out several more pertaining to the attack and her current mental/emotional condition.

“I don’t want to say these things. I don’t want to cause trouble for the people who’ve done so much for me. I’ve stayed quiet for a month because I don’t want people to hate NGT48. I asked that reports not mention that I was a member of NGT48 because the group was important to me, and also because I believed that the group would deal with the problem and remove its source.”

“I don’t want people to hate NGT48. Many of the girls are earnest and trying their best. But I can’t stand the thought of the same thing that happened to me happening to those girls. It’s been so hard for me, and I don’t want those girls, who are so important to me, to have to go through the same thing. I’m the only one who needs to cry. I want to save them from fear and sadness. That’s why I’m telling the truth.”

“What’s wrong with not having romantic relationships, and with just doing your best to be an idol? What’s wrong with not having a personal connection with fans? Why do people who follow the rules for this idol group have to meet with such frightening situations? Why doesn’t the group protect girls who are earnestly trying their best? Is it right to betray so many fans? I can’t understand why that’s what’s being allowed.”

“I am sorry for startling everyone with this. Hearing what happened to me has probably been frightening for you all, and I apologize for that, but I hope that my words can be a source of strength for people who are suffering from similar situations. I pray that you will all be safe, healthy, and happy.”

In her most recent tweet, Yamaguchi once again expresses that she in no way wants the incident to tarnish fans’ enthusiasm for NGT48.

“Please don’t hate NGT48 for this. The reason it took me so long to decide to speak out is because I care about NGT48. But I don’t want anyone else to have to go through this sort of thing, and so I had no choice but to tell everyone. I am sorry. There are many girls in NGT48 who are earnest and doing their best, and I hope you’ll continue to support Team G [the NGT48 sub-team for which Yamaguchi is vice-captain] in the future.”

Yamaguchi has also let it be known that she will be absent from NGT48’s next handshake meet-and-greet event, tweeting that information on January 7, before making any mention of the December attack. In the tweet, she said she had lost four kilograms (8.8 pounds) from stress over the past two weeks, and she is saddened about no longer being able to “smile and act like a normal idol singer.” Coupled with her most recent tweet, in which she asks fans not to support her personally but rather the NGT48 sub-unit with which she has the closest ties, it sounds like Yamaguchi may be considering getting out of the idol life entirely.

Sources: Twitter/@maho_yamaguchi, IT Media, NHK News Web via Otakomu
Top image: Twitter/@maho_yamaguchi