“We won’t stand for this,” assert vocalists.
The breakup of SMAP, Japan’s most iconic boy band, looks to be the culmination of a complex set of long-simmering disagreements between producers and production companies, as well as the group’s members themselves sorting out where their greatest loyalties lie in the matter. The situation that’s befallen idol unit NiNi’s, though, is much simpler, and also sadder.
The Nagoya-based NiNi’s currently consists of three members, Io Yuzuki, Nana Hirose, and Ito Urutora. Yuzuki and Hirose are both 19 years-old, while Urutora is 17.
▼ NiNi’s performing earlier this month in Nagoya
2016.8.10 新栄 DAYDRIVE NiNi's Livephoto vol.5 #柚木唯緒 #広瀬那奈 #椎名いと #ににーず #いいと思ったらRT #気に入ったらRT https://t.co/VLLvYTZOhc—
あんこしゃん@(:o 」∠)_ (@hairbeautnew) August 11, 2016
The trio spent last week making live appearances, drumming up publicity for a concert to be held August 21. With many up-and-coming idols, the group’s producer also doubles as their driver, ferrying the singers from one venue to another. Not only does this save the vocalists from having to fight the crowds on public transportation, it also lets them get a little shut-eye along the way, as the manic pace of the idol lifestyle often leaves precious little time for sleep.
However, it turns out that NiNi’s producer, who has been identified only by his surname, Yoshimura, is not the kind of person you should be closing your eyes around. On August 14, the official Twitter account promoting the group’s August 21 concert sent out a very disturbing message.
【大切なお知らせ】 8月21日（日）ワンマンライブを最後に解散することになりました。 みなさんの期待に添えず申し訳ありません。21日までNiNi'sをよろしくお願いします。 https://t.co/GrlkWCB8mO—
NiNi's公式@8/21ワンマン (@ninis_0726) August 14, 2016
“Producer Yoshimura engaged in indecent behavior while members of NiNi’s were sleeping in the car, while on the way to an appearance venue. The members of the group will not stand for this, and have notified the police of the incident.
Following a discussion among the members, the decision has been made to disband the group. We are still reeling from the psychological shock of the event, but would like to complete our tour of Tokyo, as well as our performance scheduled for August 21, so we hope to see all of you there.”
The exact nature of the alleged transgressions has not been made public, but given the circumstances, some sort of attempted sexual assault seems the most likely. In the same tweet, Nini’s apologizes for letting their fans down by not continuing to make music, but after what they claim happened, and given the fact that the three young women still have their whole lives ahead of them, it’s really hard to blame them for deciding that a career in the music industry doesn’t sound as attractive as it once did.