AKB48 is said to be phasing out swimsuit and lingerie photo shoots for its young members, perhaps out of fear of foreign accusations of peddling lolicon and child pornography as Tokyo prepares to for the 2020 Olympics.
There is speculation that the Akihabara-inspired supergroup, which builds followings for its female idols through swimsuit and underwear shoots as well as scantily clad music videos, is taming down its tactics.
Now members of high school age will apparently not be asked to reveal their flesh during photo shoots, it is reported.
A large proportion of AKB48’s members are under the age of adulthood in Japan (20 years old), which has added to the controversy over the sexualized lyrics and photo shoots. This effectively makes them junior idols (chidols). AKB has faced accusations of lolicon and even child pornography in the past, but has always got over any temporarily problem.
Should we be surprised by this latest development? Not really, given the strong likelihood that AKB48 will be involved with the Opening Ceremony of the 2020 Olympic Games. The movers and shakers may want to remove any taint of obscenity ahead of its global showcase.
So far, we should stress, this is all just speculation on a few blogs, originating from a Nikkan Cyzo article. AKS, the company behind AKB48 and its various spin-off “sister” groups, has yet to make any official comment confirming or denying the rumor.