A member of J-pop girl group NGT48 apologized Thursday (Jan. 10) for publicly addressing an assault against her. Yamaguchi Maho, a member of the AKB48-associated act, apologized Thursday night in Japan for “causing trouble,” according to fan-captured videos from the act’s third-anniversary concert.
In recordings from the event, fans can be heard expressing support for her, as she said she wanted to protect the act through her recent actions and has since spoken to management and hopes to take NGT48 in a new direction.
— ?? (@48_cap) January 10, 2019
According to a report from NHK, Japan’s national broadcasting organization, Yamaguchi was approached in her apartment building on Dec. 8 by two men and allegedly grabbed in the face. The pair were arrested and released without being charged after saying they had wanted to talk to the star.
The 23-year-old star, the co-captain of NGT48’s Team G, initially spoke about the situation during a live stream and then on Twitter on Tuesday, quickly gaining attention from fans and English-language blogs such as AsianJunkie and Arama Japan.
During both the video and on Twitter, Yamaguchi said she had been silent over the past month while waiting for the act’s management to take action but was coming forward to express concern over the safety of both herself and other members of NGT48, some of whom she said had faced similar situations. Prior to the live stream being cut short, the singer said she had feared for her life during the incident. In additional tweets translated by fans but that no longer appear on her Twitter account, Yamaguchi allegedly said that someone within NGT48 was accountable.
I think this hits home for me not b/c it’s the 48G, but b/c the type of serious idol she describes is Sakura, someone who has fun but is diligent about her responsibilities. Thank God HKT has good managers & no snakes pic.twitter.com/8SOQukFiGq
— ithebigc????? (@ithebigc) January 9, 2019
I translated mahohon’s tweets about this pic.twitter.com/iV4IwSKFFp
— ryan@???? (@fryan_get) January 8, 2019
NGT48 premiered in 2015 as a Niigata-based group managed by AKS, the company behind AKB48 and its offshoots throughout Japan. According to Kotaku, Japanese media is reporting that NGT48 denies another member had a role in giving out Yamaguchi’s home address.
Billboard has reached out through NGT48’s website for a statement.
Last April, NGT48 topped the Japan Hot 100 with their third single “Haru Ha Doko Kara Kurunoka?”