Hair today, gone tomorrow

shameOne year ago yesterday a scandal hit the Japanese pop culture.  For this Japanese story I decided to return to Japanese verse form.  The first verse is a Tanka, which just tells the story, although traditionally the Tanka is unrhymed.  The middle verse is a Senryu which is similar to a Haiku in construction but tends to be about human foibles.  Then I used a variant of a cinquain to give a western perspective.  The interesting aspect of this story for me is exploring the cultural contextualisation of the concept of ‘shame’.


Minami Minegishi
on illicit date.
Kowtows to the public blame.
Shaven head hangs low in shame.

Inner soul of guilt,
laid bare, caught in culture’s frame,
blamed, distraught in shame.

Accepting blame,
guilty, cringing, despairing, bowed,
cowed, shaven in her culture’s frame,
Minegishi pays the public price, recants out loud.
Ironic shame.


1st February 2013 – headline from the Independent

Notes:  “Hair today, gone tomorrow: Japanese pop star Minami Minegishi shaves head after getting caught having sex”.  A week ago Minami Minegishi was a silken-haired jewel in one of Japan’s pop music crowns, the all-girl group AKB48.  Now, she has shaved her hair after issuing a tearful online mea culpa for disobeying one of the cardinal rules in Japan’s squeaky clean pop idol world. Her crime? She slept with her boyfriend.


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