AKB48's past controversies

June 2011

AKB48 introduced new member Aimi Eguchi, a beauty who appeared in a TV commercial and on the cover of Japanese magazine Weekly Playboy.

But fans were disappointed that she was a computer-generated image made up of the facial features of the group's six prettiest members.

Feb 2012

Veteran members Hirajima Natsumi and Yonezawa Rumi apologised to fans for breaking the group's no-dating rule and left AKB48 after photos of them with guys were leaked to the Internet.

April 2012

A commercial showing the members exchanging sweets from mouth to mouth came under fire in Japan for encouraging homosexuality.

June 2012

A man claiming to be Rino Sashihara's ex-boyfriend gave a topless photo of her to a Japanese magazine. She was demoted to regional sub-group HKT48.

February 2013

After a tabloid reported that Minami Minegishi had spent a night at a man's house, she was demoted from official member to trainee.

She was shown shaving off her hair and sobbing in apology to her fans in a video.