A Japanese pop star shaved her head and offered a filmed apology after breaking her management firm's rules by spending a night with her boyfriend.
The sobbing Minami Minegishi, 20, has been seen by millions on YouTube after she failed to abide by her handlers' cardinal rule - NO DATING.
Minegishi's bizarre mea culpa came after a gossip publication ran photos of her leaving the apartment of her boyfriend, Alan Shirahama, a boy band dancer.
In the video on the official site of her band, AKB48, she said she made the decision to shave her head to show contrition for "thoughtless and immature" actions.
Head shaving is a traditional form of showing contrition in Japan. However, many fans have defended her, saying she is entitled to a normal life.
"I don't believe just doing this means I can be forgiven for what I did, but the first thing I thought was that I don't want to quit AKB48," she said.
Crying in shame, she said, "If it is possible, I wish from the bottom of my heart to stay in the band. Everything I did is entirely my fault. I am so sorry."
Minegishi is one of the original members of the popular girl band, AKB48. They portray an image of cuteness known as "kawaii" throughout Japan and Asia.
The condition for being part of such a successful act is that the girls must not date boys, so as not to shatter their fans' illusions of their innocence.
AKB48's management office said that Minami Minegishi had been demoted to a trainee team as punishment "for causing a nuisance to the fans".
But some call it unfair that the star felt she should resort to a traditional act of contrition when the only rules she had broken were those of her band's.
Despite her apparent sincerity, some fans and commentators say that Minegishi went too far with her public apology, and that it was unnecessary.
"What's the point of this public execution show? It's like something from the war or a totalitarian state," one fan said on Twitter, defending the youngster.
What do you think of the above video and controversy?