AKB48: Japanese girl band attacked by a fan wielding a saw

Two members of the popular girl group were injured by a saw-wielding fan

Two members of popular Japanese all-girl pop group AKB48 were injured after being attacked by a fan with a 50 cm saw on Sunday afternoon (25 May), following a mini concert.

Anna Iriyama, 18, and Rina Kawaei, 19, were meeting fans in Takizawa, Japan, at a handshake event when the 24-year-old man, named Satoru Umeta, lunged forward and slashed them.

They sustained injuries on their hands and heads. A male employee was also hurt during the attack.

The assailant has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

“We have started questioning the suspect this morning to know details, including his motive,” a detective with Iwate prefectural police told AFP.

Both girls have undergone successful surgery and AKB48’s manager said that they would be able to leave the hospital today (26 May).

The band’s forthcoming Tokyo gig this evening (26 May) and other fan events have been cancelled.

AKB48 holds the Guinness record for being the world’s largest pop group, with the current line-up standing at 140 names. Fans vote annually to choose new additions to the band from a 200-strong shortlist.

AKB refers to Akihabara, a district in Tokyo where the group has its own theatre. The number 48 is the original number of band members.

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