Shukan Young Magazine, which is published by Kodansha, announced on Friday that its issue originally scheduled to hit newsstands on January 12 will be delayed over the inclusion of an image featuring a topless Tomomi Kasai being fondled from behind by a young Caucasian boy.
The magazine, which typically features gravure (pin-up) idols in bathing suits on its covers, offered readers an apology on its Web site. “The photo contains an inappropriate expression,” read a statement from the editorial staff. The message also said that the site would provide an update as to the publication date of its next issue.
The photo in question — which utilizes what is referred to as a te-bura (or hand bra) pose — comprises the cover shot for the 21-year-old’s debut photo collection called “Tomo no Koto, Suki?” (Do You Like Tomo?), which is scheduled to be released on February 4. A promotion for the book was to appear in Young Magazine.
According to news site Nikkan Cyzo, two complaints were received by readers of sports newspapers that previously ran the same promotion. The site also cited posts on the Internet by concerned netizens who wondered if such an image could be a form of child abuse and whether the book should be considered full-blown pornography.
Singles by AKB48 last year claimed the top five positions for CD sales as compiled by entertainment ranking company Oricon.
Kasai announced in December at AKB48′s 2nd annual “Kohaku Takou Uta Gassen” event in Tokyo that she will “graduate” from the group to pursue a solo career.