AKB48 was attacked by a saw-wielding man at a meet-and-greet event, with two members of the Japanese girl band suffering cuts to their hands and being taken to the hospital.
The attack took place at the pop group’s mini-concert on Sunday afternoon in Takizawa, Iwate Prefecture. The alleged assailant, 24-year-old Satoru Umeta, reportedly pulled out a 20-inch blade and was brandishing the weapon as he spoke to group members Rina Kawaei, 19, and Anna Iriyama, 18.
The attacker reportedly broke bones in both of the singers’ hands and also caused cuts and bruises to their heads.
Witnesses said the members of AKB48 were screaming “stop it” during the attack as security guards stormed in to disarm the suspect and detain him until police arrived.
The singers were left covered in blood after the attack and rushed to the hospital where they underwent surgery.
The suspected attacker, Satoru Umeta, was arrested on attempted murder charges.
“We have started questioning the suspect this morning to know details, including his motive,” a police spokesman said, via The Japan News.
Police added that the suspect reportedly said the attack was random and that Umeta planned to kill many people.
“I wanted to kill where there were lots of people around. I didn’t care who (got hurt),” Umeta is reported to have said.
The suspect’s mother said her son was not a fan of AKB48 and did not have any of the group’s albums or merchandise.
The band AKB48 has a unique concept, with producers scouring a talent pool of 100 young women to compete in the main band each time a song is released. The pop group is popular in Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, and China.
The group is also under strict rules. Last year one of the members, Minami Mingishi, shaved her head and issued a public apology for breaking the group’s no-dating rule.
There was no update on the members of the AKB48 members after the attack.