AKB48

January 22, 2011 at 4:10 am (general, otaku word)

 

 Time has come, now is the time to make a post on this. Is it too late? Anyway, I have been wondering when to write all this time as AKB48 is now a very famous even out of idol otaku. If you happen to follow Japanese pop music or culture, you would’ve heard of it. Today we can hear about them everywhere, everyday because their songs are still on the weekly ranking. I didn’t think about this way, I mean, I have never thought they could be that popular like this.

Don Quijote in Akihabara has AKB48 theatre.

 

 Anyway, what is AKB48? Before that, anybody who knows about them, raise your hand. I wonder how many people out of Japan know about them because there are even foreign fans. AKB48 is a mega idol group which was born in Akihabara[秋葉原] where is a holy place for otaku. It consists of three teams, A, K, and B. When they started, there weren’t 48 girls. But now they are. Those cute girls are almost from 13 to 24 years old, very young, and chosen by audition. The show happens at AKB48 theatre in Akihabara almost every single day.(now it’s changed, I’ll explain later). The manager, Yasushi Akimoto[秋元康] introduced a new concept when he created AKB48, that is 会いドル[aidoru], abbreviation of 会いに行けるアイドル[ai ni ikeru idol], meaning the idol you can go and see. Long time ago, the distance between idols and fans is very far. Fans had to go to such a big concert hall. Even that, the idol on the stage is so far away from you unless you get a S-class seat. But AKB48 theatre is so small that you can see them close.

Portraits on the wall.

 When AKB48 started in 2005, I was not so interested in them because their performance was not so professional. Yes, even though they were well-trained, the dance and singing were not so good. But that was actually the scheme Akimoto planned. Normally, idols have to dance very well like ARASHI[嵐] or SPEED. However, AKB48 could require some patience as they are still amateur. That might be the point fans love. I think I introduced 素人萌え[shirouto-moe] before, but AKB48 is not just a bunch of amateur girls. As you see them, you would be able to see how well they get better, I mean, a wrong step at tonight show is going to be right tomorrow. In this way, they show you such an improvement. We can say 成長系アイドル[seichou-kei idol]. 成長[seichou] means growing-up, and [kei] is a type. I think the level of the dance is now much higher than before. I quickly asked people around me how they feel about AKB48. Even people who do not know about them say the dance is good and they are all united. Also they are even cuter than before. Agreed, I know some of the girls have been in the group from the beginning, and they’ve become cuter. In fact, my sister really loves AKB48 even though she is not an otaku at all. She recommended me to listen to the songs, and now I am hooked, too.

 Know that not all of them show on TV or video clips, but only chosen 20 or so. Yes, only more popular girls can act in the media. That’s pretty hard on them because they have to strive to get better than other girls. Unless she is chosen, she can’t carry on. If she is not chosen, she would have to stay behind the lead girls. Those girls shall be called アンダーガールズ[under girls]. The most remarkable thing last year is AKB総選挙[AKB sousenkyo], or AKB general election. That’s to choose lead girls for the upcoming song. During this election, the media reports what’s going on everyday, so that even people who don’t know AKB48 can be aware of them. Very shrewed, Mr. Akimoto. No. 1 girl can stand at the center, so all of them get more aggressive, and claim like, “vote on me, please!”

Yuko got No. 1!

 Okay, for those who don’t know them, I shall introduce some must-know girls.

Yuko Ohshima

 She is Yuko Ohshima[大島優子] from team K. Her nickname is Korisu[コリス] or Yuko. She used to be No. 2, but last year she became No. 1 so now she is at the center. Most of the fans assumed she would be No. 2 in the last election, but on the last minute that happened. She could be No. 1, defeated Atsuko Maeda. She was actually a child actress years ago, so she had some experience in the entertainment industry.

Atsuko Maeda

 She is Atsuko Maeda[前田敦子] from team A. Her nickname is Acchan[あっちゃん]. She used to be No 1, and she had been at the center for so long. But at last she was defeated by Yuko. But she is doing well out of AKB48 as she also works as an actress. I wanted her to keep being No. 1 in fact. Keep going, Acchan!

Mariko Shinoda

 She is Mariko Shinoda[篠田麻里子] from team A. She has been in AKB48 from the beginning, and elder than any other girls even though she is 24. She seems to care about it, but she is still No 3. Because she doesn’t pretend to be a goody-goody, she is admired by women.

Tomomi Itano

 She is Tomomi Itano[板野友美] whose nickname is Tomochin[ともちん]. She has becoming popular more and more. I assume she would do better if there is a next election. The rumor has it that she got a cosmetic surgeon because she looks different from who she used to be. What do you think?

Where is truth?

Mayu Watanabe

 She is my sunshine, my angel, Mayu Watanabe[渡辺麻友] whose nickname is Mayuyu[まゆゆ] from team B. Oh my god, before I got hooked, I had a crush on her. Now she is my angel. No Mayuyu, no AKB48. Why does such a moe-girl exist in reality? Yes, fans are saying her face is like CG. Looks like an anime bishoujo. Too bad, she was No 5 in the last election. She cried out for her place, and claimed she is going to do better next time. Yes, keep going, Mayuyu! がんばりまゆゆ^^ Meanwhile, she is actually an anime otaku. Her favorite is Kuroshitsuji and Hetaria. And she also plays Tokimeki Memorial Girls’ Side. Mayuyu, do cosplay!

I will definitely get a much better place!

 Above girls are first top 5 now. But I am sure things will change soon. AKB48 is too busy to do a regular show a lot. Now only once a month or so, a show happens. Even it happens, some of the lead girls are absent. That’s too bad. They are not 会いドル anymore…In fact, you could buy a ticket if you lined up. But now, you have to register for the agency, and win a seat. That depends on your luck. So it’s pretty hard to go see AKB48. Luckily, my colleague won a ticket so we went last Tuesday. It was my first coming the show. But too bad, my angel Mayuyu was absent! Ugahh, next time!! まゆゆに会いたい!Oh I should mention a new term, 推しメン[oshimen]. It’s like a fan-made word, abbreviation of 推しメンバー[oshimember], meaning your favorite.

 Now that AKB48 is such a popular group, they could be charismatic among schoolgirls. They always wear pretty uniforms so that even kids try to copy. I was a bit surprised to see some elementary schoolgirls were trying to copy AKB48’s fashion. At the graduation ceremony, they were wearing a blazer, a mini-skirt, and over-knee socks. I like AKB48’s uniforms, too. Do I have 制服萌え[seifuku-moe]?

 No matter what, AKB48 is going to do well for more 2 or 3 years, I assume. That is a pity, idols can’t carry on for so long because anybody gets old. That’s why they have to find a new life after they finished an idol. Mostly it would be either an actor or a solo-singer. Anyway, by the time they get less popular, I wish I could see Mayuyu.

 For more information, please go to their official site. English and Chinese are available.

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42 Comments

  1. Heinsia said,

    I know about AKB48 but don’t like them, I just dislike groups with too many members in general. Reading this made me dislike them more, since I don’t like this system. But I think to fans, the idols is the deciding factor.

    Anyway, since you’ve covered the most well-known girls group for male fans (as I know), why don’t you write about Johnny’s Entertainment next? I like some of their groups and I want to know what you think about them.

    And great post, I like it xD

    • bangin said,

      In fact, I was not interested in them before, but last year I could hear of them everywhere, so I decided to make a post on them as a current trend.

      Johnny’s? I am not that familiar with them, but I must say ARASHI is doing the best of all. KAT-TUN is not doing well after Akanishi’s left.

      • Heinsia said,

        Yeah I understand why you want to talk about you, and I really like this post because there is a lot of interesting information.

        About KAT-TUN, are they doing that bad? I thought they’re doing pretty well since there are big plans for their tours and concerts this year. I like KAT-TUN but I don’t like Akanishi so I’d be really sad if his leaving affect KAT-TUN that much :(

      • Heinsia said,

        I mean “talk about them”, sorry stupid typo ^^;;

    • Hudson Salario said,

      everyone is talking about stupid jap girls whose heads are loaded with pure gas except for the knowledge for the methods to show off bits of their body without abashment…wearing swimsuits in bedrooms……..

  2. angelofdevotion said,

    Bangin-san! I love this post of yours!

    I like them too! They are really bubbly and cheerful! I totally prefer them over KARA or Girls Generation( because I can tell AKB48 girls apart ) and they looked like they have so much fun doing their PVs and stuff.

    Tomochin is adorable!!!!! (and I think she had plastic surgery on her eyelids though)

    At first, I didn’t notice them much, but after watching their Heavy Rotation and Beginner PVs, I began listening to their catchy music and watch their cute and sexy PVs.

    I second Heinsia’s suggestion. I would like to know what you think of them too!
    I have to say I am a die-hard fan of Yamapi (He came to BKK and I waited under the hot sun for his press conference for 7 freaking hours….) and Tegoshi who totally look like an uke.

    • bangin said,

      Yes, Heavy Rotation is good, I like it. I do like Iiwake Maybe, Namida Surprise, and RIVER. I am trying to copy the dance of Namida Surprise for my friend’s upcoming birthday.

      Tomochin had a surgery…do you think so, too?

      I prefer Tacky than Yamapi.^^ Has he ever been to BKK?

  3. Filip said,

    They look so cute you could eat them up. Though I get the impression that they are like confection made of sugar only – looks extremely cute, but is too sweet to actually eat it. Unless you want to get diabetes…

    Anyway, are my eyes decieving me or some of this girls had a cosmetic surgery on their eyelids? I mean, like to make them look more “European”?

    • bangin said,

      Actually, girls could have a cosmetic surgery esaier than before. We are seen who some idols used to be, and you will be surprised to see how different they look now. I am sure even among AKB48, such a girl exists.

      • Filip said,

        Japanese people are born wuth such beautiful eyes, when they are changed with surgery like that, it makes me want to cry :<

  4. Ruuko said,

    Thank you for explaining about AKB48! Now I finally understand what this group is.

    I had heard about them before, because I read a 2ch post about an AKB48 concert where a lot of the unpopular girls were completely ignored at the handshake event. It was very sad.

    I don’t like idols, but I agree, their uniforms are so cute! But, somehow, AKB48 reminds me of a host club. They are all fighting to be the No.1 host–um, idol!

    • bangin said,

      Yes that’s right. Such unpopular girls were ignored at the event. That is why they have to get better than other girls. It’s pretty hard.

      That’s well put. Hosts have to be No.1 or such a higher rank, otherwise they can’t make enough money.

  5. Daimyo said,

    Remember I saw the song 会いたかった in the comments section of a Japanese vid on YouTube. It was there I first learned of AKB48. I was shocked to learn how many millions of views this Japanese group had. Didn’t care much for the music mind you (melody and lyrics was just average jpop) . But then again I’m the type of strange guy who listens to practically dead groups like kishidan and think how cool they are. Atm I’m listening to some B’z (no I am not that old but my taste sure is :s). Hmm…

    • bangin said,

      Most people know 会いたかった, but my favorite is Namida Surprise.
      And I do like B’z. They have been doing well for more than 20 years, there is not so many singers like them.

  6. Charana said,

    I’ve seen them a few years ago. I thought ‘wow, thats a lot of people in the group’ I only heard a few of their songs and liked it. :) such cute outfits.

    • bangin said,

      There are even some AKB48 cosplayers.

  7. potatochip said,

    Hello! I was googling what “wktk” meant and came across your blog!
    Thanks for the explanations, and well I am looking through some of your posts now.

    I actually only started listening to AKB48 the past 3 weeks! I knew of them before, but didn’t pay much attention as I thought… 48 members is too many people, I can’t possibly remember them all!! But I watched a few clips of those Kouhaku performances, and I really enjoyed their songs, so I started listening to them.
    It’s been a very long time since I liked a girl group… last time would be SPEED (before their disbandment, but they’re back now, so it’s ok!)

    I really enjoy 10年桜, Beginner, 涙サプライズ! and Heavy Rotation. My Japanese isn’t that great, so sometimes I don’t know what the lyrics mean, but sometimes I understand bits of it, and I think some of the lyrics are pretty wonderful! In general, I really enjoy their songs, most of the melody is so upbeat, they sound like cheerful songs. I always end up in a good mood when listening to their songs, it makes me happy for some reason. ^^

    PS. Thanks for the 推しメン explanation. I was wondering what that was!!

    • bangin said,

      Hi thank you for coming!
      I used to follow SPEED long time ago. They are back now, but they are not as popular as before…

      Idols make people happy. AKB48 songs always make me feel happy.^^

  8. Turtleheat said,

    AKB48? Thought you’d be profiling NAKED BOYZ, bangin. ;-)

    • bangin said,

      NAKED BOYS? You mean that group of handsome actors?

  9. azu-chan said,

    ooooohhhhh… i see now~~ i heard about it before but i dont really know about them.

    that time i saw an Animax Asia commercial ad about AKB48 came to AFAX in singapore. at that time, there was only 3 of them… just now, i know there is actually 48 of them.. ^^ that explains the 48 in the name.. ^^

    • bangin said,

      Do you still remember which girls were there?
      Those happened to be above girls?

      • azu-chan said,

        sorry, i dont remember.. ^^;; it was months ago.. all i remember was that all 3 of them were short.. ^^ does that help with the question? ^^;;;

  10. bangin said,

    Haha it’s okay. There are a lot of short girls in AKB48.

  11. Meruemu said,

    i am a chinese i like them an there is a large number of AKB48 fans in china i think we could just treat them as our girlfriends because we can never know a girl so much their face or music could not be so excellent but if you watch their variety shows like AKBINGO ,ネ申TV or watch the TV series they starred or just
    take attention to their blog you will be fascinate by them
    PS 桜の木になろう 94.2W the first week banzai.

    • bangin said,

      Did you know they are going to show in the new TV program from this April?

  12. khim said,

    i like them since i started my graduate school here in 2006 because they wear uniform and their song lyric is nice and sometime abit controversial imo.
    that time i didnt have oshimen tough, until recently i really get hooked on mayuyu after oshihen(推し変) from yukirin.

    yeah it feels great when you can witness your favorite idol rising from unknown to the top. as i remember, media have been giving them these titles in order
    秋葉系アイドル ー> 国民的アイドル ー>日本代表アイドル

    • bangin said,

      I wonder how many people join the concert out of Japan. I know they went to NY or Paris, but I also wonder how it went. Anyway, 日本代表 could be true because there is no other big idol groups which went out of Japan.

      The sad thing is that they do not do a show a lot in Akiba now!

      • khim said,

        when they had concert in singapore, my friends went there to see them, they said the queue for them was quite long, they have to queue since early morning to get front row tickets

        there was also footage of their concert in russia, showed how enthuastic the russian fans

  13. bangin said,

    I assume only chosen girls could go to Singapore, am I right? Like the girls who always show on TV. In Russia? I didn’t know they are popular even in Russia.

    • khim said,

      mm not really, during 1st visit in singapore i think only mayuyu and kasai who were front members, and on their 2nd visit, some of front janken member were going (no not acchan)

      I didnt know either until i watched the footage, and no front member went to russia either

      i guess the front members are too busy with their jobs in japan

      • bangin said,

        Ah Chance no junban girls.

        I saw Kasai. Though I didn’t follow her, but I like her now since I saw her.^^

  14. ralph said,

    I do em all

  15. 李慧兰 said,

    anyone know where can i custom made their uniform ?

  16. Mark said,

    Not too impressed, I must admit.
    To an non-Japanese like me (I’m Canadian), they seem like a weak knock-off of Girls’ Generation, but without the latter’s flair.
    I heard some of their songs but sorry, they don’t do it for me, much prefer the Korean act.
    Ah well, at least I know they’ll keep giving their best shot…

    • bangin said,

      That’s alright, sir.
      Because we have our cups of tea.

  17. Kamizaki said,

    (Huge Takamina fan here :D )
    Why isn’t the leader of AKB48 introduced?

    • bangin said,

      Oh god, yead I should have mentioned it.
      Today they are doing poll! The new leader would be decided soon.

  18. khim said,

    if you meant about poll is general election, it is not to choose new leader, but to choose who will be in the center position
    I thought mayuyu could be no 1 this year, apparently yuko is too strong with 30 thousands votes leading

    • bangin said,

      No.1 girl could be in the center only next song. Umm, but after all Yuko would go on being in the center afterwards?

  19. khim said,

    officially it is only for the next single song
    but for the whole year yuko will be considered as the no 1

    for the next next single the position could change

  20. Mayuyu said,

    Hi, is Mayuyu a BL fujoshi? She likes Takarazuka, so I assume she is a yuri fangirl and she likes to go to danso cafe too. But her favorite anime is Hetalia and Kuroshitsuji? Really?

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