My Thoughts on the AKB48 Senbatsu (Part 3)

Please don’t forget to read Part 1 and Part 2.


Haruka Shimazaki waves to fans after winning the 29th Single Janken Senbatsu Tournament in 2012. (Image from

Concurrency not a guarantee

However, having a concurrent position in the sister groups or in sub-units cannot guarantee a spot in the senbatsu. Ask former senbatsu placers Aki Takajo, Ayaka Umeda and Minami Minegeshi (who also figured in a scandal, reason for her exclusion from the senbatsu last year).

But what about the other girls who are not prominent in their own groups, and those not having positions in the sister groups or sub-units? What chances do they have to enter the top 16 spots? Sure, they have their own fans, but because they don’t appear much on the main singles and have little face time on videos, they are unlikely to place in the senbatsu. Because in my thinking, the more prominent the member is, the more fans they have. Take the case of Haruka Shimazaki, whose stock rose after winning the 2012 rock-paper-scissor tournament and appearing in the resulting release. And since then, she has been one of the regular main fixtures of AKB48.

And even if one is a senbatsu placer, there could also be no guarantee of appearance on the single that comes after the senbatsu release. A couple of 2012 senbatsu placers were absent from the single “Uza”, though they sang on the coupling songs.

Another question. Since the oversea sister groups SNH48 and JKT48 (Indonesia) are sister groups just like SKE48 and others, why cannot they appear on the general senbatsu? They have their own election??? It’s unfair!

A question I would like to ask to Yasushi Akimoto, the creator of AKB48: Why not allow fans to vote for more than one member on a single ballot? Let’s say, all the senbatsu positions. Similar way Filipinos vote for senators, board members and councilors. (There are 12 senators to vote in a Philippine general election, but a voter can choose not to vote all 12).

Talk about prominence. Appearance. And power-voting as a result of over-buying.

I do not intend to bash AKB48, because I am a listener of the group. I am a fan of their songs, but the matter surrounding the senbatsu causes me uneasiness. Whether music sales correspond to the number of purchasers, I do not know. But anyway, who am I to make a crack on fans who love their oshimen very much? If they have all means to support their oshimen, why not?

I am not even in Japan to feel the senbatsu fever. But if I am there, perhaps I would buy a copy of each each CD type to cast my vote for my favorite members: Jurina Matsui, Rena Matsui and Ikoma Rina.


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