AKB48 and Four Years Later
Four years of love for AKB48
Years ago, as Rebecca Black was nearing 100 million views (and piling more than a million dislikes) for her hit “Friday” on YouTube, I researched about AKB48 to stave off my boredom at work. I stumbled upon the name of the band days earlier while reading a list of winners of M-net Asia Music Awards (MAMA), which is only Asian in location, but not in the songs and artists.
A visit to Wikipedia helped me remember the name of the band, and after a few minutes of reading their entry, I went to YouTube to check out their videos. My search query returned with results, with the video “Baby! Baby! Baby!” on top. I knew where to start looking.
I listened to “Baby! Baby! Baby!”, “Tobe Nai Agehachou”, “Seifuku ga jama wo suru” and some other titles for a day or two. And later I wrote in my diary:
“This afternoon, I have been listening to AKB48, a Japanese all-girl music group having the most members in music. Composed of 48 gals, they are divided into three teams.
“I listened to some of the songs in YouTube and watched their music videos. The girls are all pretty and bootylicious. The choreography for their music videos are fantastic. They know how to sing. They know how to dance. I can compare them to
the K-pop groups like SNSD Girls Generation, 2NE1 and Wonder Girls. Despite the difference in nationality, they are all the same. I bet they can even sing in auto-tune.
“The AKB48 gals wear bikinis and school uniforms when they perform their music. Things is that their skirts are too short. They got more sex appeal than SNSD Girls Generation, which I never saw wear bikinis.
“Some of the AKB48 videos have subtitles. Reading the comments helped me understand about the music videos.
“AKB48’s sex appeal overshadows their talent, but they could be more talented than those K-pop groups.
“If I ever meet a Japanese, I will ask him/her about AKB48.”
The day I wrote that entry above, Rebecca Black’s “Friday” got 96 million views.
A day later, my manager caught me watching an AKB48 video during work. He asked me if I could understand what I was watching. I replied I was just staring at the girls.
A day after that, “Friday” reached the 100 million mark, and I did not listened to the band that day.
Three years later the Yuko Oshima-centered “Heavy Rotation” reached that mark, a fitting finale to one of AKB48’s queens.
How did AKB48 factor into my life? The magnitude. It led me to listen to other J-pop artists, like fripSide, Altima, Morning Musume, SKE48 and my current favorite group Nogizaka46. Thanks to Atsuko Maeda, Mariko Shinoda and company, my ears don’t have to suffer from the sounds of kanye west, nicki minaj, beyonce, justin beiber, miley cyrus, taylor swift, one direction and many modern artists from the West, who are more thugs and whores than musicians.
For me, the music is dead after the demise of pop, rock and ballad in 2006. I am sad that stars from the past are no longer around, and some of them are fading into obscurity. I cannot connect to the music of current artists, so that’s why I am thankful that artists like AKB48 are around. Thanks to AKB48 and other artists I currently listen to, I keep my hope(s) in life alive.
Listening to AKB48 is an identity thing for me. I am happy to be different just by listening to AKB48. I am happy listening to AKB48, SKE48 and Nogizaka46 through my headphones while workmates, neighbors and jeepney drivers play taylor swift, justin beiber, one direction, yeng constantino, etc. While acquaintances were dancing gangnam style, I was listening to “Gingham Check” and “Uza”. AKB48 helps me to be different and to be happy about it.
I may not be a hardcore AKB48 fan, but I am a fan of their songs. I may not have a cache of AKB48 goods, but I have great contentment from listening to them and watching their videos. My chance of travelling abroad to watch them perform is one in a million, but I have a better purpose: Stay home and create AKB48 awareness for future generations.
I hope I grow old still loving AKB48.