Being a fan of an idol group in Japan, you’ll get to encounter a number of terminologies surrounding the idol industry. You have the terms wota for the fans, sairium for the pen lights and Center for the idol taking the middle position and the same goes for the AKB48 fandom.
But one of the most important terms in AKB48 is Kami 7. Kami 7 is the term used to call the top 7 girls who fans voted for in the yearly Senbatsu Sousenkyo or the election. The word 神 (Kami) in Japanese means God, which dubs the girls in AKB48 as the 7 Goddesses and most popular girls.
The Senbatsu Sousenkyo has been running yearly for 6 years. Even if a girl was once part of the list and didn’t get in the same 7 positions the following year, they are still called a Kami 7. 14 girls overall has been named a Kami 7 in those 6 years. But here are the original members of the Kami 7 in the first Senbatsu Sousenkyo according to their ranking.
Maeda Atsuko or also known as Acchan, was undeniably the most popular member of AKB48 and was the center for most of the AKB48 singles. She won the Senbatsu Sousenkyo twice and gained two center positions from it during her time with the group. Maeda Atsuko was a first generation member and graduated in 2012. She continued on with her career in the entertainment industry being an actress and a solo singer. Just this year, Maeda Atsuko was the lead actress for the movie Initiation Love and she also released a book around that time as well called Maeda Atsuko no Shicho Shitsu.
Oshima Yuko was second to Maeda Atsuko during the first Senbatsu Sousenkyo. Yuko as fans call her, was also a very popular member of AKB48 along with Maeda. Oshima Yuko also won first place in the Senbatsu Sousenkyo twice and one of which she became the center for the hit song Heavy Rotation. She joined AKB48 in 2006 and was one of the first members of Team K and she graduated in 2014. Oshima Yuko was a child actress before she even joined AKB48, after she left the group she continued on being an actress. This year alone, Oshima Yuko had two films one of which she had a leading role, and two dramas (non AKB related) with yet another leading role.
The third ranker was Shinoda Mariko or Mariko Sama. Mariko Sama was the only AKB48 member who was given a special condition to be a member of the group. She failed the first audition and started to work for the group’s cafe in Akihabara. Fans made a request to AKB48’s producer Akimoto Yasushi to have allow her to try again but she had to complete one condition, which was to memorize 12 songs and dances of AKB48 in 4 days, which she did. In 2012, Mariko Sama was dubbed as the Queen Of TV Commercials as she had two contracts with different companies to be in their ad, this was actually more than the number of regular ads talents had that time. She graduated from AKB48 in 2013 and is now a television personality appearing in different shows and she also had a lead role in the movie Real Oniggoko. She is also a popular fashion model for various magazines.
Following Mariko Sama is Watanabe Mayu or Mayuyu. Mayuyu was named as one of the future aces during the first election and has proved it when she became ranked 1st in the Senbatsu Sousenkyo in 2014. Mayuyu joined AKB48 on 2006 and is still a current member. Alongside her work in the group, Mayuyu is also a solo singer and has released her 5th new single this year which was used in the drama Tatakau Shoten Girl in which she is the leading role.
48 Group’s current General Manager, Takahashi Minami or Takamina/ Souchan. Takamina ranked 5th in the first Senbatsu Sousenkyo and when she made her graduation announcement, fans made a big push to give her the 1st rank for the following election. She may not ranked 1st but she placed at 4th, which was her highest ranking ever since. Takamina is a first generation member and will be leaving the idol group soon. Takamina also has a solo singing career in which her second single entitled Kodoku wa Kizutsukanai, is yet to be announced.
The 6th member is Kojima Haruna, Nyannyan or Kojiharu as called by her fans. Kojiharu is currently an AKB48 Team A member and is the oldest one as well. Aside from being a member of this idol group, she is also a popular tv personality and magazine cover model appearing for different programs and magazines. Kojiharu has also been modeling for the lingerie brand Peach John since 2013 and she also has a number of solo TV commercials aside from the ones with AKB48 members.
And the last of the original Kami 7 members is Itano Tomomi or Tomochin. Tomochin was also one of the famous members of AKB48 that girls adored especially for being the model and spokesperson of women’s brand Samantha Thavasa. Tomochin was also a first generation member who joined AKB48 in 2005, she graduated from the group in 2013 and continued her solo singing career. She has released the largest number of singles of all members (with the exception of first-generation member Hoshino Michiru) with solo singing careers in AKB48 with a total of 7 singles and 1 album.
Out of the seven original Kami 7 members, Takamina, Kojiharu and Tomochin are the only ones in the list who dropped in and out from the termed ranking. The Kami 7 now is a combination of different members of different 48 group girls with former SKE48 member Matsui Rena being the only Kami 7 who have never been a member of AKB48.
The original Kami 7 members are the first ones to be called by this term and be recognized by fans and the public. 4 of the original Kami 7 members have graduated and 1 soon to follow, leaving only two original members. But even if these Kami 7 have left the group, they are now pursuing their own careers and are doing well at it. This may just go to show that a popular member of AKB48 is quite certain to have a good future in the entertainment industry.