The General Election of AKB48 called the Senbatsu Sousenkyo in Japanese is one of the largest events to happen every year in the idol industry. All girls from AKB48, SKE48, NMB48, HKT48 and NGT48 may apply to and join the ranking competition.
Just this June 18th, the 8th AKB48 Senbatsu Sousenkyo took place in Niigata. The 80 lucky girls from different groups had been named and of course, the top idol of the entire AKB48 group who everyone was looking forward to finding out was crowned.
But before that, one member whose name has been a staple of the group ever since it was established in 2005, has finally made the big announcement – graduation. Top member Kojima Haruna of Team A who entered the election under the name Nyannyan Kamen, announced her graduation after being ranked in 16th place.
Being a big name in the industry, Kojiharu who is dubbed as one of the Kami 7 and always within the top 10 ranks, left the audience in shock when she was called in at rank 16 which is just about safe for the Senbatsu members. Her decision to enter the election under a different name could have affected her result. At the time of writing, Kojiharu’s graduation date has not yet been decided.
SKE48’s top batter, ace, and center Matsui Jurina has finally broken into the top 3. After dropping a place in last year’s election and with fellow center Matsui Rena’s graduation, Jurina has felt the desire to get the crown with more determination and effort after leaving her place on AKB48’s Team K and solely belonging to SKE48. Another happy bit of news for fans is how she said she’ll stay with her group for 5 more years.
Taking the crown in 2014, Mayuyu has been one of the few members who has become the center of a single from the Senbatsu Elections. While she also dropped a rank last year when she placed 3rd, as one of the members at the forefront of AKB48, her fans are doing more for her to get the crown again.
And yes, once again HKT48’s Sashihara Rino, or Sasshi, has taken the crown in this year’s Senbatsu Sousenkyo. She is the only winner in the whole history of AKB48’s Senbatsu Sousenkyo to have taken the center position twice in a row. Not even past top members Maeda Atsuko and Oshima Yuko who won first place twice in their time with the group had accomplished this twice in a row.
While Sasshi may claim the reason for her winning was thanks to the scandal that broke out years ago, it’s still clear to all that she is well loved by her fans. Sasshi is not only the top idol for the group’s election, but she is also a well-rounded entertainer in the industry into which she fits well.
One more surprising fact about Sasshi’s win is how she gained more than 40,000 votes in the span of one year. She gained a total of 243,011 votes which is quite a surprising number because if you read the numbers backwards in Japanese, they say “Ichi (1) I (1) Wo (0), Sa (3) Shi (4) Ni (2)” or “ichi i wo Sashi ni” meaning “first place to Sas(s)hi”. Sasshi mentioned and admits during her winning speech that her biggest rival in the election was none other than Watanabe Mayu.
Watching the live streaming of this year’s Senbatsu Sousenkyo was surely nerve-wracking because you can never tell whether your favorite’s rank will go up or down. Being a Jurina fan, I was tremendously glad to see her smile and shine on stage when she was called in at 3rd which eliminated every inch of sadness there was last year and gave hope for her to keep aiming for the top!
While there are quite a few who placed higher and lower in the ranks, with some members stating they will not be entering in next year’s election, Kojiharu’s graduation announcement, and Sasshi’s strong hold of the crown, the Senbatsu Sousenkyo is a large event that makes you feel every emotion! So fans out there, did your favorite member get into the 80 lucky spots for the next coming single?