AKB48, large, popular and not to mention cute. This idol group has stayed on the idol industry and is still gaining fans from all over the world creating record-breaking sales every year. AKB48 releases around 4 to 5 singles per year but one thing about this idol group that you’ll love is not only their songs but the number of events the fans are able to join to see or even meet their idols.
You have live concerts or theater stages you can attend, handshake events where you can talk to your idol for 10 seconds and even a picture taking event where you get to keep a memory of with your idol. There’s no doubt these events are a dream come true for the fans. But in this AKB48 fandom, there are 3 events in which fans participate to bring their idol to the top. Here are the 3 annual events that AKB48 fans look forward to every year!
The Request Hour is an annual event where fans can get to vote for their favorite AKB48 or sister group songs. In order for fans to be able to vote for the Request Hour, they need to purchase the single that will include the ticket for them to be qualified to vote. Another method to be able to vote is to be a member of an AKB48 fan club, then you’ll be able to vote the song you like online. Fans not only vote the song they like just because they want it to rank but for other fans, voting to see their favorite members get to sing the song they become the center of is another reason.
The first AKB48 Request Hour started in 2008. Out of 100 songs, Sakura no Hanabiratachi, AKB48’s first indie single won the first place. One of the most notable songs is Heavy Rotation, centered by Oshima Yuko. Heavy Rotation won the Request Hour for two consecutive years in 2012 and 2013. The following year, the total number of songs in Request Hour became 200 from the 100 count. And in this year’s Request Hour, 200 leapt to 1035 songs and out of those won Matsui Jurina’s Kimi no Hohoemi wo Yume ni Miru. This year’s Request Hour included so many songs that the event took 5 days to complete at the Tokyo Dome City Hall!
The Janken Tournament or Janken Taikai in Japanese is a yearly event in which all qualified members of the 48 group will battle each other out by Janken or Rock Paper Scissors. This event requires quite a large amount of luck for the girls as the winner of this tournament will become the center of a song, which is a big deal for any member of this idol group.
The first Janken Taikai started in 2010 for AKB48’s 19th single in which Uchida Mayumi won. In the following years, big name senbatsu members like Shinoda Mariko, Shimazaki Haruka and Matsui Jurina won the tournament respectively. Matsui Jurina may also be the luckiest of them as she won the tournament by using paper with all her opponents! During those times, those who were part of the top 16 are considered the senbatsu members for the single to be released. A different system changed last year as the member who will win the tournament, in 2014’s case Watanabe Miyuki, will be given a solo debut and the other 15 members will be given a coupling song for the solo single. This year Team K member Fujita Nana won the Janken Tournament.
Aside from who will win the Janken Tournament, another thing fans look forward to in this event is the girls wearing different costumes of their choice and they are permitted to wear whatever they want. This side of the event has become an important part of the Janken Tournament and has caught the attention of various media with Television shows and magazines featuring the girls in their chosen costumes.
And the final event for this article is the Senbatsu Sousenkyo. Senbatsu Sousenkyo or the Senbatsu Election is by far the largest and most anticipated event by both the fans and the members of the 48 group. In this event, fans would vote for their favorite member by using the same system as voting in the Request Hour. But in the Senbatsu Sousenkyo, some fans would not only vote their Oshimen or favorite member once but multiple times.
The Senbatsu Sousenkyo is an event where girls are ranked according to the number of votes they receive from the people who voted for them and this will decide whether or not they will take part in the allocated positions for the upcoming single.
The first Senbatsu Sousenkyo started in 2009 for AKB48’s 13th single in which longtime ace and center Maeda Atsuko won with 4,630 votes for the single Iiwake Maybe. For the following Senbatsu Sousenkyo, Oshima Yuko won the center position for Heavy Rotation and switching places for two more elections with Maeda Atsuko until she graduated and Oshima winning again for the 27th single, Gingham Check.
For the 32nd Single Senbatsu Sousenkyo, fans took a shock and a turnover of events as Sashihara Rino took the first place when the preliminary voting result was announced. Sasshi eventually won the center position for Koi Suru Fortune Cookie leading with 150,000 votes, 14,000 more of which Oshima Yuko’s vote count. Oshima then graduated from AKB48, and Watanabe Mayu won the following year’s election and centered Kokoro no Placard.
Sasshi fans went all out in this year’s Senbatsu Sousenkyo in order to return her crown, and succeeded in doing so. Her total vote count was a whopping 194,049 votes and she won the center position for Halloween Night. But in this year’s election many notable members did not participate like long time senbatsu members Kojima Haruna and Matsui Rena. At the same time, SKE48 members ranked more than AKB48 members with 27 of them in.
As a fan of AKB48, I feel a sense of contentment and joy whenever I vote for my Oshimen and she does well in these events. The Request Hour, Janken Taikai and Senbatsu Sousenkyo is a very special event to both us fans and the members of this idol group. These AKB48 events are very popular and are broadcasted on tv every year, showing yet another strong feat of Japan’s largest idol group.