Today one of the biggest events in the AKB48 year occured; the Janken contest. Basically, every year (this was the fourth) AKB holds a giant rock-paper-scissors contest to determine the lineup for the last single of the year.
And this is the second year in a row that people have accused the contest of being rigged. (though a small number of people may have said it in the years past)
There’s no actual proof, mind you, just the fact that the past few years that popular members have won, as opposed to someone lesser known. Shimazaki Haruka winning last year made a lot of people question the validity of the tournament, and now Matsui Jurina winning has seemed to seal the deal for a lot of people.
Personally, while there are other members I would have wished to win the tournament, Jurina winning doesn’t make me automatically think “this was rigged.” First off, there are plenty of other members who would make more sense to push. Jurina is already popular, but AKB wants to promote girls like Iriyama Anna, Kato Rena, Kawaei Rina, etc. She already has a lot of singles she centers, and one more wouldn’t make the difference. Secondly, Jurina misses a lot; due to illness or just exhaustion, she’s missed a fair deal lately. I watched quite a bit of the live Koisuru Fortune Cookie performances, and Jurina missed the majority of them. Would management really rig something where the center might not perform for most of the performances, or where it’s even a question?
Another thing that I’ve thought of is the purpose of the single, which is almost undoubtedly to give lesser known girls a chance to shine. There’s nothing stopping AKB management from putting unknown girls in the senbatsu for a single, but it’s generally accepted that they don’t. This is an excuse for having a really unusual, interesting group of girls perform. I mean, that was the whole cool thing about having the center for the first Janken election be Uchida Mayumi; Ucchi wasn’t really known until the election. So I can see where a lot of people are coming from, being disappointed. I mean, I’m kind of disappointed myself; I like having unknown girls win.
However, even if the center isn’t necessarily unknown, there’s usually some lesser known girls, which makes things really great. I’m a huge fan of Natori Wakana, so I’m REALLY happy that she made it into her first senbatsu, and I’m really excited for Hirata Rina too. Even if it doesn’t necessarily make members more popular, it’s a really exciting and happy time for girls who don’t get pushed very much and don’t have as many opportunities in AKB. So even if this happened to be rigged (which again I’m not sure if I think that), I’m still happy the janken senbatsu exists,, mostly because it’s a really great thing for some girls who don’t normally get that chance.
Anyways, what do you think? Do you think the janken tournament is rigged? Do you like the concept of the Janken senbatsu? Let me know in the comments!