Idol Thoughts: On the Janken Senbatsu

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!

4 thoughts on “Idol Thoughts: On the Janken Senbatsu

  1. I have to think it’s rigged somehow. Like you said though, ‘why Jurina?” MAybe they worked out some deal with her? I mean they are all actors, being an Idol is a type of act, if you think people can be that cute and happy all the c’mon! Some go as far as to create an whole new character, most just exaggerate personality traits they already have…

    What I’m saying is it’s all built on illusion, the Idol world. It would be nice if this were a true contest and a certain HKT Kenshuusei could get center for an AKB single..or Miyu Takeuchi or Lemon (my 3 top personal choices). But it seems management has other ideas. A shame really. I still think it’s fun just not as much now.

    If it weren’t for the “one-hand-sign-all-the-way-thru” thing for two winners in a row…I would be a ton less wary..still can’t wait to catch the costumes!

  2. Just like Mozenator said, so much of this is just based on illusion and staging things to appear a certain way, and ever since the previous tournament, I’ve thought these are far more staged than before. At least the first two actually did have a number of unknown girls near the top, these ones have kinda become just a joke.

    On the whole thing about Jurina winning, whether she misses a lot or not, this could’ve just been a kind of underhanded way to try to convince her to not miss as much, maybe, by purposely choosing her as an ultimatum. I seem to remember quite a few AKB performances in the past where the center was not there for one reason or another, so it does happen, which also brings into question whether or not they even care if the center is there if its not some huge, national performance on a huge TV show or something.

    I really can’t take much of anything they do very seriously anymore after discovering more idol groups who don’t have the same kind of generic, transparent “act” about them that we’ve been seeing for the last 25~ years, but this kind of stuff just pushes it over the limit for me and a little further away from the group as a whole.

  3. Pingback: Your Thoughts: On the Janken Senbatsu | Happy Disco

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