2chan says: When did the election become such a meaningless event?

Akimoto’s been known to say that AKB48’s annual election is a “festival”. Whether you agree or not, one 2ch user asks a question which suggests a much more extreme position: that the sousenkyo is a meaningless event from which most members do not gain anything.

Hi there. Welcome to “2chan says.” I will be attempting to translate selected threads from Japanese message board 2chan (aka, 2ch or 2channel), purely for interest and entertainment purposes (and for translation practice). The opinions expressed here belong to the anonymous Japanese internet at large, and do not necessarily reflect the view of akbzine; plus, this page could be riddled with translation errors anyway. Proceed at your own risk, fine reader!

1: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:31:25.69 ID:ln08Y3ih0.net
The girls just suffer, it has gotten so that they don’t gain anything.

2: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:32:01.98 ID:ZgHs5UaN0.net
But, they cannot stop now, can they?

4: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:32:58.30 ID:dJwJJUy9d.net
I wish the members thought of it as a festival too. I guess that is impossible….

5: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:33:04.59 ID:bSy2lIr5d.net
If you really think about it, all it is for is to decide the lineup for one song.

31: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:44:33.38 ID:Okeqqshep.net
That’s not true! Like Akimoto himself said, when the ranks are decided, lots of things come to them as a result.  It’s like putting a price tag on the work and business for the following year.

7: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:34:11.27 ID:j0SiQWcs0.net
There are members that no “normal” person really knows, but they are able to climb the ranks anyway.

8: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:34:51.45 .net
For arguments sake, let’s say that voting for one person is a vote for their popularity. If that is true, then there isn’t anything to replace the election.

9: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:35:57.72 .net
There are a lot of girls where I’m like, “Who the hell are you?!”

11: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:36:55.55 ID:THY7excd0.net
There really is no point in deciding the position of, say, 50th place, right?

12: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:37:40.89 ID:MiXp5RHk0.net
There was that time when Ikoma came in from nowhere at 14th place. Then there’s Kitahara, Takajo, Jurina, Minegishi, etc.  If management was manipulating member positions, the wota who really believe this was all really become disenchanted.

13: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:39:24.17 ID:V9twx6jy0.net
If we just give our opinions on who is #1, then there is no end to that conversation. So the management themselves have given up by just having the election, supposedly to bring out that “real feeling”.  For this event, no matter what you say, you can’t really change it.

Even if they were to make the vote counts private, there are people who would probably still believe it all  anyway, haha.

15: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:40:38.74 ID:G9te3kG/0.net
With the election, there is also the possibility that the trust between wota and members breaks down.

17: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:41:18.42 ID:dJwJJUy9d.net
For the really serious wota, it would be acceptable if they just started announcements from #1

22: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:42:43.11 ID:+hJ3cDmX0.net
It’s a Kamonegix festival!

NMB48's 8th single: Kamonegix
NMB48’s 8th single: Kamonegix

23: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:42:49.39 ID:mcF3szNYK.net
Things went downhill when Ikoma ranked in with 40,000 votes, and she does not even sell out at handshake events.

24: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:43:25.90 ID:z9nYWXJy0.net
There really was not a meaning to begin with. No right-minded person would fall for it.

25: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:43:26.97 ID:TKhdBKFV0.net
But look how 8th place from the first election was treated… [Sato Amina]

26: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:43:32.61 ID:Fr6cqY0xa.net
Where the heck did that mysterious 50,000 votes come from!

28: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:43:51.93 ID:MiXp5RHk0.net
The legendary Ikoma, 14th place! lol

29: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:43:55.69 .net
It is an event where those wota, who place multiple votes for the same girl, try and do their best.

30: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:44:03.04 ID:O4OPfmZH0.net
You do not even mention what happens after the election.

33: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:46:03.21 ID:dXJ/nz9L0.net
It is definite that things are manipulated. All we need is proof…

40: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:47:10.81 ID:B0WW6lk40.net
It is not a good or bad thing, but it also encourages graduation.

41: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:47:12.99 ID:fxgRWDy+0.net
Now that Takamina has graduated, I am going to ignore this year’s election.

And we know that Jurina’s going to be #1!

45: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:49:11.84 ID:j0SiQWcs0.net
Up until last year, did they do something good with the top-ranking members? If you take out Request Hour, the top members only did a song when it was really necessary during concerts.

46: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:49:18.11 ID:ni/sgYBc0.net
When Sashihara took #1 in 2013, it felt all so unreal.

48: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:50:21.44 ID:dXJ/nz9L0.net
Even though popularity has fallen, it is weird that the number of votes has increased.

56: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:53:10.96 ID:Tp+i5qPJ0.net
It’s the wota who have made this event meaningless.  It is kind of like how Request Hour does not have any value anymore.

61: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:56:19.60 .net
There was no need for an election after Mayu took #1, right?!

62: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:57:04.50 ID:NAbXznEf0.net
Honestly, I have only voted during the 2nd selection.

Of course, I start trolling, and stir up the other wota, lol.  But it felt pretty meaningless, so I stopped doing that.

64: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:57:52.51 ID:NAbXznEf0.net
“Normal” people are, 100%, not watching the election, lol.

67: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 22:59:38.02 ID:gobccAT20.net
If this whole thing really was not fixed, then shouldn’t Jurina or Shimazaki have taken #1 by now…?

73: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 23:02:42.89 ID:HXY+OBga0.net
Well, I understand the feeling of management, if they really did just “allow” Kawaei into the senbatsu.

But, I cannot really overlook how Ikoma got in…

76: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 23:03:57.55 ID:ALmt0Z9ar.net
But, for whatever reason, it is the one time of year that I get really excited for something!

78: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 23:04:55.49 ID:UyggPB7J0.net
I really think that it is really meaningless for members who consistently do not rank. I really want to congratulate members who exceed expectations despite their poor management.

79: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 23:06:03.55 ID:FAFelKQZ0.net
It is a way to honor long-standing SKE members.

80: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 23:07:16.61 ID:yAhR2p760.net
No matter how many times they have done the election, they really have not put up any real rules, right?

81: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 23:07:35.72 ID:3DWmGdDr0.net
They should have a rule where only members with less than 5 years experience should be allowed to participate.

92: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 23:12:25.46 ID:jDPBdTXQ0.net
If the elections are real, they are all really interesting to watch.

96: 名無しさん@実況は禁止です@\(^o^)/ 2016/02/08(月) 23:13:52.31 ID:UyggPB7J0.net
It is interesting because it’s all so real.  I wonder which younger members will be able to sell themselves and gain votes.

More entries in the “2chan says” series:

Author: yuki

  • 35mmView

    Wasn’t it stated long ago by an ex member that certain members had frequent sex with top executives to further their path within AKB.
    Lets face it, the whole AKB machine is a money making business.
    I feel so sorry for the majority of stary eyed girls that believe they can gain a meaningful career from the whole sordid affair.
    That said I still love following them. It’s like a drug 🙂

    • yuki

      Certainly – I would lump my idol interest with my interest in movies, for instance. People make movies to gain money while entertaining, and idols earn money by entertaining as well.

      Some girls make it and a lot do not; however I wonder if this is aggravated by the sheer number of members in the group. Statistically, it feels like the odds are just against them to begin with but, yes, it is kind of sad (seen the Unranked member documentary? That was a tough watch).

      Drug indeed 🙂 Let’s try not to overdose while we’re at it.

  • Derek Vasconi

    I’m not sure about the behind the scenes stuff that happens with AKB, but I love watching the Sousenkyo. It’s so dramatic. I do feel for the girls though who are genuinely hurt by where they end up ranking, and yes, there might be some manipulation going on with how it all falls into place by the end of every election night, but it’s entertainment nonetheless. I love AKB and I respect all these girls for trying to do something the rest of us can only begin to dream of. AKB does need a bit of a makeover and an overhaul in terms of their management and the continuing horrible choices made by them for the direction of AKB, but the girls are just the girls. They do their jobs very well in that they hook us along for whatever ride they are on themselves, no matter what we may think about it. They are indeed like a drug, as 35mmVIEW so astutely put it. And it’s one I want to get completely strung out on forever.

    • yuki

      I love watching the Election as well! I do not think we are alone in the regard. Whatever background manipulation schemes (imagined or otherwise), you make a great point that it is still a very entertaining show.

      I think my chosen 2ch thread may have been a bit too focused on the negative aspects (a thought that passed through my head as I was halfway through translating). The opening question kind of implied a lot of things to begin with.

      Things change, but I am curious to see the future of AKB. I may even graduated from the fandom, but one can never tell. Drug indeed!

      • Derek Vasconi

        No! Please don’t graduate from the fandom! AKB needs people like you to keep us all in the loop with what is being said about them and just contributing in general to our AKB universe! I love what you do and I love your 2ch translations! I read every single thing you write on here! I would be sad to see you leave!
        I’m posting my FUTURE OF AKB essay with a top 10 things AKB needs to do in order to survive tomorrow on my blog site at http://www.derekvasconi.com please read it and let me know your thoughts! You are part of my extended AKB family, and I’m happy to share the fandom with you and Reika and everyone else here at AKBZINE!

  • Jack

    I believe the girls are really trying their best to gain popularity and make their fans happy. I’ve noticed that ranking for the sousenkyo doesn’t really change much for the lineups in the other songs. In the end, there will be push members in the other singles and some high ranking members are just left out. The event itself is really interesting. I always stay up to watch it.

  • Payuyu Fortyeight

    Sure we dont really know what’s going on behind the scenes and all but it’s really just up to the person you know? Some people chose not to care about AKB & SSK etc. while some people, the fans, chose to believe. So everybody’s got a choice, you either support AKB despite all the negative news and the like or ignore AKB.

    And I agree with the previous comments, AKB is a money making business but despite that, idk how they do it but they’re magic to us. I think only fans would understand another fan, cos other people who dont follow AKB will never understand why we spend money on multiple CD’s to vote for a girl. So don’t worry about it, it’s our happiness that matters the most. If following AKB makes you happy then keep doin what you’re doin, everyone’s got a choice! 🙂

    • yuki

      Truer words have never been spoken! There is a similar sentiment expressed by one of Shimada Haruka’s fans in the Unranked Member Documentary. When the fan is asked about how he responds to people poking fun at his fandom, he replies, “When’s the last time you cried for someone? When’s the last time you yelled? I think I’m enjoying life much more than other people my age”. It’s definitely that “magic” that has gotten to him 🙂

  • Hmm, that’s a tough question. Not sure I’d call the election completely meaningless, but it sounds like there’s a lot of angst online about whether management fixes things.

    I do agree about the rules comment. Unlike voting for presidents or politicians, people are able to vote more than once in AKB’s election. I think things would change pretty drastically if everyone were allowed only one vote!

    • yuki

      As I was translating this piece, I was questioning whether I had chosen a thread that expressed too much negativity. That may be a reason there seems to be so much “angst” here.

      1 vote per person?! Pardon my foul language, but that would be fucking nuts!

  • JustSomeGuy

    SSK is like watching an American reality TV show like Hell’s Kitchen. It’s entertaining to watch regardless. But in another perspective on the matter, it really a downside in the entertainment industry. Of course, it’s all business to the rest but us fans may or may not believe and we still continue to support our favorite idols nevertheless.

    • yuki

      To be perfectly honest, I am more of a Kitchen Nightmares type of guy (too bad it’s no longer on the air)! All jokes aside, you make an excellent point — I must admit that a part me would still be very entertained, even if there is some funny business going on behind-the-scenes.

      • JustSomeGuy

        I love the British version of Kitchen Nightmares. Much more interesting to watch than the U.S. version and it really is too bad that it’s not on TV anymore. Business in general, there’s always something that’s “strings attached”. People shouldn’t deny the fact that there are always shady stuff going on, especially in the entertainment industry/management. I wouldn’t be surprised if these idols are having their necks held up by corporate and using them as a tool. But so far, either no one has stepped up to confess what really is going on or maybe it is what it is, right front of us, nothing more and nothing less.