Akimoto Yasushi shares his thought on the reason why Shimazaki Haruka won the Janken Taikai

  October 1, 2012

AKB48 has a lot of members, therefore we can’t let all members to appear in the cover artworks of CDs, or in music TV shows. We have no choice but to choose “Senbatsu system”, where me, the general producer, select 16 members of Senbatsu from the entire 48 groups.

I’m often asked “What is the criteria for Senbatsu?”, but it’s difficult to answer to this question. It’s not only their popularity or ability, but I also consider staffs valuation of the members. That said, it’s not that I convert all of them into numbers to make the ranking. Because it makes things too much balanced, we can’t expect much of chemistry when we just gather members of the same characteristics. So, I never make a decision by majority vote.

On the contrary, if there’s one staff who passionately recommend some member, I may figure how about giving her a chance. Because the fact some of our staffs are attracted by her very much means some of fans are also attracted to her so much.

But because our criteria is as vague as like this, we are often scolded by fans. “Why in the world XX isn’t included in Senbatsu?” or “Why in the world is XX selected for Senbatsu?” or “Are you going to fix Senbatsu members lineup?” and as I wrote before, Senbatsu Sousenkyo (選抜総選挙 / せんばつそうせんきょ) has started in response to fans voices like these.

And because we had a mixed reception about plural voting system, “Okay, then let’s make an event where everyone have an equal chance!”. This is how Janken Tournament (じゃんけん大会 / じゃんけんたいかい) has started. In short, of total over 230 members of AKB 48 groups, those who won top 16 spots by winning Janken match will be selected for Senbatsu.

It has nothing to do with their popularity, nor ability nor reputation among staffs. It’s possible that Kenkyusei (研究生 / けんきゅうせい) who has just joined 48 groups will be Center for Janken Senbatsu. Or, sometimes this tournament will give a spotlight to middle-class members who have had few opportunities so far.


“You have an answer in yourself”


I was watching the Janken tournament, which was held in Budo-Kan, with bated breath on Sep 18th. And the girl who won the tournament was Shimazaki Haruka, who is the candidate for the next generation’s Center. She won all the Janken match with scissors.

Some people say this is a setup because the story was too good to be true, but it’s 100% wrong. AKB48 groups are and will always be serious. If you look at serious facial expressions of girls fighitng Janken Match on the stage, you can tell it’s nothing but serious fight for them.

Then why Shimazaki Haruka was a strong contender in this tournament? I guess it’s because her determination was at the different level compared to others. If I lose with scissors, then that’s it, but I have momentum and luck, so it’s gonna be alright. She was repeatedly picking scissors for each match with thinking this way, I guess… I shall ask her when I have a chance to meet her next time.

There’s no definite way to win Janken match. It’s all up to whether you can believe that you have a luck. In order to succeed in the world of Show-Biz where there’s no definite right answer, you have to have your own answer in yourself. To my eyes, only Shimazaki Haruka had her own right answer in herself.


From one-minute talk by Akimoto Yasushi in Yomiuri Shinbun – Sep 30 issue