AKB48’s rise to fame

I’m not a fan of AKB48 in anyway, but a fellow teacher shared this story he found online, and I couldn’t help but be impressed with their humble origins (even if their original fan-base was probably mostly the old men who prowl Akiba – eh, who am I to judge?).

Anyjose, I wanted to translate and share this story with you!

* * *

In 2011 renowned Japanese idol group AKB 48 won Best Album in Japan for that year.  Only 2 years prior the group suddenly began appearing all over TV and in ritzy, glitzy fashion magazines.  Because of this, I thought that they had only debuted 3 years prior. In fact, the group debuted 6 years prior to 2011, and were not an overnight success.

AKB’s origin can be traced back to a lonely theater in Akihabara, Tokyo, where the group held shows to which few people came to see.
Every single day the girls thought to themselves,
“I really want to quit this lousy gig… When can I get outta here?”
In fact, so few people came that many of the original members left the group, leaving the remaining members to wonder if they should do the same.

One day, the girls went out into the cold streets of Akihabara in a desperate attempt to lure customers with flyers and ads for their shows.  But still, barely anyone came.
After the performance that night, the girls broke down in tears.  Hearing this, their manager, Mr. Akimoto Yasushi, stepped in to shake some sense into them.

“What are you all crying for?” he started. “Your fans are few in number, but some people come! If you can’t win over the one person who comes to see you, then impressing 100 or 1000 fans will be impossible! Learn first how to move the one person who is standing right in front of you!”
After that, AKB’s first fan letter came in the mail, and little by little the once cold and empty theater suddenly was sold out; news of the exciting  new show in Akihabara passed by word of mouth, and AKB48 was on their way to becoming the treasured idol group that we know today.

In 2011, when AKB48 won the prize for Best Album, this is what the members had to say:
“When we compare ourselves to the other artists who competed for this prize, in no way do we think that we are any better than they are. Everyone here can sing beautifully, and dance even better than we can. But even so, we were determined to win this prize! We owe it to all the people that have supported us along the way!”

Click here to read the blog this story was taken from > > >

* * *

In the spirit of this story, I’d also like to thank everyone who listens to my music, reads my blog, likes my drawings…  Thanks to you all for your continued support!  I will continue to work hard to impress and influence. :)


22 thoughts on “AKB48’s rise to fame

  1. I critique the whole idol status just as much as you do and to sum up my view- you have to have what it takes to move people, yes, but ALL kinds of people and not solely because you’re a teeny jailbait who looks kawaii and can sing. Being humble is a huge plus, but hardly a deal-breaker.

    Now, here’s the kind of smaller-scale idols that I personally support all the way for ALL the right reasons- Mari Watanabe. Look her up in plain old English and read her story.

  2. The monitor on my laptop is screwed. There’s a two pixel wide green line running down the screen a couple of inches from the right hand side, so when this post appeared on my blogroll it looked like ‘AKB48’s rise to lame’

    And that’s all I have to say about that.

  3. I get mixed up between akb48 and morning musume sometimes… but wow i never knew it took them such a while to make it big..
    your music is awesome!!! so talented…. you should definitely keep it up!!

  4. I might not like the music they do, but they are sure damn good to look at! its better than all of those dudes trying to be rock stars and they look more like chicks than the girls in that group do.

  5. “even if their original fan-base was probably mostly the old men who prowl Akiba – eh, who am I to judge?” — I judge. Their original fan base was dirty old men or otaku and the manager’s inspirational speech was probably more like ‘I own you and if you don’t want to end up hocking your box in some low rent soaplands, get out on the streets and work that jailbait’.

    I had to teach a class with the ulimate AKB otaku and I’m scarred for life from it.


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