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!
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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!”
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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. :)