Yukirin For The Win? AKB48 Senbatsu Sousenkyo Last-Minute Top 5 Predictions!

Yukirin For The Win? AKB48 Senbatsu Sousenkyo Last-Minute Top 5 Predictions!

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The deadline for casting votes for the 2015 AKB48 Senbatsu Sousenkyo has passed and the clock is ticking down until the big event at Fukuoka Yafuoku! (Yahoo Auction) Dome on June 6th! Here are our and the web media having knowledge on AKB48, Nihongogo‘s predictions for the top 5!

01. Yuki Kashiwagi (AKB48 Team B/NGT48)
Birthdate/Age: July 15, 1991 (23)
Birthplace: Kagoshima, Japan
Nickname: Yukirin
Senbatsu Sousenkyo History: 2009 #9 (1,890), 2010 #8 (15,466), 2011 #3 (74,252), 2012 #3 (71,076), 2013 #4 (96,905), 2014 #3 (104,364)

TGU: Yukirin winning should shake things up a little. When Sashihara won in 2013, it produced one of AKB48’s biggest selling singles “Koi Suru Fortune Cookie” and the Mayuyu-led “Kokoro no Placard” (2014) felt a lot like a conscious attempt to recreate that success. FLASH Magazine, one of Japan’s many weeklies, has predicted that Kashiwagi will surpass Sashihara and Watanabe, due to the absence of big names like Haruna Kojima and Rena Matsui. With her impending concurrent status in NGT48 (Niigata) and the event being held in Fukuoka (her home is nearby Kagoshima prefecture), the chances of her winning more votes from the rural contingency is a factor to consider. Yukirin has a slim chance of winning but we hope that it happens!

Nihongogo: Yuki Kashiwagi – We believe fans enjoy the thrill of having a new center being crowned every year so, we are placing our bets on Kashiwagi taking the top honors this year. With an amazing voice, a successful string of singles, and solo concerts to her credit, Kashiwagi would make a perfect lead for this year’s Senbatsu.

02. Rino Sashihara (HKT48 Team H)
Birthdate/Age: November 21, 1992 (22)
Birthplace: Oita, Japan
Nickname: Sasshi
Senbatsu Sousenkyo History: 2009 #27 (1,170), 2010 #19 (6,704), 2011 #9 (45,227), 2012 #4 (67,339), 2013 #1 (150,570), 2014 #2 (141,954)

TGU: Sashihara has the best chance to win it all given her previous victory in 2013 and her savvy in getting people to notice her. A scandal in 2012 that would have probably ended the career of a less determined idol only seemed to make her influence stronger as HKT48 went on the perform overseas, stage a production at Meiji-za theater and even become the image characters for Tokyo Monorail (Why is a group from Fukuoka the image character for Tokyo Monorail?) under her leadership Sashihara’s talent is in how she connects with people and gives them someone to root for. She might not be the cutest, sexiest or best at singing and dancing but she’s doing the best with what she has! Isn’t that what an idol is?

Nihongogo: Rino Sashihara – Sashihara is a safe bet for the top three this year as her bold personality and outspoken nature has attracted an impressive following on social media and on television. With one of the largest follower bases on Twitter of all the 48G, she’s become one of the most influential members of the group.

03. Mayu Watanabe (AKB48 Team B)
Birthdate/Age: March 26, 1994 (21)
Birthplace: Saitama, Japan
Nickname: Mayuyu
Senbatsu Sousenkyou History: 2009 #4 (2,625), 2010 #5 (20,088), 2011 #5 (59,118), 2012 #2 (72,574), 2013 #3 (101,210), 2014 #1 (159,854)

TGU: Mayuyu would make history is she repeats as the winner but, after collecting the most votes in Senbatsu Sousenkyo history, do her fans have anything left in the tank? She is a quintessential idol and has been active with her solo career as well as acting a new spring drama set to finish after the election. She’s been given the opportunity to be the center (“Labrador Retriever”, co-center with Sakura Miyawaki for “Kibouteki Refrain”) as Akimoto keeps experimenting to find the next Atsuko Maeda but, is that enough to solidify her center position? Aside from conventional media like television and print, she has been neglecting social media to campaign for her reelection.

Nihongogo: Mayu Watanabe – We think it will be a close race this year and Watanabe is poised to remain in the top three this year but, maybe not in the position she would want to be in. Despite favorable reviews in her newest drama, a spotless idol image, and gaining popularity day over day, her biggest threat is a fan base that may have tapped themselves out by power voting for her last year.

04. Minami Takahashi (AKB48 Team A)
Birthdate/Age: April 8, 1991 (24)
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
Nickname: Takamina
Senbatsu Sousenkyo History: 2009 #5 (2,614), 2010 #6 (17,787), 2011 #7 (52,790), 2012 #6 (65,480), 2013 #8 (68,681), 2014 #9 (57,388)

TGU: As much as we would like to see Takamina take the center position, she has never been very aggressive about her campaigning. She admitted to not taking it seriously in previous years and asserted her commitment in her appeal comment video but it might be a tragic example of “too little too late” in the case of the presiding General Manager. We hope that we are proven wrong but based on past elections, 4th might be the best she can do.

04. Jurina Matsui (SKE48 Team S/AKB48 Team K)
Birthdate/Age: March 8, 1997 (18)
Birthplace: Aichi, Japan
Nickname: Jurina
Senbatsu Sousenkyo History: 2009 #19 (1,371), 2010 #10 (12,168), 2011 #14 (27,804), 2012 #9 (45,747), 2013 #6 (77,170), 2014 #4 (90,910)

Nihongogo: Jurina Matsui – With her adopted sister Rena out of play we think SKE48 fans will throw their weight behind the tiny bombshell Jurina Matsui. With this year’s Senbatsu sure to be a tight race the vote-getting powerhouse who has had no difficulty breaching the top five in previous year’s races, this just might need the added help she needed.

05. Sayaka Yamamoto (NMB48 Team N/AKB48 Team K)
Birthdate/Age: July 14, 1993 (21)
Birthplace: Osaka, Japan
Nickname: Saya-nee
Senbatsu Sousenkyo History: 2011 #28 (8,697), 2012 #18 (23,020), 2013 #14 (51,793), 2014 #6 (67,916)

TGU: This is meant as no disrespect to Sayaka Yamamoto but, most people would use history to predict Jurina Matsui to rank higher than her. Sayanee has risen up the ranks quickly since ranking 28th in her first election in 2011. Yamamoto has looks, talent, and a sense of humor that proves that she doesn’t take herself too seriously.

05. Nihongogo: Minami Takahashi – The heart and soul of AKB48 is sure to gain top five status in this years election cycle as fans both old and new offer a vote or two to pay respects to her final year as a member of the beloved group. AKB48 wouldn’t be in the position they are today without her powerful vocals, indomitable spirit, and leadership qualities. It will be a fitting prize for the feisty 148cm tall Takahashi.

Except for 4 and 5, it seems like our predictions are the same! Well, it’s not so much of a challenge to pick who will be in the top spots so much as to where they will be. The real surprises seem to appear in the lower ranks. With just a few hours until the results are announced in one of the biggest media events of the year, do you feel safe that your “oshi” will have their name called? Copies of “Bokutachi wa Tatakawanai” were almost completely sold out at Tower Records Shinjuku last night as fans rushed get in some last-minute voting! One thing is for sure, the tears of idols will be flowing in Fukuoka on the evening of June 6th!

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Kai Okudara

Writer, researcher, photographer, foodie, KSDD

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