AKB48 Senbatsu Sousenkyo Report: Who Will Take Center?
With just days until AKB48’s biggest single of 2015 “Bokutachi wa Tatakawanai” (release date: May 20) going on sale, 272 of the Senbatsu Sousenkyou “Appeal Comment” videos have been uploaded to their official YouTube channel. All of the members have submitted their applications and will be gunning for one of the 80 spots available in AKB48’s 41st single.
With votes being tallied from May 19th until June 5th, the most exciting election returns in Japan will take place at Fukuoka Yafuoku! (Yahoo Auction) Dome on June 6, 2015. While it would be incredibly difficult to analyze all 272 videos, here are the big names that will be aiming to sit on the throne once occupied by Atsuko Maeda, Yuko Oshima, Rino Sashihara, and Mayu Watanabe.
Mayu Watanabe (AKB48 Team B)
Birthdate/Age: March 26, 1994 (21)
Birthplace: Saitama, Japan
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)
Mayu Watanabe is looking to make history as the first ever AKB48 member to repeat as the winner of the Senbatsu Sousenkyou. She spends most of the video thanking her fans for making her victory in 2014 possible and again asks them for their support. After amassing the most votes in Senbatsu Sousenkyou history to claim the top spot, will she have enough to protect her crown?
Rino Sashihara (HKT48 Team H)
Birthdate/Age: November 21, 1992 (22)
Birthplace: Oita, Japan
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)
Rino Sashihara’s amazing rise up the ranks barely missed a step even after she was transferred to HKT48 following a scandal in 2012, grabbing the center position in 2013 and resulting in one of AKB48’s biggest selling singles “Koi Suru Fortune Cookie”. After vowing to stand underneath a waterfall (takigyo) if she didn’t get #1 in 2014, she instead promises to do a concert wearing a swimsuit if she gets the top place this year! Will this give her the result she is hoping for?
Yuki Kashiwagi (AKB48 Team B/NGT48)
Birthdate/Age: July 15, 1991
Birthplace: Kagoshima, Japan
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)
Yuki Kashiwagi has been near the top of the ranks for the past few years but is seriously considering the possibility of being in the center position for the first time. As one of the members selected for concurrent status with NGT48, she feels responsible for giving them a good example to follow. 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. If previous elections are any indication, Kashiwagi will need to get at least 50,000 more votes to win her first election.
Jurina Matsui (SKE48 Team S/AKB48 Team K)
Birthdate/Age: March 8, 1997 (18)
Birthplace: Aichi, Japan
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)
Jurina Matsui, who’s potential at the age of 11 lead to her being picked as the center for “Oogoe Diamond”, has never been one to sit back and let things come to her. Listing the winning for the Senbatsu Sousenkyo as the next goal on her list, she is also aiming to have SKE48 be the group with the most ranking members. Even though SKE48 had a strong showing in 2013, HKT48 has been growing stronger since the arrival of Rino Sashihara. Will SKE48 be able to emerge victorious despite the graduations of Airi Furukawa, Yuka Nakanishi, Ami Kobayashi, Riho Abiru, Rina Matsumoto, Tsugumi Iwanaga, and transfer of Yuria Kizaki?
Minami Takahashi (AKB48 Team A)
Birthdate/Age: April 8, 1991 (24)
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
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)
Minami Takahashi boldly declared that she wanted to take the #1 spot in her final Senbatsu Sousenkyo during her birthday concert at Zepp Tokyo but, admits that she had not been taking it seriously in previous years. Takahashi becomes emotional and wipes away tears while talking about how it will be her last chance before she graduates in December. She has been the heart and soul of AKB48 for almost a decade but will that be enough for her to triple her personal best and once again stand as the center?
While there is no question that these 5 members will rank highly in the election, all of them have made it known that they want to win. Looking at the past elections, it would be easy to think that it will be a showdown between Mayu Watanabe and Rino Sashihara but, in 2013 where it was thought that Yuko Oshima and Watanabe would be the two top contenders, few could have predicted that Sashihara would have surpassed them both. With no clear favorite in this year’s election every vote will count so, go and pick up “Bokutachi wa Tatakawanai” and cast your votes!
Bokutachi wa Tatakawanai [Type A / CD+DVD+Event Ticket / Limited Edition]
AKB48 Election Special site: http://sousenkyo.akb48.co.jp/
AKB48 Official site: http://www.akb48.co.jp/
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