AKB48 to add even more members and why this is a problem


I was just minding my business scrolling through twitter like I do everyday once I get on the computer. Reading a little of this, watching a little of that, tweeting a little of this. And in the midst of doing all of that I came across a tweet about an announcement during the first day of AKB48’s Request Hour 2014 Setlist Best 200 concerts. And I’m sure by now, since you’re no doubt going to read this post much later than I actually post it, that announcement is none other than the formation of AKB48’s Team 8. Auditions will start January 24th, which is today in Japan talk about short notice, and they will be picking one girl from each of Japan’s 47 prefectures.

Now, as you know, I am hardly an AKB48 fan. I’ve tried and tried endless times to get into them beyond their singles and honestly, I just can’t. I don’t really feel any attachment to them to be completely honest. But I still feature them on my blog and still keep up with them because I know a majority of idol fans do care. So, I of course have to keep up with the news for you dear readers.  That being said, since I am not a fan I think my reaction to this news might differ than what an actual fan’s reaction might be. Or maybe it won’t be, what do I know?

At first I literally gasped in disbelief and softly said omg. But soon after the initial shock wore off, which was about 15 seconds, a rush of other emotions rushed over me until they were a mixture of disbelief, annoyance, and a little bit of anger.

Do you remember the post I made back in 2011 when the first Team 4 was announced? Well here’s the post if you care to refresh your memory about it. In that post I basically just said I couldn’t believe they were adding another team and could you imagine if they added a Team 8 down the line. Well my worst fears, and arguably my most obvious prediction, has come true, as they are in fact adding a Team 8.

And I have to be honest with you, the main reaction to all of this is a resounding why. Why do they need to add another team? Why does it have to be made up of new members and none of the current Kenkyuusei? Why are they adding 47 girls making it the largest AKB48 Team to date? Why is this a good or logical idea? Why is this even happening?

I think I’ve just about made my peace with the fact that AKB48 and their sister groups are going to be unnecessarily large, are going to use whatever gimmicks possible to sell, and a song consisting of them sneezing would sell a million copies. I’ve accepted it. I don’t necessarily like it, but I’ve accepted it as something that happens that I have no say or control over. But sometimes something so ridiculous happens you have to take a moment and step back and really look at the situation. And that situation is the formation of Team 8. This is one of those moments where I have to go, isn’t this a bit too far?

If you are an AKB fan or if you are not an AKB fan, does anyone really think this is a good  idea or something that should be happening? I’m being completely honest here, if you can give me one good reason why this isn’t completely absurd I implore you to straighten things out for me.  Because right now there’s no good reason for this. And like I said on twitter this is absolute overkill, and it’s adding more members for the sake of adding them.

I’m sure people right now might be thinking why do I care so much? Or, there’s nothing I can do about it, so I shouldn’t let it bother me. Or even, the more members the merrier. I actually don’t care about this at all in the grand scheme of life. I certainty won’t be losing any sleep over AKB48’s Team 8 that’s for sure. But right here right now in this moment on my blog and on the internet, the two places where I care about and vent about idols, it is the most important topic at hand. Well, at least for the moment. After this blog post I’ll probably move on to the next idol related thing. But for the moment let’s divulge into this a little further. Let’s get to the main reason behind my outrage, which is my god that’s too many members.

Let’s talk numbers. First off I want to point out that I maybe be a little bit off on my numbers because I’m not super 100% up to date with this group. But I can assure you I’m only off by 10-20 at the most. AKB48 currently has 81 members. Please note that I didn’t subtract members such as Takajo Aki who are AKB48 and where moved to another group or keep members that hold a dual position in sister groups. Let’s assume for a moment that these 47 girls will be added completely into AKB48 as Team 8 members and none of them will join the Kenkyuusei. That would bring AKB48’s current roster to 128 members. If you add in the 10 current Kenkyuusei that number would be 138 members. But I honestly don’t consider trainees an official part of the group. But that’s just me. I know a lot of people do consider Kenkyuusei to be members, so I will continue to include both sets of numbers.

Now SKE48 currently has 46 members, NMB48 has 47 members, HKT48 has 32 members. That brings the current 48 groups up to 206 members. And if you add in each groups Kenkyuusei members that would bring the number up to 269. And if you add each group’s draft members, that I actually have no idea what they are or that even means, that brings the number up to 288. And that’s just the numbers for the Japanese groups. JKT48’s 37 members and SNH48’s 47 official members comes out to 84, adding that into the amount of official 48 group members which is 206, that brings it up to 290. But if you’re a stickler for including Kenkyuusei if you add in all of the Japanese Kenkyuusei to 290 it becomes 352. And if you add JKT48’s 7 Kenkyuusei is becomes 360. Add that number after adding the draft members and it becomes 379.

Now all that maybe extremely confusing to keep up with. So simplifying things: The current number count for official Team members in both AKB48’s Japanese sister groups and International sister groups is 290. The number count if you add in the Kenkyuusei is 360. And the number count if you add the draft members is 379. Again my numbers maybe be off by a bit. But for the most part I made this as accurate as humanly possible. Now if you add the 47 girls from Team 8 into the official Team count that would make it 307 current official 48 members. Adding that number in with the Kenkyuusei is becomes 407. And finally adding it in with the draft members it becomes 426 members.

Now, I ask all of my readers once again, is this really necessary. When it really comes down to it is it really absolutely necessary? Is it really? Just think about it for a moment. That’s more girls than there are countries in the entire world over two times over. Why in the world do you need to add a Team 8 and make it 426 members? Just why? But not even that. Why do you need 290 official members?

But now let’s get to the really fun part where I show just how astronomical those numbers are by comparing it to my favorite agencies. Let me start off my saying in the 9 years AKB48 has been together they have had 179 members. In the 17 years Morning Musume was together they had 34 members. In the 17 years H!P was together if you count former members, a member that died, and even part of the short lived H!P Taiwan, that bring the official members of H!P up to 106 members. And if you add up of the past and present Kenshuusei that bring the total up to 170. In 9 years AKB48 has had 179 members which is 73 more members that Hello!Project has had in the 17 years they were together. And is still 9 more members if you add in all of the trainees H!P has had over the years.

Now Johnny’s has been together since the 1960’s, so in the 50 or so years Johnny’s has been together they have debuted 23 groups and 5 soloists. Making the number of debuted idols up to 112. Which is still 67 less members than AKB48 alone has debuted in 9 years. Now, if that doesn’t just absolutely blow your mind to pieces I don’t know what will! Because don’t forget that 179 member count is without adding in Team 8. Without Team 8!

Again anytime anyone wants to explain to me why adding a Team 8 is 100% necessary I am all ears. Also, please don’t say, well you have to take into consideration that Team 8 is almost going to be pretty much a separate entity from the rest of AKB48. A completely new concept never done before in AKB48. Because even if that is the case it doesn’t change anything I have said above! And also, anyone that tries to make that argument with me I will not hear it or stand for it, and I will virtually slap you in the face. Because honestly look at the numbers! Look at the numbers!

10 thoughts on “AKB48 to add even more members and why this is a problem”

  1. Their not adding all 47 girls to the team. Their going to pick from those 47 to form the team.

    I can see their point in adding more girls what with the rate of graduations they’re having but this is beyond a joke. I feel that only 20 girls from all groups are reall getting anything from this group anyway.

    And its a slap in the face for the current trainees who have been training for some time now.

    1. Are you sure? Because what I heard was they are going to add a member from each prefecture. But it is possible that it was mistranslated, I’m not sure.

      I don’t really think that the graduations are that bad. They still have 81 members, which is more than enough. It’s always been that way with AKB48 only the senbatsu members really matter. All of the other members have always been gravy. So, I don’t think adding even more is even necessary.

      I do agree that it is a slap in the face of the trainees. There are 10 now, what about them?

  2. I actually like the concept because it’s keeps it interesting. I found that with my H!P obsession it died down because it got stale, boring, and predictable (Takahashi/Rena/Abe/Goto Center anyone?)

    I find that even if it’s a “slap to the face” to whoever is in the group now, well go find your edge, push forward or debut in a sister group.

    I may not like their current generic sound but these type of things keep me wildy entertained.

    1. It might be interesting initially, but I’ve always thought it was a lot of trouble to keep up with that many members. With H!P I live for auditions to spice it up. But Morning Musume remains the only idol group I follow that adds new members. So, the center being predictable can be said for nearly all of the idol groups out there. Including AKB48, besides it’s top member you barely see anyone else unless you actively follow them.

      I don’t get what you’re trying to say here. Have current AKB members debut in a sister group? How is that possible. I don’t think they’re gonna transfer any more members full time. And there are too many members in the group now for any member to push through and become popular. The popular members are pretty much set in stone and most likely won’t be changed until they graduate or management decides to push another member.

      The generic sound has been for a while and honestly I wish they would take risks again. I’m not really entertained by this to be honest. I am shocked at first but that wears off really quickly.

  3. Honestly you’re not the only one that’s annoyed but it is a tie in partnership with Toyota and AKS many believe that this might just be a one off shot project like when they did team surprise with Kyoraku. It seems like it will be Toyota run basically everything with Akip producing the artistic input. The tag line for the team 8 project is “idols that come to meet you” which basically means that all that they will be doing touring small venues around all the prefectures. I don’t think there is so the chances of them interacting with the regular group. Most of the fandom seems to be treating it as its own separate entity for now. This could all change once they actually debut and if they’re successful I can see the team being brought in as a part of the AKS system. If not, once the contract runs out in 1-2 years all the members of “team 8” will probably have a mass graduation which will probably suck for all the fans that they will probably amass. This could all be a complete lie however since all that we can do is speculate until they actually release anything.
    My fear actually come down to how much effort and resources will go into this since Akip will probably spend the most time on this instead of finishing stages that were announced at the dome tours/ They already delayed them all till further notice and now we have an international company giving them money to produce something from them.

    1. See, I was thinking that it might be a one shot project too. Because I doubt Toyota would really pay all of their expenses forever. But until I see a conformation of that I’m gonna treat it like it’s for keeps. I think they made it pretty clear with their concept that they are going to tour all over Japan, I mean that’s why they want a girl from each prefecture. They said it would be separate entity basically, but even despite that the situation leaves a bad taste in my mouth. If a mass graduation did happen in 1-2 years I think I would be 10 times more angry about that than I am about the Team 8 situation right now.

      From what I understand from fans is that Aki-P takes forever to write new stages, and I honestly think it’s unprofessional. He has spread himself so thin that he can’t keep up with the groups he’s supposed to be producing. He honestly shouldn’t take on more groups than he can handle.

  4. Honestly, I don’t see a problem with it. I love AKB and everything AKB-related. No, I’m not some huge WOTA that can quote you all the members names frontwards and backwards and write them in their respective hiragana/katakana/kanji/whatever, but I do appreciate the happiness and joy they bring to people that like their music. I also love that they are so involved in many things across Japan, including several charity projects. And let us not forget they are a HUGE boost to Japan’s economy. So all in all, adding more of the girls to the AKB universe is, as far as I’m concerned, a great business move. It also further expands the whole idols you can meet concept, as AKB has become so massive that it is impossible to really “meet” them anymore, unless you count the ten second handshake events which basically manipulate you into buying 100’s of cds so you have a chance to shake the hands of many girls or one girl a frighteningly large amount of times. Still, this could be interesting. And who knows? Maybe some of the AKB girls might make some guest appearances to help with its promotions? That would be fun.
    As a musician, I know what it’s like to tour around the US and play everywhere. I hope these girls truly enjoy this and no matter if there are 100 girls or 500, AKB is undeniably a powerhouse in Japan that has given many young girls in Japan a chance at the dream of being an idol. The positives of this FAR outweigh the negatives.

    1. I understand being a fan of the music and of course the girls and music bring you happiness, lots of being love AKB. And I can see why everyone loves them. It’s quite admirable to to be active and charity groups and it is really exciting to be so popular that they have so many opportunities to do things all over Japan. I also know that from a business perspective it’s smart. But from a personal perspective I just can’t get behind it. I honestly think it’s overkill, it’s to much in my opinion. And it continues to be more than Aki-P can handle. I have no doubt in my mind that other members will probably show up to help promote because that will obviously bring in more money.

      The positives don’t really outweigh the negatives. If we’re just taking it from the girl’s point of view, do you know how much it hurts girls that are unpopular? Do you realize that the girls feel bad that no matter how much effort they put in they’ll never be popular? Obviously a lot more girls get to be idols, but are obvious disadvantages. But that can be said about any idol group. But at least in a group of 5-17 they have a better chance of gaining some sort of popularity or get solo lines sometime. Hardly any girl becomes an idol just because they want to be an idol. No girl joins because they want to stand in the background. And most girls don’t join for love of the group. I’ve seen several idols join groups without knowing any of their songs or they joined that group because they have no other idol group to join. Most girls are joining to become famous/popular. I think if an idol joins a group with 80 members that’s extremely popular the odds of it being because they want to be an idol is very slim.

  5. Full time members could transfer to sister groups (or vice versa) like Sae/Mariya who went to SNH48, Nakagawa who went to JKT48, Ota who went to HKT48 (who eventually became team captain). Also ex member Kohara Haruka transferred from AKB to SDN who was more prominent in SDN related releases than in her AKB shadow. Miyuki (NMB) has dual teams and is more prominent in AKB releases.

    The only thing I didn’t like about H!P auditions was the girls who wasn’t chosen.

    The thing I like about AKB is that there are many girls, I don’t care to remember all the names but I can pick out my certain ones that I like.

    1. I’m obviously aware of those transfers. I even said in my post that I wasn’t going to count members of sister groups that held dual positions in AKB48 as official AKB48 members. What I meant was I don’t think they are going to transfer anymore girls into other groups since they haven’t transferred anyone over since they added members to international groups or gave them dual positions in domestic groups.

      I don’t really know how AKB48 auditions work to tell you the truth. Do they just add anyone who makes it to the finals? It is a little upsetting when your first choice isn’t added to a group. I experienced that heartbreak with Momusu’s 10th gen auditions as well as S/mileage’s 2nd gen auditions. But I was ecstatic when my first choice made it into Momusu’s 9th gen. Auditions are like that, you win some you lose some. But even though my first choices weren’t added 2 different times I still found idols to love out of the girls that were added.

      I think having many girls is a real disadvantage. How do you even pick a favorite? Since I’m sure the time isn’t distributed evenly for every single member for every single group, how do you know you’re really picking a member you’re drawn to the most? In that situation you may be overlooking an idol you might really love but are just unable to really know enough about her.

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