Sunday, 16 October 2011

SDN48 Mass Graduation and Disbandment

The dream is over. It has been announced that on March 2012, SDN48 will officially disband. This came as a big shock to any fan of the ...48 family, as there were no clues, no hints and a 3rd generation including former Team A member (and a very popular one indeed) Hana Tojima were added just a few months ago.

This seems really unfair, and I am trying to understand why Yasushi Akimoto would start up this band 2 years ago, only to not really let it run it's course. The stage shows were selling out and the single sales figures were much higher than some other idol groups could ever hope to achieve. I have no idea about the merchandise sales figures but surely they were doing well enough to be treated better than this.

My thoughts are that perhaps a few wanted to graduate, or maybe a lot of them did, so many that it would take a major restructure of the group, and that just wasn't worth it, if it wasn't this, then I can genuinly see no reason why this group is disbanding. We thought that in the future, people like Mariko, Haruna, Yuko and Sayaka would be the first to be moved over. Although I am relieved that they aren't going to be, to be honest. The over sexualization in AKB48 alone is something I feel funny about, so having them be as overtly sexual as SDN isn't really what I wanted to see from these girls.

Even though the girls are acting quite cool and calm about it, I can understand if former AKB48 members, and especially founding members Kayo Noro, Megumi Ohori, Kazumi Urano and Yukari Sato would be ferociously angry about this. Being moved over to a new 'sexy' [re: soft porn] group just because you were too old for the original group? It's blatant ageism, and it's a problem that is long overdue to be addressed in Japan.

This group should have been treated more as a performance group and less as an idol group, they all have extreme talent and were basically made to parade about on stage half naked (sometimes practically fully naked in photoshoots >.>) and this was somehow an idol group. Girls like female groups too Akimoto! Why wasn't this group based on say, After School or SNSD? Wasn't their aim to crack the Korean market? Of course something like this would fail!

The problem is, idol pop, as quoted by Kinenbi on stage48 forums 'starting to get weird again' - and I agree with this. There are far too many idol groups that concentrate on Lolita-esque type properties, exploiting girls as young as 11, that very old and quite pervy men drool over. It's really unacceptable. Boy bands for girls, Girl bands for boys. Ridiculous. If an idol-type group debuted in the West they would be absolutely aimed at girls. Girls would want to join and the 'no boyfriend' policy would only be in adherance if it was produced by Disney (shudder).

The founding members new nothing about this group until it was announced in the team shuffle in 2009, and they didn't look pleased about it, now they have all new reasons to be annoyed. Another suggestion that has been said is that Akimoto is spreading himself too thinly, and I tend to agree with this. Why he can't hire a few protegee's that can write songs for him I don't know. He doesn't have to do everything himself. There's AKB, SKE, NMB, HKT, JKT (so there will be Team KIII and KIV -_-) and now Taipei as well. It's too much and it is destined to start folding in on itself. Like a red giant when it swells and becomes a white dwarf.

We say goodbye to SDN48 and hope that the girls will get better and more popular posts in the future, but I have a sinking feeling that most of them will probably never be seen again, which is something we should probably get used to in the ...48 world, because with so many girls, we are bound to be inundated with graduations and favourites who will just become a passing fancy. The girls themselves should be wary of this, and make sure they all have good plans for their futures, as for us, all we can do is sit back and enjoy the ride.

I must write to Kayo Noro before she leaves. I will miss her utterly and dearly.

What are your thoughts?


  1. If you want it we can discuss the other things later (like when I sleep), but about SDN48, is like they never had a real reason to be or a crystal clear concept of what they wanted to achieve with it. I think that their stage is probably one of the better ones of all the 48 family, I like a lot of girls there and I like some songs on their singles much more than other people. And still most of the things they did were clueless.

    If women on their 20s allegedly value their individuality, their power to make their own choices and how to spend their money in whatever they want, why would they elect an uniformed group? And while I understood that the high school uniform is sort of a metaphor (every girl had to wear one, every boy feel different affects for people on those), what uniform represents most grown-up women? Surely, not a hostess club.

    Probably alone on this, but they had the luck to share their debut with the K-Pop bubble, so they could avoid these questions and still could be sexy and less or more grown up. But the TV show was lame: women over 20 must seduce or beg to get a chance. And then they were filler and then they did this competition for nothing. And there was the other TV show that still was more about a hostess club. And then SDN48+10, that usually was a bore or you felt that all of them didn’t mix together and was artificial and fake. And then you had the gravure photos and all that. The main thing is that being singers trying the sexy card can be engaging but it doesn’t last. If you push to hard, suddenly you are too sexy for singers, and almost nothing for all your competence on lad or men magazines. So again you are nowhere. And for me, when some of the PVs started with the prostitution thing, I quit. The glorification of it is absolutely dumb, at least for me. Leaving aside that working on those conditions is not the best way to make you feel motivated about your work.

    About the other thing, I’m starting to think that the whole “old men drooling over little girls” is a sort of Godwin’s law for J-Pop. You can’t have any serious discussion about any issue without this popping out. And is such an extreme proposition (or you are with the people that are arguing this condemning this (and then you are agreeing with them because you have lost whatever strength you could have) or you are a paedophile) that is a sure way to win conversations. I’m also interested in the research people do to affirm this, doing the general idol thread over at H!O there are like 200 idols groups working over Japan. Still when people talk about this, the only example that comes to my mind is Tokyo Girls’ Style.

  2. I don't really know about the reason. But, I believe it's not fair for the member itself.
    In the other hand, I'm happy just like you are, that I don't have to see AKB48 graduated like Acchan, Yuko, Mariko, Itano and the other overly exploit in sexually environment like that.
    Well, I just can't imagine it. Can not!