Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Sayaka Akimoto vs AKB48 and the Eastern Stereotype

Sayaka Akimoto

A Team K original member and AKB48 second generation member.

A huge inspiration not only to AKB48 members but to women all over the world.

She's been criticized a bit recently. From anonymous haters on the confessional blogs to forums and even by fellow AKB members for her 'masculine qualities'. In my opinion, this is only compared to other Japanese girls and members of AKB48.

She used to be a senbatsu member but was slowly and silently pushed aside for younger and 'cuter' members. This saddens me, she even fails to appear in B-sides these days and when she is in the song, she'll barely be in the PV. Why? Because AKB management are too focused on their wota or male fanbase? They should be aware of the members that women like the most, and Sayaka is surely one of them.

This post came up on a confession blog lately and it made me so angry I had to write a long spiel about it. Why would you hate on someone who is clearly so different from the rest of the AKB girls? Sayaka is strong, utterly gorgeous and definitely feminine, the fact that she likes fitness and has a deeper voice than that horrid 'cutesy' crap a lot of the idols put on, does not make her masculine or 'manly'.

I have this feeling that it is mainly because in Japan, women are meant to be soft, malleable, weak creatures who bow to the pressures of men and all get married before the age of 30. No feminism culture exists over there except in very small quantities and it's very sad watching women become mocked on television and in the media because they are older. Hearing Megumi Ohori being called 'old' because she was an idol at 25, or hearing Kayo Noro's weight being mentioned...AGAIN. They would never mention these things to men, but because women are not meant to fight back, they'll just laugh along and pretend it's fine, event though it might be hurting them inside.

Recently, I watched a clip (could have been from AKBingo) where a man was dressed as an AKB member and Yuko Oshima said it reminded her of Sayaka. I was shocked. Yuko, Sayaka is meant to be your friend! Why would you say that? It made me angry that even women themselves are mocking and making fun of their fellow women and Yuko even dropped a few places in my rankings purely for that unnecessary comment.

Sayaka, I think, would do well in the Western industry if she ever got a chance. Over here we know that mixed race women are among the most beautiful in the world. She would also do well in the fitness industry, working so hard to become fit and healthy that Japanese magazines airbrush her abs out in bikini shoots. This is unacceptable! Strong women are not to be feared but embraced, I'd love to see Sayaka speak out about women's rights in Japan as I think she would be a good ambassador, but maybe after she's left AKB as it could get her in trouble while she's in it.

I feel that she has the support of the Western fans of AKB48 and I really hope she knows just how much she is appreciated. She has so, so much to offer AKB and to continually get snubbed is affecting her senbatsu position. Last year, if it was the 21 member senbatsu, she would have JUST made it. Not in high undergirls but in low senbatsu. I'm almost certain she will drop again this year due to so many former Team 4 girls being pushed, but she will take it in her stride. Just like everything she does. She is an inspiration to me and I hope we get to see more of her in 2013.


  1. You know, I don't think I ever told you this, but my discovery of Sayaka was either me going through Hello-Online or me stumbling upon your blog. SO thanks to you, you kind of introduced me to her.

    "I have this feeling...they'll just laugh along and pretend it's fine, event though it might be hurting them inside. "

    ^ I agree with this so much. Even though some girls like Sayumi are known to bite back (staged or not), most of the girls, like you said, are expected to take all the bashing. Even though people say "Oh they get use to it and it becomes funny", I believe the opposite. People are bullied everyday and they do NOT get used to it ever, especially the ones who eventually commit suicide. Like you said, it still hurts deep down.

    In the Western Industry, sure she'd get some critiism, as does everyone, but people would definitely like her more. I had a confession of my own posted on that tumblr (A Pro-Sayaka one :D) and like I said, I find the easy going type of girl to be a much better candidate for a friend or someone to look up to. Most guys that I know feel the same way in a romantic standpoint. In a way, they seem so much more relatable and like an actual human being, rather then a figure that people just worship.

    Unfortunately, I feel like her time in senbatsu has come to an end. You know what this post made me think of? About a month ago, I was watching a clip of a variety show (that Ikuta Erina was also on) and it showed clips of Sayaka and Eripon's recent PV's that they starred in. Sayaka's was from Ue Kara Mariko. It knocked some realization in me since Ue Kara Mariko was quite some time ago. Hopefully, she'll have some time in senbatsu again because otherwise, Janken may be her only chance.


  2. I have only the utmost respect for Sayaka and all that she's done for AKB but from a males point of view i've never found her attractive in the slightest, and it is unfortunately mainly due to the muscles.... i dont mind 'toned' but muscly...especially on an idol just doesnt do it for me and probably many others >.> but at least she's being true to herself

    I feel sorry for the fact that she has the ape tag on her, like Haachan has the grandma tag, it's really not nice but she's played along with it and even in the Uh-Ho-Ho song but i cant imagine its makes for a good image.

    I cant see her going up in the senbatsu and now that Diva is all but gone i can only imagine she will graduate, hopefully when Yuko does because they are such good friends and carried Team K together

    She has a great voice especially in Blue Rose and Mushi no Ballad but AKB never push good singers (Yuka was my kami-oshi :(, hopefully she can make use of it and her great sense of humour

    You can look at her ranking and feel bad for her but it was the same for Yuka.... both 2nd gen, both amazing singers .... some girls just get shafted and the popular ones just get more popular... ranking top 20 is still quite impressive, Miichan only gets 15th and she gets huge amounts of media attention

  3. Interesting post. I do think she could do well over here. As for AKB unfortunately some members of AKB seem to get the short end of things but I still support her. I'd like to see her in senbatsu again too but if it doesn't happen I try to think positive she does have other things going for her like her plays.

  4. I am a man and I can say that I am very much attracted to (and respect) her. I think AKB should not only be a group of similarly typed 'kawaii' girls. The 48 family consists of diverse girls with diverse looks and personality, and it is really a good thing, since it will appeal to more people. AKB won't be the same (at least to me) when she graduate (hopefully not soon). More power to Sayaka.