[AKB48 Sousenkyo]Watanabe Mayu to graduate, a Kami7 legend no one else will surpass

Updating~

This is my last time participating in Sousenkyo. From the first year, i was ranked 4th, 5th, 5th, 2nd, 3rd, 1st, 3rd and 2nd and was always in Kami7 thanks to the fans’ support. I can’t thank you all enough. As it’s the last time, i wanted to challenge myself once more and win No.1 again but unfortunately i was 2nd. It was really blissful thus far receiving your support and warm words on Twitter. It would be a lie if say i have no regrets. But I am happy. 

I’m sorry to say it this way, but I, Watanabe Mayu will graduate from AKB48. I entered AKB48 when I was 12. In July, it will be my 10th year here. I have experienced alot and learnt much. From now, i will step out into the world and start from zero. I want to leave AKB48 to the youngsters. There is not much time left for this year but i will realise my responsiblities as a member of AKB48.

(Responding to MC question) I’ve been thinking about this the past 2,3 years. In the end, i decided myself. I think i have nothing left to do in AKB.”


 

Coming up

  • Sutou Ririka announces marriage (NO JOKE!)
  • AKB48 Takahashi Juri, Okada Nana express anger at members who landed themselves in scandals/learning from Sashihara.
  • Sashihara begs fans not to ditch 48 Group (TOO LATE!)
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How to vote for Watanabe Mayu in AKB48 General Elections 2017

  1. Access this link. It goes direct to Mayu’s page.
    http://akb48-sousenkyo.jp/vote.php?membercode=1307&parent=team&parentkey=103
  2. Get the serial number which you received in the 49th single and enter it in the 2 boxes below.
  3. Press the button at the bottom of the page to vote. You won’t be able to use the same code again. If you try to enter the code again, it will show a timestamp indicating your vote is used.

Some common questions:

  • Do i need to log into VPN?
    The chinese fans believe that this is more secure as it is not sure if overseas votes were counted in the past. However, the FAQ from the official voting site indicates that overseas fans can vote as long as they “access the voting site from smartphone”.
  • Can i use PC to vote?
    FAQ says as long as you get a timestamp after voting, that means the vote went through. It is a vague answer but it should be fine. However you will be seeing a blown up version of the mobile site.

Why overseas votes matter for Mayuyu’s last Sousenkyo

 

I doubt many know about the story behind Mayu and Sashihara’s large gap in Sousenkyo last year. Since this is Mayu’s last Sousenkyo, i will cautiously re-tell what i’d seen and read in the days after Sousenkyo 2016 so you know why Mayu is in a precarious situation this year.

The Sashihara fansite admin posted a blog about his campaigning efforts after Sousenkyo 2016. I had translated it and shared it in private with 2 Mayu fans on a forum. He, or perhaps some other leader, had a very detailed estimate of how much votes Mayu was could potentially receive last year.

His estimate breakdown:

  • 100,000 votes from domestic fans (i recall him describing it as a routinely “weak”)
  • 80,000 votes from overseas fans (he mentions this as the strength of Mayu’s votes)
  • 40,000 votes (“Deai no Tsuzuki” single sales in 2015 which would have converted into votes if the release date did not clash with Sousenkyo 2015)

The Sashihara camp set their target at 250,000 votes to secure a win. That, explains why Sashihara managed to get 240,000 plus votes last year.

If i had to commend him, it’d be for getting such confidential info(Mayu’s overseas votes etc) and thereby creating a target which gave Sashihara a good chance to win.

So what happened to Mayu’s supposed 220,000 votes? 

  • Domestic fans dwindling in numbers

A post from the Mayu fansite admin after Sousenkyo 2016 says it all.

“This year, as you can put in 10 votes via mobile, i also thought that the overall votes would increase, but actually it decreased.

Indeed, perhaps the number of people who voted have decreased.
Thinking back, as great numbers of fans leave AKB48, there are remaining Mayu wotas who went beyond their means to vote X times or 10 times more.

I, too, when Mayu decided to participate, thought “so you decided to take part this year too..”
If possible, i don’t want to use my money. That was what i thought.
I already gave all my love to the management.
48G has lost its charm.

I think fans of members with a serious attitude- especially Mayuyu Oshis, many of them have perhaps left.
Sasshi’s 240,000 votes are the result of her fans’ hard work, but perhaps the reason for this huge gap is because we have lost many comrades who used to fight along us.
Originally, Mayu’s camp had the potential to exceed 200,000 votes.

I watched Mayu’s speech over and over again.

On 15th during ANN radio show, the hesitation before she said “I won’t announce graduation” made me realise she actually wanted to graduate. I felt sad about it. But in her speech, she said that she didn’t want AKB to be over like that.

Her words left a deep impression on me.

Pls do something,even abit is fine, to revive 48G before graduating.With this thought, i would be happy to see you work just a while more in AKB.

There are 2 sides to the topic of graduating, but I like the shining idol Mayuyu in AKB. I love her as a solo, but the best is still idol Mayuyu.

To all Mayu fans, Mayu is saying she doesn’t want it all to end this way.

Will you support the AKB led by Mayuyu?”

I would not have imagined this happening but the signs were definite especially during NHK Kouhaku Utagassen last year. According to the chinese crowdfunding committee over at Tieba, they’ve chosen to keep their votes a secret these years because they wanted to hide the fact that Mayu’s Japanese fanbase is weakening.

  • Overseas fans’ funds being allegedly siphoned away

The allegations have been continuing since 2015, when someone (i think originally within the crowdfunding committee) stepped out and accused the leader of pocketing money. It died down and in 2016, they started raising funds again in what i’d say is the most aggressive campaigning effort in history. It was very easy to get into the mood of giving because the Chinese fans were working towards a target everyday, unlike Mayu’s Japanese fans who are very passive( no announcement of targets, voting at their own pace). With all that hard work, I suppose the Chinese fans did not expect the gap between Sashihara and Mayu to be that big, so the allegations blew up after Sousenkyo again. While there is no definite conclusion about what happened to the money, TRUST is gone. They’ve decided to stop crowdfunding this year, and it’s only during recent weeks that something was restarted again. At this rate, this means potentially 50,000 votes from crowdfunding lost this year.

If fellow Mayu fans see it, Mayu is in a precarious position this year. It would have been best if she pulled out of the elections, but she has AKB48 to shoulder and has to face it head on.

If you have a vote to spare, think about how Mayu has behaved in the span of all these elections.

  • She’s never dangled a carrot in front of you promising a bikini concert if she wins. Even when asked to propose a treat for the fans, she declined.
  • She’s only approached these elections with the purest of hearts and sportsmanship.
  • Unlike many of the top girls who bawl yearly just because they lost a preliminary or couldn’t get a good rank, Mayu always faces her fans with thankful dignity.

If you believe in Mayu’s “idololgy” and thinks this should be the 48Group spirit, pls spare her a vote and give her a send-off she deserves!

(This post has been sitting in my mind for almost a year so pls pardon me if i can’t link more sources.)


Purchase the AKB48 49th single to get a voting ticket:


VOTING TICKET

Watanabe Mayu News Roundup

Image result for 渡辺麻友「一生の宝物ができた」

AKB48 Watanabe Mayu attended an event for anime “Maho Girls Precure!” on 12th October 2016 and expressed her happiness at making a guest appearance in the anime series.

On the 23rd October 2016 episode of “Maho Tsukai Precure!”, she will appearing as herself, idol Mayu, in the “Nashi Mahou-kai” (The World without Witchcraft).

“This is a dream. I saw the video. They made me all pretty and cute. It’ll be a treasure my whole life. I will record it and keep it forever and pass it to my next generation.”

During the event, she also sang the theme song for the film version of the anime, titled “Tadashii Mahou no Tsukai Kata”.

“I was always watching Precure in my childhood. I can’t believe the day would come when i get to sing the theme song. I didn’t even dream that it would happen so i’m really happy. It’s something i can brag about to people in my life.”

Source


MaYuki reveals details about their personalities and off days

On the 13th October 2016 episode of Nihon TV’s variety show “Himitsu no Kenmin SHOW x DowntownDX Gattai 3 Hr Special”, Watanabe Mayu talked about being particular about cleanliness.

Firstly, she made it clear that men who don’t wash their hands before a meal wouldn’t be considered as boyfriend material. “I can’t imagine it. Aren’t you eating germs at the same time? I always bring a hand sanitizer around and if i don’t apply it i’d feel uneasy.”

The show also followed her and Kashiwagi Yuki as they headed to a restaurant in Harajuku on their off day. The 2 discussed topics like their graduations, future and idol life. Kashiwagi reveals that she sleeps in on her off days and stays indoors while Mayu likes to go on movie/butai marathons.

Source


Mayu becomes 2nd AKB48 member to rank in Best Jeanist Awards 

Image result for mayuyu jeans

The ranking is based on votes from nationwide. This is the 33rd year for Best Jeanist Awards, with graduated member Itano Tomomi previously ranking 9th in 2010.

Female Ranking 2016:
1. Nanao 25,831票
2. Kitagawa Keiko 6,986票
3. Hikari Mori 3,956票
4. Nishiuchi Mariya 3,283票
5. Namie Amuro 3,081票
6. Kiritani Mirei 2,660票
7. Araki Yuko 2,315票
8. Nakamura Anne 2,198票
9. Kuroki Meisa 2,163票
10. Watanabe Mayu 1,979票

Most of these artistes are models/actresses. Mayu is the only idol!

Source

Watanabe Mayu interview in AKB48 10th year anniversary official book

This interview along with other pics is published in “Namida wa Kutoten AKB48 Koshiki 10 Nenshi”, a book capturing AKB48’s 10 years of history.


Q: Mayu san is the only one in Sousenkyo history who ranked within Kami7.
This is my only pride in AKB48. Thanks to my fans i have my position now.

Q: Do you still remember the first Sousenkyo?
At that time i only thought of it as the common popularity contest. The stage was small, it was just like an internal event.

Q: But actually from the first Sousenkyo, members started becoming serious. Mayu san also cried.
I didn’t think i would rank in 4th. I was shocked, uncomfortable and sorry. There were alot of seniors around too so i didn’t think i could get into Top 5.

Q: But you mentioned wanting to aim higher. It was a ambitious and passionate speech.
Sousenkyo is a place where you can be frank. I was nervous and stressed before my name was called. The relief from being called allowed me to spell out my thoughts naturally.

Q: In the 3rd Sousenkyo, you continued to rank at 5th. You mentioned that ranking is just a figure and you won’t be bothered by it.
The feeling of not moving up despite putting in effort was revealed in my speech. But because my mood changes quickly, i immediately thought of working harder next time so the speech was said with positivity. When you feel relieved, even your pronounciation becomes clearer (laughs).

Q: In the 4th Sousenkyo, your rank rose to 2nd, and you mentioned wanting to be No.1.
All along, i’ve only ever thought of aiming higher. Those words were said thinking that I can only aim for No.1 next time. Before me, Mariko sama also said “Please come prepared to crush me”. The speech i’d prepared just flew to nowhere. I was touched by her words and said “From now, the younger generation is going to pave the way.” I still remember the audience reacting to these words. Not only me, i believe others were affected by Mariko sama’s words.

Q: From 4th to 5th Sousenkyo, you were center of “So Long”.
I was just transferred to Team A. It was time of Maeda san’s graduation. Being to transferred to the most representative team of AKB48 is like being tasked with the future of AKB48. As the center, i was more conscious of the responsibilities of carrying the group. My perspectives widened and i was able to think from the perspective of the group. This can be said to be my turning point. It was also at this time when i started talking to Mariko sama and Takamina san!

Q: It was the first time you were separated from Kashiwagi Yuki of the same generation.
Objectively speaking, Team B’s Yukirin is really great. Her performances are eye catching so the fans would certainly be fished. Seeing these, i’d want to work harder in Team A so i can present a new side when i return to Team B. Me and her have this kinda encouraging relationship.

Q: In the 5th Sousenkyo, your rank went down to 3rd but in the 6th Sousenkyo, you placed first. Did you have a premonition for that?
When i woke up in the morning, somehow i thought it’s impossible. But as i left the house, it started to rain. I’m known as the rain girl. Whether’s a solo activity or filming for an MV, as the most important moment it’d always rain. At that time i started to become confident.

Q: Was it the first time that this happened?
Actually there was another time, during AKB48’s 3rd generation auditions. Probably because i failed the 2nd generation auditions, so with a previous experience, it was a day when i felt most confident. Same as that Sousenkyo day.

Q: That’s amazing!
When they were announcing the rankings,i also thought “i can do it”. Thinking back, i think its also because that was a very enriching day.

Q: You beat Sashihara with this result and started being coined the “Orthodox Idol”.
Looking at myself, i also thought that being the perfect student and orthodox idol may make me seem boring. But finally, what i’d done with all my heart has been recognised. Thinking hard, what other appeals, personality or skills do I have? I think what others lack is the traits of an orthodox idol.

Q: What is the Sousenkyo to you?
I think it’s a place which brings you to reality. You have to face yourself and analyze objectively. It’s a place where you can grow continuously.

Q: It’s now 10 years since the group is formed
I didn’t think we could grow to become what we are today. When AKB48 was first formed, i looked upon it as a fan, dreamt of wearing the same costumes and performing on the same stage.

Q: What was the charm of AKB, when you were a fan?
It was a place where young girls performed their best, and showed their hardworking selves. The effort they put into dancing and singing makes one feel touched. And being near to them makes it all the more charming. Personally, i think that idols typically show their glittery sides, but AKB48 defies tradition. If only everyone can see it too.

Q:When did you feel the break?
“IIwake Maybe” – it was the single which made it to No.1 on Oricon. We started off as underground idols, it was unbelievable that we could place first on Oricon someday.

Q:Nowadays, you and Kashiwagi are always in the Top3 of AKB48 Group.
That’s great! Takamina’s graduation is a huge thing for me and the group. Now that she’s not around, i’m worried. But it’s also a starting point for AKB48 to become entirely different. I have to work hard and lead the juniors too.

Q: What do you think of the juniors?
Nowadays there’s lesser members who are ambitious. It’s okay to be more ambitious.

Q: What advice do you have for them?
I should say something, but i’m worried they’ll only become confused so i won’t say. I act on my problems after considering it carefully, so i hope they’ll discover their problems naturally.

Q: What do you want to do for AKB48?
It’s because i was from that period where we fought hard, so i inherited what was important. Nowadays, girls join AKB48 because it’s famous. Although i think it’s difficult to pass on certain things to them, as long as everyone remembers their roots, having a little ambitiousness is fine.

Q: Finally, when do you think you’ll have that premonition again? (the morning during 6th Sousenkyo/3rd generation auditions)
When will it be? Those feelings only come suddenly in the morning. I’m also looking forward to it (smile).

Other contents in the book:

  • Akimoto Yasushi’s long interview
  • Takamina x Maeda Atsuko x Oshima Yuko talk
  • Scholars, CM planners, politicians, economy experts analysis of AKB48
  • All about the costumes
  • Talk from veteran fans
  • Photos!

 

Purchase the book here:

CDJAPAN LINK

Watanabe Mayu long interview in BRODY magazine

 

Excerpts from the BRODY interview…

Talk about acting projects

Q: How was your collaboration with Sawajiri Erika in “Ooku”?
From I first met her, she was already gentle and warm. I’m very shy and don’t initiate conversations but she spoke to me first. Basically all my scenes are with her, so as i waited for my parts i’d be with her. She’d show me photos of her dog. Because of her i was less nervous.

Q: Your kiss scenes with Sawajiri Erika are a hot topic..what was it like?
I think the audience also feels the same, for me it was quite shocking. When the first met, the first scene we filmed was the kiss scene.

Q: That’s a very shocking development!
When we just finished our greetings to each other, someone said “we’re getting ready to film!”, then it was the kiss scene…i was nervous till my heart felt like it was going to jump out of my throat.

Q: She was leading it?
Yes! Because character wise it’s also this kinda relationship,so i left everything to her. She portrayed the illicit affair very well. Although it sounds weird coming from my mouth, it felt very beautiful when i watched it on TV.

Q: Regarding genres like “Ooku”, which describe the complicated love between females…
I love it!

Q: Oh, you do?
Isn’t it very interesting? I’ve been watching it from young. My family also likes it. My sister is a huge fan of “Ooku” and was so happy when i was confirmed for the drama.

Q: Talking about relationships between the same sex, on ANN,you mentioned that you hated being called a “fujioshi”.
I think that’s because Otaku(s) are often likened to Fujioshi(s). Often people would say “Mayuyu likes anime so she is a fujioshi.” But i don’t watch BL….Maybe it’s cos everyone doesn’t understand the meaning of Fujioshi.

Q: In 48G the ones who like BL are Yamamoto Sayaka?
That’s right! Yamamoto san is a serious Fujioshi.

Q: Serious?
In the resting room, she’d watch these BL like it’s totally natural, it shocked me.

Q: The contents are very revealing?
Yes, it shocked me(laughs). She and Yuria chan would be laughing in the corner watching these. (laugh).


About being an idol

Q: I think that Watanabe san is very mysterious in the world of idols. We don’t get to see your private life..
I do try to keep that side a secret.

Q: Is it intentional so everyone can have room for imagination?
Not really. But it’s true that i intentionally try to keep it from everyone. I don’t like to show off my private life. Maybe that’s why it makes me seem mysterious?

Q: Do you value this aspect of yourself?
I think since i am lucky to be an idol, i should give everyone a dream. So i don’t show realistic parts of myself if it isn’t necessary.

Q: I noticed that in recent months you’re showing off the charms of a grown up woman. What has changed?
Recently, i’m growing more conscious of my fashion, hairstyles and makeup. In my teens, it was always pink and lace, and i’d be wearing youthful clothes in the style of “the idol”. But after passing the age of 20, i started to resist those clothes. Now that i’m over 20, i decided to change my style and wear more mature clothes. It’s totally different from my teenage years.

Q: Which actress do you lookup to?
I love Nikaido Fumi.Although she’s younger than me, her acting and lifestyle is very cool.

Q: She gives off a wild impression.
That too, she has a different side from me so i look up to her. From the female perspective, she’s an outstanding person. Her acting is also very good. Even though she’s younger, she has toughness and aura…i really respect her.

Q: Indeed, she also has a punk feel.
Yes. Her movies are good too.

-Skip chunk about movies and acting-


Talk about “Deai no Tsuzuki” single

Q: The coupling song “Magirashiteiru” was very cool.
Thanks for the compliments. There was a big reaction to this song. They said it was cool. Personally i also like it. Up till now, the songs i’ve sang are either ballads or idol. I’ve always wanted to try it. While discussing the tracklist of “Deai no Tsuzuki”, Akimoto san said i could pick my own coupling song.

Q: So there was a story behind it?
In the past, Akimoto san would decide everything, but at that time he let me decide. So the company sent me many tracks and i picked 4 after listening to them. However, “Magirashiteiru” wasn’t included in the initial list they sent. Later, the company told me there was something else which was pending Akimoto san’s approval. They probably thought it would be cut even if they sent it to Akimoto san because it wasn’t my style. After listening to it, i immediately thought “this is great!”

Q: You fell for it?
I definitely wanted it, so i told Akimoto san that no matter what i’d want to sing it. He said “isn’t it fine?”

Q: So because Akimoto san gave you the rights to decide your tracks, this song came about?
Yup. I love Ringo Sheena, so i often listen to her songs, thinking i’d want to challenge this style one day. But the songs that come to me are always idol style. It’s hard to get this kind of opportunity. In the end, because i was given the choice i can fulfill my wish. It’s great that my style has widened.

Q: I remember that you like THEE MICHELLE GUN ELEPHANT and similar? Do you still listen to rock?
Yes, i started listening to it from middle school. I’d want to try this style again someday.


Talk about AKB48

Q: On ANN, from time to time Sashihara will “attack” you, saying you don’t attend “gatherings” nor  “have juniors whom you care for”.
Recently i’ve tried to improve relationships with members. Because on TV, Nakai san also teased me for “not having a friend” in AKB. But it’s not that i don’t care about them(laugh).

Q:Is giving out your clothes during handshake events one of the ways to get closer with the juniors?
Yes. I don’t have anyone whom i’m specifically close to, so i want to understand them more. I gave out my clothes as a chance to interact with them.

Q: Previously while talking to Takamina you mentioned that you’re unable to give advice to the juniors, and feel like it’s not right? Has her graduation given you a sense of crisis/anxiety?
Of cos her graduation brings me some insecurities about the future of AKB48. Nowadays, members come in after AKB48 got famous, so i think only me who understands the past can relay things to the juniors. For the future of AKB48, i’d like to do something positive.

Q: Amongst the things that Takamina taught you, what is most impressionable?
It’s something minor, but during rehearsals, members would bring in their cellphones to play. Takamina san used to lecture about it. I also think that bringing a cellphone to rehearsals is not good, so i stopped doing so. But now everyone started bring in their cellphones again (bitter smile). Because alot of the kids don’t know about her lecture, there’s already a generation gap.

During “THE IDOL” stage rehearsal, something surprised me. While dancing to “Ponytail to Shushu”, isn’t there an action in the front part which resembles a horse-riding action? The teacher said this action is supposed to express a riding motion, and the kids were surprised! Things like that don’t get passed down the generations. I was abit surprised as the juniors don’t understand the meaning behind these dance steps. I think if they don’t understand these meanings, the message can’t be relayed to the audience. Have to start educating them from these areas.

Q: During changing times like these, what are the things you’ve yet to accomplish or plan to do from now?
I entered AKB48 when i was 12. April would be my 10th year. Time really flies, i have the feeling i’ve been in this for a long time (laugh).

With Takamina’s graduation, i think this year will be a new start for the group. Most of the seniors are no long around, so i hope the juniors can at least work with the feeling of starting a new group. I hope to win the Japan Record Awards again with the new AKB48. As one of the remaining members, i want everyone to acknowledge us again.


 

BRODY magazine comes with more pictures and reversible poster of AKB48 Watanabe Mayu/Nogizaka46 Hori Miona. Purchase it below:

CD JAPAN 

AKB48 Watanabe Mayu solo performance of “365nichi no Kami Hikouki”

On the 22nd March 2016, NHK Symphony Orchestra held a concert celebrating their 90th anniversary. The setlist consisted pop and classical music, and AKB48 Watanabe Mayu appeared for a special collaboration, singing “365nichi no Kamihikouki”.

Watanabe Mayu tweeted afterwards “I couldn’t sing at all…want to disappear. I really wanted to vanish. Goodbye.”

However, the conductor of NHK Symphony Orchestra Mogi Daisuke complimented “Eh? But it was great!? The difficult notes and lyrics were delivered well. You were great singing this infront of so many guests.”

Seems like her unhappiness was only a result of the high standards Watanabe placed on herself. On the Internet, fans commented “She’s really the type to aim high/Mayuyu is being strict on herself as usual/Without Takamina now, only Mayu can support the headquarters.”

Source


 

In another article, a idol magazine writer revealed some background story about the concert.

“The entrance tickets for this concert was based on balloting, and the ballot deadline was 3rd March. At that point in time, Watanabe’s name was not included in the performer’s list. There were quite a few people who came to know about her appearance after arriving. They were fans of Ringo Sheena and Hatsune Miku who were originally in the performer’s list. Both their fans were not possibly a fan of Watanabe, and it’s also said that virtual and real-life idols don’t mix. Her appearance was not welcomed initially.”

“When her crystal clear voice filled the hall, the atmosphere changed.  Those who came to watch Ringo Sheena and Hatsune Miku almost cried, and talked about having heard something valuable. The orchestra members also praised her dignified presence and smiles, noting the reasons why she is loved by many.”

“She tweeted about her unsatisfactory performance, but it was great that she remained dignified in a sea of fans who were not her own. Ringo Sheena and Hatsune Miku’s fans have talked about voting for her in the upcoming elections. That can be said to be the highest form of compliment.

Source


This was a flawless performance.