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“AKB48 29th single Janken tournament”, the tournament to decide 16 members of Senbatsu for AKB’s 29th single was held at Budo-Kan, Tokyo, on Sep 18th.
This is the 3rd time AKB48 held the Janken tournament. Not only AKB48, SKE48 and NMB48, this time, HKT48 made the first appearance in this event. Total 65 members, dressed in their own unique costumes, from 48 groups joined the battle.
The event started from the announcement of Senbatsu members for AKB48 29th Single which will be released on Oct 31.
Starting from Shimazaki Haruka (team 4), both fresh faces like Watanabe Miyuki, Miyawaki Sakura and familiar faces are selected for Senbatsu this time.
When it’s announced that Center position is played by Oshima YUko and Matsui Jurina, the whole venue was filled with excited stirs and cheers. The song titled “UZA”, the Four on the Floor number, has the hardest choreography ever of all songs of AKB48.
New Senbatsu members performed cool and intensive dance accompanied by male backdancers.
After the performance of “UZA”, freelance announcer Fukuzawa Akira appeared on the stage, who also hosted the show last year.
After Fukuzawa hyping up the crowd, Shinoda Mariko appeared on the stage from the center of the stage, started singing “Uekara Mariko”‘s chorus solo. The rest of Senbatsu members of 24th single joined Shinoda to perform the rest part of the song.
After the performance of last year’s Janken single, Oshima Yuko and Watanabe Mayu joined the stage to perform “Gingham Check”.
After the live performance of AKB48, finally it’s the start of Janken tournament. And members appeared on the supporters booth on the stage.
The final started with the match between Minegishi Minami and Iwasa Misaki where Iwasa beat Minegishi by paper.
Kojima Haruna, who has secured her Senbatsu position for all singles of AKB48, faced against Yamauchi Suzuran in the 1st round. As she was dressed in the red dress, her lucky color, she won the match after one draw. “I will continue winning!”, she talked enthusiastically.
From the 2nd round, many members who got the seed made their first appearances in the tournament.
But popular members like Watanabe Miyuki, Kotani Riho, Nakanishi Yuuka and Matsui Jurina etc lost their battle as early as in this 2nd round, leaving the battle stage.
Matsui Jurina, dressed in the costume of “Ogoe Diamond”, the special song for her, said “I came here to win the Center position. I dressed in the costume of ‘Ogoe Diamond’, and cut my bang hair like my early days…. I wanted to win the battle against Takamins-san but after all, Mariko is so strong!” She praised the opponent, Nakamura Mariko (team 4).
In the 3rd round, the show entered the most exciting stage. Because of winners of the 3rd round win Senbatsu position of 29th Single, everyone stirred up themselves as they were entering the battle.
Meanwhile, Watanabe Mayu, whose 1st match was this 3rd round, lost to Itano Tomomi quite easily.
In this 3rd round, fresh faces like Kimoto Kanon, Takeuchi Miyu, Ueno Kasumi, Abe Maria etc. made it into Senbatsu spots.
Last year’s Janken queen, Shinoda Mariko also won the match, securing her Senbatsu position for Janken Single 2 years in a row. The winner of the 2nd Janken tournament, Uchida Mayumi also made it into top16.
The most memorable moment in the 3rd round was the battle between Umeda Ayaka and Kojima Haruna.
Kojima, who changed her costume from the Red dress to the orange costume of TV Drama “Megutan’tte Mahou ga tsukaeruno?” lost to Umeda.
Kojima said “I’m so chagrined. But as I put off the red dress and now dressed in Megutan’s costume, I would like to erase the memory (of the referee) of my loss” and did the famous Panty-Flash as if it was one scene from the Drama. But her magic didn’t take any effect on the referee Yaamzato Ryota (Nankai Candies), only to draw iffy response from him. Kojima reluctantly left the stage.
After that, Uchida Mayumi, Takeuchi Miyu, Nito Moeno, Shinoda Mariko, Yokoyama Yui, Abe Maria, Shimazaki Haruka, Nakamura Mariko made it into top8. In the quarter final, Uchida, Nito, Yokoyama and Shimazaki won the match, advancing to the semi final, which realized the dream match “Uchida vs Nito” (both are 5gen members) and “Yokoyama vs Shimazaki” (both are 9gen).
Nito and Shizamaki won the match respectively.
Finally the tournament reached to the final. Shimazaki, who’s kept smiling from the 1st round, and Nito, who looked a little nervous, touched the fists of each other, started the final battle.
Shimazaki, who only used scissors in all of her matches in the final, again picked Scissors and beat Nito Moeno, making her the 3rd Janken queen.
Audiences were sending passionate “Paruru call” to Shimazaki, and she responded to them by saying “Thank you so much everyone for your support. I couldn’t ever imagine I would win, but this was the most fun Janken match ever. Thank you so much!” with a tender smile on her face.
At the end of the tournament, Takahashi Minami concluded the tournament. Regarding Shimazaki, “Paruru was often called ‘Ponkotsu’. Despite she has a tremendous potential, she was poor at switching the emotional mood. But this time, as you just saw, she tried to grab the chance herself. I believe she won’t let people call her Ponkotsu anymore.”
Takahashi added “I hope all members who won the Senbatsu position along with Paruru, to give their everything into 29th Single.”
She concluded her comment by saying “I think there would be no groups but 48 group that can be so excited and get so serious about Janken. Janken is so exciting!!”
The 3 hour and half long show marked the end with her comment.
After members left Bud-Kan, they moved to TBS, and held press conference of Janken Senbatsu members.
As this conference started from 22:00, members who are junior or high school students didn’t attend the event.
Shimazaki, Nito, Yokoyama, Uchida, Shinoda, Nakamura, Itano, Umeda, Ueno, Kashiwagi Yuki, Matsubara Natsumi, Nakata Chisato, total 12 members joined the photo and interview session.
When asked her impression about winning the Center position for Janken Senbatsu, Shimazaki said “I couldn’t ever imagine I would win the 1st spot, but I unexpectedly, I didn’t get tensed that much.”
Then, asked for the reason behind her win, Shimazaki honetsly and jokingly said “I just picked scissors.” which drew casual laughter from press.
Nito, who got the 2nd spot said “I just only picked paper. But at the night of the day when they announce this year’s Janken tournament, I could picture that I won the tournament, so I didn’t get nervous.”
Uchida, the winner of the 1st Janken tournament said. “Because I was aiming to win the 1st spot, I feel chagrined but I’m happy that my peer of the same generation, Moeno won the 2nd spot. I want to give all of them, Paruru and all Senbatsu memebrs, my supportive push.” She talked with a smile.
Shinoda Mariko, the winner of the last year’s Janken explained the self-analysis of her loss, “I was thinking ‘I will lose in the 1st round this year”, but somehow, I won quickly in a row, and made it into Senbatsu. Because I grabbed Senbatsu position, I started thinking ‘Let’s win the 1st spot again!’. But when I faced against Moeno, the ill thought went through my head that ‘Maybe, people feel it’s not cool if I won the 1st spot again…?’ LOL”
Kashiwagi, who won her very first spot of Janken Senbatsu, told “We have the winner of 1st and 2nd Janken tournament and yeah, we have Paruru. I guess this is the strongest and the most powerful (Janken Senbatsu) ever.”
When asked about what kind of song she want to sing for this single, Shimazaki immediately answered, “I want it to be ‘Shitakara Paruru’ LOL”
When she added “Because even Akimoto-sensei calls me Ponkotsu, I want it to have a title ‘Ponkotsu’.”, all other members out there snapped, “No way!!” all at once, drawing laughter from press.
When asked “What kind Center you wants to be?”, Shimazaki answered “Be Ponkotsu, Do it my own Ponkotsu way, I want to grow so that I can make a good conversation in a situation like this.”
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Shimazaki was in 23th spot in the last election held in this June. Shimazaki is now struggling to grab the top spot of AKB48 as many people are putting huge expectation on her. Shizamaki said “(Being Center means) I will dance with great members behind me, so (In order to grab Center position) I must ever never make any mistake.”
For the victory of his “Beloved Daughter”, AKB’s general producer Akimoto Yasushi sent applause to her. He talked, “After all, I must say she has something special. That’s the only explanation I can make. This time, I think everyone, everyone realized the mysterious charm that Shizamaki possesses.”
During the press conference, whenever she was asked by press, she took to time to think of answers, which made Shinoda offer support to her for many times.
But she said “I didn’t get tensed up. I just keep picking scissors.” She showed off her guts by picking scissors for all 6 matches in this tournament.
She grabbed the Center position by her own strong luck, breaking the wall stood up against her. But being Center not only means glory, but now she is the one who will be slammed if the single won’t sell well. Even Shinoda Mariko was being nervous before the release of last year’s Janken Single. It’s up to her state of mind, whether to take this chance as “Precious experience”. Shimazaki’s true potential will be tested from now on.
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29th Single Senbatsu
Winner: Shimazaki Haruka
2nd: Nito Moeno
3rd: Yokoyama Yui
4th: Uchida Mayumi
5th: Shinoda Mariko
6th: Abe Maria
7th: Takeuchi Miyu
8th: Nakamura Mariko
Best16: Itano Tomomi, Kimoto Kanon, Umeda Ayaka, Maeda Ami, Nakata Chisato, Ueno Kasumi, Kashiwagi Yuki, Matsubara Natsumi