AKB48’s Janken Tournament: Rigged Again?

Janken 2013 Winner

The following is my own opinion and does not necessarily reflect those of the other Selective Hearing staff or the sites affiliates or partners.

It took a bit of time for me to absorb the fallout from the recent AKB48 janken tournament.  There seems to be a lot of drama revolving around who the winner ended being with the familiar “rigged!” comment flying around as if it was going out of style.

I of course participated in the whole “rigged!” thing as well, but more jokingly than seriously.  Unfortunately there are some people out there who seriously think that the entire thing is rigged and they’re whipping out their conspiracy theories.

There really is no way of telling if the entire thing is actually a manufactured event like professional wrestling.  Are the girls wearing earpieces with management telling them what to draw in each matchup?  Maybe they are secretly passed pieces of paper with what they’re supposed to do each round?

Is the janken tournament being secretly being run by Vince MacMahon and the WWE?  If so where was Maeda Atsuko running in and hitting bitches with a chair claiming her rightful spot at the top of the AKBitch hierarchy?  Where were the evil management played by Togasaki and other notable members of the staff?

Is Matsui Jurina really the Randy Orton of AKB48?  Who is the Daniel Bryan? Oba Mina?

Seriously, I don’t really think that this realistically could be rigged given that it is a game of chance and the opponents are chosen at random outside of the initial rounds.  I guess the point of contention that brings this all about is the fact that an established senbatsu member won this year instead of some no name girl that usually doesn’t have a snowballs chance in hell of winning normally.

Shinoda Janken

Similar to how Shinoda Mariko won in the second tournament.  One can say that a pattern is emerging in regards to who the winners are.  So take that theory as you will in regards to whether this event may be a complete fix.

Even if this entire thing is just a giant sham it there is at least a small, miniscule chance that some girls you have never heard of will at least get some time up front for at least one single.  Even if traditionally the song is considered one of the more craptacular releases of the AKB48 release calendar.

And for guys like me that is totally fine since I don’t know jack about most of the lesser-known members of the AKB48 family.  Perhaps that might work for you as well if you aren’t really super hardcore or just are a bastard who only follows front runners.  At the very least the janken is an education in members that might pique your interest.

So if you’re getting worked up over the results over a game of rock paper, scissors then you aren’t taking this thing in the spirit of fun and mock competition in crazy costumes that it should be.  The only reason you should be freaking out is if you’re life is in danger because you placed a large bet on Hirata Rina to take it all.  If that isn’t the case for you then there’s no need to seriously bitch and moan and commit seppuku out of obligation.

The next time you watch something like this why not just enjoy it and roll with the spectacle?

About Greg 1079 Articles
Greg is the creator, administrator, editor, code monkey, overlord and general jack of all trades at Selective Hearing. He can be found lurking among the overseas Asian pop fandom and bumming around Japan every year for some reason or another.


  1. I guess the feeling of being lied to or tricked into believing it is real is where I have a bit of a problem with it. At least with wrestling, its quite established and clear that its all staged and kind of a joke within itself, but with AKB, it takes itself pretty seriously, even with the wacky costumes and all.

    Its not really important for me to begin with since AKB centers and featured members really don’t make any difference to the music anyway and especially now, since I really don’t have much stake in AKB anymore, but that’s just a little insight into why I’ve always really not been very fond of this whole spectacle.

    I see this (and the election) as a kind of underhanded way of making decision that they feel fans might not be very welcoming of if it was just announced as something they decided on themselves. Blaming the decision on “chance” or fan participation is an easy way to soften the blow and avoid the blame of making a bad decision.

  2. I think once they get to the top ten they start to pay the lower ranking girls off. More people are likely to win a Mariko center single or a Jurina center single. 48 Group is still about making MONEY. They learned that a random girl who wins will not sell well with the first Janken single.

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