• Reggie Abang

An exclusion in the year-ender won’t be the end of it

As announced days ago, AKB48 will not be appearing in this year’s Kouhaku Uta Gassen after 11 years of being part of the said television event made for the celebration of the New Year’s Eve by the Japanese broadcasting company NHK. Their last appearance was that in 2019 when they perform “Koisuru Fortune Cookie” along with the representatives of their sister groups outside Japan, including MNL48’s Abby Trinidad.

For the idol group, and its fans, the television event is a culmination of a year-long worth of work. For its members, especially those who have the chance to took part of it, the Kohaku was their opportunity. It was only understandable the disappointment most of them felt after receiving the said news. It was also welcomed by mixed reactions by its fans, mostly the same disappointment felt from the members, but others think that AKB48’s exclusion could be something more than that.

For the past years of their appearances in the year-ender event, some of the fans complained that they usually saw the same thing over and over again. If not “Koisuru Fortune Cookie”, a variation of “Heavy Rotation.” If that would be the case, the idol group should think of something different from those mentioned.

They have dozens of songs other than KoiChun or HebiRote that they can use. A fan expressed on Twitter that they should do “365nichi No Kamihikouki” like the one they did during the “Songs of Tokyo” (a musical show also made by NHK) where they sang the song alongside their sister groups both inside and outside Japan (Back then, there were TPE48 before AKB48 Team TP).

Another reason fans saw behind AKB48 not being part of the event is they think that their title as “national idols” are “slowly vanishing” as other idol groups are taking over its place. In my perspective regarding this, it may be true. Indeed, AKB48 had that title for years and became the “gold standard” in terms of idols, but there will be the time that they will not be basking under the spotlight, and probably this might be it. 2020 gave the worst for AKB48 as the pandemic gave them least to none live events unlike 2019 where they had huge events like the AKB48 Group Asia Festival.

Not being part of the Kouhaku may made them think of doing something new for a change. Again, any variations of the songs I mentioned here will not work any more. Think outside of the box. If they wanted to have that Kouhaku moment, they can do their own version of it like what they did few years ago.

However, I think that this might fuel their motivation to do better in order to return to the Kouhaku stage once more. AKB48, and its sister groups, are always like that: if there are chances that they missed, they will work harder in order to grasp a bigger one instead.

As for the fandom who supported them, this should be the opportunity to support them further not just this year but the coming years. They need it very much.

Indeed, the Kouhaku Uta Gassen is AKB48’s year-end reward since 2008: an inclusion to either Red or White Team is enough for them to consider as a fruit of their labor. However, this year might not be that year for now. Rather, they should focus on the bigger one -- their 15th Anniversary as a group. That, for me, is something even worth celebrating.

Take care.

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and does not reflect the views held by the entirety of PAKSA MNL and fellow MNLoves.

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