Mayu Watanabe Crowned #1 in AKB48 General Election Results

posted on by Chris Nishijima
Number one idol is a self-proclaimed otaku.

This past Saturday, an event that occurs only once a year took place. It was an event in which thousands from across Japan gathered to make the will of the people known. Televised nationwide, this gathering of people is dedicated to selecting a bright and shining new leader. This event was none other than AKB48's annual general elections.

The winner of this year's elections was Mayu Watanabe, who came out as the most popular member of AKB48 with an astounding 159,854 votes. Second and third place went to Rino Sashihara, with an impressive 141,954 votes, and Yuki Kashiwagi, whose popularity earned her a total of 104,364 votes. Thanks to her fan's support, Watanabe has earned herself the position of group leader for the next year.

While this year's general election still maintained a massive turnout, it was almost overshadowed by the recent attack on AKB48 members Rina Kawaei and Anna Iriyama by a man with a saw shortly after a mini-concert. Since the man had considered himself a fan of the group, some had described the attack as extreme "otaku behavior."

Despite this stigma against the image of an otaku, one article pointed out that being a die-hard fan of mediums such as anime and manga is becoming increasingly more accepted on the idol scene. In fact, both Mayu Watanabe and runner-up Rino Sashihara are self-proclaimed otaku. Even Anna Iriyama admitted to watching anime, noting that she is a fan of Gintama. Numerous other members of AKB48 have been also quoted regarding their interests in particular anime and manga series.

Still, to ensure that the attack would not repeat itself during this most important event for AKB48, those in charge increased security measure immensely. To keep any possible weapons away from the girls, the stadium was manned by numerous guards equipped with metal detectors to search attendees.

AKB48 is noted as one of the most popular and successful musical groups of all time. In fact, one of their new singles this year helped break record sales, beating those of any other idol group before it. Hopefully with Mayu Watanabe on the throne of group leader, we can look forward to another amazing year of AKB48 goodness.

Source: The Japan Times

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