Photo: YouTube/AfroTV
entertainment

Subpar AKB48 performance in Thailand earns scathing remarks from netizens

40 Comments
By Dale Roll, SoraNews24

AKB48 is a massively successful “idol group” made up of more than 100 girls and young women. Their popularity stems from the concept of “idols you can meet”, and with some of their CDs fans can receive a ticket that admits them to a “handshake event” with different members. Needless to say, diehard fans buy multiple copies so they can get multiple tickets, so that they can shake an idol’s hand multiple times, and that’s part of the reason why AKB48 has dominated the sales charts and become such a cultural phenomenon, in spite of the fact that some would say they aren’t very good at singing or dancing.

Despite their unrivaled success in Japan, they aren’t quite so popular in other parts of Asia. Last year, after performing alongside Korean female idol groups, who are known for their intense choreography and strong vocals, they were heavily criticized by Korean and even Japanese netizens for their subpar performance. Unfortunately, in netizens’ eyes, they don’t seem to have improved, as just last week, foreign spectators were disappointed with the group’s performance at Japan Expo Thailand 2018.

Serving as the main event of the Expo, which invited a lot of Japanese celebrities, six members of the group performed seven of their most popular songs, including “Aitakatta”, “Heavy Rotation”, and “Koi Suru Fortune Cookie”. Afterwards, their Bangkok sister group, BNK48, joined them on stage and performed a song together with them, before a short Q&A session with fans.

Despite this portrayal of their best, fans were not impressed. After the performance, Thai attendees were apparently heard to remark things like, “It didn’t look any better than an elementary school talent show,” and “Did they really have to sing?” When a video of the performance was uploaded by a Korean YouTube channel, it was soon swarmed with negative remarks from many other foreign viewers:

“With the way they sing, shouldn’t they be embarrassed to even go to karaoke with their friends?”

“Japanese idols are just a bunch of tone-deaf singers. They can’t dance and they can’t sing, either. I don’t understand Japanese people who like them.”

“If they tried to charge for a live show overseas, they’d probably get rocks thrown at them.”

“They aren’t matching the beat of the music, and their dancing isn’t even in sync. If they can’t work together as a group then they can’t even be considered singers.”

Some Japanese idol fans even agreed with the comments:

“Yup, karaoke level.”

“They should have practiced first!”

“They’re an embarrassment to Japan.”

“I want AKB to stop going overseas because they keep embarrassing themselves. They should send [AKB’s sister group from Jakarta] JKT instead.”

“To send these girls in as the face of AKB is bad management. They’re only good for the Japanese fans.”

Other fans defended the group:

“It looks like the people there are having a good time, so who cares?”

“That’s pretty standard for AKB48. Or rather, they’re missing the ones who can actually sing.”

“They can’t help that they were performing in front of people who don’t know how to appreciate idol groups.”

“Aren’t Japanese idols and idols from other countries different anyway?”

In the idols’ defense, from watching the clip, you can tell that they have some microphone trouble at the beginning of the performance, which could have thrown them off of their game a little bit. Plus, in an interview afterwards, the girls did say that they were pretty nervous before the performance, and it’s likely that the songs in the above video were at the beginning of their show, before they got used to the stage and the audience.

▼ You can see from this fan video that the audience is having a good time. The singing sounds much better in this video, too.

Whatever the case, idol singers have a lot to worry about. When you have to try not to fall in love, or be constantly wary of gifts from fans, and are always afraid of being attacked at handshake events, it can make it pretty hard to give a stellar performance 100 percent of the time. In fact, it’s fair to say that, in general, it’s pretty hard to be an idol, and like everything else, you really have to accept the fact that you can’t please everyone.

Source: 48ers via Otakom

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- AKB48 and South Korean idol groups perform hits at music awards, turns out to be a disaster

-- GMO’s pretty employees rival AKB48 with big smiles and short skirts

-- AKB48 not just popular in Japan – Belgian politician lobbying for first European concert

© SoraNews24

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

40 Comments
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...and become such a cultural phenomenon

should read ".... a cultural embarrassment"

11 ( +14 / -3 )

This is one of the perils of totally sucking.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

They're awful.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

What is even more embarrassing are the people criticizing now even though the girls performance is the same as before.

And what is even more embarrassing are the people comparing AKB with other idol groups from other countries when this is all the same thing.

Any idol group from any country performs the same basic music made in 10 minutes on a computer, with singing that doesn't need any training and a choreography a very intelligent monkey could do.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

"“Japanese idols are just a bunch of tone-deaf singers. They can’t dance and they can’t sing, either. I don’t understand Japanese people who like them.”"

nailed it!

9 ( +14 / -5 )

The biggest problem is not AKB's abilities but the fact that the government will blindly shovel money at Dentsu to hire them for events like this that promote Japan. The Olympics too, of course.

If AKB fans are happy with this performance, that's okay, but it does not reflect favourably on Japan. There are far more talented people in the country. Get some kids doing kendama or taiko or something.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

get the girls some slack, they pay for their own travel fee and expenses, they pay for their costumes, they pay everything and get a 5,000Yen allowance for a month. Being an idol means profit for the company and fame for the wannabees.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Japanese fans feel they can relate to these so called “idols” because of the fact they don’t have a high skill level. This means they can closely replicate their songs at places like karaoke. But when you hold theee idol groups up for comparison against those from other countries the gulf in talent and production values is clear for all to see.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

When you see a middle-aged Japanese man watching AKB video clips without listening to them you start to understand the real reason they are so popular.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

@erbaviva - I think alot of the comments here are not necessarily intended to diss these young girls and ladies but to criticize the culture that allows these girls to become such a big deal in Japan. I agree with most comments; these girls do have a little bit of talent but nowhere near as much as they are made out to have.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

beautiful legs NOT

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Who cares! As long as the audience is having fun. Not the best situation for the entertainers as erbaviva points out, but I'd imagine it's better overall than working at 7/11.

beautiful legs YES

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Not a fan of this genre but their dance moves are very very robotic and childish, in addition to poor singing. The K-poppers are definitely better, although I don't like that much either

2 ( +5 / -3 )

National Embarrassment is what this is. Please stop. Every time they show up at another country, they are embarrassing their own people and any expats living in this beautiful country.

This teenage idol culture is just a loophole in the Japanese society that allows a escape for pedophiles and perverts. A place where they can be open about their pedophilia without getting backlash.

From reading this article, it seems many Thai "netizens" still does not understand that AKBs are selling pedophilia and underage sexual fantasy. They still think it is a legitimate artists singing and dancing. If they knew, they would not be commenting on ridiculous they are at singing and dancing.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Hate to criticize without offering an alternative, but check out these amazing Japanese musicians on youtube called Traditional Japanese Modern Music Dance

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMDa-oftF1U

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Akimoto Yasushi realizes the problem and this is why he's doing Produce 48.

http://www.asianjunkie.com/2017/12/10/produce-48-the-akb48-produce-101-collab-will-allow-any-48-group-member-to-participate/

‘Produce 48’, the AKB48 & ‘Produce 101’ collab, will allow any 48 Group member to participate

IATFB 12/10/2017

> Details have been sparse about the third season of ‘Produce 101‘, which will be a collab with AKB48 called ‘Produce 48‘. However, recently it was revealed at ‘AKB48 Kohaku‘ that members from any 48 Group will be able to apply for the program.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I don't know about you guys, but after seeing the live performances' of AKB48's team 8 here in the Philippines, I certainly have a favorable opinion. The culture of "cutesy" is not even in our vocabulary.

The point is a matter of performance on stage. But I do understand the concern on japan's idol culture.

WARNING! Do not search this on youtube: "AKB48S Live performance part 1"

(They performed during Japan-Philippine's 60-year friendship celebration on Dec 2016. The embassy of Japan made the right decision to pick this group)

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

They cannot sing, as demonstrated by the first video.

They are clearly miming in the second video (just look at their mouths), that's why "the singing sounds much better".

5 ( +6 / -1 )

’produce 48’.

Interesting. I wonder where the stress will be in the word.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Nan Ferra

The K-poppers are definitely better, although I don't like that much either

The K-Pop's trick is that there is at least one professional grade singer among the team members who handles 70% of singing alone, while the rest of untalented members take turns singing 5 second notes.

This is why K-pop sounds professional while J-Pop sounds amateurish.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

lucabrasi

Interesting. I wonder where the stress will be in the word.

Produce 48 team won't have 48 members; it will have 9~11 members, selected from all AKB48 and sister team members competing for a spot in a cut-throat TV competition.

And voting won't be won by handful of fans buying 1000 copies of CDs; instead one vote per one viewer. This would ensure that only the most deserving candidates would win.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Samit

Well, let’s hope the best girl(s) win....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

angry twitter pervs. who cares

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Sounds like a parody news article: Sucky Band Proven to Actually Suck, Local Audience Outraged

8 ( +9 / -1 )

JP idol and boy band acts have always sucked. It used to be even more evident when none of them lipsynced during TV appearances. Nowadays, I notice the harmony and chorus parts of the songs are usually lipsynced on TV. Although, the individual verses are often still sung live, although often mixed with a recording, so the sucking is still occasionally evident.

I remember first seeing Smap, and wondering how the hell those five talentless guys could be so popular. And, forget about Morning Musume (The fore runners of large idol acts like AKB48). Some of the members were like 10 or 12 years old. And those ridiculous costumes!

At least there are some decent Japanese rock bands and singer-songwriters. Or, I'd never be able to watch JP music shows with my wife. (As it is, I have to leave the room when she watches those horrible "variety" shows where a bunch of "comedians" sitting in rows of chairs yell at each other for an hour, while the audience goes えええええええ!.)

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Let me illustrate the problem of J-Pop with an example Japanese audiences are familiar with, KARA.

KARA at launch wasn't a cutie idol team that Japanese are familiar with; KARA started out as an A Capella team, lead by a powerful lead singer who was a gospel singer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbWxhGJGsFY (Break It, 2007)

However, the gospel singer quit six months later, leaving the team without a lead singer. In her absence, KARA was reformatted as a J-Pop style cutie idol team singing girlie cute songs in the next album. It was not a choice, but a necessity because they no longer had the professional singing voice. This is the KARA that Japanese are familiar with.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v36MoYeRR7U (Rock U, 2008)

Five years later, KARA tried to sing Break It as a fan service during a concert. But it was nothing like the original version because they lacked that powerful voice.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plE-tWP0Ias (Break It, 2012)

The lesson is that you must have a competent, properly trained lead singer if you want quality music, even if the rest of team members are pretty mic holders.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Its probably good and edifying for your mind to not listen to or get into mind rotting garbage.

If you never find out what music is or what a real band can be, you are missing out.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The whole point of J-idol is to follow girls trying to improve as idols, so they'll never be polished products but instead see a lot of choreography you'd had to sit through back in middle and high school

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Cringe worthy! That performance made me think my karaoke skills may not be as bad as I thought.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Can't wait to see the likes of AKB48, Johnny's and Perfume 'sing' live at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, highlighting the best of the best of Japanese talent.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

As much as I like the old AKB 48, these girls are out of tune, out of sync whilst dancing, the audio mixing was bad to say the least, its just wrong on every level, if thats the best that Japan can offer, I am sorry to say that was an embarrassing performance.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Thanks Nan, enjoyed the traditional music. I wish Japan would promote that more. Doesn't have to be traditional songs but the instruments in the hands of talented artists would be fun

1 ( +1 / -0 )

“They can’t help that they were performing in front of people who don’t know how to appreciate idol groups.”

The quintessential weab.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Although the above raised points come from non-music industry professionals, I think it's been established already that the AKB-48s of the world are for entertainment purposes only - not as purveyors of well sung, well choreographed, well written or even well performed entertainment.

In the idols’ defense, from watching the clip, you can tell that they have some microphone trouble at the beginning of the performance, which could have thrown them off of their game a little bit. Plus, in an interview afterwards, the girls did say that they were pretty nervous before the performance, and it’s likely that the songs in the above video were at the beginning of their show, before they got used to the stage and the audience.

If you have members with so many issues, these are the ones who need to be shown the door immediately.

Whatever the case, idol singers have a lot to worry about. When you have to try not to fall in love, or be constantly wary of gifts from fans, and are always afraid of being attacked at handshake events, it can make it pretty hard to give a stellar performance 100 percent of the time. In fact, it’s fair to say that, in general, it’s pretty hard to be an idol, and like everything else, you really have to accept the fact that you can’t please everyone.

If the idol singers have soooooooo many things to be worried about, it's obvious that their management and staff are failing miserably at their chosen profession.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It was a free show and nobody was forced to watch so-plenty of other interesting things to do in Thailand besides watching talentless females!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

When a video of the performance was uploaded by a Korean YouTube channel.....

This is pretty telling.

Korean always revel at Japanese mishaps.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

From the video clip fail to see what all the complaining is about - everybody seems to be having a good time.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

They're 15 minutes aren't over yet?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And this could be the choice for 2020 Olympics while fans went absolutely WILD with the K-pop at the Pyeong Chang opening. In any case, I kind of agree with one of the 'fan' comments in the article -- it looks pretty standard for AKB... which is to say, the bar is very low to begin with.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This looks as awful and amateurish as the boy band/teen pop phenomena in America and it SUCKS. This is just an act for the perverts, nothing more. These pop acts (like in America) can't sing, can't dance, can't play an instrument and looks are more important than talent. Britney Spears, N'Sync, New Kids On the Block, this stuff is all a pervert's paradise city and it exploits the kids too. 

Japan has a LOT more and better talent than this elementary school level rubbish. Hate to criticize without offering an alternative, but check out these amazing Japanese musicians I've seen (and met) twice in the USA - Shonen Knife. Sometimes they bill themselves as Osaka Ramones. They are a trio of Japanese lady punk rockers. They're inspired by the Ramones, Beach Boys, girl groups and other sources. They have a sci-fy air to them and an anime and cosplay following along with a 'cutesy' look but make no mistake - these are serious J-punk rocking ladies and they deserve to be respected as such. On top of that, they're just plain fun but they do know how to kick out the jams! Also, Tomita is a great synthesizer wizard in his own right.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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