Oshimen Graduation and Me


In which I talk about something that will come to affect all of us eventually. Unless you’re a DD or something, then this article probably doesn’t apply to you.


Some of you might not know this but I do (did?) actually have (had?) an AKB48 oshimen. Maybe that’s surprising to you given my open criticism of the group’s musical output but it’s true. Unless of course I’m not allowed to just like the girls and not the music? Anyway, if you haven’t guessed by the image that I used to open this article, my AKB oshimen is (was?) Komori Mika.

As I hope you all know, Komori’s last AKB theater show was a few days ago and for all intents and purposes her activities with the group have come to an end. I think she has one more handshake event at the beginning of July but she’s all but done with the group at this point. This has left me in a very interesting and confusing situation; what am I supposed to do now that my oshimen has graduated?

My feelings are pretty mixed on the whole subject of Komori’s graduation in the first place. On the one hand she’s my favorite and it really sucks that she’s gone, as I think she has a great personality, which is something a lot of idols sorely lack. She dared to be different and do her own thing in a group which to me has, as a product of its mainstream success, found its members become a bit too politically correct. Having a personality that does not appeal to the masses is a pretty big risk in AKB right now.

Then I remember just how little I got to see her latterly and I guess I can respect her decision in that regard. If the entertainment company you work for isn’t putting you out there enough or your goals no longer match then a clean break is for the best. I don’t know if the whole studying abroad thing is actually her real reason for leaving but hopefully she can further her career now that she’s free of the shackles of mid-tier AKB.

I could spend a lot more of this article lamenting Komori’s lack of screen time or how much I’ll miss her, but this isn’t Tumblr. Like I mentioned earlier, I need to figure out what I’m supposed to do now that she’s gone. There’s a couple of direction I think I could go in so I guess I’ll talk about those a bit.

The first direction I could go in is that I could try to find another oshimen in AKB. That’s a fairly reasonable line to take I think because it will probably eventually end up happening one way or another anyway. It also means that another girl gets my support (whatever that means when you’re thousands of miles away from Tokyo) and I get someone new to root for. I think this is what you call a mutually beneficial relationship?

The other direction of course is that I remain loyal to Komori until the end of my days. I try to follow her through whatever means she allows (blog, Twitter, etc) and just don’t choose another favorite in AKB48. Essentially I’d just become a DD, something that I’m lead to believe is a fairly common occurrence for a lot of people whose oshimen graduate. They’ll support the group as a whole but won’t be drawn on the subject of favorites. I’m not entirely sure it’s for me but I can understand the reasoning behind it.

Of course, the most drastic measure in an instance such as this is to just abandon the group altogether. My oshimen isn’t there anymore and the music for the most part sucks so why should I care anymore right? It’s a pretty easy jumping off point for a lot of people, especially given how emotional they most likely feel over their oshimen’s graduation. Again, I can see why people would choose this path but I find it difficult because there are a few other girls in the group that I do like and am interested in following still.

In all of this confusion and indecision, I find myself wondering if there’s some kind of protocol for situations like this. I mean, there’s god knows how many rules about having an oshimen so what’s supposed to happen when your oshimen decides to peace the fuck out? Is it really an oshihen if they’re not in the group anymore? Do people look down on others who pick a new favorite after their old one leaves? I don’t think I’ve ever seen that explained anywhere online so if someone could point me in the right direction that would be cool.

Writing this article has been pretty therapeutic for me. I’m very aware that none of this shit matters at the end of the day but I like to play along ya know? If you want to share your opinions or experiences on the subject then please leave a comment, hit me up on Twitter @Mage77 or email me at garry@newschoolkaidan.com

If nothing else I think my thoughts are a lot less jumbled and my mind is starting to get a bit clearer on what I should do next.


About NSK

New School Kaidan is a community-focused website for the Japanese idol industry international fan base. Between podcasts, broadcasts, events, and analytic articles, New School Kaidan aims to bring an understanding of idol culture to the masses.

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  1. I dont know about other people but I have my new list of oshimen ready which I dubbed as “Next Generation oshimen” and these are a collection of members that I started to like more and coincidentally, are relatively new members (as opposed 1st gen). That way, I can make a smooth transition between members and don’t feel so emotionally upset that my oshimen is graduating.

  2. This really brings up a few of my pet peeves about the idol fandom in general. Your honesty and clarity on some of it lets me address it more directly.

    Basically, it disturbs the shit out of me that people get this mentality that there is some kind of protocol for how to be an idol fan, that there’s a hive mind and if you don’t follow what the central hive mind tells you to do, you’re a traitor or a bad fan. You can be whatever kind of fan you want, no one should be able to tell you how to like the things you like or what to do from day to day: make your own decisions.

    The entire notion of only being able to “oshi” or “favorite” one idol or one idol group at a time disturbs me to my core and I can’t stand it. Right now in the industry we’re graced with a literally endless buffet of idols out there in the industry right now, yet people are obsessed with only focusing on one of them at a time, or even worse, only on one MEMBER of a certain group. Why not enjoy the variety that we’re given and decide for yourself how to devote your time, money, and effort when supporting idols?

    You shouldn’t be concerned about what other fans are going to think of you when you start to like other idols. I think this is a general downfall of these fandoms in general, is the unacceptance of anything besides what they think is right. Everyone thinks they all should act alike and like all the exact same things and do the same activities. You’re your own person, you can be whatever kind of fan you want.

    My suggestion of where to go next is to listen to, watch, read, and support whoever you want, and don’t have to limit yourself to AKB or any other group. Especially since you’re pretty musically adept from what I can tell, I think there’s a lot of other groups out there that would suit those interests better.

    What happens the day that AKB collapses as a whole? You’d inevitably continue onto another group, if you remain an idol fan at all, but why sit and wait for that to happen when there’s so much to enjoy out there?

    I follow and devote time to no less than a dozen idol groups out there right now, and every day there is new content to enjoy, new girls to love, and great new music at every turn. There’s no reason other idol fans can’t have the same scenario in their life.

  3. And another one loses his oshimen…
    I don’t know what the rules are but who cares, I’ll tell you what I’m doing.
    I am(was, it’s confusing really you’re right) a Tomo~mi oshi. I was expecting her graduation at the time she announced it so it wasn’t as sudden as Komori’s and I was prepared.
    I now have a new number 1 (Yui) but she’s not my oshimen (yet?). My feelings about Yui are way different (not saying stronger) than what I feel about Chiyuu.
    Tomo~mi would be who my heart chose whereas I consciously picked Yui as my new number 1.
    So I think I don’t have an oshimen in AKB at this moment, I didn’t choose any of my other Oshi (in NMB, SKE,etc) so I think she’s not my Oshi since I picked her, don’t know if it makes sense…
    Truthfully, my kami oshi is now Nogizaka’s Takayama Kazumi and I don’t mind not having an oshimen in AKB.
    Don’t force it if you don’t have another oshimen…

  4. As my pen-name here implies, I feel ya. I still like seeing the vids of Konkon (that’s Konno Asami from Momosu for you young’uns…) doing newscasts and such. I don’t DL them, but I am glad to see her staying in the public spotlight. But now I have finally gathered the courage to return to Momosu (the music is improving) and I like the cut of Zuki’s jib. Also, there is the fact that Zuki is stuck in the back-and-to-the-right of all PVs, which was Konkon’s curse.

    My original AKB oshii was Ohe Tomomi (!!), and that didn’t last long because she bailed out early. I was still in the early experience with AKB, so I was able to move on pretty quickly.

    With AKB (and AKS), there are a lot of idols to cheer for, and my support has jumped a bit. I am a Maeda Ami guy at present, but that is because she ROCKS at fake guitar playing. That being said, I think Fresh Lemon deserves my support as well (as you say, in that indefinable way).

    Most important in this discussion is what Steve said. Wota your way. (It’s what the Burger King would want.)

    Also, what are the odds Komori is going to study in Scotland?

  5. Wasamin? Somehow, I saw that coming. I hope you have some votes to give out. Wasamin needs em! <3

    @KonKon We asked her last weekend, and she said Canada.

    To me Mikapon was totally under-appreciated as an idol. When one took the time to get passed the dopey facade she was quite funny. She was sweet, sensitive, and you could tell how much her groupmates adored her.

  6. I forgot to answer your question…

    There is no right or wrong way to do it. Everyone has an opinion, and it is only their personal school of thought. I have known many longtime fans who have changed their oshimen at one time or another. Sometimes your feelings change. It just happens. Just don’t change them like you change underwear…

    That said, my only advice would be not to rush it. Many people feel like they are supposed to magnet to a favorite member ASAP. That’s not the case at all. There is no need to force something.

    I am a strong believer that like Ollivander’s wands, the idol picks you. It is purely organic, and you will know when you have been struck by the thunderbolt.

    Second tip. If possible get to a handshake events and meet the members you like. It is one thing to look at videos and pics, it is purely another to have them standing right in front of you staring into your eyes. You may be surprised by who makes your heart flutter.

  7. It’s funny how I just read this the other day and now I am faced with the same situation with Mariko-sama graduating.

    I became an AKB fan relatively late, so when I decided that Mariko was going to be my oshi, I knew that I was going to have this dilemma sooner than later with her being the oldest member.

    Once she graduates, I’m probably going to throw my support behind Yamamoto Sayaka but I’ll just wait until after Fukuoka Dome to make my decision.

  8. I Know you felling friend, My Oshimen is also Graduate this month exactly in 13 June 2013, Nakatsuka Tomomi

    Our felling is same, words cant explain…..

  9. Graduation is always sad, but nothing’s sadder than sudden leave or resignation.
    Oshimen talk. I don’t really understand why people should have new oshimen just because the one they have now is leaving. The entire feeling is different. Okay she might not be an idol anymore, but still, the feelings you have toward the ‘new oshimen’ might not be as much as the one who left. Besides, if she’s still working in entertainment industry, you will eventually support her again in different ways haha.
    Hmm? My 48 Top3? Masuda Yuka, Oshima Yuuko and Iwata Karen. Currently I’m gearing toward Karen because… well, Yuka has left and Yuuko should leave sooner or later. But really, Yuka is still my #1 regardless.

  10. Interesting article nonetheless. I already know what I will do when my oshimen graduates. The only reason I picked one in the first place was because when I became interested in the idol genre, I found out it was traditional to choose one member to support and I always support traditions if they are meaningful and not too inconvenient. BTW Komorin’s G+ account is still active and she is still posting cute photos of herself same is happening with Natsumi Matsubara’s G+. I wonder if this marks a change in policy for AKB48 as members usually had to give up those accounts a day or two after leaving the group.

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