AKB48’s Takahashi Minami. among the strong talents that lie in the group, she will always be the one i root for the most. often called the ‘face of akb’, takahashi is a very celebrated member by fans. and although i often fall for the underdog syndrome, she will stay number one on my list because i believe she truly deserves it.
in a poll where all akb48 members voted for individuals for questions like “who is cutest” and “who is the best actress”, takahashi received the most votes for “who is the hardest worker” almost unanimously, with members stating how often and relentlessly she would practice routines more than anyone else, and i believe it. takahashi is someone who has built her career from the ground up with an enormous amount of effort.
before she auditioned for akb, she was a contestant on horipro’s 30th annual talent scouting program where female contestants would go through numerous competitions such as singing, acting and swimsuit contests. the winner would be taken in and supported by horipro’s talent division to pursue whatever they wanted.
out of over 52,000 contestants, takahashi was among the finalists in the top 15. it was noted that takahashi received the loudest applause for her singing, and it was also said that she was the only finalist who didn’t cry when the winner was announced. mere months later she competed in the very first audition calls for akb48. as coincidence would have it, yasushi akimoto, the producer of akb, was the head judge at the horipro contest. needless to say, he recognized takahashi, and took her in.
seeing how takahashi’s presence as an akb48 member has evolved from when she started is astonishing. in the beginning she was just another pretty girl in a team of idols. her singing talent wasn’t showcased and she was more careful with her words and mannerisms in videos and interviews, as if afraid to go beyond the stereotypical tropes that were expected of an idol.
it was when she left those behind that she started to shine. now, she has completely transformed. she is outspoken, boisterous, and boyish; something no one would have guessed from looking at her. no longer uptight and tip-toeing over eggshells, nothing about her seems forced or premeditated, and that’s something i appreciate from seeing takahashi perform and behave in front of the camera. she’s an energetic tomboy who reads manga, but i don’t see it as an act. sure, everything she does on camera is exaggerated as all television personalities are, but it’s an extension of who she is, and the authenticity shows.
without her resilience and effort, there is absolutely no way she would have ever been a front girl in akb48. she’s a the shortest member at 4 feet 10 inches, smiles awkwardly and is constantly criticized for hunching her shoulders. her genuine approach, talent, and ability to be relatable is something that no one else in akb does quite as well. that and she’s HILARIOUS. and did i mention that she loves to draw?! and is devoted to one piece?!? yes. the best.