Idols are usually pretty short girls but could this hurt the members after they leave the idol business? After all, we often say that most members just use being an idol as training for more serious careers in the entertainment industry. However, the requirements for being an idol and being an actress/model/talk show host/whatever are very different. One thing that is obviously different is height. This was addressed on a translated 2chan thread I’ve read. Simply put, a little bit of height could really help some members in their careers.
I feel like a lot of these girls may have a more successful transition from idols or some may have already moved on from idol groups if they had a little bit more height. In the thread, the popular choices were girls known for gravure work such as Itano Tomomi or ones known for acting such as Oshima Yuko. While these girls have been getting plenty of work due to their affiliation with AKB, they might have a little trouble after they graduate. They have talent and the skill needed, but many producers look for an adult, womanly image which would include a tall stature. I believe this is why Korean groups such as SNSD and Kara are so popular in Japan at the moment. While idols have a look that appeal to mostly wota, the mainstream audience however goes for a kind of woman with more sex appeal and maturity.
However, I can argue that height sometimes has little effect depending on the career a graduated idol pursues. Members such as Minegishi Minami and Miyazaki Miho who specialize in being funny and talkative on variety and talk shows will have little problem with their height. In variety, it is largely dependent on personality and looks may not play a very big role. However, I believe this is the only exception. Most roles in the entertainment industry are very appearance-focused and many of the idols, even the one’s in their 20s still look like children.
While we love our idols for how cute they are, this kind of look may be harmful for their career afterwards. Normally mainstream performers and actresses are very mature looking. Members like Shinoda Mariko already have what it takes to make it outside of AKB while the other girls I’d be worried about. Mainstream entertainment just needs a different kind of girl than an idol and I hope that our favorite members can grow to fulfill that need.