While western music may be what most think of as mainstream, the Japanese have their own kind of music (and culture that goes along with it) that is quite different from the ordinary girl or boy group of performers. Following a strict theme, style, and performing in usually bigger amounts, boy groups and girl groups consist of Japanese idols that make sure to follow certain roles they must display for the media, such as the group SDN48.
What is SDN48?
SDN48 is the name of a Japanese idol girl group. Its letters were an abbreviation for “Saturday Night 48”. The producer of the group was Yasushi Akimoto; a lyricist, television writer, and Japanese record producer who was known for putting together and creating a few idol groups that were considered some of the Japanese nation’s favorites. Due to his success, he is revered as Japan’s top-selling lyricist.
As for SDN48, the theme that Akimoto was going for leaned more towards the “adult idol” ideas, which are not as suitable for kids as other idol groups may be. Geared toward a more mature audience, the girls were often portrayed wearing skimpy outfits and danced somewhat lasciviously in their music videos, thus drawing a strong male audience, though they did have female fans as well.
The origin of the group started in Akihabara, Tokyo. The music that the SDN48 performed with was mainly of the pop genre. The group had different generation sets and was active from 2009 until 2012, and 2013 until 2014. SDN48 worked under the “Nayutawave” label and had associated acts with the AKB48 Group, as well as Monta Mino.
More About the Members of SDN48 according to Wiki
SDN48 is not the first team to have an abbreviated group name. There was also AKB 48, which was named after Akihabara. Kayo Noro, one of the members of AKB48 moved to SDN48. She was designated to become the group’s captain, meaning she would lead the group in many of their videos or be primarily featured, as there were many girls performing at once.
The History of SDN48
Inspired by the concept of adult performers or adult “adult idols” performing on Saturday evenings, Akimoto, who had also produced AKB48, thought it would be a lucrative idea to create a girl group solely dedicated to an audience of those above 18. As AKB48 – whose leader of Team A was Mariko Shinoda - was broader in terms of the audience it catered to, SDN48 was much racier.
July of 2009 is when Akimoto began recruiting members for SDN48, as he took some members of AKB48 and reassigned them to this group. Those two members were Kayo Noro, the group’s leader, and Megumi Orio. Auditions were also held to fill in the other slots. Once AKB48 finished their three-day concert stint called “Nippon Budokan”, other members were taken from the group to be assigned to SDN48, such as Yukari Sato and Kazumi Urano.
Months later, one of the group’s understudies, Yuki Iwata, had to quit performing because of health concerns. This was around late September of 2009. Another girl, Eiko Maeda, was added in November, transferring her from her old group, SKE 48. Maeda now goes by her stage name “Machiko Tezuka”.
The Big Debut
It was in the fall of 2010 that SDN 48 announced through Noro that Universal Music would carry them. They even had a T.V. show that would help decide which girls would join them in promoting the single that they would be using for their big debut. Megumi Ohori came first. That is where “Gagaga” would come in.
GAGAGA, A Single from SDN48
Gagaga was the first single that SDN48 shared during their first debut, which happened on November 24, 2010. This song had a combination of both the first and second generations of SDN48 performing for it. The Gagaga CD contained “Gagaga”, “Kodoku na Runner”, “Eros no Trigger”, “Sado e Wataru”, Gagaga (off-vocal), Kodoku na Runner (also off-vocal), followed by the off-vocal versions of Eros no Trigger and Sado e Wataru.
There was also a DVD sold that contained the GAGAGA music video, as well as the music videos for Kodoku na Runner, Eros no Trigger, live rendition of Yuuwaku no Garter from the Yokohama Arena, a Debut Congratulations Video from the AKB48 Members to SDN48 (part 1 and part 2), a track of the team recording, and a music video of Sado e Wataru.
When GAGAGA was first sold, 63,627 copies were bought immediately on the first week. It also has an edition where it’s in Korean. For what was left of 2010, 74,714 albums were sold. In 2010, it ranked 99th place as a bestselling single.
The reason this specific single was so special is that fans were the ones who voted who would sing the song. Megumi Ohori, Yukari Sato, Kayo Noro, KONAN, Kazumi Urano, Haruka Umeda, Serina, Mami Kato, Haruka Kohara, Ito Kana, Akita Kazue, and Fukuyama Sakura were chosen, respectively – though Sakura exchanged with Chen Qu during the actual show. Sakura ended up graduating October 2010.
Lyrics and Meaning Behind GAGAGA
You can find the lyrics of Gagaga in Kanji and Kana, Romaji, and the English translation of it in stage48.net. The song basically talks about how a girl is mesmerized when she sees someone for the first time. The thrill of the beginning of a relationship, when things are still new, and fresh flying sparks is all that Gagaga embodies.
Later in the song, it takes a racier turn, as the lyrics go, “Closing my eyes, I was thinking / what underwear was I wearing again? / With the temperature of that kiss / my morals melt away”. This gives a very strong sexual connotation, which the theme of the group is notorious for. Although the singer is sexually attracted to the other party, she still feels a little unconvinced as to whether or not she truly may be falling in love with him, as seen in the lyrics; My mind is perplexed, GAGAGA / If we go past that, GAGAGA / which are my true feelings? / I don't know.
The song has a very upbeat and catchy ring to it and is usually sung by the group of girls in a very feminine and sexy manner – as Go-go girl style. “Gagaga” was used to name the song, perhaps because it is a Japanese onomatopoeia for “pow pow” or “bang bang”; the sound effect of a loud impact or a missile or bullet being fired. This could connote the feeling of the person’s heart when she meets the other party that she’s attracted to but isn’t sure that she’s really in love with him.
More Information on Notable Members and Crowd Favorites; Serina, Nachu
Serina – written in Japanese as “芹那”, is a female entertainer who was a part of SDN48. She also goes by the names “Serinko” (せりんこ) and “Celina” or “Serina” (セリーナ). Her birthday is on May 19, 1985, and she was born in Iwamizawa, Hokkaido. She has been active since 2006, and the talent agency that represents her is A-Plus.
Serina joined SFN48 on the first of August 2009. At that time, she was lying about her age, saying she was 3 years older, until that October when she told the truth. The reason she changed her age was that the school that she was attending did not allow her to work in the entertainment field. After finishing her course with SDN48 in 2012, she continued to be cast in dramas, tv series, educational series, films, advertisements, and even a stage play. Her latest project was for DMM.com, in 2015.
Get the Scoop of SDN48 on Pantip
If you’re from Thailand and want to read up on the different news and discussions about SDN48 among Thai locals, pantip.com is a forum where you can get a lot of information. This website not only tackles different entertainment and media topics but also politics and other current events. Pantip.com was created in 1997 and is still owned by its creator, Wanchat Padungrat. You can subscribe by giving your national identification number.
Yaritagariya San – Another Hit
Yaritagariya San is very much like Gagaga in the theme, beat, and audiovisual representation of the song. The music video is very racy and displays overt sexual themes, as the women dance and are scantily clad. The lyrics of the song are also available on stage48.net in Kanji and Kana, Romaji, and English. If you were to look at the English translation, it is again, about an impulsive romantic encounter between a man and a woman, and the rush of pleasure and thrill it brings. This is clearly seen in "Embracing / In my hands / Tightly and not letting go / A shower of rain falls / (Aiyaiyaiya) / Hitting on my body”.
At the same time, the lyrics talk of being “drenched” by the shower of rain falls, which again, connotes an underlying sexual theme. The rest of the lyrics are flirtation between the two, seeing as to whether the man is really interested in her, or if he’s just being coy. They sing, “Are you playing tricks on me? / If it really is like this / Lying really amounts to nothing / Now, more than anyone, I'm / Getting closer and closer to you.”
MIN MIN MIN, A Song from SDN48’s First Album, Next Encore
Min min min takes a more serious and low-toned (but still upbeat) theme. Performed just a tad less sexily compared to the other two, this has more of a cutesy, innocent appeal to it. The lyrics also have a more playful approach rather than lustful, as the song paints the image of a woman who is trying to keep the man in the picture, while he seems no longer interested in her.
She tries to convince him to get back together with her, with the song going along the lines of; “Wait (MIN MIN) / A minute (MIN MIN MIN) / I want to keep you from leaving. They then proceed to sing of a love that was already established; Hey, just a little (MIN MIN) / Our love (MIN MIN MIN) / Think over it again”. “Min min min” could again be an onomatopoeia for beckoning a cat to come over (instead of “meow”), possibly representing the girl who is affectionately beckoning her lover to come back.
Did SDN48 Disband?
Yes, SDN48 did, in fact, disband on March 31, 2012. All three generations at that point had “graduated”, and the group was officially no more. However, some members who used to be a part of SDN48 would take part in some reunions, one which occurred in April of 2012, and they would also make an appearance in AKB48’s reunions and revivals as well. A year later, they held a reunion concert at the AKB48 theater specifically for SDN48.
Other members branched off in 2013 to form another group named “7cm”. Those who joined this group were KONAN, Haruka Umeda, Megumi Imayoshi, Mami Kato, Juri Kaida, Miyuu Hosoda, and Mana Ito. The group lasted one year, as on December 30, 2014, they disbanded.