Nogizaka46: The beginning
The country of Japan has been a birthplace for a countless boy and girl idol groups. This type of groups is created for the purpose of being role models for the youth. It is a prerogative that these idols should always maintain a good image and be an ideal example for young people. Aside from this, they are also trained to dance, sing, and basically to charm their fans. On June 2011, the formation of the all-girl group, Nogizaka46, was officially announced to the public and auditions were started to select the members. It was Yasushi Akimoto who was responsible for the concept of Nogizaka46 that makes him well known as the producer of Japan’s top idol icons.
The name was based on the location of the SME Nogizaka building, which is believed to be the home to the office of Sony Music Japan. Then, on August, the 36 final members were introduced together with additional 16 girls as provisional members. Aside from being an idol group, the Nogizaka46 was made to be the rival of another popular group, the AKB48. But, the two groups are unique on its own. For instance, the Nogizaka46 was based on the image of private high school girls that depict sophistication contrary to the AKB48, which is an image of a typical Japanese high school student. As of 2018, this idol group has sold millions of copies of their album and has gained numerous fans within and outside of Japan.
Getting to know the Nogizaka46 members
Currently, there are 40 active members for the Nogizaka46. Originally, they started with almost 60 individuals that comprise the three generations. Ever since they started, ongoing auditions are religiously held to replace graduating girls. Some of the girls were initially recruited as understudies until they are to be promoted formally into the group.
As of today, the first generation of Nogizaka46 has 18 active members and was first introduced to the fans in June of 2011. The age range of the girls is from 20 to 25 years old, which is considered to be the oldest bunch among all the generations. In addition to this, each girl represents the different provinces of Japan such as Osaka, Chiba, Gunma, Hiroshima, Saitama, and even Tokyo.
The captain of the group is Sakura Reika. The other names that complete the first generation team include Akimoto Manatsu, Ikuta Erika, Inoue Sayuri, Eto Misa, Kawago Hina, Saito Asuka, Saito Yuri, Shiraishi Mai, Takayama Kazumi, Nakada Kana, Nishino Nanase (but already announced graduation), Noujo Ami (who also announced graduation), Higuchi Hina, Hoshino Minami, Matsumura Sayuri, Wakatsuki Yumi (also announced graduation), and Wada Maaya.
On the other hand, there also those who already left the group due to age and other reasons. The former members of the first generation are Yamamoto Honoka, Yoshimoto Ayaka, Iwase Yumiko, Ando Mikumo, Kashiwa Yukina, Miyazawa Seira, Ichiki Rena, Ito Nene, Yamato Rina, Hatanaka Seira, Nagashima Seira, Fukagawa Mai, Hashimoto Nanami, Ito Marika, Nakamoto Himeka, Kawamura Mahiro, Ikoma Rina, and Saito Chiharu. The previously mentioned girls were active members at any time from 2011 to 2018.
On May of 2013, the organizers of the Nogizaka46 introduced the second generation for the idol group. They are relatively younger in terms of the age average as compared with the first generation. Also, the girls originated from various parts of Japan. They are composed of only 10 members, while some already graduated. The girls that complete the second generation include Ito Karin, Ito Junna, Kitano Hinako, Sasaki Kotoko, Shinuchi Mai, Suzuki Ayane, Terada Ranze, Hori Miona, Yamazaki Rena, and Watanabe Miria. Furthermore, those who already left the team include Nishikawa Nanami, Yada Risako, Yonetoku Kyoka, and Sagara Iori who is the latest to graduate among all the former girl member.
Lastly, the third group for Nogizaka46 was debuted to the fans in September of 2016. They are considered to be the youngest among the three generations. Their age ranges from 14 to 23 years old, which is predominantly comprised of 19-year-old high school girls. The following represents the third generation: Ito Riria, Iwamoto Renka, Umezawa Minami, Ozono Momoko, Kubo Shiori, Sakaguchi Tamami, Sato Kaede, Nakamura Reno, Mukai Hazuki, Yamashita Mizuki, Yoshida Ayano Christie, and Yoda Yuki.
Nogizaka46: Center selection
In the world of girl idol groups, it is a privilege to be a center for a senbatsu, which refers to the member highlighted on the side-A of a single. Not only is she featured on a single but also placed in the center of the dance formation for stage performances. In addition to this, she also gets to have the majority of the media exposure. It can be a single center, double or even four members equally sharing the limelight of being the center.
Almost all of the girls within the group can be given the opportunity to be the center as selected by the fans. It is believed that the center position can be won on events like senbatsu sousenkyo and Janken Taikai. A senbatsu election is an annual event where all the fans all over Japan will be gathered to select the “main girl” through a popularity contest. The Janken Taikai, on the other hand, is a tournament that is participated by the members and whoever wins the contest will automatically be the center. Once finalized, the center is then announced through media that is much awaited by the doting fans.
Publications and Media
Recently, photobooks have gained popularity not only for the civilians but also for top celebrities and idol groups. The Nogizaka46 is just one of the celebrities that create a photo book that is specially made for the supportive admirers. In fact, since 2013 they had released three group photobooks that are available for sale to the public. In 2013, their first photobook entitled Nogizaka Ha was made by the known publisher, Futabasha. The photos included in the 160-page book were shot by talented photographers like Kawashima Yuko, Oe Maki, and Tatsumi Chie. Luckily, for the fans, it was on sale at a price of 1,900 Japanese Yen. It was well received by their avid admires that it accumulated to thousands of sales recorded.
After three years, the group released another photobook with a different theme, which was entitled 1jikan okure no I love you. It debuted in retails stores for a price of 1,852 Japanese Yen. The publisher for this particular book was Shufu to Seikatsusha. It is composed of 144 pages of collected photos of the Nogizaka46 members. It has a higher sales recorded in comparison to the previously release photo book.
As of 2018, the latest book was introduced to the public with the title, Nogi shooting Volume 1. It is composed of 210 pages of collected photos of the idols that were published by Kodansha. It can still be purchased in stores for a price of 1,800 Japanese Yen. Other published group photobooks include the Quarterly Nogizaka vol.1 Early Spring, Quarterly Nogizaka vol.2 Early Summer, Quarterly Nogizaka vol.3 Ryoshu, and Quarterly Nogizaka vol.4 winter. Aside from the group photobook, some of the members also have their own published collection of photos. Various members who have available photobook in the market include Nishino Nanase, Shiraishi Mai, Ikuta Erika, Ikoma Rina, Takayama Kazumi, and Sakura Reika.
Nogizaka46 TV and Radio Show
On October 2011, the organizers of the Nogizaka46 announced that they will have their own TV variety show. It was aired on major television network stations, TX Network, in Japan. Then, in April 2013, the group began to broadcast a radio program that was produced by Nippon Cultural Broadcasting.
Popular Albums, Singles, and Concerts
Nogizaka46 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th Birthday Live Concerts
Every February 22, it has been a tradition for the Nogizaka46 to hold their anniversary or birthday concert. It was in 2013 that the first of the birthday concert was completed in Makuhari Messe in Chiba Japan. A collaboration was also made possible when a member of SKE48, Matsui Rena, appeared on this particular anniversary performance. The first concert was considered a success considering that almost 9,000 fans came out to watch.
Afterward, the performance during the concert was made into a DVD that was then released and patronized by the fans. The following year, 2014, at the Yokohama arena the second installment of the anniversary live concert was held. It was a bigger hit than the previous show last year that at least 13,000 bought their ticket to watch them live. Then, the same day of the following year, the third birthday live concert was completed at the Seibu Dome at Saitama Japan. Among all the concerts to date, this was regarded to be the best received by the fans. Interestingly, an estimated number of 38,000 people were said to have attended the third birthday concert.
The fourth-anniversary concert was dissimilar from the rest of the previous shows. Due to the fact that the concert halls were being renovated for the Olympics. The show was delayed for a few days and the show was broadcasted using six websites from 20th until the 22nd of February. The fifth birthday live was done for 3 days from February 20 to 22, it debuted at the Saitama Super Arena. The latest, the sixth chapter of their anniversary live, was held from July 6 to July 8 of the present year. Furthermore, it was done in Meiji Jingu stadium and Chichibunomiya rugby stadium. Truly, the anniversary concerts are the symbol of success for the Nogizaka46.
From the start of this idol group’s entertainment career, a total of four studio albums were released from 2015 to 2017. The first three albums made it into the Oricon Weekly album charts and grabbed the first spot upon its release. The sales of the album also received a platinum certification because of the recorded hundreds of album sold. The latest album, Boku dake no Kimi, which debuted this year is still available for sale on various music stores.
Nogizaka46 17th single: influencer
During the course of their career, the Nogizaka46 has made numerous singles that were much loved by their fan base. One of the most popular among the singles is the Influencer. It was released on March 2017 and produced by Sony Music Label. Five editions were released such as the regular, type A, type B, Type C, and Type D.
Not only did it gain recognition from the fans but also it made into the Oricon singles chart and Japan Billboard Top 100. The most recent award the song received was the grand prize at the 59th Japan Record Awards that was conducted last December 2017. For this single, 21 members of the Nogizaka46 is included and centered by both Mai Shiraishi and Nanase Nishino. The influencer was considered to be one of the best songs for the Nogizaka46.
Nogizaka46 20th single: Synchronicity, available on the MP3 format
Synchronicity is just one of the single that was released recently and produced by Sony Music Label of Japan. It was last April that it debuted to the public and immediately made ranks in the Oricon weekly singles. At the same time, millions of copies were also sold after it was introduced to the public. These singles are participated by 21 members from the idol group with its center, Shiraishi Mai. Due to its popularity, an MP3 format of this song can be downloaded through the internet.
Despite the controversies, the Nogizaka46 continues to be one of the top idol groups for Japan. The evidence of their talents is translated into their songs and performances. Indeed, the Nogizaka46 imbibes the true meaning of an idol group and that is to be an inspiration to other people.