TOKYO (TR) – The recipe for success in the idol industry is the creation of the fantasy by management agencies that their charges are easily accessible to fans.
To wit, members of AKB48 and its numerous sister units regularly participate in meet-and-greet “handshake” events, an integral piece of the “idols you can meet” marketing scheme.
But what is good for the fans — and, subsequently, the agencies — may not be for the idols themselves, as Miki Nishino, a former member of AKB48, revealed on a news program on AbemaPrime on April 3.
“I hated the handshake events held for fans,” Nishino said plainly.
The comment was made during a discussion about the controversy over Maho Yamaguchi, a member of NGT48. Last month, the idol criticized the results of a third-party probe into an assault against her by male fans last year.
The AbemaPrime program discussed whether a definitive line should exist between idols and their fans.
“When I was popular, a long line formed at handshake events,” Nishino said. “I sometimes shook hands from 9 a.m. until the evening. It became painful to be sleepy and tired.”
So she adjusted, opting to only move her mouth. “I developed the trick of shaking hands while sleeping,” she said.
Wound up working at a yakiniku restaurant
In 2012, Nishino joined AKB48. After “graduating” from the group in 2017, she attempted “Twin Planet Entertainment” to continue her career as an idol. However, she wound up working part-time at a grilled beef yakiniku restaurant.
Nishino also said during the AbemaPrime program that as time went on the number of fans waiting in line to shake her hand gradually dwindled. It was then that her view of handshake events changed, causing her to view them as “important.”
“I only have about 10 fans now, and I can say each of their names,” she added. I thank them for the strength and love they give me.”