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SPOTLIGHT: Keyakizaka46

Hello Everyone! 

Today, I am dedicating this post to 32 idols who go by the name of Keyakizaka46.
If you read this blog, you may know by now that I am a huge fan of idol groups, and love to talk about special moments and events that happen to my favorite groups, and this is another one of those posts. I've spoken about the group a few times on this blog already, but this one is going to be me formally introducing you all to the group, and showing you why I love this group a lot. It's going to be lengthy, since I have a years worth of stuff to talk about, so please sit back with a nice hot cup of tea and enjoy the ride! 

Keyakizaka46 (or Keyaki/K46 for short), is a Japanese idol group that has quickly become a hot topic in the Idol world. They were revealed on August 2015. Despite them being the younger sister group to Nogizaka46, one of the most popular idol groups out there right now, I wasn't expecting much out of them. I was focused more on AKB48's new sister group, NGT48 at the time. So I didn't pay much mind to Keyaki until I saw a clip from their show Keyakitte Kakenai? that made me laugh, so I gave the group a shot. I remember watching the first few episodes and thinking, "these girls aren't idols at all", but somehow, I couldn't stop watching them. They are what you would call, an unorthodox idol group.

Before long the sky will become light
The birds will sing and everyone will wake up
Whatever sweet dream they had will disappear
The wheels of reality will start to move
Well, what should I do from here?
Kimi ga Inai.

I think, what made me become so interested in this group was that, unlike all the other groups that I enjoy, this group, somehow, felt more real to me. I could connect with these girls.When I was younger, I just wanted to express myself in whatever way I could. I didn't want to follow the crowd and do what people told me to, because that is "what was best" for me. To this day, I still try to avoid that outcome. But I was too shy, too scared to do it on my own. I think, if I had made a group with my friends and performed in front of people, I would have been more comfortable. The members of Keyaki are the same. Most of them say that, had it not been for Keyaki they would not be able to express themselves in the way they do now. As another K46 fan said, Keyaki are; "Adolescent girls resisting their fate and shaping their own road". I always though it was too late for me to try, but many of the members are around the same age as me, so I envy them a lot.

You have the freedom to be the way you are
Don't be controlled by adults
If people give up like that from the start
Then why were we even born in the first place?
Having dreams means at times you'll be faced with loneliness..
You have to walk an empty path.
You won't get there even if the world is all the same.
Are you really okay with this?
Silent Majority.

They made their official debut on April 6th, 2016 with the song Silent Majority, which made waves in japan. This group was still green back then, but I think that is what attracted people to them. Such awkward, inexperienced idols singing such a powerful song with bold lyrics and intense dancing. Even a year on, as I watch the music video to Silent Majority, I still get goosebumps.
Before I knew it, I wasn't looking at a rookie group anymore. I was looking at a group of 21 girls who were doing everything I've always dreamed of doing. Trying to claim their own independence, break free from the social structure, follow their dreams, and call for others to stand up and do the same. I loved it. The idol fans loved it. Japan, as a obstinate, nationalist country, loved it. It was a true game changer for idol groups. 

Today is Keyakizaka46's First Debut Anniversary. 

This time last year, I had no idea that the group would be doing so well. I didn't think that in one year, they could release 4 beautiful singles with amazing songs on them. I didn't think they could outsell their veteran rival groups (the 48G). I didn't think they would win "Best new Asian Artist", or have their debut song rank in the top 10 Japanese songs of 2016, or perform on the biggest, most watched TV show in japan (Kouhaku). The day I saw them perform on one of the most prestigious music show in Japan, was when I though "following this group was the right choice". 

Someday, someday, when I embrace you
I want to delightfully shed my tears.
I’ve found the thing I aim for.
Our hearts can become one.
Kanji Keyakizaka, Hiragana Keyakizaka,
Your voice are delivered.
Kanji Keyakizaka, Hiragana Keyakizaka,
The bonds is nice, it’s the Zaka-group.
It’s the Zaka-group.

But that wasn't the end for this group. Even after the huge success of their debut single, they still managed to capture the hearts of fans with every new release they made. During the second single, 11 new girls were introduced to us as "Hiragana Keyakizaka46", and admittedly, they weren't the type of idols that I had gown to love like the original members. These new girls were the usual types of idols you would see in any old Japanese group. "Why did they pick these girls, who are so different to Keyaki's concept?" is what I thought a lot. Many fans did, during their announcement. But as time went by, I learnt to love them too. I like to see them as the other side to Keyaki. The main group has this cool concept that leaves you on edge, and the Hiragana girls have this cute, bright and bubbly concept that calms you down. Both groups, despite having different concepts, give off the same message.
What I love the most about this group, is how close the members seem to be. You know when you can kind of tell which groups are faking their friendship with members? Of course, Keyaki have some "management made" pairings that are made just for show, but the group as a whole truly embody their slogan "humility, kindness, bonds. ", which I think makes them seem that much closer to each other.

As you guys know, back in 2015, being an idol fan wasn't going so well for me. Some of my favorite members announced graduation from their respective groups, and it only seemed to get worse in 2016. For a while, I was supporting various groups, but I didn't have the same enthusiasm for them as I did when my favorite members where still in the group. That's natural I guess. I wouldn't say i stopped loving them, because that's not the case at all, but I stopped investing my time and money on those groups. Keyakizaka46 re-lit the flame of love I had for idol groups. They allowed me to experience a group in it's early days, watch the members grow, and see the group through all it's ups and downs. I want more people to know about the greatness of Keyakizaka, and I want for them to keep breaking records and going places where no idol group has gone before, because I feel like I'm going with them on that journey. Or more so, they're going on that journey on my behalf.
In one year, they've grown so much. I'm truly grateful to have seen this growth in an idol group. Actually, now that I think about it, I've seen countless Kpop groups debut and follow them from early on, but Keyakizaka46 is the first Japanese idol group that I've been actively following since their formation. All the other groups I enjoy, be it AAA, Morning Musume, EXILE, or AKB48, debuted long before I was a fan of Jpop, or idols for that matter. So to be able to experience a group from their early days and see them become so great in such a short time, I'm really grateful.

They have achieved so many great things, but they didn't do that on their own. I want to give thanks to the following people. Aki-P, the creator of the group, for putting everything that is good about idols, AKB48, Nogizaka46, and the sister group system, and the kennin system, into a project like Keyakizaka. The producers, directors, stylists, and choreographers who put so much effort into creating a great image for the group and showcasing it in the best way. The members of Nogizaka46, for being so supportive of the idea of a new sister group, and allowing Keyaki to ride on their legacy. The fans, for continuing to support the group in this era of declining idols. The members, for always giving it their all even if they couldn't bare it any longer. For having the courage to do what I could never bring myself to. For allowing me to experience such an amazing group.

Thank you, Keyakizaka.

Yesterday, on April 5th, they released their 4th single, Fukyouwaon (Discord), and I'd really like you to listen to the single. It's like a call back to Silent Majority, with the intense dance and powerful lyrics. My favorite song on the single is "Eccentric". It's such a beautiful piece with meaningful lyrics. I know that some of you readers don't listen to non english music, but if you could give this a try, I promise you, you'll be impressed! Here is their song, Fukyouwaon.

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This was an awfully long post, so if you've made it this far, thank you for reading. I hope you liked it! I'm on break from college for the next two weeks, so hopefully I'll be able to put out some posts for you guys. Until then, please enjoy my previous blog posts! 


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