If you’ve checked out YouTube Japan recently, you’ll notice that one girl is pretty much dominating all of the top viewed videos this week. This girl is AKB48′s Shinoda Mariko (or Mariko Shinoda, in the Western order). You’re probably wondering: who is this girl and tell me more about her!
Shinoda Mariko, the mature and sexy AKB48
Shinoda Mariko is an idol and fashion model of the omnipresent Japanese girl band, AKB48. Born in Fukuoka in 1986, she’s currently 25 years old.
Shinoda tried out for AKB48 auditions in 2005 but was rejected. Instead, she joined the staff at the 48′s cafe, an adjoining cafe to the AKB48 theater, as a waitress/maid. But her popularity there exploded and eventually, in 2006, she was asked to join AKB48.
What distinguishes her is that she’s the oldest and tallest AKB48 member. So, unlike the usual schoolgirl-like (and frankly somewhat pedophilic) AKB48 member, she is slightly more mature and sexy.
Shinoda center of AKB48′s new single “Ue Kara Mariko”
Since 2009, AKB48 has been selecting the members who appear in its next single through a voting process by fans. More recently, AKB48 switched its selection process to a rock-paper-scissors tournament. This fun, interactive aspect of the group is said to be one of the sources of AKB48′s popularity.
Last September, Shinoda Mariko won the rock-paper-scissor contest for the AKB48′s 24th single. She will be the center of the CD jacket and even has her name in the title of the song: “Ue kara Mariko.”
While AKB48 fandom has been getting creepier and creepier, putting a less child-like Shinoda in the top and center may be just the right way to course-correct the group so they appeal to the general public.
Highlights of “Ue kara Mariko” music video from the official AKB48 YouTube channel
“Ue kara Mariko” means “Mariko on top.” The official explanation for the title states that the title is referencing Mariko’s age and height. You know, of course, what other implications the title may have…
“Buccho” commercial featuring Shinoda Mariko
The new candy commercial has Shinoda Mariko playing rock-paper-scissors with the TV audience. Her sexy line is: “Tell me what you want.” “Don’t you want a buccho?”
(There are four slightly different versions of the commercials, hence the repetitions.)
Shinoda Mariko pictures (from a 2chan thread)
Below are some of 2chan’s top Shinoda pics. Enjoy!