AKB48 Single Janken Tournaments – Fun Facts


One very fun competitions that AKB48 has held annually over the last three years is a rock-paper-scissors tournament (Janken Taikai). The members compete in a winner-advances competition and those who make it into the last 16 are selected to represent the group in the upcoming singles. The winner becomes the center of those respective singles. The competition is probably designed to add another tournament for fans to participate in and to give the more obscure girls their chances to shine in the sun, if they are lucky enough. AKB48 is also probably the only group who can pull this off, with so many girls available to participate!

Janken Winners

Previous janken winners. From left to right, Uchida Mayumi, Shinoda Mariko and Shimazaki Haruka

With the 4th Janken Tournament coming up on Wednesday 18th, I would like to put this post up as these fun facts of what has happened in the previous 3 tournaments. I have not seen anything done in any other sides, so here goes.

To many, Rock-paper-scissors is a game of luck. If you play it long enough at random, your win-loss record should be around 50%. However, with only three tournaments played, a few of the girls have had better luck than others and I am just intrigued to see whether some of those lucks will continue.

Notable streaks and achievements:


  • Longest winning streak: 9 by Shinoda Mariko. She powered to the win by winning 6 in the second tournament. Note that for obvious reason, Shimazaki Haruka (Paruru), the current champion, holds the record for active winning streak at 6. Let’s see if she can add to that total
  • Best winning percentageShimazaki Haruka with her 6-1 record for a 0.86 record. For the three-time participants, Shinoda Mariko and Uchida Mayumi reign supreme, each with  10-2 (0.83) records. All three of them are of course previous winners of this tournament
  • Most appearances in the senbatsu rounds: 7 by Uchida MayumiUchida Mayumi. By virtue of winning one tournament (the first one) and entering the last 4 in another, Mayumi has spent the most time participating in the last 16 round and beyond. Those two senbatsu positions are also her only senbatsu appearances because she is not really pushed very much at all. Her rock costume she wore is still the most memorable thing to me in the third tournament! I will be interested to she what costume she will wear this time around. As much as I want her to advance though, she is in the same bracket as my oshimen Sato Amina so I definitely do not want her to advance at the expense of Amina!
  • Easiest drawWatanabe Mayu (2.50/4 appearances). Mayu has comfortably the best starting position among all girls in the three tournaments. This assumes that the first round in the tournament is round 1 and so on (the last 16, or the senbatsu round, is round 4). For Mayu’s case, she was positioned in round 3 twice (got a bye in the last tournament) and round 2 once. Despite the easiest draws, she still never managed to enter a janken senbatsu once. Talking about luck equaling itself out. Curiously, the second girl with the best draw is none other than Maeda Atsuko (also at 2.50 but with only 2 appearances). Are the management fixing their positions? But looking at the next two on the list (Umeda Ayaka and Sato Amina, both with 2.25 starting position, all relatively under-pushed girls), it seems to be just coincidences.
  • Most senbatsu appearances: Maeda Ami 33 by Maeda Ami. the stands alone as the only person to appear in 3straight senbatsus. Granted, she only had two rounds to beat in her three tournaments (some girls got an additional ‘play-in’ first round so more chance to fail), but that still gives her only a 1.6% chance of making it three straight times [(50%*2)^3]. Would be cool to see her pull off another appearance just to extend this streak! She has three matches to go this time around though to extend that streak to 4.
  • Best performing NMB girl: Hikawa Ayame Ayame(9-2 all-time/ 4-2 in tournament), She is the only person to make it out of the NMB preliminary rounds twice and progressed to the senbatsu position in her first tournament appearance. She is also undefeated against her NMB peers. It is a shame that because she graduated, she will no longer be participating in the upcoming event. But that also means that she will most likely remain a NMB girl with the best win percentage ever
  • Best performing SKE girl: Kuwabara Mizuki (8-2 all-time / 2-1 in tournament). In the 2nd tournament, she won 4 preliminary matches and 2 tournament matches to get a senbatsu spot.
  • Best performing HKT girl: Eto Sayaka (5-0 all-time). See below in other notable achievements section.


  • The luckless girls: Miyazawa SaeMiyazaki Miho, Katayama Haruka, Nakamata Shiori. These are the three girls who have participated three times and lost all three matches they have ever been in. Better luck this year!
  • Worst result in the last 32 round: Watanabe Mayu. Probably the worst round to lose in the tournament is the last 32 round, when you are only one win away from entering the senbatsu. In three consecutive tournaments, Mayu made it to that round and lost all of them. I guess she can take solace in the fact that she is one of the aces and the lock for a non-janken singles every single time. Also, somehow she managed to get a bye for her last two tournaments, needing only one win to enter senbatsu, yet still never managed to do it.
  • Worst draw: Hikawa Ayame (1.00/ 2 appearances), Ishida Haruka (1.25). Ayame takes the cake since she had to fight out of the first round in both competitions she got through. Also, to think that she was able to represent NMB twice speaks quite strongly of her preliminary round luck too!


  • The only undefeated participant: Eto Sayaka (5-0). She blazed through the HKT KKS and preliminary round and would have been a HKT representative. However, she never participated due to the scandal she was involved in. Thus she remained so far the only and probably last undefeated participant in this series of competition
  • Repeated offenders: Two members have lost twice in the tournament to a single opponent: Oya Shizuka, to Shinoda Mariko & Oshima Yuko to Maeda Ami. Shizuka will never get a chance to avenge the losses due to Mariko’s graduation and unless both Ami and Yuko make it to the final, that third rematch will not happen this time around.

It should be a pretty fun tournament! I look forward to seeing whether the lucky girls (Paruru, Mayumi, Ami) will continue their streaks or  Amina can actually pull off a few wins and make up for all her previous back lucks and lack of push by winning the tournament!


  • Unless noted, the results only include those who participated in more than 1 tournaments at least two times and only include tournament results.
  • I am assuming this whole tournament is not fixed. With Paruru winning with her first-turn scissors in all her matches last time, a lot of people are crying conspiracy theory for her push. However, without any concrete evidence, I will still believe in the fairness of it all.
  • The results include the three tournament results and the preliminary results for the 2nd and the 3rd tournaments. Unfortunately, I could not find KKS preliminary results for the first tournament so that is not yet added.
  • Sources: stage48, akb48 Wrapup, Melo no Michi among others

4 Comments on “AKB48 Single Janken Tournaments – Fun Facts”

  1. Thank you very much for this post! I enjoyed it greatly. Now that the 4th tournament has passed and Jurina claimed the victory with all paper (or so I’m told), will you be writing a follow-up post to this one? I’m very interested in hearing your thoughts about this year’s Janken as well as updated statistics and fun trivia.

    • Thank you very much for your reply! Sorry I have not replied for a while. Went on AKB-silent for the last few days to avoid any spoiler so just got to reading this today:) Yes, I will be writing a follow up to this hopefully very soon. Pretty fun to see which trend I wrote about earlier actually held up. She actually did all papers (drawing the first one and winning the next 7). Do follow up on my post and I will try to argue that that is actually the best strategy to go!

      PS. I sooooo wish an AKB person would have won it (nothing against Jurina or Erika). Ah well…

  2. Taka says:

    Ue kara Mariko!

    Mariko is a wily one I wouldn’t be surprised if she plays some mind-games with her opponents.

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