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Who Are SKE48?

1 year ago

Who Are SKE48?

By: Jeff Brown

SKE48 Idols and Wrestling

SKE48 is a renowned idol group based in Sakae, Nagoya, that has been active since 2008. To date, the group has sold over 11 million records in Japan – and has wowed millions of fans with its energetic performances in the process. The lively gang of performers is divided into three teams: Team S (orange team), Team KII (red team), and Team E (green team). The group even has its own venue called the SKE48 Theatre, where they regularly perform live.

The Creation of SKE48

SKE48 is the brainchild of Japanese businessman Yasushi Akimoto; his vision was to create an idol group that was accessible to fans. He was passionate about fans seeing their favorite performers regularly and having the opportunity to meet them. So to bring the vision to life, Akimoto created his own theatre to facilitate regular live performances by the SKE48 group where supporters could regularly get close to their idols. This concept has been a massive success because of Akimoto’s fan-first approach.

The group is extremely popular in Japan for different reasons, one of which is their relatively long 15-year history. Remaining relevant for this long in the dynamic idol group industry shows that SKE48 is doing what its fans want them to do. The record sales of the group have steadily increased over the years, which shows that the group’s fanbase is growing.

SKE48’s Link to Wrestling

Idol culture and joshi puroresu are intrinsically linked in Japan, and SKE48 is one of most prominent idol groups in the country. Therefore, it is no surprise that several group members have dabbled in wrestling. One of the highest profile members of SKE48 that to wrestle is Yuki Arai. Arai started her wrestling journey in 2018 with DDT Pro-Wrestling at DDT Live, where she won the DDT Ironman Heavymetalweight title, defeating fellow SKE48 member Kaori Matsumura (she had previously participated in the Tofu Pro Wrestling project, where she used the name Bubbly Arai). Yuki Arai then took a break from wrestling for a couple of years to focus on her idol career. In 2021 she reignited her wrestling career when she started competing for DDT’s sister company Tokyo Joshi Pro-Wrestling, eventually winning the Princess Tag Team Championship with Saki Akai at Summer Sun Princess ’22.

Arai was also named the Tokyo Sports Puroresu Rookie of the Year in 2021. Yuki Arai is still a part of SKE48, and is a prime example of idols becoming wrestlers in the Japanese environment. Yuki Arai’s story shows the close link between idol performance culture and wrestling in Japan, and shows that the fans support moves like these. It’s safe to assume that more people from groups like SKE48 will become wrestlers in the future; which will improve the fans’ overall experience as idols can entertain in several different ways.

“The Fallen Idol” Maki Itoh Gets Back Up with SKE48

SKE48 Achievements

Yuki Arai is a member of Team KII, and their team color is red. Ota Ayaka is their leader, and Aoki Shiori is their co-leader. They have performed a total of seven stages. Stages are concerts with full choreography and themes; sometimes a unit will do a revival, an updated version of a stage. KII has done seven stages, with two being new originals and the other five being revivals.

The first senbatsu for Yuki Arai was the 24th single, Stand By You, released on December 12, 2018. Senbatsu, in this instance, means members chosen to perform the A-side. It can also mean members chosen for media appearances or concerts. Members can be chosen for a single but not senbatsu, so they only perform the B-side in that case. They have held janken tournaments to decide senbatsu for upcoming singles.

Yuki Arai has five senbatsu in total, the others being:


So~Yu~Toko Aru Yo Ne?

Koi Ochi Flag

Ano Koro no Kimi wo Mitsuketa

Yuki Arai, as a rookie, was asked to deliver in big matches against the legendary Aja Kong and has had a Princess Tag Team Championship run. All this happened in a very short window of time while maintaining a full idol career. If she continues to focus on a singles wrestling career, her in-ring abilities and idol name value could be the key to launching TJPW into a higher stratosphere. The answer to the question, “Who is SKE48?” is that it could become home to a future International Princess champion or even a future Princess of Princess champion.

Written by:

I mainly focus on making music, while writing on the side. After graduating high school, I studied guitar in the Seattle area. Music reviews really got me started with blogging and journalism. Meantime, I watched ‘90s AJW and Gaea throughout the 2000s & parachuted in for Ice Ribbon, Stardom, Actwres Girl’Z. I live in Edgewood, WA and am a proud member of the Duwamish tribe.