AKB48’s Takahashi Minami’s Leadership

This is an article written by Matsuyama Jun, a man who studies and writes about leadership. In a multi-part article, he talks about Takahashi Minami’s leadership and his impression of her from a couple of the AKB documentaries. [Original Article – AKB48高橋みなみのリーダーシップ]


10. AKB48’s Takahashi Minami’s Leadership

Right now, from children to the elderly, there probably isn’t anyone who doesn’t know of AKB48. As a national idol group, they are staples on TV, radio and in magazines.
They are produced by Akimoto Yasushi, but commanding the entire group is the leader, Takahashi Minami.

I did not know AKB48 very well, but recognizing my own blind spot, in a stroke of ambidextrous thinking, at one time, I had enjoyed watching the AKB48 documentary movies (in 2012).

There are two works, “Documentary of AKB48 – Show must go on – Shoujotachi wa kizutsukinagara, yume wo miru [While being hurt, the girls dream]” and “Documentary of AKB48 – to be continued – 10nen ato, shoujotachi wa ima no jibun ni nani wo omou no darou? [10 years from now, what will the girls think of themselves as they were right now?]”

In those DVDs is where I first learned of the leader Takahashi Minami and her quick wit. I was surprised. Surely here was a “leader of leaders”. She laughed and cried along with her comrades, and was able to voice stern words at times when necessary. She is an example of an excellent leader.

However, in the movies, Takahashi Minami confessed of herself, “I wasn’t really the leader type”.

Is leadership innate? Or is it acquired?

I come across this question quite often, and I have a distinct “theory of leadership”. The grounds for my argument comes from the standpoint of someone who works in a setting that develops leadership through coaching and training. And when I think of Takahashi Minami, who went through a metamorphasis from someone who wasn’t a leader type to someone who became a splendid leader, I think the leadership that Takahashi shows in the AKB48 documentary movies serves as valuable evidence towards my “theory of leadership”.

In my book “The Leader Who Can Laugh at Himself Wins in the End”, I mentioned Takahashi Minami’s leadership along the likes of Sakamoto Ryouma and Steve Jobs. It’s not written in that book, but the strong image I got from the movies of Takahashi Minami as a leader will be written about in the next book.

Leadership is Influenced by “conviction” and “resolution”

“Conviction” and “resolution”.

These are staple keywords in every debate about leadership.
Takahashi Minami is kind. And at times, when she can be a strict person, it is because she “has the resolve to be hated”. This may be because she has the kind of strong “conviction” that supports that “resolve”.

Takahashi Minami is recognized as having the respect of the other members.
“Takamina [Takahashi Minami’s nickname] is amazing.” “I can’t be like her.” AKB48 members like Oshima Yuuko, Shinoda Mariko and Kojima Haruna sigh in answer while being interviewed.

When I think about leadership, I think that I will focus more and more on the “resolve” that supports a leader as an important concept.

10 years from now, Takahashi Minami may be acting as a leader who has crossed over the limits of AKB48. I have high hopes for her!


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