Photos probably taken in the same year… maybe.

October 17th, 1988 is Oshima Yuko’s birthdate. My birthdate is on the same day, 1 year earlier. Although, since I live in Pacific Time and Yuko lives in Japan Time, we’d only have about 8 hours to share our birthday, but that’s beside the point. We share a birthday, and I think that’s awesome.

 

Introducing Oshima Yuko

I’m sure plenty of you already know Yuko. She’s currently the most popular member of AKB48 and throughout her career, she’s been trading spots with none other than Maeda Atsuko. At 152cm (4.99 feet) she’s one of the smallest members of AKB48, but she might be one of the biggest personalities in the group.

You may or may not have heard of “The Three Pillars of AKB48” who consist of Takahashi Minami, Maeda Atsuko, and Oshima Yuko. These three women were considered those who would give their lives for AKB48. At the time I had learned about this concept I didn’t quite understand, but after learning more about Yuko I came to realize why her fans support her so much.

She excels at public speaking and portraying a positive image. She’s the girl who always has a smile on her face. She knows when to conduct business, but she also knows how to have fun. All of this made her the perfect rival to Atsuko. Everything Atsuko wasn’t, Yuko was.
 

Rivalry with Maeda

Of course the entire rivalry was fueled heavily by fans whether it was due to hardcore wota supporting Yuko or Acchan-antis who were straight hatin’. Atsuko and Yuko had admitted before that they do see rivals in each other and it seems even further reinforced now that Atsuko has left the group to pursue an acting career, something that perhaps everyone thought Yuko would leave the group for first.

Being an Acchan oshi though, how did I feel about Yuko? I guess it’s natural that I disliked her a bit, since she was a real threat to Atsuko (taking the crown from Atsuko at the 2010 elections). I’ve seen plenty of displays of “OMG YUKO SO MUCH BETTER THAN ATSUKO” and that really turned me off. It’s quite sad, I’m usually not turned off by idols themselves, I’m turned off by their fans. However, watching Yuko grow for the past two years has been a good experience. She’s struggled not only against, but with Acchan.

Watching the two of them together was a strange experience because there was Number One and Number Two, side by side, and honestly they were close with each other. A friend of Atsuko is a friend of mine, RIGHT? Well, I slowly became accustomed to Yuko’s ways and seeing more media of her warmed me up to her. Then Not yet was formed, which might just be my favorite subgroup out of the 48 family. Shortly afterward, I found out that Yuko has the same birthday as me.

WAIT. A. MINUTE. SHE DOES?

Yuko, you are now totally cool.

That wasn’t the only reason I “turned” and started liking Yuko much more, but it’s a great story. Now that Atsuko is gone, what happened to the rivalry? Well, Yuko is basically uncontested right now, and although I do cheer for future center Watanabe Mayu, Yuko is undeniably the #1 of AKB48… for now.

Perhaps because of Atsuko’s departure, Yuko somewhat fills in that void of front and center. If you were to call me a man who only supports front-girls, naturally Yuko should be my next oshimen, RIGHT? Sorry Yuko, that may not be the case, but you’ve definitely got a special place in my heart and I definitely recognize you as an irreplaceable part of AKB48.

My dream is to one day go to her handshake line and tell her we have the same birthday.

Oh, and I guess that I’m from America as well.

– Dave