Part one of a basic guide to concerts25 May, 2011 by Chad
The “Mix” (ミックス) is the given name of the seemingly incoherent gibberish that is shouted at concerts for Japanese artists. It’s a fun and integral part of AKB48 performances too. Here’s a little guide for new fans looking to get started. I’ve also included some back history about the Mix, so it should still be an interesting read for more experienced fans.
About the Mix and Wotagei
Many seem to mistake the Mix as “Wotagei (オタ芸)”, it is not. In definition, wotagei has come to encompass any coordinated show of support for idols. In this way, the Mix is just one part of many elements that make up wotagei. Some would even go so far as to argue that the Mix is a totally separate thing.
For as as long as there had been idols in Japan, people had been supporting them wildly. “Wotagei” originally, referred to the spontaneous reaction or participation by fans during performances, the Japanese equivalent of people screaming “We will, we will rock you” at a Queen concert. In modern times wotagei often refers to a specific set of popularized cheers and actions, which strangers will see as a series of exaggerated actions or frantic dances. Blame it on the TV.
The Mix started seeing common use in the late 90s. As a preset series of words, it gave people something to cheer in an organized manner together. An older version of the Mix was shouted at idol performances such as those by Z1 and later Hello Project. It’s main purpose, a chant to psych up the crowd during performances.
As it grew in popularity, Wotagei and the Mix eventually spewed forth onto the pedestrian heaven streets of Akihabara during the “otaku boom” of the mid 2000s. Popular media eventually caught word of it and covered the alien phenomenon on television. All hell broke lose. These days, you’ll find wotagei popping up in the least expected of places, like weddings…due to a recent trend.
The Mix in AKB48
Despite starting out as Akihabara idols, the mix wasn’t practiced by AKB48 fans in the early years. That’s not to say that there weren’t any cheers. But early fan involvement were often limited to shouts, claps and exclamations, sometimes organized but more often random.
It was until the end of 2006 that the Mix started seeing frequent use during AKB48 performances and by 2008 became a pretty common thing. Rumors suggest that AKS’s management actually encouraged the use of the Mix, as opposed to the random shouting that sometimes disrupted the girls attention. In fact, you could say that many of AKB48 newer songs are tailored with the mix in mind. Till this day, though the Mix gets brought up in AKB48 shows from time to time in a positive manner too.
Traditionally, the mix was actually shouted mid-song. But since the past decade, the more familiar mix is often shouted at the start of a song. During AKB48 concerts, the mix is mostly shouted during instrumentals, such as at the opening of each song prior to the first sung line (there are of course exceptions).
Most of the time, songs start off with the Standard mix, with the Japanese mix appearing at subsequent instrumentals. The third, Ainu mix rarely sees use, except in the longest songs. The Mix is still sometimes shouted mid-song, particularly during some of AKB48′s older songs.
Over time, fans have nailed down the timing of the mix to each song, such that the last shouted line of the mix coincides with the beginning of the girls singing. Leaving the girl’s uninterrupted to sing, except when they cheer their names (which is also commonly done during 2 beat gaps in the song). The Mix is also only just one part of AKB48 cheering.
As a side note, Wedding Aitakatta has started to Wotagei a run for its money.
For obvious reasons, the mix is not shouted during emotional or sad songs.
The Mix Proper
Below is a list of the 3 versions of the mixed used in AKB48 culture. The first line of each (e.g. “Yosshaikuzo”) is not actually part of the mix but rather a verbal signal from someone within the crowd who is able to coordinate the timing of the mix. As you can see, the original mix is a nonsensical series of English words chosen for no other reason except that they rhymed. Subsequently, the next two are the same words shouted in the Japanese and Ainu (Northern Indigenous Japanese) language.
It has been stated many times that the words hold no collective meaning but newers fans have attempted to analyze or give meaning to it by creating a sort of “Mix Mantra”.
Note, in the second version of the mix “Kasen”, “Tobi” and “Jyokyo” are traditionally 3 separate words that used to be shouted at the same speed as the rest of the other individual words. But is often shouted extra fast together to fit within a typical eight beat instrumental interlude. It is still shouted slowly separately in the rare occasions where the mix is shouted mid-song though.
Aaa…Yossha-ikuzo~ (あ～ よっしゃいくぞ~ / Alright let’s go~)
Taigaa (タイガー / Tiger)
Faiyaa (ファイヤー / Fire)
Saibaa (サイバー / Cyber)
Faibaa (ファイバー / Fiber)
Daibaa (ダイバー / Diver)
Baibaa (バイバー / Viber)
Jyaa Jyaa (ジャージャー)
Aaa…Mou-iccho-ikuzo~(あ～ もういっちょいくぞ~ / Here we go again~)
Tora (虎 / とら)
Hi (火 / ひ)
Jinzou (人造 / じんぞう)
Seni (繊維 / せんい)
Ama (海女 / あま)
Shindou (振動 / しんどう)
Kasen Tobi Jyokyo (化繊 飛び 除去 / かせん とび じょきょ / Artificial Fiber Flying Removal -_-”)