National / Social Issues

University chief rips AKB48 songwriting star for ‘Einstein’ lyrics

Kyodo

The president of a women’s university on Monday lashed out at a song written by Yasushi Akimoto, mastermind of the all-girl idol group AKB48, that says it is OK for girls to be “empty-headed” and that being intelligent is “meaningless” if one is “not loved.”

“I felt as if the clock had been turned back to 50 or 100 years ago,” Masami Ohinata, a psychologist who is president of Keisen University in Tokyo, blogged after a student showed her the lyrics.

“Einstein yori Dianna Agron,” was released on April 13 by HKT48 in Fukuoka, one of the idol group’s many regional sister units.

Akimoto is one of Japan’s most successful songwriters. Sales of CD albums penned by him set a record by surpassing 100 million in December 2015, according to music information provider Oricon Inc. He is also on the executive board of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics organizing committee.

Ohinata said the lyrics reminded her of a textbook used in Norway more than 100 years ago that marked certain questions as unfit for girls to solve because they were too difficult.

The song is about a schoolgirl who knows almost nothing about Albert Einstein but admires American actress Dianna Agron. The lyrics portray her as preoccupied with how to be pretty while spurning academic learning with such phrases as “I don’t think about anything difficult,” “I am not interested in news,” and “what is important is keeping my skin smooth.”

Ohinata said she later asked her students in a psychology class what they thought of the song, and they criticized each phrase.

In response to the phrase “girls must be cute, they can be stupid while in school,” the university students agreed “while it is important to be cute, studying is also fun and if you are stupid in school, you will remain so for the rest of your life,” Ohinata wrote.

And to “no matter how good you are with studies, it is meaningless if you are not loved,” the students countered that “no matter how much you are loved, it is meaningless if you can’t get a job.”