Previously, I have made a guide with regards to how to attend and behave at idol handshake events. In it, I explained various different methods to interact with your favorite idol. What I didn’t cover in that article is how each H!P member responds to fans. Now after having the opportunity to shake hands with numerous H!P and related idols, I can finally compose a rating chart. Do note that these ratings are based heavily on my and my friends’ experiences and all opinions stated are all of personal nature. Your mileage may vary.
Here’s how it will work. Scores will be based out of 10, with 10 being the highest. Each idol will be given a general rating score out of 5, which is calculated from scores of the following:
1) Handshake strength – How strong of a handshake does she give
2) Responsiveness – How well she listens and response to each fan
3) Gentleness to Jiichan – How nice is she to old guys, because you know, old disgusting wotas orz
Let’s get started!
Mizuki is famous for her Fukumura-lock handshake where instead of holding onto the fan’s hand, her left hand wraps tightly around the fan’s wrist. Overall she is very responsive and attentive to what each fan tries to tell her, regardless of age and gender, and she responds accordingly.
“ARIGATOU GOZAIMASU” and “HONTOU DESU KA” are Eripon’s standard answers to pretty much anything you throw at her. Sometimes I wonder if she’s even listening. She does appear to favor female fans more and give them much better responses. At least she gives you a big smile and a loud and clear thank you, no matter what.
Contrary to belief, our ace is surprisingly nice to fans at handshake events. One time Riho couldn’t hear what I’ve said to her properly, as staff tried to push me away, she held onto my hands, and asked me to repeat what I wanted to say. I was literally standing in front of the next idol in line by the time she answered and let go of my hands.
Kanon-chan always greet fans with a big smile. She listens closely to what each person says to her and tries to respond accordingly. Even if you just stand there in front of her with nothing coming out of your mouth, she will not give off an annoyed expression.
Call me bias, but Haruna is exceptionally nice to fans. Maybe because she doesn’t have many fans to begin with (orz), so she can remember fans by our faces. I usually show up in front of her wearing my JoJo cosplay. One time I decided to test her to see if she can recognize me and went to her solo handshake in regular clothes. The moment I walked up to her, before I even opened my mouth, she asked me why I was not in cosplay.
The moment you approach Ayumin, she will welcome you with open arms, literally. She is always nice to all fans. She listens closely to every word you say before giving a proper answer. It’s always a pleasure to meet her. Dat Daishi feel.
You might have already heard of how hard to handle Ma-chan is from various stories and reports. I’m personally 2 of 5 with her on having any meaningful conversation. All 5 times she only offered me her right hand to shake, with her left hand on the table or on her side. The 3 times when things didn’t go my way, Ma-chan basically greeted me with “Thank you very much (now go away)”, without allowing me a chance to say anything. The 2 times I did get some sort of interaction with her, we pointed at each others outfit while speaking weird Japanese? for one and we just talked about Tanasatan for the other.
Kuduu always greet fans with a smile. She acts older than her age and knows how to please fans by giving thoughtful responses after listening to each fans’ words. Although, her answers can be somewhat generic unless you say something special or specific.
Oda-chan is a pleasure to meet. She’s always happy to meet fans and shows it off on her face. Her reactions are always pretty elaborate. Unfortunately her grip is on the weak side, being a tiny girl that she is.
Maybe because new Haruna is the oldest of the 4 new members, she’s the best at handling fans out of this generation. She has the fluffy feeling but her handshakes are firm. She listens and gives thoughtful responses.
Having lived in America, she is easy-going and friendly to people. Of course her English is better than the common Japanese person and she can give proper responses in simple English.
Maria-sama is always eager in whatever she does, meeting fans is no exception. She tries her best to answer fans and shows her appreciation to everyone.
Akane is very calm and gentle compared to the others. She does listens carefully to what fans have to say, although her reactions are not as big as the others.
Captain treats all fans as equal and pays attention to each word spoken to her. She never seems bored or annoyed, and she always shows that she is appreciative to fans.
What can I say, Momo is not one of the most well-known idols currently for nothing. Not only does she listens to what you have to tell her, she even jokes back when you say something funny or weird to her. A true professional.
Not being able to converse properly with English (and other languages), Chinami sure tries hard to pretend that she can. Her reactions are quick and swift, always a fan favorite at handshakes.
Always giving off a calm demeanor and thin responses, sometimes I wonder if she even listened to what I’ve said.
Just like Captain, Miya is always nice to fans and make efforts to carry on a conversation.
Kumaicho gives off this feeling that she’s not all there unless you say something she’s not expecting. When she does react, it’s too late that you have already moved on down the line.
I do feel that Rii-chan doesn’t seem to care at times, or she just doesn’t want to deal with fans. She does treats fan girls better than old guys.
Strongest handshake in Hello! Project by a big margin. Maimi’s grip is strong and tight. She won’t crush your hands but you will feel it. Also, she listens carefully before responding with a meaningful answer to any type of fans. Maimi also respond well to English.
Nakky is always nice to fans, greeting with a smile and listens carefully. Her responses can seem a little generic at times, being a bit too professional.
Airi is very fun at handshakes. You can easily make her act surprised and fool around with her by saying silly things.
Like the other members, Chisa is attentive to what you have to say. She also give off this big sister/motherly feeling which eases any nervousness fans have when meeting their idols.
A few years ago, Maimai was famously known for being hard to deal with at handshake events. She reacted very nicely to fan girls but gave older guys the cold shoulder. Nowadays, she has matured and is pretty professional with fan interactions but still below the other ℃-ute members.
Typically reacts pretty well to fans until you try to confuse her. Do not confuse Ayacho, or she will give you a WTF face. And remember, she hates foreigners***. LOL
If you speak English to Maro, she will reply by repeating what you have said and pretend she knows English.
Happy and cheerful, Kananan is always grateful to meet with fans. Her handshake is on the weak side.
Being Maimi’s cousin, Take-chan also has a pretty firm handshake grip, but she’s not as strong in the other aspects.
Probably due to her soft and relaxing nature, she gives off this feeling that she’s not trying. Or maybe she just says thank you to everyone?
Meimei is always appreciative to her fans and gives smiles brightly at handshake events. Her responses are fast, sometimes a little too fast that she’s like Eripon’s “Thank you first, think after” attitude.
Not including their time in H!P Kenshuusei, 3rd gen members haven’t done any handshake events since they joined the group so I have no information available.
Unexpected from a girl of her statue, Yukanya- is really loud at handshake events and is easily surprised by what fans tells her. She screech when she hears anything slightly shocking to her. During the interaction, she also uses body language to express herself. Her soft handshake, due to having no physical strength, is her only weak point.
Miss Rose Quartz is only jokingly mean to other members, to fans she is very kind. Tomo makes you feel calm and at ease even when you don’t have much to say to her. Her handshakes are regular strength.
My friend Firren had first met Sayubee at the Berryz Koubou + Juice=Juice Naruchika concert over a year ago. Not only Sayubee was able to recall where they first met, she even remembers he was wearing a Momoko t-shirt at the time. This level of memory is unheard of in the idol world, especially for an idol to remember someone else’s fan along with what he was wearing from over a year ago. Reaction wise, she reacts well when she’s in a good mood or when you name drop Tanaka-san.
One of the best idol at handshakes in H!P. Karin greets every fan with open arms. The expression on her face as you walk up to her makes it feels like you are her best friend. Her face lights up with a bright smile, and her eyes glimmering as she awaits for what you are about to tell her. Once you deliver your line, she does her best to give you a satisfactory answer. She does all this for everyone, regardless of age and gender. As an exmaple, my friend Oroboras once fumbled his message to her and ended up resorting to English as time expired on him. As he walked away, Karin assured him that she understood his message.
I mention above that Yuka is loud. Well you know what, her volume is nothing compared to Uemu’s. Firren thinks that she’s even louder than Eripon. Similar to Yuka, Uemu is easily surprised by pretty much anyone and anything. She is always happy to meet friends. Her mood swings are reserved for her group mates =P
Mi-ko is very nice and cares about fans. She listens well and respond with meaningful answers.
Like Mi-ko, Konatsu is very responsive and nice to fans. Her grip is a little stronger than Mi-ko’s.
Moritty is also very nice to fans. Her handshake grip is pretty standard strength. Sometimes her responses are pretty generic, so marks have been deducted.
Ayano takes jokes well and carries conversation well. Generally nice to fans.
The only idol with a stronger grip than Maimi. If you have weak hands, it WILL hurt when she’s shaking your hands. You can see on her face she’s going all out trying to crush your hands and she’s enjoying it. Respond pretty well to questions.
Always happy and cheerful, Sekki listens careful to what fans tells her and then gives a thoughtful response.
Arai-sama takes a little warming up if she’s not familiar with you, but once she gets used to seeing your face, she’s pretty fun to meet. She has pretty good memory of fans.
Kikka treats every fan like family. Her responses are beyond clever. Sometimes she even points out things about you that she notices. “Wow, you have really nice skin that would make a girl jealous!” (No, she didn’t say this to me, but to someone I know. You know who you are LOL)
The complete opposite of what people generally think of her, Reina is very nice to fans. She listens to every word you throw at her and deliver meaningful instant responses. When she’s up for it, she can even be quite playful.
Okamari is very friendly and always welcome fans with a smile. She can also take a joke or two if you don’t go too overboard.
It’s possible to carry a mature and meaningful conversation with Nee-san. Overall she is very friendly and welcoming.
Marin is very easy to handle. She laughs at pretty much whatever jokes you can come up with and will blush if you tell her that she’s cute.
Hama-chan has a rather weak grip (She’s pretty much all bones orz). She pays close attention to what you are telling her, but fails to give a proper response other than “Ah…thank you!” Otherwise, she’s happy to meet fans.
Tagucchi is even weaker, she’s so fragile T_T Just like Hama-chan, she’s also super happy to meet you but can’t really come up with a proper answer. This seems to be an issue with the Kenshuusei, they are just too inexperienced and shy.
Bias aside, in my opinion the best handshakers from this list are: Fukumura Mizuki, Iikubo Haruna, Shimizu Saki, Tsugunaga Momoko, Yajima Maimi, Suzuki Airi, Miyazaki Yuka, and Miyamoto Karin. All these girls listens carefully before giving a response. They make exaggerated movements to show that they are trying and not just standing there.
Please take this list as a mere reference. Again, your mileage may vary.
As an added perspective, here’s Firren’s take on this topic.
Firren’s Memorable Handshake Moments and Impressions 2014
Third trip and another bunch of handshakes with my idols. The number of handshakes seem to get lower every year but I had some decent diversity and got to shake all the essential groups (-C-ute +Berryz). Since I’ve been tasked to write about memorable experiences and impressions, this will probably end up being a very short article. The reasons for this are 1: My bad memory, and 2: I tend to have a specific focus when going into a handshake, so I don’t really notice much else. Even so I ended up having a couple of memorable moments!
Moments will be brought up group by group but other than that in no particular order. Groups/artists included in this year’s trip were Kikka, Lovendor, UUG, J=J, Smileage, Berryz and MM.
First up is the Kikka handshake, which was my first one ever with her. This one was memorable in so many ways (even besides the actual handshake). First of all she just walked through the crowd on her own when she showed up and placed herself behind a small table close to the entrance of the building. After that I noticed the handshakes were insanely long, and since the only reason I wanted this handshake was because I’d never seen her before I didn’t prepare anything to say. Good thing I’d achieved a safety net from sferris earlier in the trip, which was a simplified way to ask them to guess where I’m from. So my roughly 30s handshake consisted of that and then me trying to understand what she was trying to tell me (which I failed at). A wota told me afterwards though that she was trying to tell me that I have smooth skin. My first impression of Kikka is that she is relaxed, nice and has good eye sight.
Second we have Lovendor. I’d only seen Reina once before and it was two years prior, and back then I got a positive impression from her since she was not at all as absent and boring as I had heard people say she was at handshakes. This handshake was a lot longer than the one I had before (though still not nearly as long as the one with Kikka). I don’t know if it was a one time thing or if she’s always like this nowadays, but to me she seemed very happy and attentive, which was nice to see. I even managed to make her laugh! There were also three other girls there.
Third I’ll go with UUG. I’ve had loads of handshakes with this group before (this was my 17th with the entire group), but only ended up with one this year. The uppies are my favorite group to have group-shakes with. Since I tend to put most of my focus on a single girl my meetings with the rest normally end up with something very generic or just awkward silence. But with most of the uppies I don’t have to worry about this because they often have something to say to me instead! Another fun thing about them is that they normally wear sneakers instead of those stupid height-enhancers most other idols use, which of course is a bit of a treat for someone (like me) who likes short girls. About the actual handshakes, there are three girls in the group with above average grip strength. These three are Maana, Konatsu and, of course, Akarin. Akarin does in fact (in my experience) have the strongest grip out of all idols that I’ve met. Yes, even stronger than Maimi. Interesting things that got said was Sekki pointing out that Akarin is my favorite (despite me not wearing anything that indicated that), to which I answered “I’m sorry” and moved on. Konatsu greeted me with “ohisashiburi”, which made her the first idol to verbally point out that she recognizes me from my previous trips. I’m sure there are more of them that recognize me though (atleast I’d like to believe that). Besides that I also got to enjoy the 40cm height difference between me and Miiko, and Akarin’s sadistic grin while she tried to crush my hand.
Fourth, Berryz. Another group that I’ve had quite a few handshakes with (12 before this trip), all because of Momo of course. I only had one handshake with them this year, and the only reason I saw them at all was because I wanted one last handshake with Momo before their “hiatus”. The handshake was ridiculously fast, but there were still 3 small details that I managed to catch. First was Risako beating her own record in lamest handshake ever by holding only one completely limp hand out. Second was Momo’s strong but strange grip (it’s like she’s pushing both hands together instead of squeezing with the fingers). And third was that captain was in regular, flat-soled shoes. She looked short even next to Momo.
Fifth will be Smileage. Only one handshake with these girls too. It was somewhat fast and the only thing noteworthy was that Meimei was speaking some weird language (supposedly french), and the only thing I could understand was the “Eh? Wrong?” she said in Japanese as I changed from a stationary into a moving question mark. This also happened to be her first event with her new short cut that she showed on her blog a few days later.
Sixth and second to last, Juice=Juice. I saw these fresh, young ladies a few times last year. Unlike previously mentioned idols, I actually had several meetings with these girls this trip. First I’ll bring up the solo handshakes I had with Akari, Tomoko and Sayubee. The two I had with Tomoko weren’t that interesting, except that she promised me to study English during the second one. Akari was a bit more memorable. When I told her where I’m from her “Hontou!?” was so loud that even Eripon would seem mellow in comparison (Eripon is usually very loud at handshakes). I also had two handshakes with Sayubee, and thanks to a misunderstanding the combination of these turned out to be the most interesting handshakes I’ve had with idols so far. For the first handshake we just exchanged greetings and I used the phrase I’d learned from sferris to ask her to guess where I come from. Weirdly enough her answer was “Berryz Koubou-san no naruchika!”. The mix of confusion and lack of Japanese skills prevented me from explaining what I was trying to say, but she actually figured it out as I was being pushed out (no time to answer though of course). But her answer was quite interesting in the way that the Berryz+J=J naruchika was the last time I saw her last year, which led me to believe that maybe she’d thought I’d asked where she remembers me from instead of where I come from. So for the second one I scrapped my original plan (which I can’t remember what it was anymore) and instead asked if she actually remembers me from that tour. She answered “Yes!” with a big smile, which of course made me quite happy. But then she continued by saying “You were wearing a Momochi t-shirt!”, and a second later I was being led out with my jaw dragged along the floor behind me. She had remembered both my face and what I was wearing in a horde of several hundred other fans when I last saw her a year ago. That’s like dream level! Later in the holiday I also had two handshakes with the whole group. The things I remember from these are telling Tomoko that I hope her English will have improved by the next time I see her (in English). And even though I normally don’t like when idols pretend that they understand what I’m saying, her sly grin as she gave me a confident “Yes!” made me think that she really didn’t expect me to believe that she knew what I had just told her, which kinda made it ok. The other thing I remember from those group shakes is Sayubee’s super cute sad-face when I told her I was going home the day after. Also Karin has a surprisingly strong grip.
Final group, Morning Musume. I actually haven’t had that many handshakes with MM on previous trips, but managed to get a decent number this time, and they were quite spread out over the entire holiday. In total I attended three different solo handshake events and two group handshakes. For solo handshakes I had one with Haruka, one with Eripon, one with Fukuchan, a few with Sakura and a few more with Ayumi. The first three I got tickets for because they were the ones I never saw last year but wanted to see again, and also I bought these tickets before I knew about any of the group shakes. I asked Haruka, Eripon, Fukuchan and Sakura to guess where I’m from, and based on what I heard from these four, the other idols that got the same question and Meimei I came to the conclusion that all idols think that all white people are French. I consider my conversations with Ayumi to be private so I won’t go into any details about them, but I did teach her som Swedish that she actually remembered between the times I saw her. The first of the group handshakes was the one for the album release event at Sunshine City, which didn’t leave me with any interesting impressions or memories. Second one was for the naruchika concert, which also was Sayu’s last naruchika. This was the only time I actually took notice of their grips, and I normally do that when they stand out somehow, which made me a bit confused that I haven’t noticed any of it before during this trip. The first one was Sakura who stood out in a bad way (I had five handshakes with her this trip and this was the only time I noticed anything) by having hands almost as limp as Risako, but atleast she was using both. Second one was Fukuchan who had a really strong grip (which I noticed during my first trip too), and the last one was Sayu, who also had a really strong grip (though not quite as strong as Fukuchan). My guess is that Sayu put some extra effort into her last naruchika handshake.
As a little bonus, I also had three handshakes with Morning Musume’s 12th generation. I’m guessing the girls all get some kind of directions on how to act during handshakes when they first join, cause they all felt kinda generic. Average grip and a thanks. The only thing I had planned for this was to speak Swedish to Miki. She supposedly knows English and would surely expect a foreigner to speak that to her, so I did of course not have any intention to do so. I don’t really remember what I said, but it was in style of a generic greeting and nice to meet you or something. She gave the impression of listening intently while I was speaking, and after a moment of silence she just laughed. Whether this was because she pretended to understand me or that she knew I was messing with her I don’t know, but hopefully the latter.
So this year I ended up having handshakes with all current H!P members except C-ute and Smileage 3rd generation. There hasn’t been any opportunity to meet with the new smileys yet, but I have seen C-ute before and my general impression of them is good. Maimi has a really strong grip and her, Nakki and Chisa all tend to be in high spirits.
Ayumi is a perfect angel. That is all.