AKB48 and AKB48 Theater

Hello everyone, as you may have noticed I missed posting the Fashion Hime again this week. I really wanted to get it up, but I was editing photos again and then I did some actual homework! Haha, how shocking. After that it was already 16:30 and I had to get ready and meet friends at a vegetable izakaya in Shibuya.

I will do my best to post the FHF interview next Friday, and also try to post more often. I wrote down all my school assignments due until I leave Japan (TT) and was able to wake up early today, so I will hopefully be better at using my time.

Sourced from Google image search

Today I want to introduce a topic that I have very little right to write about (since I have little knowledge haha) the big idol group AKB48. It's hard to ignore AKB48's influence in Japan as they are gaining more and more popularity and mainstream attention. It's possible to see them often on TV, and they have a very dedicated fanbase.

AKB48 is a pop idol group that has currently released 15 singles since their formation in 2005, with a new single coming out this month. Their music style can only be described as Japanese pop as it's very cutesy and up-beat, and they preform elaborate dances as their sing their songs on stage.

A very sexy AKB48 ad spotted near Akiba

AKB48 was formed with the intention of making an idol group that was very accessible to it's fans, where people could interact on a daily basis with the idol members and be more close to them.

They have their own dedicated stage, which is located on the 8th floor of the Don Quijote building in Akihabara. There are daily weekday performances, and at least one performance on the weekends. Fans can go buy their tickets, watch TV screens showing recordings and after the show - buy official goods at the AKB48 store a floor below.

Lining up to buy AKB48 show tickets

Fans waiting to get into the theater. Mostly guys aged 20-40 (more young guys than I expected!)

Currently there are 63 members of AKB48 listed on the official Japanese website. There are three teams A, K and B with 16 members each and also a training team with 15 members. From what I had seen previously I thought most of the members were pre-teens or early teens, however the average age of the girls is around 16 or 17. They are just styled to look younger haha.

Other teams have formed in the wake of AKB48's popularity. SKE48 formed in Nagoya with the same format. And SDN48 formed with a slight twist, all members are over age 20 and perform every Saturday night on the AKB48 stage. If I became a fan of these groups I'd pick SDN48 because of their ages, and they have a gyaru-type member (but many of them are not so cute as AKB48 members).

SDN48, sourced from Google image search

The producers of AKB48 would like to try forming groups in other parts of the world. AKB48 has already performed in Paris and New York, but I think their abroad fan base is generally very limited to Japanophiles, Japan-fans (I will invent the term JaFan now haha) and otaku.

I doubt that AKB48-like pop idols teams could be replicated in the western world and be successful. The performances would have to be styled like Glee or High School Musical, and would loose their Japanese appeal. But I am quite sure AKB48 teams could be formed in other parts of Asia with success.
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  1. oh yeah this is the one that is continuosly being compared to Korea's SNSD! I haven't heard any songs from them, but now I will. Thank you Sara!

  2. I am not ashamed to say I like AKB48, haha XD I was shocked to see so many young guys at the theatre in your photos too! I expected more old creepy wota (like with Hello!Project lol)
    & I didn't know about SND48~ sounds interesting! Thanks for the info :)

  3. Hah that is mad confusing (X X)

  4. I like AKB48~ but I don't think the girl group concept can be popular in the western world: most people find idol groups out =(

  5. they are going to be performing at anime expo here~! that lingerie ads is super sexy
    i want it~!

  6. lol umm im just not a fan of AKB48... cos it's too otaku for me :P I heard they are suppose to be waaay older than they look o_O

  7. Haven't heard of them but they are all very pretty! :)

  8. i wanna try listening to them now :p

  9. I prefer other japanese idol groups, but it's true AKB48 is very popular in Japan now ^^

    I think the concept could be exported to western countries, but for an otaku "minority" D:

  10. I did see them live in France ♥♥♥ Really cute band! AND SO SHORT! but utterly cute ♥♥♥

  11. I have NEVEr heard of AKB48 and I'm not going to pretend to understand the reasons behind the formation of a group of such epic proportions... I'm sure it's a lot of fun though!

  12. I would love to see Japanese music become more popular overseas, but I think if you're not a 'JaFan' as you say, then you don't 'get' it and their appeal is lost! It's a shame but I would love it if some of my favourite J-groups came over to the UK...

  13. AKB48 are growing on me a little bit. Not to the point where I want to listen to their songs, but I don't change the channel if they come on TV. Did you actually go to their show?

  14. I also think such kinds of girl band wouldn't be succesful in Germany. I've never heard of them before, though, only Morning Musume and so on. I don't like them actually, for me they are a just a bunch of girls calling themselves singers though they don't really can :-( Honestly, I cannot take such bands seroiusly, but they are somehow cute, nevertheless XD

  15. I watched a PV of this group on youtube some days ago! (o.o) xD!
    Your blog is very nice (^^)!
    I follow you~~

  16. Um...~ Just thought that I'd point out to you that SDN48 is a bit more... "mature", I guess.
    I mean, you need to be 18+ just to get in to their show...
    They're definitely geared towards an older audience, and have a much more mature image than AKB48.... So they're mostly popular with older (male) otaku, in general.
    Just pointing that out~ = v = //

  17. I'm so amazed AKB48 has gone mainstream. In 2008 people would talk about them like they were "that" group that was in Akiba for the nerds. It's amazing how they've evolved.

    ...and also some were in the recent Gilfy style book <3

  18. I agree, if they brought it to the US they would probably sex it up and take the "moe" factor or whatever that makes the group attractive to otaku types. I could see them MAYBE (big maybe) come to a large US con somewhere and preform, but I think that is the only venue that they would get enough attention...

    I much prefer SNSD or Morning Musume. :P

    I think that the US doesn't really like super large groups either.
    It seem like the US likes groups in 3 or 5 members. I actually like pop groups myself. I find it kind of sad that we don't have boy bands here in the US anymore like in the 90's. I mean like in the way that the Backstreet boys were such a craze! It also seems that these girls are more like a family, maybe I am wrong, but I could see that if there were a branch in the US, all the girls would be divas and fight, break up and try to do solo projects. xD haha

  19. Very true. Western cultures don't take the same perspective on 'cute' (i.e. kawaii, moe, etc) as Eastern Asians do. And most definitely not the Japanese's perspective.

    Westerners tend to consider 'acting cute' during performances is disgusting, e.g. lifting hind legs up n forming a 'V' shape, palming ur cheeks and pouting, etc.

    Most of them prefer bold, erotic/sex appeals. You can probably note this difference in between western MTVs and Asian MTV/PVs.

    To cut to the chase, it's the cultural gap more than being an 'otaku' or 'JaFan'.


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