AKB48 - Japan's Hot, All Girl Idol Group
What is AKB48?
What is AKB48? It's the ingenious creation of a man by the name of Yasushi Akimoto. Akimoto took advantage of Japan's only abundant natural resourses, (cuteness, school girls, Japanese pop) to make one of the most marketable Idol groups of all time. And Mr. Akimoto claims he can recreate his success anywhere in the world if his exact formula is followed.
The AKB48 Formula
This is Mr. Akimoto's official formula for an AKB48 style idol group:
- 1. All the songs are produced by Yasushi Akimoto
- 2. Idol girls must wear school girl uniforms or seifuku
- 3. Handshaking events with fans are a must.
- 4. Fans can vote to choose the front-girls
- 5. Idols you can meet
- 6. 3 teams with 16 members each = 48 total members
- 7. Showcase the growth of the members with tv shows and press events
- 8. Prospects apply through auditions
- 9. Members comprised of teenagers
- 10. A survival system of trainees being promoted and members graduating
- 11. Naming format of "XXX48"
According to Mr. Akimoto, if you are willing to fork over the cash, this format for an idol group will pay off big like it already has in Japan. A couple of things that are left out of the list but really should be included.
- 1. Bikini photo shoots
- 2. Sexually provactive music videos
- 3. Make them appeal as much as they can to the otaku and geek crowd.
AKB48 slide showClick thumbnail to view full-size
The AKB48 School Girl Uniform
The group got its start in 2005 when the first audition was held. Initially out of 45 girls, 20 were chosen. When it was decided that the group needed to be expanded, more tryouts were held and eventually the original 20 girls plus the winners of the tryouts were shuffled together and formed into the 3 teams. Team A, Team K and B. At this point the idol group was also given the name AKB48. AKB is an abreviation for an already shortened slang word for the popular electronics and maid cafe distract in Tokyo known as Akihabara.
From the begining AKB48 has also been a so called "theater group" because the teams perform once per week day at a stage in the Akihabara area of Tokyo.
Since their inception AKB48 has collectively released 2 full length albums and 5 charted singles. Several AKB48 dvd of live shows and group competitions have been made. 8 total AKB48 dvds have been produced and sold.
Life in AKB48
The life of an AKB48 member is said to be incredibly hard. Members are required to work around the clock perfecting themselves. They also must participate in daily concerts. When not performing members do fan events such as autograph signing ect.
Members are also encouraged to write personal blogs and answer fan mail.
The top members also participate in side projects such as AKB48 movies, commercials for other companies such as 711, or side musical projects.
The stress of being a member is also extremely high as the girls must put their personal lives on hold while in the group and focus solely on AKB48 and their fans. Any activity outside of what's approved by their producers is not allowed. The most notable and controversial rule is that the girls are not allowed to have personal relationships with men. The reasoning is that this keeps up their appeal with their fans and lessens their distractions.
Recently Oshima Yuko, a current member of AKB48 was caught up in a scandal when photos of her and young male model and actor Eiji Wentz were uncovered. Oshima and Wentz quickly dispelled any rumors to save Oshima's career.
Life after AKB48
AKB48 is still seen as a great way for it's members to develop their singing, dancing and acting skills and then move on to their own solo careers. But so far, there have been few success stories for former members. Most are still minor talents and have managed to barely piece together careers post AKB48.
Orii Ayumi for example who graduated from the group in 2007 has got several small roles in tv dramas and was started a career as a DJ and was the official face of Tokyo Tower in 2008.
Kawazaki Nozomi has been successful as a clothing designer. She runs her own company and actually personally owns a shop in the popular Ginza shopping district in Tokyo. She handles the daily business and is the chief model for the brand
Others however turn to less accepted careers, namely that of adult entertainment.
One such member from the first generation of AKB48 known as Rina Nakanishi made waves when she discarded her AKB48 uniform for the camera.
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