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.