Get to know AKB48, the world’s biggest pop group

akb48

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one aghast at the video of Japanese idol Minami Minegishi crying with a shaved head to apologize for being caught by the tabloids leaving the home of a boy band member. This seems like an extreme reaction, but she was remorseful about breaking the dating ban that’s inflicted on members of the girl group AKB48. Part of the appeal of the girls is the fantasy of being able to date them, which is shattered if they are attached to someone else.

The group has repeatedly come under fire by the public because of how it sexualizes the girls, which seems inappropriate given the young ages of many of the members. The ages girls range from the early teens to mid twenties.

Curious to see see pics of Minegishi? Read on below.

Minami Minegishi

Hearing about Minegishi’s video made me curious to learn more about the controversial pop group. I mean, I’ve always known about them, but never really understood why there was a need for the massive number of members. Here’s what I dug up online:

  • AKB48, Japan’s biggest musical act, has 61 members as of May 2011 according to its official website. They hold the guinness record for the largest pop group in the world.
  • The number of members is meant to give the girls a break, so they all take turns to perform. AKB48 is divided into teams.
  • The group’s name came from Akihabara, a popular district in Japan that’s known for selling electronics, anime products, and basically a geek hangout.
  • They have a theater in Akihabara, where they perform almost daily. The brains behind the group, Yasushi Akimoto, wanted to form a different kind of musical act, one with the concept of “idols you can meet everyday.”
  • Every year, people get the chance to vote for their favorite girls by buying their CDs and registering online. The ones with the most votes get more airtime and the most popular girl gets to “lead” the group and she will have the starring role in a song/songs.

Interestingly, the creator of the group is trying to bring the concept to other parts of the world and has even started an Indonesian counterpart called JKT48, a Chinese group called SNH48, and one in Taiwan called TPE48. Check out the videos below of the AKB48 and its overseas sister groups:

AKB48:

JKT48:

SNH48:

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  • Ryan Amparo

    Wrong picture. That’s SDN48 at the header.