Once upon a time in Japan, Pink Lady was THE biggest name in pop music. Their singles and albums sold like hotcakes, their concerts, from arenas to baseball stadiums sold out like crazy while the faces of Mie and Kei graced the covers of magazines, not to mention dozens of products from clothing to toys. You would think that no other group could possibly replicate what the Ladies had done back in the 1970’s. Well, you would be wrong, my friend! Forty years later, the successes of Pink Lady were taken to perhaps the most ridiculous extreme by Japan’s 21st century pop music juggernaut——AKB48.

AKB, short for Akihabara, Tokyo’s undisputed wonderland for all things, anime, manga, electronics, otaku culture and maid cafes is the brainchild of producer, Yasushi Akimoto who wanted to form a girl group with its own theater (unlike pop groups doing concerts and appearances on television) and performing daily so fans could always see them live. Akimoto’s "idols you can meet" concept includes teams which can rotate performances and perform simultaneously at several events and "handshake" events, where fans can meet group members. Akimoto expanded the AKB48 concept to several sister groups in China, Japan (one of the Japanese groups is headquartered on a cruise ship, yes, boys and girls, I said a CRUISE SHIP!) and Indonesia, along with the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand and became the largest idol group in Asia, what with with well over 300 members throughout the groups. Since AKB launched in 2005, the group (more like an army) has sold over 50 million records and is the highest grossing pop music group in Japan today what with 35 singles having topped the music charts, thirty of them selling over a million copies. Now THAT, boys and girls is selling power to the maximum! As old members have left over the years (in what's called "graduation" concerts) and new members replaced them, the group continues being relative, not to mention insanely popular, and nowhere else does that popularity truly assert itself than the fact AKB was named as the performers for the opening ceremonies at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Is that cool or what?

Just like Pink Lady four decades ago, AKB sells records, performs live, graces TV screens and the covers of magazines, hawks all sorts of products. Oh, yeah, they even starred in an anime series, AKB0048, a sci-fi show about renegade idols from numerous planets having banded together to bring music to masses in a totalitarian regime where music in general and idols in particular are banned. Even better, the girls of AKB even provided the voices to the characters in the show. I watched AKB0048 and thought it was seriously cool. Like I said, AKB took the things Pink Lady had done, and kicked things up a whole lot of notches to where they've become just as legendary as Mie and Kei had become. See for yourself by watching the videos below!

Heavy Rotation

Fortune Cookie

Gingham Check




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