With kawaii(cute) smiles, sassy dance moves and a wide range of tunes from heart moving ballets to fast catchy tunes, the popularity of all girl idol group AKB48 has been growing since the idea turned reality happened back in 2005. It is no surprise that in Singapore where the number of people listening to J-Pop is on the rise, there has been a growing base of AKB48 fans which can be seen from the turn out of their performance here during last year's Anime Festival Asia (AFAX). Even POPCulture Online's Photographer admitted that one of their latest single, Beginner is on his playlist as he processes his photos.
And when AKB48 announced its intentions to do develop a multi-sensory J-Pop experiential project in Singapore plus the launch of the official website, you could just imagine the excitement of fans just by looking at all the online content and discussion about it.
Mr Yasushi Akimoto, the creator of AKB48 said "The key to AKB48's success has been the concept of bringing idols and fans closer through interactions and frequent live concert and events, and empowering the fans in shaping their idols as they evolve. 'Idols you can meet every day!' – this is the concept that I hope to bring into Singapore. In addition to regular concerts, by locating AKB48's theme Shop and Cafe adjacent to the Live Hall to make them more accessible to Singaporeans, I hope that they can feel and enjoy AKB48 and better appreciate live concerts. It will be great if fans in Singapore can eventually identify with and see AKB48 as their own idols someday".
The entry of AKB48 into Singapore is expected to kick of with an exciting collaboration that will create waves in the local J-Pop scene. For this, AKB48 will house this project at local youth hub *SCAPE which was a clear and obvious choice in location.
MS Lynette Lee, Managing Director of *SCAPE Co. Ltd., shared, "*SCAPE has been the melting pot for Singapore's youth trends and cultures. Through our ecosystem of facilities, programs and partners, *SCAPE empowers young people to express their individuality and allows them to have the freedom to embrace their passions and interest. Hence, this partnership is a good fit because it will not only let local youths to be exposed to the most current trends in Japan, but also facilitates the fostering of international cultures in *SCAPE."
To kick this off was the official opening of the AKB48 Official Shop Singapore at 1pm and it was no suprise to see fans already queuing up outside the *SCAPE entrance as early as 9am.
The media was invited to the press conference held just before the opening where Mr Shawn Chin, Project Director of AKB48 Singapore gave a introduction to the whole project. He also commented that the first theater concept performance by AKB48 had a good response with online ticket sales sold out in half a day and he hopes fans are looking forward to the AKB48 performance the next day.
Gracing the occasion was these 3 members from AKB48, Misaki Iwasa, Mika Komori and Miho Miyazaki. They gave a short Q&A session for the media and definitely impressed with their sincere response. From how one of them wants to do her best to study the English language so as to better connect with fans to also thanking the media for their concern about the recent tragedy that hit Japan with the massive earthquake and tsunami.