Japan’s sending over to Singapore a literal musical tsunami AKB48, as if to re-establish their dominance in the music scene here, captive the last few years by the K-Pop or Hallyu Wave trend.
The AKB48 Girls
AKB48’s entrance qualifies as a tsunami both in terms of impact and persistence. Holding a Guinness World Record for the “Pop group with the greatest number of members”, this top idol group is made of a staggering 56, not 48, members, divided into 4 sub-teams – Team A, Team B and Team K and Team Trainee. As a sign of their sincerity, they’ll be here for fans for the long haul through 3 ways -an official AKB48 concept shop, an AKB48-themed cafe and bi-monthly theater performances by 16 members of AKB48 along with their sister groups SKE48, SDN48 and NMB48, all at youth-centric *SCAPE building.
“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,” stated Mr Yasushi Akimoto, the producer who created the group, in a press release.
Project Director of the AKB48 Singapore Concept Experience Project, Mr Shawn Chin, explained about the rationale behind this venture in a press conference.
“Why are we doing all these 3 things? I think the key thing is that for Singapore, we are really looking forward to the core idea of ‘Idols you can meet every day’.”
“For the first performance as a theater concert in Singapore, we had very good response with online tickets sales being sold out in just half a day,” he added, proving AKB48’s popularity in Singapore.
The AKB48 Café and Theater Concerts
Expected to begin operations in late June, the café will make its global debut in Singapore, and will provide a new and special idol-and-fan experience as visitors can view videos, messages and clips from the AKB48 girls, while enjoying Japanese delicacies and dessert, allowing them to feel closer to their favourite stars.
Not only that, AKB48 will be holding 2 live theater concerts every month from May 15. Their theatre-style concerts are consistently hits in Akihabara, Japan, where the group has their very own AKB theater for daily performances. To catch AKB48 live at the *SCAPE Warehouse in Singapore, it will cost local fan $50 each.
Tickets can be purchased at the official AKB48 store or booked on their official Singapore website.
Launch of the Official AKB48 Concept Store
It’ll take some effort for you to miss the eye-catching and princess-like shop located near to the entrance of the *SCAPE building and next to the Live Hall. Grandly decorated with exclusive merchandises of the AKB48 members, even non-fans will definitely enjoy their time while dropping by this elegant and posh-looking shop.
Fans can now buy a wide range of official AKB48’s merchandise, from posters to pen cases and even apparels. Supporters will also be able to get hold of official licensed goods of their idols from the Hong Kong store.
3 members of AKB48 – Misaki Iwasa, Mika Komori and Miho Miyazaki, graced the launch event on May 14. Looking animated and enthusiastic, they fervently counted to 3 before pushing the doors open, marking the launch of this merchandise shop.
Under the AKB48 spell
Some very lucky fans who were one of the firsts in line and had bought over $15 worth of merchandise at the store got to meet the 3 members of AKB48 in person and shake hands with them. Hordes of local and Japanese fans turned up for the launch of the official store, causing the queue to stretch from the entrance of *SCAPE to the back of the 1.2-hectare building.
28-year-old Victor, became the envy of other fans for snagging the first spot on the queue, despite coming only 1 hour early. He said he has been an avid fan of the girls for almost 4 years now.
Although the Singaporean fans will enjoy the luxury of patronising the store, concerts and the upcoming café, international fans didn’t forget to show their love and support towards the group as well. The thoughtful AKB48 Indonesian fan club ordered a congratulatory flower stand for the girls.