AKB48 (read "A.K.B. Forty-eight") is a Japanese girl group. It has achieved such popularity in Japan that it has been characterized as a social phenomenon.The group has 91 members, ranging in age from early teens to mid-20s. Produced by Yasushi Akimoto, it is one of the highest-earning musical acts in the world, with 2011 record sales of over $200 million in Japan alone.
The group's thirteen latest consecutive singles topped the Oricon Weekly Singles Chart. In 2010, "Beginner" and "Heavy Rotation" placed, respectively, first and second in the list of Japan's best selling singles for the year,while in 2011 AKB48 occupied the whole top 5 of the Oricon Yearly Singles Chart. With 15,130,000 CD single sales by Jun 29, 2012 according to Music Station, AKB48 holds the record for most singles sold in Japan by a female group.
AKB48 is named after Akihabara (Akiba for short), the area in Tokyo where the group's own theater is located. The idea of AKB48's producer Yasushi Akimoto was to create a girl group that, unlike a regular pop group, which gives occasional concerts and that is mostly seen on TV, would have its own theater and perform there on a daily basis; the fans would always be able to go and see the girls live. Presently, AKB48 still performs at the theater every day, although, due to great demand, tickets are now distributed only via a lottery.
AKB48 holds the Guinness World Record for being the world's "largest pop group".The group currently consists of a total of 66 girls, divided into three subgroups: Team A, presently with 21 members; Team K, also with 22 members; And team B, with 23 members .The group also includes a number of aspiring members, who are called "kenkyūsei" ("trainees").The member lineup often changes; when girls get older, they "graduate" from the group, while new members are cast through regularly held auditions. Having several teams not only allows the group to reduce the load on its members, since a daily concert at the theater is given by only one team, but also gives AKB48 opportunity to perform in several places and even countries simultaneously.
Yasushi Akimoto is also expanding his theater-based idol group concept to other cities and, since recently, countries. He has formed SKE48 (based at a theater in the Sakae area of Nagoya), SDN48 (intended to have a more mature image), NMB48 (Namba, Osaka),HKT48 (Hakata, Fukuoka), JKT48 (Jakarta, Indonesia), TPE48 (Taipei, Taiwan), SNH48 (Shanghai, China). Another of his recent creations, Nogizaka46, was announced as an official rival for AKB48.[clarification needed]
Given the large number of members in the group, who couldn't appear on stage at the same time, AKB48 needed some sort of selection method to determine who will record a single and perform it on TV, for example. So far, two big selection events are held annually. One member lineup is determined by fans who vote for their favorite members in so-called "general elections" ("sōsenkyo" in Japanese) by purchasing the group's latest single that includes a ticket that allows the buyer to register a vote for a particular member. The other is decided in a rock-paper-scissors tournament between the members themselves. The popularity of AKB48 had been so huge that, in the 2011 election, the number of votes cast exceeded 1 million, and the single "Everyday, Katyusha", that contained a voting ticket for the election, set a new Japanese all-time record for weekly sales of a CD single
2006–2008: Major debut and the DefStar Records period
Their first single under DefStar Records, "Aitakatta", was released on October 25, 2006, and it debuted at the 12th position on the Oricon weekly single charts.In the first 6 weeks of its release, "Aitakatta" sold a total of 25,544 copies.
On February 27, 2008, AKB48 released their tenth single, titled "Sakura no Hanabiratachi 2008". At the time of the release of their debut single "Sakura no Hanabiratachi", there was only Team A in AKB48. This 10th single features ten members from Team A, along with six and five selected members from Team K and Team B respectively. It was planned that people who collected 44 posters of the single CD would be invited to a special event, but this act was a suspected violation of the antitrust law, and it was eventually cancelled by DefStar Records
2012: Atsuko Maeda's graduation, Team reshuffling and transfers
By January 6, 2012 AKB48 had sold 11,787,000 CD singles according to Oricon, surpassing Morning Musume and becoming a new record for most singles sold in Japan by a female group holder.
On August 15, 2012, the group released their 4th album entitled 1830m. On August 27, 2012, Atsuko Maeda graduated a day after AKB48's Tokyo Dome three-day concert ends.
n autumn 2012,it was announced that AKB48 will be singing the ending theme "Sugar Rush" for the upcoming Disney movie Wreck-It Ralph.