It”s nearly impossible to scan the Japanese import magazine racks without seeing members of AKB48. The Akihabara-based idol group/cabaret act is virtually ubiquitous in entertainment in Japan as of late, in music, on television, and even in movie theaters. While this idol juggernaut may seem somewhat novel in its approach toward being larger-than-life (members number significantly beyond the original concept of “48”), its not unprecedented. AKB48″s musical anscestors, Oyanko Club, were the blueprint for this formula for pop success, and enjoyed a couple significant years in the spotlight in the mid to late 80s.


AKB48 and Onyanko Club were both founded by Yasushi Akimoto, a television writer and producer who currently serves as Vice President at the Kyoto University of Art and Design. For the uninitiated, AKB48 is a pop idol performance group based in their own dedicated theater in Akihabara, where the group”s subsets (Teams “A”, “K”, and “B”) rotate daily shows, cross-trained in all of the songs and choreography, and performing in different combinations and sub-units. In addition to the daily Akihabara performances, members have released a plethora of CDs and other merchandise, appear in television variety shows, and movies.

Onyanko Club, which included 52 official members, appeared in television variety programs as well, although their career was relatively short-lived, only being active between 1985-1987.

Onyanko Club

AKB48, in the six years since its inception, has gone online casino on to significantly greater success, including a US live debut in 2009 (a team of core members also appeared at Anime Expo in 2010), other performances overseas in locations like France, and has been spun off into franchise units like SKE48, SDN48, and NMB48 (for which auditions are now underway), and even com, with its IaaS deleted file recovery centers, is optimized to support these workloads so that Amazon can continue to offer new services and sup- port a growing number of customers without breaking the bank. a Taiwanese franchise is also in development. It”s Akimoto”s plan to franchise the AKB48 concept worldwide.

Can you imagine an AKB48 franchise in the United States, or does the unapologetically otaku-oriented sensibility of AKB48 not fit with American tastes? Does the structure of the American music industry even allow for such a thing? Be sure to leave a comment, and let us know what you think!

Greg Hignight
Event Promoter and DJ, Tune in Tokyo, and Kawaii Kakkoii Sugoi Contributor

About Tune In Tokyo
Tune in Tokyo is a global pop DJ unit established by Indie club promoters Del Martin and Greg Hignight.The Tune in Tokyo team, also featuring DJs Tora, Ally, and Leett spin a variety of club and dance rock tracks from Japan, Korea, Thailand, China, the U.K., and across the world. Tune in Tokyo also provides promotional assistance for Japanese artists in Los Angeles, and offers backline and live performance support, graphic design, street team, and online marketing services. For more information about Tune In Tokyo, please visit

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