The most famous idol group in Japan, AKB48, has a lot of fans all over the world. Not only do they perform to sold-out venues within Japan, but they have also held packed concerts in the US and other parts of Asia.
The group of singing female pop stars hasn’t made it to Europe yet, but one mega-fan might be influential enough to convince the AKB48 brass to take their tour bus to Belgium.
Jean-Francois Istasse is a French-speaking Belgian politician and an honorary senator who has also done a lot of work in the European Union. In 2012, he was hospitalized due to illness, but his recovery was apparently helped along thanks to Japan’s number-one idol group: AKB48. Istasse found their music to be reminiscent of French pop music from the ’60s and ’70s and, while the melodies are upbeat and carefree, the songs’ themes are often much deeper than their music might lead us to believe.
The Belgian politician found optimism in their lyrics and really connected with the idea that there is always a way that things can get better, even when approaching such delicate subjects such as homosexuality, unemployment and even suicide. That optimistic outlook is what Jean-Francois hopes to bring to Belgium – something he feels his country is currently lacking.
Jean-Francois is so passionate about AKB48 performing in his home country that he went so far as to make the appeal in person. He traveled to the AKB48 Cafe & Shop Akihabara, Tokyo, and arranged to meet with the producers of the idol group in order to persuade them to allow the girls to play a concert in Belgium. While they weren’t wild about the idea before they met, Jean-Francois was able to talk the producers into considering getting the girls onto a flight to Belgium. If it happens, it would be AKB48’s first ever European concert.
Jean-Francois himself is a also huge fan of Haruka Shimazaki, nicknamed Paruru – so much so that she tweeted her thanks to the politician in French.[tweet https://twitter.com/paruruchan0330/status/630348632366039040 align=center]
The first AKB48 concert in Belgium isn’t a done deal yet, but if all it takes is an enthusiastic politician to bring the idol group to your country, then it’s time to start writing letters to your senator. Here’s hoping that Jean-Francois can convince other Japanese groups to go to Belgium, it seems he already has his eyes on his next target: BABYMETAL.