Prepare to be outraged: Japan votes for its “100 Best World Class Songs” 【Videos】

The long-running Japanese music program Music Station recently held a nation-wide survey polling 10,000 people on what they thought were Japan’s most world-class songs. Respondents told the TV show which songs they felt best represented Japan, throwing up popular artists such as Arashi and Mr. Children, and the results were aired on 23 September.

As with any music ranking, the results are open for debate, and this list is certainly no exception. However, looking at the top 10, it’s hard not to wonder where Music Station found the people who were asked to name Japan’s greatest ever song, and many Japanese netizens are calling the list “a national embarrassment”.

Are they right? Let’s find out by kicking things off with the 10th Best World Class Song: “Koi Suru Fortune Cookie” by AKB48.

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Japanese salarymen and OLs make company-wide music video of AKB48’s “Halloween Night” 【Video】

For the past two years AKB48 has asked fans and company staff to submit their own music videos to their newly released singles, and their latest track, “Halloween Night”, is no exception. While the song and official video are fairly typical AKB fare, the fan videos of it are really something to see.

And perhaps the best submitted music video so far belongs to the lovely employees at the Japanese internet advertising firm Cyber Agent. Men and women from every department shake and strut to the AKB Halloween beat, and watching it may cause you to suddenly want to work somewhere else.

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AKB48 not just popular in Japan – Belgian politician lobbying for first European concert

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.

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Is AK48’s Chinese sister group even cuter than the original? Our reporter thinks so!

Ever heard of SNH48, AKB48’s second sister group outside of Japan? Based in Shanghai, China, the idol unit has been active since 2012, releasing a total of eight singles to date. These singles are all Chinese-language covers of previous AKB48 singles, including their latest release on May 15–the Chinese version of “Manatsu no Sounds Good!” (盛夏好声音).

Now, I’m not someone easily swayed by the cutesy “charms” of idol singers, but a female writer on our Japanese sister site recently wrote a piece expressing her opinion that SNH48 could possibly be–dare I write it–even cuter than the veritable goddesses of the original AKB48.

Take a moment to watch their latest music video and decide who you think is the cutest!

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Little Maria! One of the finalists for the AKB48 draft this year is just 11 years old

Japan’s 140-member supergroup AKB48 is holding its second annual draft next month, in which sub-teams will choose new members from a draft of 48 young hopefuls. And among the finalists is one of the youngest potential members the group has ever seen.

Unlike the rest of AKB48’s members, who are in their teens and early twenties, 11-year-old candidate Maria Imamura is still in elementary school. But that hasn’t held her back in reaching the finals of the draft, a huge event which will be televised on May 10th.

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Man who attacked AKB48 members with saw at handshake event is jailed for six years

Hugely popular idol group AKB48 was founded on the premise of “idols you can meet” and over the years they’ve stuck to it, hosting numerous handshake and meet-and-greet events on top of their live shows and performances at their own special theatre. Sadly, that open, accommodating fan policy was jeopardised last year when two members of the group were viciously attacked at a handshake event by a crazed “fan” wielding a hand saw.

Luckily, the girls weren’t too seriously injured, but the incident shook the entertainment industry and led to increased security measures being implemented at celebrity events, and it was reported yesterday that the individual responsible for the attack has been sentenced to six years in prison.

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Cross-dressing talent Matsuko Deluxe: AKB opening the Tokyo Olympics “would embarrass Japan”

Larger-than-life columnist and talent Matsuko Deluxe is well-known for her sharp tongue, particularly where pretty ladies are concerned. This week the target of her ire is idol groups like AKB48.

On a radio show Monday, she slammed the idea of them performing for the Tokyo Olympics as “embarrassing.”

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AKB48 founder plans Japan48 idol group for Olympics, Phillipines spinoff

AKB48 founder and producer Yasushi Akimoto announced the formation of the Niigata-based idol group NGT48 at the “AKB48 Request Hour Set List Best 1035″ event in Tokyo on Sunday. His aim in creating another local group, he says, is to ultimately form an idol group called “Japan48” by the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Japan48 will draw its members from each of the local “48 groups.”

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Former AKB48 idol’s crowdfunding campaign includes date rewards

The former AKB48 idol Anna Mori is crowdfunding her first photobook after recently turning 20 years old (the “age of majority” in Japan, similar to turning 18 in the U.S.) and quickly raised 2,000,000 yen (about US$16,957) with a little help from some unique backer rewards. Mori offered threedates for backers who paid 200,000 yen (US$1,695).

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American teens watch J-pop music videos for the first time【Video】

We here at RocketNews24 love all things Japan and Asia so much that sometimes it comes as a slight shock when the rest of the world doesn’t share our passion. Still, with the advent of the internet and the amount of entertainment Japan exports to the west (Dragonball, Pokémon, Final Fantasy, etc), it’s no huge surprise to find kids in far-flung places who are pretty familiar with Japan and can name at least a few J-pop groups. Still, many teens out there don’t really get much exposure to Japanese stuff, so when they do, the results are pretty amusing to watch! In this video, which has piqued the interest of quite a few people online in Japan, regular American teens watch three J-pop music videos (from groups Perfume, EXILE and AKB48) and give their thoughts.

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New Fukushima school gets uniforms designed by the AKB48 costume designer

The new Futaba Future School, a combined junior and senior high school set to open in Hirono, Fukushima Prefecture this April, is getting some pretty snazzy uniforms. They were designed by Shinobu Kayano, the woman behind AKB48‘s colorful and memorable costumes.

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Who’s still buying physical media in Japan? Top 20 singles lists for the year reveal the answer

With a large music market and some of the world’s highest prices for physical releases, Japan has been very slow in adapting to digital distribution. Rights holders are finally warming up to the idea, though, and it doesn’t look like it’s ruining the industry in Japan. What downloadable music does seem to be doing, though, is splitting the country’s pop music market into two distinct parts, as the lists of Japan’s top 20 single downloads and CD purchases for the year are almost completely different.

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Princess Serenity negligee and pajama uniforms for core Senshi set to join Sailor Moon lingerie

We recently got a sneak peak at the second batch of Sailor Moon lingerie from merchandiser Bandai and intimate apparel maker Peach John. But while the two companies were generous with photos of what the new bra/panty/skirt sets will look like, they were only shown on nondescript, limbless mannequins.

Not only does a new batch of pictures rectify that with a human model, it also shows off some more modest bedroom attire, in the form of negligees and pajamas inspired by the dresses of characters Princess Serenity and Black Lady, plus the school uniforms worn by the five core Sailor Senshi.

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GMO’s pretty employees rival AKB48 with big smiles and short skirts


Submissions for AKB48’s Kokoro no Placard Video Awards are open, and the first company to submit their entry is GMO Internet Group, who reveals a startling high number of pretty ladies working for them. Just look at those fresh smiling faces! Will we be seeing a GMO idol group sometime in the future?

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AKB48 recruits new part-time idols – for US$10 an hour

The popular idol group AKB48 announced at the AKB48 Group Summer Festival on Sunday that they are recruiting new “part-time” members — for 1,000 yen (about US$10) an hour. Typically, potential AKB48 candidates must first undergo audition and become trainees before being promoted to regular members. However the “Part-Time AKB” campaign will bypass this long process, similar to Glico’s campaign to recruit a member over 30 years old earlier this year.

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AKB48 resumes handshake events with new security measures

Idol group AKB48 will resume hosting handshake events starting on July 5 with a large handshake event at the Tokyo Big Sight exhibition center. The official website for the group explained that because staff were addressing operational concerns and security issues, they decided to postpone all handshake events in June. The staff have been working with security firm JSS, and preparations are now complete on the new security measures for handshake and photographing events.

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Where do idol events go from here? AKB48 attack forces rethink on how handshake events are held

In the wake of the saw attack on two members of AKB48 and one man working with the venue, many readers of the news couldn’t help but think, “It was just a matter of time before something like this happened.”

Handshake and high-five events give fans and idols a daring level of closeness compared to pop stars in other countries. However, for years they have gone on relatively incident-free, which is surprising considering the thousands and thousands of people who participate around the country.

Despite the nagging feeling that something could go very wrong, these promotional events were hugely lucrative in an otherwise stale music industry. But now the company behind AKB48, as well as those handling other idol units who rely heavily on these events, have to find a way to ensure their stars’ safety without losing the sense of intimacy they’ve had with their fan-bases.

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AKB48 idols Anna Iriyama, Rina Kawaei released from hospital

AKB48 general manager Shinobu Kayano wrote on her official blog early Tuesday that the idol group’s members Anna Iriyama (18) and Rina Kawaei (19) were released from the hospital. Kayano confirmed that the injured male part-time staff member is also at home recuperating from his injuries and that she is grateful for his bravery while protecting Iriyama and Kawaei from their attacker.

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Newsflash: AKB48 members attacked by saw-wielding “fan” at handshake event【UPDATED】

At 4:55 p.m. today, the company behind many of Japan’s larger idol groups, AKS, released a statement regarding an attack on members of AKB48 and event staff during a handshake event in Iwate Prefecture this afternoon.

Members Rina Kawaei (19) and Anna Iriyama (18), as well as a male member of the venue staff, are said to have been injured, with a 24-year-old male taken into police custody.

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AKB48 producer Akimoto to produce 2020 Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony

Yasushi Akimoto is a nationally recognized figure in Japan’s music industry as both an accomplished songwriter (he wrote Hibari Misora’s famous swan song, “Kawa-no Nagare-no You-ni”) and producer behind the vast girl group AKB48 and its predecessor, Onyanko Club. He is even reported to be friends with Japan’s prime minister, Shinzō Abe. On March 17, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Committee acknowledged his prowess by naming him a member.

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