The “age of JPOP idols” in Japan began in 1971, the first year the term “idol” (aidoru) was used on NHK’s iconic Koukaku Red and White Song Battle music show. These days the queens of the idol scene is AKB48, a group of idols based in Akihabara, a place that’s become a major source of general otaku culture as well as a good place to buy electronics in Tokyo. Whenever something becomes as big a wadai (lit “topic of conversation”) as AKB48, you can bet parody groups will spring up, and some of the more famous ones include SKL39 (created by the Skylark restaurant chain to promote its attractive waitresses), AKG48 (an idol group near J-List that promotes agriculture products from Mt. Akagi), and the new RAB48, a group of “Real Akiba Boys” who are hardcore otaku types that can dance very well. (Rule 34 also applies.) Incidentally, you can see some interesting AKB48 products on J-List, and you also buy all the music using the handy iTunes Japan Prepaid Cards that we offer. So what do you think of Japan’s idols? Kawaii or mind-numbingly silly?
AKB48, the cutest girls on the Japanese idol scene these days.