Without a doubt, AKB48 is one of the most famous and not to mention largest idol groups in Japan. Their image is all over the country from television shows and commercials to print ads, concerts and events, and their music is spreading all around. This December, the idol group will be celebrating something very special to them, their 10th Anniversary.
But aside from the 10th anniversary, the group will also be having a special celebration, – graduation, and will soon be saying thank you to and farewelling one of their most notable members that has been with the group since day one, Minami Takahashi.
An idol group produced by Akimoto Yasushi, AKB48 started out by performing at their own theater on the 8th floor of Don Quijote in Akihabara. The first batch of members more known as the “1st Generation” was announced on October 2005 and debuted on December 8th of the same year. There are currently five teams namely Team A, K, B, 4 and 8 and these teams still actively perform in their theater and as of when this article is being written, the idol group has 41 released singles.
The first time the girls performed on their theater’s stage there were only 7 people present in the audience. But now, you would be lucky if you got picked by the lottery system to get a chance to watch the girls perform in their home base. The idol group that once had only a few supporters now has concerts and events performing all around and even outside the country. Many girls are dreaming of becoming a part of this phenomenal idol group that is AKB48.
A month before the big anniversary, there are two major promotions that are taking place. These promotions are for the upcoming release of AKB48’s 7th album and their 42nd single.
The album marks the 10th anniversary of the idol group and at the same time the graduation of its long-time member, Minami Takahashi. There are three versions and one theater edition that will be on sale on November 18. The first version of the album is No.1 Singles, the included songs are singles that have reached top places based on the Oricon Charts with 28 songs including 3 new. The second version is Million Singles, which features 23 songs that were sold at a number over 1 million copies, and also includes 6 new songs. The third version is Complete Singles, the album includes all 41 singles released to date, with 2 re-recordings of the group’s singles and 3 new songs. The Theater Edition includes singles similar to those from the Million Singles except for the 6 new songs which were replaced by 2 other new singles. There is an entire website dedicated to the album which is basically a timeline discography of the group’s singles.
The title of the 42nd single was announced during the group’s handshake event in Hokkaido on November 7, the single will be on sale just the day after the group’s 10th anniversary. A special set list produced by Minami Takahashi will also be performed at the AKB48 Theater to commemorate the single’s release. This will be Minami’s last “senbatsu” and single as an AKB48 member and her last performance as the “center”.
Her name has already been mentioned in this article a number of times, so some of you might be wondering who she is and why she is so important to the group.
For starters, Minami Takahashi or Takamina is a member of Team A and is a first generation member who auditioned to join the group at the age of 14. In a segment in AKBINGO!, it was revealed that she was chosen to be a member of the idol group because both her birthday and height included the numbers 48. Minami Takahashi is a member of the unit No Sleeves alongside the remaining 1st Generation members Kojima Haruna and Minegishi Minami, and is also a solo singer.
Takamina is the only AKB48 member that has participated in all singles except for the Janken ones and has ranked fairly well in the groups yearly “Senbatsu Sousenkyo Event”. During the 2009 Team Shuffle, Takamina was announced as Team A’s captain and in 2012, she was promoted to be the official “Sokantoku” or General Manager of not only AKB48 but the whole 48 Group during the concert in Tokyo Dome.
There is a yearly practice where a pink tape is pasted on the two pillars inside AKB’s theater which represents every year that has passed since the formation of the idol group. And on the 8th of December 2014, celebrating AKB48’s 9th anniversary, a giant clock was displayed for the following year’s anniversary countdown and at the same time Minami Takahashi has finally dropped the graduation bomb onto. She revealed to many that she will be graduating exactly one year from her announcement which is AKB48’s 10th Anniversary.
The AKB48 10th Anniversary Festival will be held on the 6th of December in Tokyo which will include big names of earlier graduated members like Maeda Atsuko, Oshima Yuko, Shinoda Mariko, Tomomi Itano and some others for a one-time live to celebrate AKB48’s theater opening anniversary.
Fans who have purchased the AKB48 2nd Anniversary Special Photo Album that was released in 2008 had an invitation ticket inserted in it. Those who kept the invitation ticket until now may apply for the 10th Anniversary Premium Live.
Many fans are looking forward to AKB48’s 10th Anniversary and Takahashi’s last performance as an AKB member. There is less than a month left until the current Soukantoku graduates from the group, but the level of participation and contribution she has brought for both the members and the group will never be outmatched and forgotten.
For further details on anything related to AKB48, check their official website here