Meet Japan’s Newest Idol Group Made Up of Company Employees

  • Have you heard about the latest mega-member idol unit in Japan? Higashi Ikebukuro 52 (東池袋52) is a group made up of 24 female employees who work for a credit card company! It is surprising that the idol unit is made up of amateurs in entertainment, and yet was able to produce a polished performance. How did they accomplish this, and for what purpose?

    About Credit Saison (セゾン)

    Japan has a huge number of credit card companies. Though the country has changed over the years, you can still continue living without using credit cards. However, owning a card can come in handy. It is not only used for restaurants and accommodations but also for transportation and shops. Do take note that if you are a foreign person living in Japan, you are at some disadvantage when you try getting a card. Credit regulations are tight and foreigners often have temporary working status visas.

    However, it is possible to get a credit card even though it is slightly more difficult than if you’re a resident. If you get rejected by one company, you can always change to another company. An example of a popular credit card company is Credit Saison, which is the third largest issuer of credit cards in Japan. It was founded in 1946 by Torajiro Okamoto (岡本虎二郎). The company has quite a history and even experienced difficulties during the collapse of the Japanese asset bubble in the 1990s. Some of the creditors tried restructuring the business by parting from other retailers of Saison Group. Annual fees for a Saison Card are up to 3150 yen for normal cards. There are also two types of platinum cards with fees of 10,500 yen and 21,600 yen.

    The Idol Group

    Higashi Ikebukuro 52 was created by Credit Saison. Its headquarters is located on the 52nd floor of Sunshine 60 (サンシャイン60) Complex of Higashi Ikebukuro, thus the number 52 on the group’s name. The group was unveiled to the public on May 19th, 2017. The company thought of assembling an idol group in order to represent the Higashi Ikebukuro area or East Ikebukuro.

    The group have released their new song, I Saison (わたしセゾン). The songs were made possible with the hiring of cameramen who previously worked for Nogizaka46, a Japanese female idol group produced by Akimoto Yasushi (秋元康). With the help of professionals, choreography and lyrics were made possible. If you watch the video clip, you will see several scenes from Higashi Ikebukuro such as the nearby Ikebukuro Station (池袋駅). CDs of the song were released on June 1st, 2017 and can be received by credit card customers through a special point system. These will come in three versions which followers can purchase. Fan events are also being made available.

    Idol groups in Japan are known for enticing many followers into attending several events and purchasing products. This is just the beginning for Higashi Ikebukuro 52 as a newly-added idol group in the country. Do you think this will bring in many credit card customers for Credit Saison?

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