AKB48 Idol Group Confirmed at New York Anime Fest (Updated)

posted on by Egan Loo
Free concert, Q&A session, autographs during last weekend of September

The New York Anime Festival (NYAF) has confirmed that the female idol group AKB48 will be making their American debut at the September 25-27 event. Newspapers in Japan had revealed last month that AKB48 was going to New York. Producer and songwriter Yasushi Akimoto founded the 48-member group in 2005 as an idol group permanently stationed in Tokyo's Akihabara otaku shopping district.

AKB48 will perform two concerts in New York City — one short concert within NYAF at Jacob Javits Center on Saturday, September 26, and one free, full-length concert at Webster Hall on Sunday, September 27. They will also hold question-and-answer and autograph sessions on September 26.

Although they started out with 48 members, they now have 67 members including several trainees (kenkyūsei) in the wings. The full members are split into A, K, and B teams — named after the three syllables of the "Akiba" nickname for Akihabara. 16 of the members performed in Paris for Japan Expo 2009.

The group performed theme songs for the Deltora Quest and ICE anime projects. The contemporary artist and occasional anime creator Takashi Murakami illustrated the jacket for the AKB48 idol group's June 24 single, "Namida Surprise!" In return, AKB48 producer Yasushi Akimoto wrote the lyrics for the "First Love" tie-in song for Murakami's "Superflat First Love" anime short. Akimoto collaborated with manga artist Natsuo Kume on the AKB48 Sprout online manga about the members of Team B. AKB sang at the Kōhaku Uta Gassen television event on New Year's Eve 2007, and joined Japanese Prime Minister Tarō Asō for cherry-blossom viewing this part April.

Image © AKS

Update: AKB48 will also appear at the MIPCOM entertainment industry conference in Cannes, France in October. The group will perform during the conference's Opening Cocktail Party on Monday, October 5.

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