Japan’s best selling artists return to meet fans31 May, 2011 by Chad
As reported previously, AKB48 have set up their first overseas theater in Singapore that started on 15th May 2011. Last Sunday, the girls were back in town to perform their second series of live theater performances at the SCAPE. On Saturday though, 3 members of the idol group visited one day earlier to greet fans at an exclusive handshake session.
The three members that fans could meet this time were AKB48 Team K’s Akimoto Sayaka, Umeda Ayaka and Nitou Moeno.
The three were some of the group’s more senior members. Akimoto and Umeda belong to the group’s second generation of members having joined the group in early 2006, while Nitou joined later in 2008. The three bring a more mature image to the pop group.
Akimoto Sayaka and Umeda Ayaka are also part of a new spinoff group called DiVA. DiVA advertises itself as AKB48’s first Dance and Vocal unit. The unit currently comprises of 4 AKB48 members that are well known for their vocal strength and vigorous dance skills but intends to recruit more talents from the public. DiVA debut earlier this May under the avex trax label. You can find the official DiVA website here.
Outside of the shop, fans from Singapore and Indonesia each brought flowers in lieu of the upcoming birthday celebration for another of the group’s members, Hirajima Natsumi the following day. This would be the first time any of the girls were to have an official theater birthday celebration overseas.
Upstairs, fans turned up earlier this morning to wait for the day’s highlight to begin. Since last Wednesday, any purchase of SGD$15 or above at the official AKB48 Singapore Shop came with a ticket for this free handshake session.
The AKB48 handshake session was held at the level art gallery in SCAPE this time. The “Grid” which was where the previous event was held at was occupied this weekend by a cosplay gathering. All was good as the Gallery turned out to be a more spacious and pleasant environment than the last.
Security was lax, compared to the previous fortnight’s event. Yet fans admirably continued to behave in an orderly fashion throughout the day.
As previously highlighted it’s a misconception that AKB48 are now anything but a mainstream artist. Like before, expats and young children made up a sizable portion of today’s attendees. Even more female fans turned up this afternoon, many of whom came to support the athletic Team K captain, Akimoto Sayaka.
Overall, the event was held smoother as well as the handshake ticket distribution had been staggered over the past few days. Fans were given much more time to spend with the individual members allowing for a full conversation with the girls even. Many took the opportunity to express their support for AKB48.
The girls often joked around with the public, making for some amusing moments. It may take some time for Singapore to understand and accept this different type of musical artist. But with AKB48 visiting Singapore as such a common occurrence, perhaps the group’s concept of “idols-you-can-meet” slowly begins to shine through.Click here to search CDJapan for official AKB48 goods.