Japanese pop stars go global with cafe

Japan's most wildly popular all-girl pop band has opened its first cafe outside its home market.

Three members of AKB48 were on hand Saturday to open the cafe that bears their name on Singapore's famous Orchard Road, with Maria Abe, Haruka Shimazaki and Miyu Takeuchi meeting with fans and handing out gifts to diners.

The cafe can seat 60 and is designed as a replica of the band's theater in the Akihabara district of Tokyo. The venue will also stage exclusive screenings of the band's new videos and patrons will be able to meet their idols when they are visiting Singapore.

The menu is described as modern Japanese fusion and is expected to feature as many as 70 dishes when it is fully rolled out.

In the future, the 58 members of the band - who are split into four different teams and currently hold the Guinness World Record for being the pop group with the greatest number of members - will also contribute their own favorite recipes that will be added to the menu.

Worldwide music-themed restaurant chain Hard Rock Café set up its location in Singapore in 1990, while the fast food chicken chain Kenny Rogers Roasters, which bears the name of the American country singer, has several outlets in the city-state.

AKB48 are at the forefront of Japan's efforts to promote its "soft culture" exports, which also include animated movies, fashion, art and manga, and the opening of the cafe in Singapore heralds a new campaign to further raise the profile of Japan's entertainment-sector exports.

The group is not entirely without controversy, however, as their management was forced to admit last week that one of AKB48's young singers does not even exist.

Aimi Eguchi has a personal "profile" on the group's website and has appeared in television and magazine adverts in Japan for confectionary company Ezaki Glico - until fans noticed an uncanny similarity with some of the other singers in the group.

Instead of being a 16-year-old up-and-coming starlet from Saitama Prefecture, Eguchi has been unmasked as a computer-generated composite of the best facial features of other members of the group.

The management team behind the group has turned all the teenagers of the group into media stars in Japan, with the group recently releasing an album that sold 1 million copies immediately after its release.

Older members who "graduate" from the group have gone on to careers in modelling and movie roles, their places taken by fresh-faced newcomers.

The ambition now appears to be to take that recipe for success overseas and to broaden the group's appeal on a global stage.

AKB48 Singapore: http://www.akb48.com.sg/

JR

 

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Assistant Manager

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This hotel in Chadderton is a p...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Content Assistant / Copywriter

    £15310 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has arisen for a...

    Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

    £24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Situated in the heart of Bradfo...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence