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/



election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

    £32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

    Guru Careers: Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Chef

    £27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...

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

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

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

    'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

    In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
    VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

    How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

    Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
    They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

    Typefaces still matter in the digital age

    A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
    Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

    'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

    New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
    The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

    Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

    Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

    Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
    Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

    Crisp sales are in decline

    As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
    Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

    Ronald McDonald the muse

    A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
    13 best picnic blankets

    13 best picnic blankets

    Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
    Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

    Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

    Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
    Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'