38,000 girls apply to join Shanghai sister group of AKB48
Relations may be strained between Japan and China at the political level over the Senkaku islands, but in the field of arts and entertainment, it’s a very different story.
Chinese media reported Tuesday that approximately 38,000 girls from all over China have applied to become the first 16 members of SNH48, the sister group of mega-popular Japanese idol group AKB48. Applications began in early July and ended on Aug 30, Xinhua news agency reported.
A spokesman for SNH48’s office in Shanghai said that on the first day of applications, the official website crashed because too many people were trying to access it.
The spokesman said that interviews will be held this month in Chengdu, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai to whittle the number down to 1,000 who will audition for the 16 available places by November. They will then hold their first live performance in December.
AKB48 already has sister groups called JKT48 (in Jakarta) and TPE48 (in Taipei).
Yasushi Akimoto, who created AKB48, said last month he was starting a “study abroad” program for his girls. Some of them will be sent abroad to spend a few months with their counterparts in Jakarta, Taipei and Shanghai.