AKB48 (read "A.K.B. Forty-eight") is a Japanese girl group. It has achieved such popularity in Japan that it has been characterized as a social phenomenon. The group has 91 members, ranging in age from early teens to mid-20s. Produced by Yasushi Akimoto, it is one of the highest-earning musical acts in the world, with 2011 record sales of over US$200 million in Japan alone.

The group's thirteen latest consecutive singles topped the Oricon Weekly Singles Chart. In 2010, "Beginner" and "Heavy Rotation" placed, respectively, first and second in the list of Japan's best selling singles for the year. In 2011, AKB48's singles occupied the top five spots of the Oricon Yearly Singles Chart. The band has sold over 20 million CDs, and holds the record for most singles sold in Japan by a female group.

AKB48 is named after Akihabara (Akiba for short), the area in Tokyo where the group's own theater is located. The idea of AKB48's producer Yasushi Akimoto was to create a girl group that, unlike a regular pop group, which gives occasional concerts and that is mostly seen on TV, would have its own theater and perform there on a daily basis; the fans would always be able to go and see the girls live. Presently, AKB48 still performs at the theater every day, although, due to great demand, tickets are now distributed only via a lottery.

Read more about AKB48:  Personnel, Concept, Musical Style, Reception, Other Media Work, Controversies, Philanthropy, Performances Outside of Japan, Members, Awards, Sister Groups

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AKB48 - Sister Groups
... AKB48 producer Yakushi Akimoto has also created AKB48 sister groups that are based on the same "idols you can meet" concept ... Members of the AKB48 sister groups also occasionally feature in AKB48's performances and singles ... Jurina Matsui and Miyuki Watanabe, members of AKB48 sister groups, have also been temporary members of AKB48, as well ...
Atsuko Maeda - AKB48
... AKB48 released "Aitakatta" on the major label Defstar Records ... Surprise!", included voting tickets for the 2009 AKB48 Senbatsu Election, where fans can vote for who will be featured in the next single ... Maeda won with 4,630 votes, becoming AKB48's most popular member and frontgirl for their 13th single, "Iiwake Maybe" ...