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Old 4th July 2011, 10:42 AM   #1 (permalink)
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AKB48 "official rival" Nogizaka46 to debut in October

AKB48 "official rival" Nogizaka46 to debut in October
Posted: 01 July 2011 1712 hrs


TOKYO: Japanese girl group AKB48's manager Yasushi Akimoto announced Wednesday that he has decided to form a second girl group named Nogizaka46, and has begun looking for suitable members, reported Japanese media.


Members of the all-female Japanese pop group AKB48 at the Golden Melody Awards in Taipei. They are guests in an annual Taiwanese music award. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

According to Akimoto, Nogizaka46 will be Akihabara-based AKB48's "official rival" group - unlike girl groups SKE48, NMB48 and SDN48, which are essentially sister groups of AKB48 that are based in other parts of Japan.

Some AKB48 members expressed shock when they heard about the news.

"I heard about it in the news, but I thought it was a joke", said AKB48 member Haruna Kojima during a promotional event on Wednesday.

"Is that really true?" said AKB48 member Minami Takahashi, before adding that she welcomed the formation of the new group.

Akimoto had explained that he came up with the name "Nogizaka46" by putting together the name of the building where the final auditions will be held - the SME (Sony Music Entertainment) Nogizaka Building - and the number 46.

He said 46 signified "that even though we have fewer members than AKB48, we won't lose out [to them]".

The 55-year-old showbiz veteran revealed that he is looking for girls between the ages of 12 and 24, to make up the 20-strong Nogizaka46.

The selection process will begin on July 20 and conclude in October.

Those who successfully clear the auditions will get into Nogizaka46 and go on to appear in various Japanese television shows, before releasing their debut album through SME.

Since the announcement, speculation has been rife over whether Nogizaka46 will pose a threat to AKB48's position as one of Japan's top idol groups, and exactly how much rivalry there will be between the two groups, since they are both Akimoto's creations.

Formed in 2005, AKB48 is the largest pop group in the world, with 61 active members spread across three main performing teams and a Trainee team of 23 girls.

The idol group opened an AKB48-themed cafe in Singapore at *SCAPE to great fanfare earlier this month.

Source: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stori...138335/1/.html

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