So who is AKB48?
AKB48 is a Japanese idol group project started by Yasushi Akimoto in July 2005. Akimoto held an audition for a new theater based idol girl group. Of the 7,924 girls that applied, only 24 girls were chosen to be in the group. In November, the selected girls went through an extensive one month training program.
On December 1st, the AKB48 Theater in Akihabara (a district in Tokyo) had its grand opening. On December 8, 2005, the group held its first public show in the theater with only 20 girls, later known as Team A. The girls perform regularly in their theatre. Akimoto’s idea, was to create a theater-based idol group whose fans could see the girls live daily.
Currently, AKB48 consists of four teams: Team A, Team K, and Team B with 16 members each and Team 4 with 12 members, summing up to a total of 60 members as of July 24, 2011. Additionally, there are a number of aspiring members, who are called “kenkyūsei” (“trainees”). Each team produces a new own concert show each theatrical season.