Hello! I’ve noticed that in the AKB48 fandom there are a lot of terms that new fans might find a little strange or that they don’t know what those words refer to, which is why I came up with this section Please feel free to comment about other terms you’d like to see added here.
AKB48: Japanese idol group produced by Akimoto Yasushi, their concept is “idols you can meet” and what sets them apart from other idol groups is that they have a theater in Akihabara Don Quijote 8th floor where they perform regularly. Also, they do various events so that the idols can actually meet them, like handshakes, 2 shots (although they are rare nowadays, a 2 shot is when you get to take a picture with a member of the group). There are three groups that make up AKB48, there are named “Teams” and each has 16 members. The teams are named A, K and B.
Team A: They are known among the fans for being the ones who started AKB48, the first generation members used to be all in this team, but after the shuffle that has changed a bit. Team A has a “classic idol” style most of the time, having a sort of “pretty” aura about them.
Team K: The second generation of AKB48, they are famous for being the “cool” team, and especially after the shuffle, they are the team with the best dancers too, so that sets them apart in a way.
Team B: The third generation of members, Team B is known for having the “cute” style in both their songs and members most of the time. They are also the youngest team on average.
Akimoto Yasushi (AkiP): The producer of AKB48 and all its sister groups, he is famous in japan as a lyricist and as the producer of one of Japan’s most emblematic idol groups, Onyanko Club back in the 80s. He writes all the lyrics for AKB48 songs (except for the songs in some subunits). He’s also the one who makes all the big and small choices when it comes to AKB48.
Togasaki Tomonobu (TGSK): He’s the AKB48 manager, he’s the one who is in charge of all the announcements made at concerts, and he’s also in charge of the logistics of performances AFAIK.
Stages: Stages are fixed setlists that are performed for a limited amount of time by each of the teams. They are refered to commonly by their number and team who performed it, which means that A2 is the second Stage that Team A performed. Its customary that when a new team debuts they perform a Stage that has been performed before by one of their senior Teams, until they get their own Stage. The only exception to this rule is SDN48, who debuted with an original stage. So far the stages that have been performed are these:
- A1 – Party ga Hajimaru yo
- A2 – Aitakatta
- A3 – Dareka no Tame ni
- A4 – Tadaima Renaichuu
- A5 – Renai Kinshi Jourei
- A6 – Mokugekisha
- K1 – Party ga Hajimaru yo
- K2 – Seishun Girls
- K3 – Nounai Paradise
- K4 – Saishuu Bell ga Naru
- K5 – Saka Agari
- K6 – RESET
- B1 – Seishun Girls
- B2 – Aitakatta
- B3 – Pajama Drive
- B4 – Idol no Yoake
- B5 – Theater no Megami
- H1 (Himawarigumi 1) – Boku no Taiyou
- H2 (Himawarigumi 2) – Yume wo Shinaseru Wake ni Ikanai
- S1 – Party ga Hajimaru yo
- S2 – Te wo Tsunaginagara
- S3 – Seifuku no Me
- KII1 – Aitakatta
- KII2 – Te wo Tsunaginagara
- SDN48 – Yuuwaku no Garter
Himawarigumi: This was a temporary shuffle group which consisted in members from Team A and Team K and some Research Students. It performed 2 stages during 2008.
Units: Some stages have different structures but they are essentially conformed in the same way, with group songs and then “units” which are songs in which only a small number of members perform. Ever since A3 the units are created so that all the girls in the Team get to perform in one of these songs, which is great because it means that even the least popular members will get a decent amount of screentime. Here’s an example because I feel like I’m not explaining it well at all xD
K6 – RESET (Team Members: Miyazawa, Akimoto, Oshima, Itano, Fujie, Yokoyama, Nakatsuka, Uchida, Umeda, Nito, Nonaka, Yonezawa, Kikuchi, Matsui, Tanabe, Minegishi)
1 – 4 –> Group songs
5. Seifuku Resistance: Itano, Yokoyama, Nito
6. Kiseki wa ma ni awanai: Miyazawa, Nonaka, Yonezawa
7. Gyakuten Oujisama: Minegishi, Uchida, Nakatsuka
8. Ashita no Tame ni Kiss wo: Akimoto, Kikuchi, Matsui, Tanabe
9. Kokoro no Hashi no Sofa: Oshima, Fujie, Umeda.
10 – 16 –> Group songs
I hope that was clear xD Anyway, you can also measure a girls popularity by counting how many units she has led, which means that most of these songs have a girl who is center anyway, and gets more lines, or a different costume
Senbatsu: Literally means “elected”. The term has become popular after the first elections in 2009, but it could really be applied since the beginning. It refers to which members are chosen to be part of the single A-sides. When a member is featured in a single, they are senbatsu.
Undergirls: This was another term introduced by the elections, Undergirls is the second tier in AKB48 singles, and the girls who are popular, but not enough to become senbatsu end up being here, and getting the B-side
Theater Girls: This term was actually introduced later on with the release of RIVER. Theater Girls are the least popular girls. I think that even though it sounds kind of mean it’s a great concept because those of us who love the not so popular girls still got a chance to see them in a PV <3
Elections: The AKB48 elections appeared in 2009 and from what I gather, there are plans to do them every year. It’s a method in which fans are able to vote for their favorite girl in order to get her into senbatsu, which is usually picked by the management otherwise. It’s kind of cute too, because the girls design their own campaign posters and put them all over their theater, and they also make a little PR speech which is shown after performances. The tickets to vote in the election are usually included in a particular single, and the single after the election will feature the girls who were voted in, dividing the screentime according to what position said girl had in the voting. The girls who don’t make senbatsu but get a high number of votes, become the Undergirls.
Kenkyuusei (Research Students): Formerly called “SEEDs” they are the girls who are trainees until they get promoted to one of the big teams. They have their own team, Team Kenkyuusei and they perform one of the Stages their senior groups are performing at the same time. So far they have performed A4, A5 and B5, which is the one they are currently performing. They are very important because with AKBs growing popularity some of the most popular girls can’t attend all the theater performances and they are the ones who sub for them whenever they are absent.
SKE48: A sister group of AKB48 which has its theater in Sunshine Sakae in Nagoya. So far there are 2 Teams: S and KII, and also the Research Students. Their members (or at least the ones that make senbatsu) are younger than AKB48 members which gives their singles a different feeling. Also, their singles used to feature less than half of the girls that AKB features in theirs which also made them feel different.
SDN48: A sister group of AKB48 which is labeled as a group for “adults”. Contrary to what haters usually believe, this group is labeled that way simply because all of the members are over 18 years old, and for them the traditional idol rules of don’t date, don’t drink etc don’t apply. The style of their songs is also different, as there are more good singers in this group that in the others so the songs sound a lot more polished. They also have a very sexy image, and they are recently debuting with a major single
NMB48: Another sister group of AKB48, they are going to debut soon in Namba, Osaka.
Request Hour Setlist Best 100 (also known as AX xD): This is a special concert AKB48 has held since 2008, it’s a yearly event in which the fans get to vote for their favorite 100 songs out of AKB’s entire discography and the songs get performed in the order in which they were voted. It’s a special occasion not only because we get to watch old songs performed but also because the graduated members usually appear in the concert to sing the songs they were previously part of.
Watarirouka Hashiritai: An AKB48 unit formed by members Watanabe Mayu (Team B), Hirajima Natsumi (Team B), Ota Aika (Team A), Nakagawa Haruka (Team A) and Kikuchi Ayaka (Team K). They were supposed to be the revival of old Onyanko Club subunit Ushirogami Hikaretai. They are known for singing the cutest songs in the whole planet Earth. I kid you not.
no3b (No Sleeves): An AKB48 subunit formed by members Minegishi Minami (Team K), Kojima Haruna (Team A) and Takahashi Minami (Team A). They debuted with a drama of their own called Mendol (which you totally need to watch because it’s hilarious xD). Their music style varies a lot, but they usually sing upbeat pop songs.
French Kiss: An AKB48 subunit formed by members Kashiwagi Yuki (Team B), Kuramochi Asuka (Team A) and Takajo Aki (Team A). They are produced by avex, and they shoot a small drama for all their releases. They have only released one single so far (second one is already on the works though ) so I guess their music style is yet to be defined However, I can assure you that it will be beautiful anyway because these girls can really sing!