Commercial music juggernaut AKB48 has added a 37-year-old mother of two to the wildly popular all-girl group as it looks to broaden the appeal of its teen-dominated line-up.
The collective, whose 90-plus singers and dancers are rotated in and out of the limelight according to their waxing and waning popularity, regularly pump out songs that sell more than a million copies.
But the management behind one of the most successful brands in showbiz put out advertisements last month seeking older members to branch out of its teen and early-20s demographic.
Enter homemaker Mariko Tsukamoto, a mother of two, who was picked from a pool of over 5,000 applicants, including an 82-year-old lady.
Tsukamoto will take part in live concerts and promotional events through August.
“I want to cheer up all the moms out there who are busy raising kids, like me,” she said in a statement Thursday.
AKB48, one of the most lucrative groups of all time, is part pop act and part talent show, where a member’s time on the front line is determined by how much adoration they inspire.
The most popular girls or young women remain a part of the core group that sings and dances their way through formulaic bubble gum tunes. Those who fall out of public favor are demoted to a sub-group in an organization structured somewhat like a football league.
Much of the group’s appeal lies in frequent opportunities for fans to meet them, chat or befriend them on social networking sites.