• Kyodo


Japan’s all-girl idol group AKB 48 is launching yet another sister group, this time to be based in the Seto Inland Sea area.

STU48 stands for Setouchi, the Japanese name of the coastal areas surrounding the waterway in western Japan. It will have its theater on a boat that will tour around the body of water, according to the official website of the planned group.

Applications to become members of the new idol group are being accepted until Feb. 5. Females aged 12 to 22 are eligible.

To encourage girls to apply to join the new group, AKB48 members Yuki Kashiwagi and Mayu Watanabe between them visited the governments of seven prefectures in the area — Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Ehime, Hyogo, Okayama, Tokushima and Kagawa — on Monday.

“AKB is an idol group comparable to something indispensable to the lives of the Japanese people. I hope the new group will tour the region and add excitement,” said Hiroshima Gov. Hidehiko Yuzaki after meeting with Kashiwagi.

The AKB48 family of all-girl pop groups includes SKE48 in Nagoya, NMB48 in Osaka, HKT48 in Fukuoka, NGT48 in Niigata and JKT48 in Jakarta.


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