Entertainment News

All-female idol group AKB48 to forgo annual popularity contest

Kyodo

All-female idol group AKB48 will not hold its annual popularity contest this year, which has drawn huge crowds over the past 10 years, management agency AKS said Wednesday.

The group has held its Senbatsu General Election since 2009 for fans to pick winners to perform on a new single.

“Having reached a major milestone by holding the 10th event last year, we have decided not to have it this year,” the agency said in its news release.

The annual event has been popular among devoted fans and is viewed as a money-making opportunity for municipalities that host it.

AKS gave very few details about its decision. In January, the company apologized for an official’s tepid handling of a case in which a member of an AKB48 spin-off group was physically attacked. The member apologized for “causing trouble,” prompting backlash over the way the incident was handled by the company.

AKB48 has several sister groups in locations across Japan in addition to overseas groups, including Bangkok-based BNK48, Jakarta-based JKT48, Taipei-based TPE48 and Manila-based MNL48.