Have you ever heard of AKB48? Perhaps not, unless you’re Japanese. For those of you that aren’t Japanese, AKB48 is a Japanese all-girl-idol group with over 130 members ranging in age from their early teens to mid-20s. AKB48 is short for Akhihabara 48, an area of Tokyo where the group was founded. They’re essentially a theatrical girl group. Why are you reading this, you wonder? Because Thailand is getting its very own version and you need to brace yourself for the coming trend amongst young Thai females that will undoubtedly, somehow, manage to creep its way into your life.
The Thai version, under the new name, BNK48, short for Bangkok48, will consist of 29 young ladies aged 13-23 (no oldies allowed). All of these girls passed auditions in 2016 and their official debut took place in Japan last month.
They’re not the first imitation act, they follow successful recreations in China and Indonesia, and so become a further extension of the AKB48 franchise. The difference between this, and every other J-Pop sensation is essentially accessibility. They are known as the “idols you can meet” and regularly take photos with fans, shake their hands and get up close and person at their events.
BNK48 hope to recreate the success of AKB48, after their Japanese counterparts managed to sell a million copies of each of their 27 singles as well as 5 million copies of their album. We’re yet to see how BNK48 will fare with their first single.