AKB48‘s management were not kidding when they said they are trying to expand the base of the J-pop phenomenon. After casting calls for women over the age of 30, they have now signed a 37-year-old mother of two and homemaker as the newest member of the formerly teen-dominated musical group.
Mariko Tsukamoto was handpicked from among the 5,000 who auditioned when the group’s management decided to put out advertisement looking for more “mature” talents to add to AKB48′s already wide fan base. They wanted to expand their market beyond the teen and young adult market and Mariko joining the more than 90 singers and dancers on tour might just be the answer. She’ll be joining them on a promotional tour and several live concerts until August this year. She said she wants to represent and “cheer up” all the mothers like her who are busy raising their children as full-time homemakers.
AKB48 has made a successful career out of rotating their singers and dancers depending on their popularity with the fans. The ones who receive the most “adoration” are part of the core group that sells more than a million copies of the singles and albums that they regularly release. Those who have fallen out of grace with the fans are usually “demoted” to the sub-group, whose structure has often been compared to a football league. But the group’s strongest appeal lies with the various fan interaction events they hold, where the fans get to be up close and personal with the girls. They also have a strong social media presence, where fans can befriend and even chat with their favorite AKB48 members. We’ll wait and see if this latest “experiment” from the management can bring them to an even bigger audience.
[ via Yahoo ]