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Forty-eight) are a Japanese idol girl group named after the Akihabara (Akiba for short) area in Tokyo, where the group's theater is located.
The group is one of the highest-earning musical performers in Japan, with 2013 sales of over 8 million, The group's chief producer, Yasushi Akimoto, said that his goal was to create a unique idol group which, unlike other idol groups which perform occasional concerts and appear primarily on television, would perform regularly in its own theater.
On June 7, AKB48 and its related groups announced the results of the annual election to determine the lineup for its 37th single.
The winner was Mayu Watanabe with 159,854 votes, and Rino Sashihara was runner-up with 141,954 votes.
Akimoto has expanded the AKB48 concept to several sister groups in China, Japan and Indonesia, with upcoming groups announced for the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand, which makes it the largest idol group in Asia.
The group has expanded since then to include over 130 members as of December 2015 AKB48's producer, Yasushi Akimoto, wanted to form a girl group with its own theater (unlike pop groups performing occasional concerts and seen on television) and performing daily so fans could always see them live.
Team 4 was dissolved, with its members transferred to the other three teams.
AKB48 has a system that allows members to "graduate" from the group when they are older and are replaced by trainees who are promoted.
Monica Hesse of The Washington Post described the AKB48 audition process as "rolling American Idol-esque".
It later became known that Eguchi was not a real person, but a composite of AKB48 members' facial features created to promote Glico's Ice no Mi.
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