16:21 24 January 2017
AKB48 to have sea-based sister group
HIROSHIMA, Jan. 24, Kyodo
The Japanese all-girl idol group AKB48 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 sea 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 drum up applicants, AKB48 members Yuki Kashiwagi and Mayu Watanabe shared the job of visiting 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.