As many of you know already, this is AKB48 group's annual big event.
For this year's election, a total of 80 members who can participate in AKB48's 41st single (to be released in August) will be selected by fans;
• 1st ~ 16th : 41st single Senbatsu members
• 17th ~ 32nd : Under Girls
• 33rd ~ 48th : Next Girls
• 49th ~ 64th : Future Girls
• 65th ~ 80th : Upcoming Girls
Just like last year, the election will be held in the candidacy system, and the members of AKB48, SKE48, NMB48, HKT48, and former AKB48 members who transferred to its overseas sister group (Nakagawa Haruka and Chikano Rina) are eligible to stand as a candidate.
The reception desk period for the candidacy will be during March 25 at 4:00 pm ~ March 29 at 10:00 pm, and The voting for the election will begin on May 19 at 10:00 am until June 5 at 3:00 pm (JST).
A prompt report will be revealed at AKB48 Theater (Akihabara, Tokyo) on May 20th, and the final results will be announced at the vote counting event at Fukuoka Yafuoku! Dome on June 6.
The voting rights will go to those who purchase AKB48's upcoming 40th single (to be released on May 20, currently untitled), each group's fan club members, mobile members, and so on.
This March marks four years since the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami occurred. From May 2011 to February of this year, the AKB48 groups have visited the affected areas total of 46 times. They have held special concerts and handshake events to raise money, as part of the Dareka no Tame ni charity project. As of 2012, AKB48 had already donated over 10 million dollars to relief efforts. The AKB48 Group visited the disaster area again this year to hold performances.
There were 48 members who visited six locations, divided into groups of eight. These locations were all in prefectures that were strongly affected by the disaster: Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima. The AKB48 members held small live concerts at each location. There were also special performances held in four different theaters of the AKB48 Group. A total of 243 members performed their second restoration support song Tenohira ga Kataru Koto, together but in different locations. At 2:46 pm when the earthquake occurred, they observed a moment of silence for the victims.
AKB48 promised to continue their support for the relief project into the future. The group is accepting donations for the charity project through their official website. Also, their second charity single is available for free download through the same web page.
March 9, 2015 - AKB48 become the first artist to have 20 consecutive million selling singles
On March 3, AKB48 released its 39th major label single, Green Flash. Kojima Haruna and Kashiwagi Yuki were the double center of the single, and the B-sides included tracks by AKB48's sister groups. In its first week, Green Flash sold 1,001,000 copies, and topped the weekly single ranking. It became AKB48's consecutive chart-topping single, breaking the record of consecutive No.1 singles for female artists. This record was previously held by Hamasaki Ayumi for 4 years and 5 months.
Furthermore, AKB48 has set a record that no artist has every achieved. The group is the first to ever have 20 consecutive million selling singles. Also, AKB48 now has a record number of consecutive years with No.1 singles for female groups. The previous number was held by idol group Morning Musume, from 1998 to 2003. AKB48 has broken the 12 year record, as this is 6th consecutive year that the group has a chart topping single.
The AKB48 Group has won several categories at 'The 29th Japan Gold Disc Awards'. These awards are held every year by the Recording Industry Association of Japan, and are based on sales numbers of music artists. The data for these awards was compiled between January 1 to December 31 of 2014. AKB48 had previously won the 'Artist of the Year' award in 2012, 2013, and 2014. This year that title went to male group Arashi, but the AKB48 Group took home awards in four other categories.
During the 2015 Request Hour, AKB48 announced that they would be holding their second draft meeting. The first draft was held in November 2013, and 19 girls from it ultimately joined the AKB48 Group. Now candidates have been selected for the 2015 draft, which will be held in the same way as the previous event. There were 83 girls who passed the first and second screenings. Out of these applicants, 49 girls were selected for the upcoming draft in May.
The candidates range in age from 11 to 21, and include some former members of Baito AKB. At the draft some of them will be selected by the captains from all the teams in AKB48, SKE48, NMB48, and HKT48. Once the negotiations are settled, the drafted members will join a group as kenkyuusei. The 49 girls have until the draft to promote themselves online and through television.
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