For the very first time ever, Japan’s biggest girl group AKB48 arrived in Malaysia on 27th July 2019 for their maiden showcase held in conjunction with Japan Expo Malaysia 2019 at Pavilion KL.
6 members from the group including Nana Okada, Mion Mukaichi, Rin Okabe, Megu Taniguchi, Yui Oguri, and Nagisa Sakaguchi performed to a crowd 135,000 people at Pavilion’s Centre Court.
Before their showcase, the girls had an exclusive session with the local media where they shared their first-time experience in the country as well as their responsibility as the newer generation of AKB48.
“When we first landed into the country, we’re so surprised to see so many fans waiting for us at the airport. They were welcoming us with huge banners. It’s very heartwarming.” said Mion Mukaichi.
“We love the food here and the nighview of Kuala Lumpur is so beautiful. Right now, we’re very happy!” she added, representing the rest of the members.
All AKB48 members that will perform at Malaysia tomorrow has arrived in Malaysia safely. pic.twitter.com/y07UlDKfTu
— 48G Kingdom (@48gTalk) July 26, 2019
The girls were very happy to know that people from around the world including Malaysia appreciate their culture so much.
“Japanese people love their culture very much from its food to anime, manga, and nature. So to know that the people outside of Japan love our culture as well is just pure happiness,” Nana Okada commented.
As the newer generation of AKB48, the members work hard to maintain the groups’ dynamic and everything that their seniors have built.
“As the younger generation, we want to take a different approach and bring a fresher image to the group. We also want to be like our seniors and inspire the new generation after us,” said Yui Oguri.
Furthermore, the girls admitted even though some seniors have graduated from AKB48, they still keep in touch and maintain good relationship with them.
“We’re very close to our seniors and we don’t really think much about seniority. We will always have topics to discuss with our seniors. But when it’s about work, we usually have certain seniors to refer to for advice,” Yui continued. “For me, it would be Yuki Kashiwagi and Yui Yokoyama.”
Since their formation in 2005, AKB48 has gone from being national favourites to becoming global icon. With loyal fandom around the world, the group has spawned 11 sister groups from around Asia such as China, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam.
“It’s really nice to know that we have teams and members from all over Asia. We had a huge concert in Thailand previously where all the 48 members were present. Everyone was so excited to be there. Even though we’re from different countries, we’re singing the same song and danced together. It’s amazing how powerful our music is,” said Mion.
During their showcase at Japan Expo Malaysia 2019, AKB48 performed a total of 5 songs; “Heavy Rotation”, “Kibouteki Refrain”, “Suki Nanda”, “Iiwake Maybe” and “Koisuru Fortune Cookie”.