Chaos and Kanji is the blog where I write about my adventures through Japan!

Want Lists are located here. NPB Baseball Want List is located here.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Idol Cards of the Week: AKB48, SKE48, and Nogizaka46

Yokohama's Mint store is a great source of cards for baseball and soccer fans, but they have a small selection of other sports and non-sport cards. The selection seems to be about the same as it was when I first visited a couple years ago, though I think they've kept a decent stock of recent AKB48 releases.
 Today's cards are all issued by Ensky, which produces a lot of cards for idol groups in Japan. They were responsible for many Morning Musume issues too. This card is from the Nogizaka46 group, which is the "official rival" (in other words, blatant rip off) of the AKB48 franchise. Obviously, AKB reigns supreme. Nogizaka's name comes from the music label's office building.
 SKE48, on the other hand, is a "sister" (spin-off) group of AKB48, and was created in 2008. SKE's name comes from Sakae, a neighborhood in Nagoya which has a lot of nightlife as well as the SKE48 Theater where they perform. This is from "Part 4" which means the group is popular enough to have had four (actually, five) trading card releases - as a spin-off! Nogizaka seems to be on its first trading card release.
 The SKE48 group is a sort of "minor leagues" before possibly transferring to AKB48. But in actuality the group functions as its own entity and most girls "graduate" to go to school or because they just get too old. Most of the performers are still in their teens, though a few 20-somethings are in the group; the oldest member (based on Wikipedia) seems to be 25 years old. Only one SKE48 member has actually transferred to AKB48.
Yasushi Akimoto, the man behind the AKB48 franchise, is responsible for AKB48, SKE48, NMB48 (Osaka), HKT48 (Fukuoka), JKT48 (Jakarta), SNH48 (Shanghai), and Nogizaka46 (I'm not sure where they're based, though the Nogizaka building is in Tokyo). There was also a group called SDN48, which was designed as an "adult idol" group for graduated members and older performers. That group disbanded in 2012.

AKB48 hasn't had any huge hits like they did in 2011-2012, but they still are extremely popular. Cards for very popular members can be extremely pricey and full sets of cards from Ensky and other issues can cost $100 or more! Even cheap photo prints can go for $5 or more each.

No comments:

Post a Comment