AKB48 (derived from Akihabara 48) is a female Japanese idol group produced by Akimoto Yasushi. They have their own theater in Akihabara (a district in Tokyo) where they perform regularly. The group has expanded since then to include over 130 members as of December 2015, aged from their early teens to their mid-20s. AKB48's producer 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. This "idols you can meet" concept includes teams which can rotate performances and perform simultaneously at several events and "handshake" events, where fans can meet group members. Akimoto has expanded the AKB48 concept to several sister groups in Japan, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Thailand, with upcoming groups announced for India.
The group is one of the highest-earning musical performers in Japan, and is the fifth best-selling girl group worldwide. They have been characterized as a social phenomenon. As of April 2019, the group has sold over 60 million records, including over 6 million albums. At least 35 AKB48's singles have topped the Oricon Weekly Singles Chart, with at least 30 singles selling over a million copies each, making the group the highest selling musical act in Japan in terms of singles sold. Their highest selling single, "Teacher Teacher", sold over 3 million in 2018 according to Billboard / Soundscan. In 2010, "Beginner" and "Heavy Rotation" placed first and second, respectively, on the list of Japan's best-selling singles for the year. From 2010 to 2019, AKB48's singles have occupied the top two spots of the Oricon Yearly Singles Chart.
Their 59th major single, "Motokare Desu", is released this week on May 18th.