AKB48 Group (AKB48グループ), is the collective term referring to AKB48 and its sister groups.
The AKB48 Group currently consists of six Japanese groups (AKB48, SKE48, NMB48, HKT48, NGT48, STU48) and six overseas groups (JKT48, BNK48, MNL48, AKB48 Team SH, AKB48 Team TP, CGM48). The AKB48 Group also has a general manager (総監督; soukantoku) who oversees the groups in their entirety. The current general manager is Mukaichi Mion, who has held the position since 2019.
In 2005, renowned producer Akimoto Yasushi produced the idol group AKB48, based in Akihabara, Tokyo. The group's concept of "idols you can meet" originates from Akimoto's plans to create a girl group with its own theater, allowing fans to always see their members on stage. Another premise introduced was "teams," which allowed members to rotate performances and perform simulataneously at several events. The first three generations of AKB48 formed Team A, Team K, Team B, respectively, after the group's name.
Following moderate success of AKB48, Akimoto announced plans to expand the AKB48 Group. In 2008, Akimoto launched the first sister group, SKE48, based in Sakae, Nagoya. Starting with AKB48's tenth single, "Oogoe Diamond", members of SKE48 participated in AKB48's releases, including title tracks, handshake events, and other promotions. SDN48 (Saturday Night, an "adult idol" group) was launched in 2009 as a "mature" sister group to AKB48. Only audiences 18 or older could attend the group's theater performances, which were held in Saturdays at 10pm in the AKB48 Theater.
In subsequent years, the AKB48 Group continued to expand nationwide. NMB48 (based in Namba, Osaka) was formed in 2010, followed by HKT48 (based in Hakata, Fukuoka) in 2011, and NGT48 (based in Niigata, Niigata) in 2015. STU48 (based in the Setouchi region) was formed in 2017 as the newest Japanese AKB48 group. As opposed to previous sister groups, their theater is on a cruise ship that travels throughout Setouchi.
In 2011, Akimoto announced the first AKB48 overseas group to be JKT48, based in Jakarta, Indonesia. A second overseas group followed in 2012 with SNH48, based in Shanghai, China. Several overseas groups launched in the following years, including BNK48 (based in Bangkok, Thailand), MNL48 (based in Manila, the Philippines), and TPE48 (rebranded to AKB48 Team TP in 2018, based in Taipei, Taiwan). AKB48 Team SH debuted in 2018 as the second AKB48 Group based in Shanghai, China. SGO48 (based in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam) was formed in 2018. CGM48 (based in Chiang Mai, Thailand) was formed in 2019 as the second sister group in Thailand.
In 2016, it was announced that SNH48 would depart from the AKB48 Group in June 2016, following contract violations. Prior to the announcement, SNH48 announced the formation of BEJ48 (based in Beijing, China) and GNZ48 (based in Guangzhou, China), two sister groups that the AKB48 Group management were not familiarized with. SNH48 management also announced plans to release original music and form new sister groups, declaring their operations as being independent from the AKB48 Group. Following the group departure, Suzuki Mariya's kenninship with SNH48 was revoked and she returned to AKB48. As of 2022, the SNH48 Group consists of four sister groups and one trainee group.
In 2017, general manager Yokoyama Yui announced that the AKB48 Group would expand to India with MUM48 (based in Mumbai, India). In 2019, it was announced that the group will rebrand to MUB48 and that another sister group would form in India, DEL48 (based in Delhi, India). Although the first generation members of DEL48 were announced in December 2019, the group was indefinitely suspended due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
On December 5, 2021, it was announced that SGO48 will disband on December 22nd, the group's 3rd anniversary, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. On July 13, 2022, it was announced that DEL48 and MUB48 will cease operations due to the pandemic.
- AKB48 Team SH
- AKB48 Team TP
Former Artists and Groups
Disbanded Teams from Active Groups
- Team TII (2016–2023)
- AKB48 Team TP
- SDN48 (2009–2012)
- SNH48 (2012–2016; now active in SNH48 Group)
- DEL48 (2019–2020; cancelled debut)
- MUB48 (cancelled debut)
- SGO48 (2018–2021)
- Senbatsu (選抜; selection), a term referring to the selected members in singles, events, performances, etc.
- AKB48 Senbatsu Events, including the Senbatsu Election and Janken Taikai.
- IZ*ONE, a Korean pop girl group formed through the Mnet TV show Produce 48, featuring members of AKB48 Group.
- Nogizaka46, an idol group produced by Akimoto Yasushi in 2011 as AKB48's "rivals."
- OJS48 (Ojisan48), an all-male "uncle" group produced by Akimoto Yasushi in 2010.