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AKB48 members take part in mini-concert in Beijing to thank China for 3/11 support


Six members of popular all-girl idol group AKB48 performed at a mini-concert in Beijing on Friday night to thank China for its support for relief efforts in the Tohoku after last year's March 11 disaster.

The mini-concert was part of an ongoing series of events to mark the 40th anniversary of the Japan-China Treaty of Peace and Friendship.

At Friday night's performance, which took place in front of just 500 people, the six girls, led by Ayaka Umeda, 23, sang "The Wind is Blowing," originally written as a message of support to victims of the disaster, and two other songs before meeting and greeting fans, Sports Nippon reported.

Organizers say AKB48's popularity in China led to the Japanese embassy being inundated with around 14,000 requests for tickets after the show was announced on online micro-messaging services, Sports Nippon said.

Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba earlier this month appointed AKB48 as goodwill ambassadors to promote Japan as a safe destination for Chinese to visit.

The appointment is part of the “Vibrant Japan” campaign which the foreign ministry has launched to not only lure tourists back to Japan but also assure them that the country’s products are safe.

AKB48 has a huge following in China. The group will visit Shanghai and Hong Kong later this month and in March.

© Japan Today

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To say thank you or to boost their CD sales? So transparent it isn't funny.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Looks like AKB48's popularity is still big in the Asian market...but I know many people here on JT do not care too much about them. Enjoy hating them because they will be around for a while.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

Luring tourists back, only 500 at a time? Sounds like it's more like a private performance for kaisha cronies.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If Japan expresses her gratitude with sending AKB there for a concert, I am afraid no one ever will risk to give support to Japan under any circumstances.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Japan needs to take its foreign policy more seriously. Next time send the whole troupe and fill a stadium. World peace and greater prosperity will only come to pass through soft kiddie porn.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I hope if they send them to the US to thank us for our support they at least send the whole bunch of them.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

They should do a series of concerts at U.S. military bases to thank the U.S. for 3/11 support.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Did anyone besides Japanese businessmen stationed in Beijing show up?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

AKB. JTB. ABC. Not a great way to say thanks. Us better off without this thank you.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I reckon that they are gonna go there to gain a popularity as a main purpose. If they'd like to say `Thank you', why don't they go to all countries which donated much money for Japan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Way to go, girls!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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