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One of the biggest and most popular names from Japan, AKB48 (stands for Akihabara 48) was in Bangkok recently for a performance at the second edition of Viral Fest Asia.

At the festival, the group performed with their Bangkok-based sister group BNK48 for the very first time.

As AKB48 is divided into several teams like Team A, K, B, 4 and 8, the ones that came to Viral Fest Asia are members from Team 8 which consists of Shimizu Maria, Takahashi Ayane, Yoshikawa Nanase, Sato Akari, Mougi Kasumi, and Gyoten Yurina.

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(L-R) Takahashi Ayane, Gyoten Yurina, Mougi Kasumi, Yoshikawa Nanase, Shimizu Maria, and Sato Akari.

The group admitted that this is their first time in Bangkok as a group, even though some members have been here several times for personal reasons.

“We’re very happy that we get to meet our sister group BNK48 once again and also to perform together with them on stage for the first time,” said member Mougi Kasumi.

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“We hope that we can deliver a great performance to our fans along with our team mates from BNK48,” she added.

Though started with 48 members, AKB48 now has now expanded to more than 130 members aged from early teens to mid-20s.

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They have several sister groups within Japan itself like SKE48 (Sakae), NMB48 (Namba), HKT48 (Hakata), NGT48 (Niigata), and more.

The brand has even expanded to outside of Japan where spinoff groups like JKT48 (Jakarta), BNK48 (Bangkok), MNL48 (Manila), and TPE48 (Taipei) were created.

The reason why the group has so many members and spinoffs is because producer Yasushi Akimoto wanted to form a girl group with its own theatre that can perform daily so fans can always see them live.

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This is so that the group can rotate performances and perform simultaneously at several events.

BNK48 was created on 12 February 2017, and their performance at Viral Fest Asia was their debut performance as a group.