An AKB Christmas


Aidorugroup AKB48 are everywhere these days. Yesterday they were named as the new “image characters” for major travel agency HIS. Wearing colorful cabin attendant-style uniforms, they perform a variation on their hit single “Aitakatta” in a new series of TV commercials that promote overseas travel. The first CM will air from December 27. The New Year is one of the busiest seasons for Japanese to travel outside the country, particularly to resort destinations such as Hawaii, Guam and Saipan.

AKB48 were also the most successful female artists this year in terms of sales. They took the top two spots – and four in the Top 10 – in Oricon’s rankings of the best-selling singles of 2010, based on sales from almost 40,000 stores across the country. The October release “Beginner” was the top seller at over 950,000 copies, while Setember’s “Heavy Rotation” was at No.2 with 713,000 sold. They are the first female artists to take the top two spots since Princess Princess in 1989 and the first aidoru group since Pink Lady in 1978.

Meanwhile AKB48 member Sakano Yumi (19, photo right) has been chosen as one of the celebrities who looks best in a wedding dress. At an event in the capital yesterday, she wore a dress and accessories valued at ¥700 million for the first “Japan Wedding Best Dresser Awards.” Sakano, who was chosen in the “aidoru” category, said she hopes to marry by the age of 30 and would love to have her wedding in Hawaii. Marie (23) was selected to represent Japan’s models, while Minami Akina (21) was chosen in the talento category.