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Togasaki Tomonobu (Head of the AKB48 Customer Center) has posted the following on G+ (English translation) in regards to the AKB48 attack:
I have information to all the fans regarding the incident that occurred during the handshaking session in Iwate yesterday.
Before that, I sincerely apologize for yesterday’s incident that have caused the members and fans to experience this sad and terrible memory as part of staff engaged in the management and system constructed for the handshaking session.
The detailed report about this incident is stated below.
Regarding the incident, the offender who had no bag suddenly attacked Iriyama and Kawaei on the 6th lane by taking the sharp weapon from his jacket and slashed them.
The staff beside them tried to protect the members by taking the weapon from the offender, but the offender shook him away and attacked Kawaei and Iriyama.
Kawaei and Iriyama had hand and head injury, and the staff who risked his life to protect them had hand injury as well.
They were immediately accommodated by all the doctors after being transported to the hospital and undergone operation, but they are conscious so there is nothing to worry about.
We arranged this project for the public with a concept of “meeting the idols” which we call “handshaking session” that is being valued by the members and staff, so we felt strong resentment for this terrible incident to happen. However, we have to make a radical resolution to prevent this kind of incident to happen again.
I think that many fans who have heard about yesterdays’ incident are worrying about what will happen from now, but our current priority is to consider the members’ feelings while planning to create and environment where this kind of incident will never happen again. We will be working hard to hold an event where the venue will be filled with overflowing smiles from the members and fans.
Please continue to support the AKB48 Group.
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On May 25th at the handshake meeting in Iwate (at Iwate Inudstrial Culture Center), Kawae Rina, Iriyama Anna and a venue staff member were injured by an attack by a man holding a hand saw.
The injuries were not life threatening but the event has been canceled. More information coming soon.
UPDATE: Kawaei suffered a fractured thumb and cut on her right hand. Iriyama suffered a fracture on her right pinky and a cut on her right arm and a head laceration. A staff member was cut in his right arm.
The 24-year-old man has been arrested and charged for attempted murder. The man is from Towada and is unemployed according to NTV.
This was the first time a Japanese performer was attacked during a handshake meeting.
Other incidents including attacks on performers have happened in the past.
In 1957, a crazed fan of Hibari Misora threw hydrochloric acid on the singer at Asakusa International Theater.
In 1963, a crazed fan of Yoshinaga Sayuri broke into the home of the actress carrying a pistol. The man said he wanted to tattoo his name on the Sayuri’s arm or leg. The man shot a police officer that was pursuing him. At the time, Sayuri and her family were away from home.
In 1983, a mentally ill man attacked Matsuda Seiko with a metal pipe during a performance in front of 6,000 people Osaka. Matsuda fainted during the attack and was taken to the hospital immediately for her head injury.
In 2002, Johnny’s Jr. member Yamashita Tomohisa was attacked by a man who poured liquid on him and the man ingested a liquid.
In 2013, Ninety-Nine member Okamura Takashi was pelted and inured by a bottle thrown at his forehead during an appearance in Kobe.
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After making a successful U.S. concert debut last year, Luna Haruna comes back for her 2nd concert in the U.S.!
This summer, Luna will be making her very first appearance at AnimeNEXT 2014 from June 6~8.
AnimeNEXT is the largest independently organized anime convention in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area and will be held at the Garden State Exhibit Center in Somerset, New Jersey.
Don’t miss your chance to catch Luna Haruna’s appearance at AnimeNEXT , which will make it her first time to perform on the East Coast!
June 6th ~8th, 2014
Garden State Exhibit Center
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Annual Japanese Pop Culture Festival Returns In July To San Francisco For 6th Consecutive Year With Impressive Array Of Live Music, “Kawaii” Fashion, Anime & Live-Action Film, Gourmet Food And Entertainment
San Francisco, CA, April 29, 2014 – The 2014 J-POP SUMMIT Festival, San Francisco’s annual celebration of Japanese pop culture, music, fashion and film, returns over the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, July 19th and 20th with a unique mix of colorful pop-inspired fun. This year’s exciting program leads off with the announcement of world renowned Japanese rock singer – May’n – as an official Guest of Honor.
Additional top tier J-Pop/J-Rock/Kawaii artists, events and other programming will be detailed in coming weeks. An exciting roster is being finalized that promises to be the most extensive and diverse the J-POP SUMMIT Festival has ever presented. Details on the 2014 J-POP SUMMIT Festival are continually updated at: www.J-POP.com.
The annual J-POP SUMMIT is FREE to attend (although certain activities require a modest admission fee) and has become one of the largest events in the United States dedicated to showcasing the many sides of Japanese pop culture and fandom. Attendance in 2013 exceeded 80,000 people. The 2014 J-POP SUMMIT takes place from 11:00am to 6:00pm throughout San Francisco’s entire Japantown district on July 19th and 20th and also will present a special free J-Pop/J-Rock concert in the city’s downtown Union Square on the evening of Saturday, July 19th.
Japanese pop/rock/anime star May’n (pronounced “Main”) is known as the singing voice of Diva of the Galaxy Sheryl Nome from the blockbuster anime film, Macross Frontier, and also performed theme songs for numerous popular series such as, Accel World, Aria: The Scarlet Ammo, Shangri-La, Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha, Blood Lad, Btooom and M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane. Her powerful rock and pop vocal style has drawn critical acclaim and legions of fans. May’n sold-out Tokyo’s legendary Budokan in a single day and first performed in San Francisco for her “May’n Rock Your Beats” World Tour in 2012. She returns to the Bay Area for her very special J-POP SUMMIT live appearance as part of her 10th Anniversary “Dots and Lines” World Tour.
In addition to her special appearance on the J-POP SUMMIT main stage, the J-POP SUMMIT Festival 2014 proudly presents a May’n Special Live Concert at the famous SF live venue, Slim’s (333 11th St, San Francisco, CA 94103) on Sunday, July 20th, at 8:00pm. Advance tickets are available along with special VIP show packages that include an exclusive artist meet-and-greet. Details on the Slim’s show are available now at: http://www.j-pop.com/2014/mayn-live-concert-at-slims
May’n debuted with a pair of singles in 2008 that instantly became smash hits, each placing in the Top 3 on the Japanese Oricon weekly music charts during their debut week. In January 2009, her debut mini album, May’n＊Street, was released and reached #2 on the Oricon chart during its first week. All of May’n’s subsequent singles have entered the top music sales charts in Japan and as her international fame continues to grow, she epitomizes the must-see New Generation Japanese Female Rock Vocalist. Official May’n Website: http://mayn.jp/en/; Official May’n YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/MaynOfficial.
“Each year we strive to present a compelling mix of the hottest entertainment trends happening in Japan right NOW, and the J-POP SUMMIT has become a wonderful and unique composite of pop and rock music, edgy Kawaii-inspired fashion, modern graphic art, and film and anime content,” says Seiji Horibuchi, Chairman of the J-POP SUMMIT Festival. “This year’s event promises to be another important milestone for the evolution of J-Pop culture and its fan base in the U.S. We look forward to announcing more news throughout the coming weeks and to people of all ages and walks of life joining us in July for the 2014 J-POP SUMMIT Festival!”
The 2014 J-POP SUMMIT Festival will deliver a wide array of Japan’s hottest live bands and artists, theatrical film premieres, Harajuku Kawaii-themed fashion events, a special sake-tasting and fine foods attraction at the POP Gourmet Food Festival, in addition to dance and singing contests, interactive gaming, and a host of celebrity appearances. The Festival also presents a FREE Union Square Live concert in downtown San Francisco and celebrates the launch of 2nd annual Japan Film Festival of San Francisco, which takes place July 19th-27th at the NEW PEOPLE Cinema. The week-long film festival will be highlighted by red carpet events featuring appearances by additional Guests of Honor and daily theatrical premieres of many first-run anime as well as Japanese live-action movies across a variety of genres. Additional information will be updated in coming weeks on the official website: www.jffsf.org.
Stay tuned for additional J-POP SUMMIT Guest of Honor, programming and event announcements!
About J-POP SUMMIT Festival
Launched in 2009, J-POP SUMMIT Festival is an annual street fair held in San Francisco, CA that celebrates Japanese popular culture. By introducing the latest in Japanese music, film, art, fashion, gaming, anime, food, as well as niche subcultures, the festival has become a prominent platform to showcase the latest pop trends and creative innovations from Japan.
The 5th annual J-POP SUMMIT held July 2013 welcomed more than 80,000 attendees, making it one of the largest Japanese festivals in the United States. In addition to the original Festival held in Japantown, new attractions include the Union Square Live concert in downtown San Francisco, the Bay Area’s very first Japan Film Festival of San Francisco, and sake-tasting and fine foods events at the POP GOURMET Food Festival, which have each further enriched the experience. Additional information about J-POP SUMMIT Festival is available at: J-POP.com.
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Live Viewing Japan, a famous distribution company dedicated to introducing Japanese artists of various genres globally, is very pleased to share the spectacular stage presence of world-famous Japanese rock juggernaut, L’Arc~en~Ciel, with 10 major cities all over the United States, in the form of a delayed satellite broadcast of their long-awaited “L’Arc~en~Ciel LIVE 2014 at National Stadium.”
Chosen as the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, the iconic National Stadium only played host to four most influential Japanese music bands’ performances as of 2012, with L’Arc~en~Ciel included. Being the band’s second time to play at this enormous venue as well as their very first show since the last world tour, the significant “L’Arc~en~Ciel LIVE 2014 at National Stadium” sparked worldwide attention as soon as it was announced. In response to fervent requests from the U.S. audience,the second day (March22nd, 2014) of the two-day concert will be presented in 10 theaters across the United States as a special delayed satellite broadcast.
Originalpost cards will be given to everyone attending the live viewing and original limited edition glow sticks for the first 50 people who arrive. Tickets are available for $20 at the following theaters and Fandango.com.
Los Angeles, CA
Century City 15
San Diego, CA
Mission Valley 20
San Francisco, CA
Bay Street 16
Pacific Place 11
River East 21
Columbia Mall 14
New York, NY
Please visit http://larcenciel2014lvj.com for more information.
Comprised of Hyde (vocals), Ken (guitarist), Tetsuya (bassist), and Yukihiro (drummer), L’Arc~en~Ciel achieved blockbuster commercial success with many number one singles and albums on the Oricon charts after their major debut in 1994. Featuring a wide range of sounds from hard-rock tunes to romantic ballads, the band has so far sold over 15 million albums,16 million singles, and millions of merchandise, including DVDs.
Finding success at home, L’Arc~en~Ciel continued to expand their profile through launching activities overseas. On July 31st, 2004, L’Arc~en~Ciel made their North American debut at the anime convention, Otakon, as the first Japanese band to perform at the 1st Mariner Arena, which attracted an audience of 12,000 people. Sequentially hitting Asia and Europe from 2005 to 2008, L’Arc~en~Ciel gained increasing international fame and solidified their loyal fan base everywhere they went.
The band embarked on a stunning world tour, which covered 10 countries throughout Asia, Europe, and North America, one year after they celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2011. Their New York show took place at Madison Square Garden on March 25th, 2012,making L’Arc~en~Ciel the first Japanese artist ever to be the lead act at the legendary venue. Acclaimed for having “made a great contribution to cultural activities, and built a bridge of friendship between Hawaii and Japan” by the mayor of Honolulu, Peter Carlisle, the band has conquered the Japanese rock scene at a furious pace with their captivating music and dramatic live performances, while setting their sights worldwide to keep up with the frenzied response in Asia, Europe, and the United States.
About Live Viewing Japan:
Live Viewing Japan is a famous Japanese-based media distribution company dedicated to introducing Japanese artists of various genres around the world. More information on the company and its projects is available at: www.liveviewing.jp.
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As expected, there were massive changes to AKB48G (AKB48 Groups – AKB48, SKE48, NMB48, HKT48 and Team 4 but also involving Nogizaka46).
The changes are as follows:
Takahashi Mina becomes Team A captain again, Nakamura Mariko becomes a vice captain
Nakanishi Chiyori (HKT48) goes to Team A
Miyawaki Sakura (HKT48) goes to Team A (AKB48) (concurrent), also becomes vice-captain of HKT48 Team KIV
Furahata Nao (SKE48 Team KII) is concurrent with Team A
Tomonaga Mio (HKT48) goes to Team B (AKB48) (concurrent)
Watanabe Mayu (Team A of AKB48) returns back to Team B (AKB48)
Yokoyama Yui (AKB48) went to Team K and is now the new captain
Vice Captain of Team K will now be Kitahara Rie
Kuramochi Asuka becomes the new Team B Captain of AKB48
Vice Captain for Team B is Oya Shizuka
Nogizaka46’s Ikoma Rina goes to Team B (concurrent)
Oba Mina is now Co-Captain of SKE48 (Team KII) along with Furukawa Airi
Miyazawa Sae (SHN48) goes to SKE48 Team S as Captain (concurrent)
Sato Mieko will be vice-president of Team S
Iwata Karen (AKB48) transfers to Team S
Yamauchi Suzuran (AKB48) transfers to Team S
Suda Akari becomes Team E Captain
Umemoto Madoka becomes Team E Vice-Captain
Sato Sumire (AKB48) goes to SKE48 Team E
Tani Marika (HKT48) transfers to Team E
Kashiwagi Yuki (AKB48 – TEAM B) is concurrent with Team N (NMB48)
Kikuchi Ayaka (AKB48) goes to Team N (NMB48)
Murashige Anna (HKT48) goes to Team N (NMB48)
Fujie Reina (AKB48) goes to Team M (NMB48)
Umeda Ayaka (AKB48) goes to Team BII (NMB48)
Ichikawa Miori is no longer concurrent and is a permanent member with NMB48
Yabuki Nako, Tanaka Miku promoted to Team H
Miyawaki Sakura now vice-captain of Team KIV
Kimoto Kanon (SKE48 Team E) goes to HKT48 Team KIV (Concurrent)
Kusaba Manami and Fukugawa Maiko has been promoted to Team KIV
TEAM 4 Changes
Kotani Riho (Team N of NMB48) is now concurrent with Team 4
Kizaki Yuria of SKE48 becomes Vice Captain of Team 4
Mukaichi Mion and Komiyama Haruka is promoted to Team 4
Kato Reina (AKB48) goes to Team 4
Chikano Rina (AKB48) goes to JKT48
Nogizaka 46 Changes
Matsui Rena becomes a new member of Nogizaka46
Matsui Jurina will still be Team S (SKE48) and concurrent with AKB48 Team K
Yamamoto Sayaka will still be Team N (NMB48) and concurrent with AKB48 Team K
Yagura Fukou (NMB48) is concurrent with Team M and AKB48 Team A
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ELISA, announced as a Musical Guest of Honor for Sakura-Con 2014!
ELISA will be performing at Sakura-Con 2014 which will be taking place on April 18-20 in Seattle, Washington.
ELISA is from Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan and debuted in 2007 with the song “euphoric field”, the opening theme song for the anime series “ef-a tale of memories.”
She is noted for her distinguished singing voice which is rooted in opera and is said to possess a transparent quality.
Her music has been featured as theme songs for hit anime series such as “Hayate the Combat Butler” and “Project Railgun S.”
ELISA is also a successful live performer, showcasing her work at large capacity venues, including Japan’s biggest anime song festival “Animelo Summer Live” for four consecutive years, beginning in 2008. Her most recent live show was at the “Anime Festival Asia 2013″ in Singapore.
Her most recent singles, “Sobani Iruyo” and “REALISM” were used in the anime series “Valvrave the Liberator” as the second and third ending themes, respectively.
Her soon to be released single “Millenario” will be featured as the ending theme for the anime series “The Irregular at Magic High School.”
ELISA kicks off her international activity at Sakura-Con 2014, which will be her first appearance at an anime convention in North America.
Washington State Convention Center (Seattle, WA)
Registration and more info @ http://www.sakuracon.org/
February 3, 2014 – J-Pop band Swinging Popsicle released their latest digital single “Do Your Homework (Remix)” last week on iTunes worldwide. Featuring vocalist Mineko Fujishima’s crystal-clear vocals and a dreamy, electro-bossa-nova melody, the remix of the original 2011 track was inspired by composer Hironobu Hirata’s recent work producing tracks for Nitroplus mascot and anime star Super Sonico.
“Do Your Homework (Remix)” on iTunes:
Swinging Popsicle Official Website: http://www.swinging-popsicle.com
Swinging Popsicle Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Swinging-Popsicle/302720713086316
Swinging Popsicle was formed in 1995 when singer Mineko Fujishima and guitarist Osamu Shimada joined bassist Hironobu Hirata through a newspaper ad. The band’s first effort was the Sunny Silent Park EP.
In 1998, their first self-titled full-length album Swinging Popsicle debuted from Sony Music Entertainment at Number 1 in the New Artists category, producing the hit singles “Joy of Living,” “I Love Your Smile,” and “Parade.” After extensive touring, the band returned to the studio for their second album Fennec! (2000).
After starting strong with multiple Sony-label releases, Swinging Popsicle continued to build their international fan base with their independent releases of “Change” and “Orange.” Four solid years of writing and performing live throughout Japan produced their most mature and powerful CD titled Transit (2004), featuring signature song “I Just Wanna Kiss You.” In 2005, the band embarked on their first tour to Korea.
2006 marked their United States debut at Fanime MusicFest in San Jose, CA. The same year their song “Clash” was included in a compilation CD with the Korean manga “Cracker.” Performing to regular sold-out one-man live shows in Japan, (some running as long as 3 hours!) the band continued to develop new material for their full-length album Go on (2007), which featured “rainbounds,” “Clash,” and “Chocolate Soul Music.” In June 2007, they returned to America to perform at Anime Mid Atlantic in Richmond, VA, and New York City’s Knitting Factory.
Swinging Popsicle has also contributed music to the NITROPLUS PC games “SUMAGA/STAR MINE GIRL,” “AXANAEL,” “Kimi to Kanojo to Kanojo to Koi,” and various songs for the Nitroplus mascot Super Sonico’s band, Daiichi Uchuu Sokudo (First Astronomical Velocity).
Swinging Popsicle members have kept busy in recent years with various solo projects. Guitarist Osamu Shimada formed his own shoegazer band The Caraway, and lends support to Seikama II’s Ace Shimizu Project, Face to Ace, Korean pop vocalist Taru, and popular J-Pop artist Fujii Fumiya. Vocalist Mineko Fujishima has performed backing vocals with top-selling J-Pop R&B artist Kusuo, and performs regularly with the experimental 9-drummer band DQS.
Bassist/band leader Hironobu Hirata has acted as producer for the NITROPLUS games “SUMAGA,” “SUMAGA Special,” “AXANAEL,” and “Sonicomi,” and provided musical arrangements for artists such as 7!!, Kanako Ito, Kazuhiro Watanabe, Taru (Korea), Yozoh (Korea), and Daiichi Uchuu Sokudo. Hirata also plays support bass for Kusuo and DQS, and was the band leader for Kusuo’s 2012 Budokan live concert. His latest producer credit, Super Sonico’s Love & II+ Peace Plus debuted in the Oricon Top 50 in June 2012.
Swinging Popsicle was nominated as Best Japanese Rock Band by Shojo Beat magazine.
USA appearances include: Fanime (San Jose, CA), Anime Mid-Atlantic (Richmond, VA), Knitting Factory (New York City)
JAPAN: In a shocking announcement on NHK’s “Kouhaku Uta Gassen” (New Year’s Eve Red-White Battle), popular and longtime AKB48 member Yuko Oshima announced right after the group’s performance of “Koisuru Fortune Cookie”, that she will be graduating from AKB48 before performing “Heavy Rotation”.
While many people are watching worldwide via Ustream and Justin.tv, people have taken to Twitter to show their displeasure of AKB48 management using the Kouhaku New Year’s Eve special for Yuko to announce her graduation.
Kouhaku Uta Gassen’s second half received over 42% viewership in the ratings in 2012.
Nico Nico Live On Air – Japan’s most popular online live platform seen around the world – examined more than a 1000 of their music programs shown between January 1st 2013 – November 26th to create it’s Top Ranking list for 2013.
Based on viewers and comments, Nico Nico declared the exciting “X JAPAN x NICO LIVE SPECIAL 〜24 Hour Attack In Progress〜 Yoshiki Descends on Nicofarre,” that aired on September 27th and 28th, the #1 program for 2013.
The special was awarded the “Nico Nico Live On Air Music Program Award 2013.”
On September 25th both “Yoshiki Classical,” Yoshiki’s first solo album in 8 years, and X JAPAN’s first Blue-ray was released.
Yoshiki visited Nico Nico headquarters as a surprise late night guest on September 27th. During this live visit, fans were treated to a rare inside look at Yoshiki as he disclosed his own wallet, discussed shopping and eating “Unappetizing Blue Curry” – all of which was captured and aired live on screen.
On the following day – September 28th, X JAPAN members gathered at Nicofarre. With the audience calling out “X”, Yoshiki entered the stage blasting white smoke dramatically. He asked his online fans to join him live resulting in crashing the server with repeated signs of “X” which has never happened in Nico Nico’s history.
The same night, Yoshiki appeared in the center of Shibuya in Tokyo, which caused a sensation amongst the busy crowds while all being captured live on the Internet. The online viewers interactions speculated whether the Yoshiki they were seeing in Shibuya was the real one or not, creating more online activities.
Yoshiki, other than live music performances, has never appeared on any Internet live broadcast. This program attracted not only his fans but also thousands of new and interested viewers, pushing the program to number one out of all of the thousands of 2013 programing.
Beginning yesterday, December 15th Japan time, “X JAPAN x NICO LIVE SPECIAL 〜24 Hour Attack In Progress〜 Yoshiki Descends on Nicofarre” will air on repeat for one week. The celebration is called the “X JAPAN WEEKDAY 1-7″
Yoshiki participated live via telephone last night to introduce this special week. The DJ asked “What do you want to do in the near future?” which Yoshiki replied in closing the show “I’m going to do a solo World Tour … but anyway, I love NICO NICO! Like I would buy out the company!”
X JAPAN WEEK DAY1～7
PROGRAM AIR TIME:
Dec 15th (Sun) – Dec 21st (Sat)
7 Days X JAPAN Legendary Live Performance “X JAPAN WEEK”
A Very Rare “X JAPAN GATHER AT NICOFARRE！”,
Sensational “Yoshiki Appears in Shibuya” on Repeat
YOSHIKI INFO / SOCIAL MEDIA
YOSHIKI Official Site http://www.yoshiki.net/
YOSHIKI Official Twitter https://twitter.com/YOSHIKIOfficial
YOSHIKI Official Facebook https://www.facebook.com/YoshikiOfficial
YOSHIKI Official YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/yoshikiofficial