Anime Expo has announced that the female idol group AKB48 will be performing at the July 1-4 convention in Los Angeles. Producer and songwriter Yasushi Akimoto founded AKB48 in 2005 as an idol group permanently stationed in Tokyo's Akihabara otaku shopping district. AKB48 will perform a concert at the Nokia Theater on July 1. The members will also hold attendee panels, meet-and-greet sessions, and autograph sessions during the convention.
The full members of AKB48 are split into A, K, and B teams — named after the three syllables of the "Akiba" nickname for Akihabara. 16 of the members performed in Paris for Japan Expo 2009, and another sub-group made the band's American debut at the New York Anime Festival last year.
AKB48 performed theme songs for the Deltora Quest and ICE anime projects. AKB48's most recent single, "Sakura no Shiori," sold 370,000 copies in its first week in February, and the group's second studio album, Kamikyokutachi, debuted at #1 on Oricon's weekly album chart. The Recording Industry Association of Japan recognized the group's bestselling status with a Special Award in The Japan Gold Disc Award 2010 competition.
The contemporary artist and occasional anime creator Takashi Murakami illustrated the jacket for AKB48's single "Namida Surprise!" last year. In return, AKB48 producer Yasushi Akimoto wrote the lyrics for the "First Love" tie-in song for Murakami's "Superflat First Love" anime short. Akimoto collaborated with manga artist Natsuo Kume on the AKB48 Sprout online manga about the members of Team B. AKB sang at the Kōhaku Uta Gassen television event on New Year's Eve 2007, and joined former Japanese Prime Minister Tarō Asō for cherry-blossom viewing last April.
Update: More background information added. Seven members of the group are forming a sub-group called "Team Dragon," led by Minami Takahashi, to sing the new ending theme for the Dragon Ball Kai television anime series. The song will be release on May 2.