AKB48 turns to ‘idol diplomacy’ in China


J-pop superstars AKB48

SHANGHAI (majirox news) — J-pop superstars AKB48 arrived in Shanghai Sept. 23 and immediately pledged to use “idol diplomacy” to help boost friendlier Japan-China relations.

The 48-member group will perform for free on Sept. 24 as part of the Shanghai Japan Week 2011, which is being held as an opportunity for Japan to thank China for its support following the March 11 disasters and to display how the country is recovering from the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis.

“We are filled with gratitude for the enormous cooperation showed after the disasters. We want to show our gratitude the best way we can as idols,” AKB48 member Minami Takahashi told a news conference.

Shanghai Japan Week 2011 will feature such events as lessons in wearing kimono, the tea ceremony and cosplay contests.

The week is being jointly sponsored by Japan and China, which are aiming to improve ties in the lead-up to next year’s 40th anniversary of the normalization of relations between the two countries and to smooth over ill will generated by a clash over the disputed Senkaku Islands last year.

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