If you’ve been to Tokyo’s Akihabara in the past decade, you’ve seen large signs for pop group AKB48 on the side of the Don Quijote building. They have been replaced.
At one time, AKB48 was the biggest-selling pop troupe in the country. You couldn’t turn on the television without being bombarded by group members in variety shows or in commercials. AKB48 still has its theater in the building and is still performing, even during the pandemic.
As Hachima Kikou reports, the massively successful gaming juggernaut has now replaced the AKB48 signage just in the last few days. People are expressing surprise at not seeing the iconic idol billboard.
As you can see in the photo from 2011, during the group’s heyday, the signs projected the group’s dominance and strong connection with Akihabara.
The signs became part of the Electric Town’s visual landscape—which has been changing.
As you can see in these photos taken by photographer Kaztsu, the side of the building now looks very different. (For more photos of Akihabara, do check out Kaztsu’s official site and follow the photographer on Twitter)
Inside the building, though, the group’s images are still all over the walls near the escalators.
From the street, it’s hard to see that the group’s theater is inside. But there is still a smaller sign leading into a side street that reads “AKB48 Theater 8F.”
Once Japan’s most successful pop group, AKB48 is now second fiddle to Genshin Impact.
“Times change,” wrote one Twitter user in Japanese in a reply. They sure do.
Tweets used with permission.