There's a good reason this gentleman is covering his face. If you just spent a hundred thousand bucks on girly pop music, would you show yours?
Last December, Japan's most popular idol group AKB48 released a PSP game. There were several bundles, including one that cost ¥36,729 (US$453) and came with 48 PSP battery covers that featured "kiss marks" from all 48 members. When the bundle was released, many wondered who the hell was going to buy it? This guy, maybe.
On Japanese social networking site Mixi (via アルファルファモザイク), one AKB48 fan claims to have purchased 5,500 copies of the group's latest single "Everyday, Kachusha" for a grand total of ¥8.8 million, or US$109,000.
That's right, over a hundred grand. On AKB48's latest single. The Japanese internet is baffled by this fan's purchasing decision, though there is a long standing otaku tradition in which crazed fans purchase large amounts of their favorite video game, comic or CDs, take photos and them post them online. It's all about outdoing others, showing how hardcore you are. Think e-peen, but for rich otaku. In the U.S., geeks might get tattoos to prove their loyalty. In Japan, geeks buy shit—the same shit, over and over again.
These days, AKB48 is magnet for loyal fans. It's a popular idol group with around 48 members; the number depends on if new members join or if old members graduate. The group, based in Tokyo geek mecca Akihabara, was created by music whiz Atsushi Akimoto, a former Onyanko Club song writer. Their tunes are gooey sugar, but some of them, as pure unabashed pop go, are actually quite brilliant.
In the last few years, the group's popularity has exploded in Japan, making AKB48 one of Japan's most popular act. In the way of last March's earthquake, it was AKB48 who donated more money to relief efforts than either Nintendo or Sony.