SKE48's Matsui wins first AKB48 popularity contest to include sister groups
Japan Times -- Jun 18
Jurina Matsui of SKE48, one of the AKB48 family of all-female idol groups, has taken the No. 1 spot in the franchise’s annual popularity contest, which was the first to let its Thai and Taiwanese members join the 10-year-old event.

Fans voted Matsui to the top of the group’s list of the 100 most popular members on Saturday after four-time winner Rino Sashihara opted not to run this year.

Two members from Bangkok-based BNK48 made the list as well: Cherprang Areekul at No. 39 and Praewa Suthamphong at No. 72.

A record 339 members ran in the 10th so-called General Election. The top 16 will get to record the next single for AKB48.

AKB48, named after the Akihabara electronics and anime district in Tokyo, is known for having churned out consecutive million-seller singles. It has also boosted its presence overseas by forming sister groups in other parts of Asia.

BNK48 has had great success with its cover of AKB48’s “Koisuru Fortune Cookie” (“Fortune Cookie in Love”), a hit originally released in 2013.

News source: Japan Times
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