Manila-based idol group MNL48 gracing the AKB48 Group Asia Festival 2019. (Photo by Hallo Hallo Entertainment)

MNL48 proved that being new to the idol group scene doesn’t stop them from giving an impressive performance as they conquered the international stage at the recently concluded AKB48 Group Asia Festival 2019 held at the Impact Arena, Bangkok, Thailand last January 27.

The Manila-based idol group gave excited fans memorable performances, singing and dancing their hits at the AKB48 Group’s first-ever joint concert.


AKB48 Group Asia Festival 2019 was the first time seven international sister groups including Japan’s AKB48, Indonesia’s JKT48, Thailand’s BNK48, Philippines’ MNL48, Taiwan’s AKB48 Team TP, China’s AKB48 Team SH and Vietnam’s SGO48 performed on one stage.

During the mini-live concert, MNL48‘s Sheki, Abby, Sela, Brei, Gabb, Coleen, Rans, Jem, Mari and Faith serenaded the fans with their acoustic rendition of “Aitakatta – Gustong Makita”, “Palusot Ko’y Maybe” and “Pag-Ibig Fortune Cookie”.

The MNL48 representatives then gave an all-out performance singing and dancing to “Party ga Hajimaru yo”, “First Rabbit” and “Palusot Ko’y Maybe” during the main part of the concert.

Photo by Hallo Hallo Entertainment


Another highlight of the event was the WRD48 (World Senbatsu) where idols from different sister groups where chosen to form a special group.

MNL48‘s Sheki and Abby were selected along with SGO48 Anna and Kaycee, ABK48 Team SH’s Liu Nian and Mao Wei Jia, AKB48 Team TP’s Sin Tik Kei and Chiu Pin-Han, BNK48’s Music and Pun, JKT48’s Cindy Yuvia and Shani Indiranatio, and AKB48’s Yui Oguri, Nana Okada and Yui Yokoyama. BNK48’s Cherprang was chosen to be the Center for WRD48, completing the members who gave fans a special performance of “Heavy Rotation”.

WRD48 performing Heavy Rotation. (Photo by AKS)


Meanwhile, MNL48 Center Sheki displayed her vocal prowess singing to a multilingual version of “Blue Rose” together with other members from other sister groups. On the other hand, MNL48 member Abby performed “End Roll” alongside fellow idols from other sister groups.

MNL48 Center Sheki singing Blue Rose. (Photo by Hallo Hallo Entertainment)


The joint concert concluded with a total of 30 songs performed by seven sister groups, starting off with the AKB48’s hit song “Aitakatta” and capping off with the phenomenal single, “Koisuru Fortune Cookie”.

75 idols from the AKB48 Group on one stage. (Photo by AKS)


Before the concert, fans also had the chance to get up close and High-5 with all international sister groups following the concept of AKB48‘s “Idols you can meet.”

AKB48 also took the chance to launch their official mobile game AKB48 Cherry Bay Blaze. International pre-orders for the mobile game was also announced, giving fans a chance to support the AKB48 Group even in the world of virtual gaming.

AKB48 member and General Manager Yokoyoma also expressed her thoughts on the joint concert. “I was so nervous since this was the first time that all international groups will gather in one concert,” she said, “but I felt happy that we were able to unite with other groups to sing AKB48 songs even in different languages.”

“We all came from different regions with different culture and activities, but I believe we are in one team, we will try hard to make these groups successful and today is a great start for it,” Yokoyama added.


Meanwhile, MNL48 Sheki thanked the fans for coming to the event. “Before anything else, I would like to thank each and everyone of you for gracing this event. Thank you so much for welcoming us here in Thailand. And our stay here in Bangkok, even for a short period of time, you made it memorable. We will never forget this for the rest of our lives. ‘Til we meet again!”

With the event’s success, AKS plans to hold Asia Festivals in different regions to make the idol culture known across the world.