All About Japan

AKB in Star Trek?!

| Movies , J-Pop

To promote Star Wars: The Force Awakens, J.J. Abrams recently appeared on Japanese talk show Mezamashi TV. It’s sort of a media tradition in Japan to ask visiting foreign celebrities if they have any interest in Japanese traditional or pop culture, and the interviewer, perhaps armed with inside information, asked the Star Wars director if he liked Japanese idol singers.

While he may not be buying idol CDs in bulk and lining up for handshake events, it turns out that Abrams has indeed been to an idol unit concert. As a matter of fact, he went to a performance by Japan's biggest idol unit: AKB48.

Several years ago, while working on the Star Trek reboot that would be released in 2009, Abrams was taken by a Japanese acquaintance to see AKB48 perform live at the group’s theater in Akihabara, Tokyo’s otaku mecca. He said the performance was amazing, and that he was so impressed by the idols’ stage presence that he found himself wanting to add one of the energetic idols to Star Trek’s cast.

A Japanese Enterprise crew member wouldn’t have been unprecedented, as series regular Hikaru Sulu has a Japanese given name and was played for three decades by Japanese-American actor George Takei. Alas, the collaboration never came to be, for reasons unspecified. Still, given the fact that Abrams now holds the reins to two movie franchises set in racially diverse unverses, we can still hope for a J.J./AKB team-up in the future.

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