Japan’s idol world is quite…expansive, for lack of a better word. Even with the wide variety of groups running around, it can be hard to really tell them apart–though we have to say there was no mistaking Osaka’s Obachaaan for any other group. In fact, the “old lady” idol group is still going strong–perhaps thanks in part to the dearth of elderly competition. But it looks like Obachaaa and AKB48 are about to face some new rivals: KBG84, Okinawa’s own geriatric idol group!
KBG84, the newest idol group making headlines, is commonly described as “Japan’s idol group closest to heaven,” which seems like a cruel way to say they’re all super-old. Though we like to imagine that it’s actually a reference to the fact that they live on an island paradise!
That said, the group’s members certainly aren’t young–in fact, you apparently have to be 80 years old or older to join and the average age is 84! And if you think that’s nuts, the central figures of the group are Miki Hanashiro, who is a mere 90 years old, and Tomi Menaka, who is 91. Say what you will about idol groups, but if we make it to 90, you can believe we’d rather be in an idol group than sitting around watching daytime TV. If you’re champing at the bit to get into the group, though, they will let people in their 70s or younger in as trainees, but you’ll likely face some competition: the group already has roughly 40 members!
As for the group’s name, the “K” is for Kohamajima, the “B” is for oBachan (old ladies), and the “G” is for “Gasshodan,” or “choir.” And, of course, the 84 is for their average age. We’re not sure if that means they’ll be adjusting the name of the group every year or not, but it’s good enough for now!
▼Kohamajima, part of the Yaeyama Islands
And, yes, this is an active idol group–in fact, they’re a “dance and vocal” unit, though we somewhat suspect that their dancing isn’t quite as energetic as some other idol groups. They recently recorded their first track, titled “Come and Dance Kohamajima,” and it has a planned release date for sometime around June. The group has also apparently filmed a music video which featured Menaka standing and dancing–which in most other contexts might not seem impressive, but definitely is here! There are even plans for KBG84 to come to Tokyo where they will perform a show at Shinagawa Prince Hotel’s Club eX towards the end of June.