Monica Hesse of The Washington Post described the AKB48 audition process as "rolling American Idol-esque".
AKB48 released its first independent-label single, "Sakura no Hanabiratachi", in February 2006.
One of its concert venues, the Yokohama Arena, was used for a two-day charity event beginning on March 26 and 12 AKB48 members attended the Okinawa International Movie Festival that day for the same purpose.The group's chief producer, Yasushi Akimoto, said that his goal was to create a unique idol group which, unlike other idol groups which perform occasional concerts and appear primarily on television, would perform regularly in its own theater.AKB48 has a system that allows members to "graduate" from the group when they are older and are replaced by trainees who are promoted. The group has expanded since then to include over 130 members as of December 2015, AKB48's producer, Yasushi Akimoto, wanted to form a girl group with its own theater (unlike pop groups performing occasional concerts and seen on television) and performing daily so fans could always see them live. Forty-eight) are a Japanese idol girl group named after the Akihabara (Akiba for short) area in Tokyo, where the group's theater is located.