Yesterday saw 16 members of AKB48 (a mixture of senbatsu and other members) fly into Shanghai for what was supposed to be a handshake event today. Hundreds of fans greeted them at the airport and some even waited for them at their hotel.
The local media reported that about 1000 fans started to crowd the Super Brand Mall where the handshake event was taking place and some had even camped overnight. Due to so many people being there and with no control over them the police were called in and the authorities were forced to cancel the event which I’m sure disappointed not only the fans who had waited patiently for AKB48 but also the girls themselves. How many people did the handshake event organisers think would turn up, surely they should have been better prepared. If any case if the AKB48 members’ safety would have been jeopardised due to so many people being there then fair enough cancel the event. If I was one of the fans I’d be quite rightly pissed off and I feel sorry for them. Imagine it – you hear that your favorite idol group is coming to your country and city, you get excited that you have a chance to finally meet and shake hands with your oshi and then that excitement turns to disappointment. At least the organisers know next time (if AKB48 comes back to Shanghai that is) what they have to do to get things right.
The handshake event was to have been a part of Shanghai’s Japan Week 2011. AKB48’s concert for students of Shanghai’s International Studies University goes ahead as planned.
EDIT: Apparently the organisers of the event hadn’t had permission from the authorities after all to run it anyway. Blame one shop for starting this chaos. The shop had promised fans that if they bought a certain amount of merchandise at their store they would get a free ticket to the handshake event.