AKB48 are a Japanese idol girl group formed in 2005. as of July 28, 2019 the group consists of 102 members, divided among several teams: Team A with 23 members, Team K with 23 members, Team B with 23 members, and Team 4 with 28 members, Team 8 with 38 members, the last of which have 33 members serving concurrently with other AKB48 teams. There are Kenkyusei members, 13 of whom serve on specific teams as understudies, and three of whom were recruited as a group of general understudies.
Each of the teams has its own theme: according to member Misaki Iwasa, Team A represents freedom, Team K has a strong and powerful image, Team B is very idol-like with cutesy costumes, and Team 4 represents “the future of AKB48”. The member lineup often changes as when girls get older, they “graduate” from the group, and are replaced by members promoted from the trainees. Monica Hesse of The Washington Post describes the AKB48 audition process as “rolling American Idol-esque”.
The group has publicized special events for choosing the promotional and recording lineup for some of its singles. In 2009, the concept of sōsenkyo (総選挙, “general elections”) was introduced. To obtain a ballot, voters have to buy the group’s latest “election single”, or sign up the official paid fanclub. The members who receive the most votes will get to participate in the recording of AKB48’s next single, and are heavily promoted. The highest voted member earns the right to be the center performer during the group’s live performances.
Mion Mukaichi is the current leader or “general manager” of AKB48 and all of its sister groups. The results from AKB48’s annual general elections from 2009–2018 are included. Dark gray cells indicate that the member did not take part in that election. Light gray cells marked “N/A” indicate the member took part in the election, but did not rank. Members who ranked between #81 and #100 are also denoted by light gray cells.