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AKB48 is a Japanese all-female idol group based in Akihabara, Tokyo, where they have their own theater in Don Quixote. The group also has five sub-units: No Sleeves, established in 2008, Watarirouka Hashiritai 7, established in 2009, French Kiss, established in 2010, and Not yet and DiVA, both established in 2011. In July 2005, renowned producer Akimoto Yasushi held an audition for a new theater based idol girl group. Of the 7,924 girls that applied, 45 passed the first round of auditions, detailed screening of the application documents. Finally, only 24 girls were chosen to be in the group. In November, the selected girls went through an extensive one month training program. On December 1st, the AKB48 Theater had its grand opening.

On December 8, 2005, the group held its first public show in the theater with only 20 girls, later known as Team A. It was the first audition ever where the applicants had to send in their audition video with their mobile phones. In January 2006, three months before Team K was formed, Akimoto allowed Shinoda Mariko to join the group as part of Team A without passing the second audition. Prior to joining the group, Shinoda was actually working as a waitress in a cafe in the same building and on the same floor as the the AKB48 theater. 19 of the 11,892 applicants who participated in the second audition were chosen to join AKB48, but in the end only 17 girls joined the group to become Team K in April 2006.