POP groups have been popular across the world for many years. I remember the excitement of S Club 7 - there were 7 of them!

It was such a new concept to have a larger group filled with choreographed, smiling young things. Little did we know, across the sea in Japan, this was no longer a new idea.

They are known as ‘idol groups’. These are manufactured pop groups that come with a huge following of all ages across Japan. The most popular group right now is called AKB48 - That stands for Akihabara 48. Akihabara is the big ‘geek’ area of Tokyo, where the group is in residence, and 48 is the number of members. Yes, you read that right - 48 members! Japanese idol groups are often much bigger in size than any western music groups, but fans still know all about each and every member.

AKB48 even has their own theatre and cafe in Tokyo. Every day, different line ups of members perform and take pictures with fans. This kind of culture means fans feel much closer to these groups than any others.

But it also has its issues, as one can imagine. A large number of these idol groups fans are usually adult men, rather than young girls. Most of the fans are there because the girls are cute, and they enjoy the music and cute dance moves; but others often have more serious feelings towards these young girls. Only a couple of years ago, two of the members (who were 18 and 19 years old at the time) were attacked with a saw after one of their concerts by a crazed fan.

Although AKB48 is easily the most famous and beloved group in Japan right now, they have sparked a trend of similar groups across the country, and even into Korea. All these groups involve large numbers of young girls or guys, who are able to dance well and sing pleasantly while looking attractive. These groups are even part talent show. Every year, the fans will vote for their favourite member, and the winner will become the number One girl in the group. She will then be the leader for the rest of the year - every idol girls dream!

What do you think about these idol groups? Can you imagine them working well here in the UK, or they too weird, even for us?