On January 31st, Nogizaka46 announced that they would be starting to recruit for a new ‘rival group’ for a group that was born to be the ‘rival group’ for AKB48.
The new group will be under Ligareas Management, a joint venture company established in fall of last year. As part of their Ganbare! Nippon no Idol project they will be opening up auditions February 1st, with applications accepted until the 18th. After a series of screenings the final selection will be announced April 22nd, and the group will make their major debut with Avex this summer.
It is a rather ironic twist for the idol group that was initially formed as the official rival group for AKB48 at the height of their popularity, with the number 46 specifically selected to indicate that they could ‘best’ AKB48 with 2 less members. The relationship between Nogizaka46 and this new group is meant to be one of mutual respect, each aiming to become the representative idol group of Japan per the article.
In addition to the online application, some applicants may be invited through TikTok as well, much like a scouting system.