According to some young female Twitter users, Peach John shops are becoming quite the hot spot for male AKB48 fans, reports J-CAST News.
The lingerie retailer appointed AKB48 girls Oshima Yuko, Kojima Haruna and Kasai Tomomi as its latest advertisement models back in August, and beginning on September 7th, customers who purchased more than 3000 yen's worth in products from the store would receive a poster of the three members on a first-come, first-served basis. On the 8th, a female college student noted a peculiar development in this series of tweets:
At the grand reopening of Peach John's Shinjuku shop, they were giving away posters of AKB48 girls in lingerie as a novelty if you spent over 3000 yen, so a bunch of old men showed up in the store... So many old men in an underwear shop, it was at the level that I'd have liked for them to be reported as suspicious persons... And to buy a heart bra or something like it's no big deal just because Kojiharu is wearing it? How horrifying.
When asked by a clerk if his purchases were a present for someone, one man was said to have answered, "No, they're not."
The Peach John posters can currently be found on Yahoo! Japan Auctions for up to 5000 yen; however, many are being sold by users with a history of offering AKB48 goods, revealing that at least some people have obtained these posters for the purpose of making a profit.
A representative for Peach John refuted claims that men were flooding the stores, stating that men typically come to buy gifts for their girlfriends and that with the increase in customers since the Shinjuku location's reopening, Twitter users had most likely seen one or two men at best.
While netizens have complained there's no point in marketing AKB48 towards women when most of the group's fans are men, the company official went on to give this statement:
We ourselves thought our male customers would increase at first, but our female customers are increasing by leaps and bounds, and they all come to buy exactly what the AKB48 girls are wearing. The advertisement itself depicts the members differently than usual and it has the tone of fashion photography, so it's not because it's AKB48 that these women are interested, but because they simply find the visuals cute.