• Sweden edition
Mystery Malmö loverboy tops Japanese charts

Mystery Malmö loverboy tops Japanese charts

Published: 01 Apr 2009 12:00 GMT+02:00
Updated: 01 Apr 2009 12:00 GMT+02:00

Aita Katta (Swedish Boyfriend), by 48-member (!) girl band AKB48 has rocketed straight to the top spot after a week of heavy rotation on MTV and Japanese radio networks.

"Suddenly everyone's talking about this Swedish boyfriend from Malmö. I think mainly they like his turning torso," quipped Katsunari Shikibo, head of the band's AFD record label.

"We've had to replace Katsuki, the girl who wrote the song, since she moved to Sweden. But she'll be hooking up with the rest of the girls when they tour Sweden in May," he added.

Sweden and Japan have maintained close cultural relations at the grassroots level in recent years. As fashion watchers in Sweden’s main cities will know, the biggest J-pop artists all have a devoted following in Sweden.

And with Japanese artists developing a similar fascination for the home of many of their fans, references to Sweden have become increasingly common in the Japanese pop charts.

The Swedophile trend, often referred to in Japan as Swe-J, came to national attention in February 2008 when Yokohama popsters Sabarashii Mu-Su (Stately Moose) swept into the top twenty with the guitar-driven foot stomper Koozan (Ore Mining), a track inspired by a journey made by the band to Kiruna in northern Sweden.

Nagasaki three-piece Kimagure Eiga (Moody Movie) continued the charge in August with the release of Burondo (Blonde), a J-pop floor filler replete with lyrical nods to the turbulent career of actress Britt Ekland.

Sweden and Japan may seem strange bedfellows at first glance, but veteran record producer Yashitin Mi argues that the Swe-J movement is bolstered by the countries' shared love of the natural world, consensus-driven decision making processes and, not least, a predilection for synthesizer pop.

"Swe-J also has obvious parallels with Tokyo-Kiwi," said Mi, referring to the jangle pop from New Zealand that exerted a huge influence when introduced to the Japanese New Romantic scene in the early eighties.

But Swe-J has not been without its growing pains. In the days before Christmas last year, the movement had its first Blur meets Oasis moment when the lead singer of Sutokkuhorumu (Stockholm) accused Osaka glam rockers Kulturhuset of bandwagon-jumping.

"They seem to think Robyn is the singer from The Cardigans," scoffed guitarist Keito Nogo in an interview with a leading music magazine.

Kulturhuset took the feud up a notch when they changed their name to Ixetebori (Gothenburg) and promptly released the power pop anthem Sutokkuhorumu Kainashi (Stockholm sucks).

“This battle of the bands even provided the inspiration for Swedish artist Maia Hirasawa’s new album GBGvsSTHLM,” said Mi.

But for now AKB48 are the undisputed queens of Swe-J. And with Swedish Boyfriend unlikely to be dislodged from the top spot any time soon, it may not be long before the giants of the genre start filtering through to the download charts and dancefloors of Sweden.

AKB48's number one hit, Aita Katta (Swedish Boyfriend)

April Fools' Day update

It's midday in Sweden and custom dictates that we now reveal our chicanery, skulduggery and general tomfoolery.

As many readers no doubt have guessed, the above article has very little basis in fact bar a couple of notable exceptions:

Maia Hirasawa really is a Swedish artist and she really has just released the album GBGvsSTHLM.

And AKB48 is very much a real group but Aitakatta (I wanted to meet you) was a hit in 2006. But the band has in fact released a new single today. No, really.

Find out more on the websites below.

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right
Today's headlines
Snake hunt after man claims playground bite
The Swedish adder. Photo: Piet Spaans

Snake hunt after man claims playground bite

A man claimed to have been bitten by a poisonous snake at a paddling pool in Gothenburg on Thursday prompting a hunt which ended without a trace of the offending reptile. READ  

Stockholmers sound off on 'beautiful Swedes'
Swedish girls in Stockholm. Photo: Susanne Walström/Imagebank Sweden

Stockholmers sound off on 'beautiful Swedes'

Following a Nordic survey in which Swedes were voted the "most attractive", The Local hit the streets to see what Stockholmers thought. READ  

Sweden keeps eye on Norway bomb threat
Norwegian police car at Oslo Gardemoen Airport. Photo: TT

Sweden keeps eye on Norway bomb threat

The Swedish Security Service (Säpo) have said that an "imminent terror threat" to neighbouring Norway doesn't yet affect Sweden although developments are being closely followed. READ  

Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
The Blomdahl family in Berlin. Photo: Private

Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin

Edvin Blomdahl is seven-years-old. He also cycled from Sweden to Berlin, a journey of 370 kilometres, in four days. READ  

'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Demonstrations at Sergels Torg in Stockholm. Photo: Kent Vilhelmsson

'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'

As the rhetoric rises at demonstrations in Swedish cities, Stockholm-based Israeli writer David Stavrou calls on Swedes to think before they shout and to cast a critical eye over much that is written and said about the conflict in Gaza. READ  

Brit's charity tractor trek heads for Sweden
The vintage tractor ready to travel from UK to north Norway. Photo: Peter Matheson

Brit's charity tractor trek heads for Sweden

A British man is set next month to drive from Scotland, across Sweden, and to the northern tip of Norway on a vintage tractor to raise money for a cancer charity. READ  

Sweden agency hikes heat warning to 'extreme'
This canine friend is not amused. Photo: TT

Sweden agency hikes heat warning to 'extreme'

Swedish weather agency SMHI has raised its weather warning to class 2, giving notice of "extremely high temperatures" in parts of the country. READ  

Songs for a hot Swedish summer
Ted Gärdestad. Photo: TT

Songs for a hot Swedish summer

Contributor Paul Connolly has put together a list of Swedish songs to capture balmy summer days, which in his neck of the northern woods are pushing the mercury above 35c for the first time in a century. READ  

Swedes suffer as buses boil in the summer sun
Photo: TT

Swedes suffer as buses boil in the summer sun

Stockholm's local traffic authority has received almost 300 complaints since June 1st with many regarding stifling heat on the city's buses, which lack air con. READ  

Grounded flights strand Swedes in Tel Aviv
Photo: Matt Rourke/TT

Grounded flights strand Swedes in Tel Aviv

UPDATE: About 270 passengers planning to fly to Stockholm are still stranded in Tel Aviv, and airlines have stated that flights will likely be grounded on Thursday as well. READ  

Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
What's On in Sweden
People-watching July 23
Blog updates

22 July

Det (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! “Det” is a personal pronoun that can be used in many ways, and it might me confusing if you always translate “det” to English “it”. In this article I will do my best to guide you to how to use “det”. Det replacing a word, a phrase or a clause Let us begin with the less confusing..." READ »


22 July


"Today (22 July) my Prime Minister, David Cameron, and UNICEF, are hosting the world’s first #GirlSummit in London. The Summit’s aim is to mobilise domestic and international efforts to end the appalling practices of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Child Early Forced Marriage (CEFM). This is a high priority for the UK government and the Prime..." READ »

Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Swedish Wiki vet sets new content record
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Finest.se
People-watching July 15-16
Photo: Ola Ericson/Image Bank Sweden
What's On in Sweden
Photo: Lisa Mikulski
Hope springs eternal for expat pet shop owner
Princess Estelle steals limelight at mum's birthday
Swedes risk infants' lives by covering up prams
Swede runs for office just using Bitcoin funds
People-watching July 11-13
Malmö mayor slams Danish beggar ban
Swedish anti-abortion midwife sues county
Swede's salary chopped for Facebook use
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at: