, a Guinness World Record holder for being the "largest pop group", with 2011 record sales of over $200 million in Japan alone
, the longest running female idol group, also holding the record for the most consecutive top 10 singles for any Japanese artist
performing in Los Angeles in 2014. Their two studio albums are among the few albums by Japanese artists to make the US Billboard 200 chart.
In Japanese pop culture "idol" (アイドル aidoru, a
Japanese rendering of the English word "idol") is a term typically used to refer to young manufactured stars/starlets marketed to be admired for their
cuteness. Idols are intended to be role models. They are supposed to maintain a good public image and be good examples for young people. Idols aim to play a wide range of roles as
media personalities (
pop singers, panelists of variety programs, bit-part actors, models for magazines and advertisements.
The term is commercialized by Japanese
 that hold auditions for boys and girls with little or no prior experience in the entertainment industry, often as aspiring stars/starlets to be adored for their sweetness and innocence
 with the intent of creating a passionate following. Most idol singers work across genres of
Japanese pop music, usually in the genre that is most popular at the moment,
 but since many idols sing cute sentimental songs,
 one can say that those kind of idols form a sort of music genre of their own.
 Their songs typically do not require great singing skills; their popular appeal comes largely from the attractiveness of their public image.
 Idols are often not considered "serious" musicians
 or "serious" actors. Consequently, many young stars now reject the idol label in their desire to be seen as professionals rather than as objects of fanatical devotion.
Many Japanese people who are fans of female idols see them as akin to sisters or
girl next door types;
 they empathise with the idols and love the way in which they are presented as ordinary kids who happened to become popular, enthusiastically following their growth from inexperienced amateurs to famous experienced artists.
The biggest annual idol concert festival is the
Tokyo Idol Festival (TIF) held since 2010. More than 200 idol groups, about 1500 idols performed and attracted more than 80,000 spectators in 2017.