Our reporter tried to uncover the truth behind “AKB48 Non Yuu” and their mysterious phone number.

Back where I come from it wasn’t uncommon for bills to come into my possession in various states of defacement. Ball-point blue lipstick would be applied to some of our greatest heads of government and people’s opinions on Nickelback would be disseminated far and wide as their expletive laden currency passed from user to user.

But in Japan this is a much rarer occurrence. Bills are often dispensed from ATMs in pristine condition and rarely would I ever get a gussied up Hideyo Noguchi mixed in with my change while shopping. That’s not to say it never happens, however.

Recently, our star writer Mr. Sato happened across a graffito-tagged 1,000 yen bill that possessed a cryptic message:

Circle 080-[number withheld] AKB48 Non [heart] Yuu [heart]

The gratuitous hearts and reference to idol group AKB48 would suggest some dizzy love-struck fan trying to pass a message on to his favorite uniformed dancer via the universal language of cold hard cash.

This angered Mr. Sato greatly who views money as a symbol of his nation and not something to be doodled or jotted upon like some cheap cocktail napkin. Steaming like a tray of clams, our man dialed up the number to give this vandal a piece of his mind.

After dialing the number, a bizarre sound came through from the other end. It was like he was connecting with a switchboard or some other country. Then the phone started to ring.

He decided he would be firm but forgiving to this person. After all, it was probably just some over-enthusiastic idol otaku who meant no disrespect, and Mr. Sato was angry but not beyond the point of compassion…yet.

One minute later no one answered and Mr. Sato internally shouted, “What the hell?!”

Not only was this person disrespectful to our nation’s property, they had terrible phone manners. Mr. Sato’s remaining pools of tolerance were drying up quickly.

Two minutes later there was still no answer and Mr. Sato’s inner voice was raging, “Pick up you f$%@!!! This has now gone beyond something that can be settled by a simple apology! You’re just making this worse for yourself!!!”

Then, like the final waves of an earthquake, Mr. Sato’s rage washed away and he hung up.

The AKB48 vandal had won this round, but Mr. Sato is not finished. He will try again and give this villain the piece of mind that they deserve someday.

But first he has to figure out what that strange sound at the beginning of the phone call was. Here is a video of his call so you can hear it as well.

He checked the number online to see if it went to some kind of business, but no information could be found about it.

Has Mr. Sato stumbled upon some clandestine communication network between spies operating in Japan? Or were his initial instincts right and this was just some no-goodnik taking liberties to legal tender?

Time will tell…or not. Mr. Sato tends to get distracted easily.

Original article by Mr. Sato
Photos, video: RocketNews24
[ Read in Japanese ]