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Face of AKB48 Maeda Atsuko to Graduate

In a surprising shock to all fans, it was announced at today’s final performance at Saitama Super Arena that the face of AKB48 – Maeda Atsuko will be graduating from the idol group!! However, no graduation date has been officially announced yet.

Here’s a quick translation of her graduation speech:

I had been a first generation member since I was 14 years old. AKB48 became my life and it was the major decision I made in my life. Today, I will be making another major decision, which is to graduate.

14歳から初期メンバーとして活動してきました。人生でした。大きな決断でした。そして2回目の決断をします。私は卒業します

I have inconvenienced other members due to my emotional mood swings, and I would like to thanks all the members’ support To perform at Tokyo Dome has been a dream since I had when I was 14 years old.

感情の起伏が激しくてメンバーに迷惑をかけてきたんですが、みんなのお陰でやってこれました。東京ドームに立てるなんて、14歳からの夢でした

The dream has came true, and I will continue to pursue my next dream as become an adult at age 20.

東京ドームの夢が叶ったので、20歳の夢に向かって行かないといけないと思いました

While it has been a real shock, I’m sure many fans like myself have discussed what would happen to AKB48 when Acchan eventually graduates. It would be interesting to see how the group will strive forward together in the coming year.

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  • ShouTakuya

    I’m not a fan of Maeda, but if the number 1 AKBGirl will be graduating, I’m wondering if the others have plan to graduate as well, most specially Haruna for she is to old now

  • http://eshtar.livejournal.com Eshtar

    I’m not a fan of Acchan, but I guess she IS the most ‘secure’ member of AKB48 if any of them were to graduate. Acchan graduates since she already has plans for the future and I think everything is pretty much already lined up steadily in her future plan… As for the others, I don’t really know. Maybe Kojiharu and Mariko-sama (because they’re old, and they have this grace that will probably last even though they’re not under AKB48 anymore).

    AKB48 must find a new ‘face’… and I guess it is most definitely NOT a first generation member.

    • http://www.alafista.com/ Alafista

      Yes I agree, for the AKB48 system to work, a new face must come from the newer generation

  • Jaywei

    AKB48′s future success depends on how it handles Acchan’s graduation. She’s the first of the Kami-7 to graduate, and she’s the face of the group/the most popular and recognizable member by far. If AKB48 can’t rebound from losing Acchan, then there’s no way it rebounds from the mass graduations that are sure to occur in the next few years (i.e. Kojiharu, Mariko, Yuuko, etc). It all depends on how Aki-P leverages the new generation, and some of the more recognizable and younger members like Mayuyu, Yui, Sashihara, and the newer girls. I sincerely hope that AKB48 keeps up its popularity though, it’d be sad if they faded away like all the other idol groups…

  • Aachi

    I think both Mayuyu and Yukirin have a good chance of becoming the new ‘face’, Yukirin in particular had a great senbatsu last year. I love Sasshi to death, but I think her ranking was bloated due to her promotions company working overtime. She’s a great variety idol but doesn’t really do anything particularly well (that said, I guess Acchan isn’t really an outstanding performer).

    I can’t see the popularity of the group taking a hit since they’re so far ahead of the curve in terms of being effectively marketed and the size of their fanbase. I honestly expected Mariko to go first, so this was a bit of a surprise. Eh, they’ll be fine. Yukirin for centre! ^^

  • Ichan!

    erm the new face let’s see who will be the next new face but it won’t be able to replace maeda’s presence D:

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