One of the leading members of J-pop supergroup AKB48 has just made some fans sadder with her New Year’s Eve announcement. 25-year-old Yuko Oshima said she is “graduating” from the all-girl group, surprising even some of her co-members.
After their performance of their hit single Koisuru Fortune Cookie on the NHK music variety program “Kohaku Uta Gassen,” Oshima shared her surprising news. She didn’t give a specific date for her graduation but did say she was planning to pursue a solo career and also try her luck in acting in TV shows and movies. The media is speculating that the scheduled March concert of AKB48 might be her last performance with the group.
Oshima joined the group in 2006 and is currently the captain of Team K. During the group’s past general elections, a kind of popularity contest among their die-hard fans, she has been at the top twice. In the latest one last year, she placed second to Rino Sashihara, garnering 136,503 votes, compared to the winning 150,570 votes. While the group’s popularity has remained constant, the members go through a constant revolving door, replacing members who have “aged out” to keep the group fresh and relevant for every generation of music fans.