An introduction to members 49 – 64 of the AKB48 family27 March, 2012 by Yan
With the AKB48 Kenkyuusei promotion announcement by AKB48 theater manager Togasaki at the Super Saitama Arena Concert last weekend, the final 5 members have been finally added into Team 4 and thus making it a full team. Congratulations to the 5 Kenkyuusei who have made it into the official AKB members club! Here’s a short introduction to all the girls of the completed Team 4.
Just a little bit of history. Before the formation of Team 4 in June 2011, all of the 9th generation members were already promoted as official members during the 5th anniversary theater performance back in December 2010. While were an occasional 1 or 2 members added to the team 4 subsequently, it was not until March 2012 that a full 16 girl strong team was finally assembled.
49. Shimazaki Haruka
Currently occupying the #0 spot in Team 4’s stage performance, Shimazaki Haruka has long been one of the favored girls of 9th gen during her research student days. In fact she placed 28th in AKB48’s 2010 election rankings, the highest ranking ever received by a kenkyuusei. Though it still remains a mystery as to why she was unranked in the following 2011 AKB48 election after attaining such a high rank previously.
Shimazaki Haruka might not have a permanent standing spot among the senbatsu performances but you’ll be sure that if any of the main girls couldn’t make it for the said media performance, Haruka is most definitely the girl replacing.
Shimazaki Haruka confessed that she has a soft spot for female idols, particularly favoring Tokyo Girls’ Style. With that in mind, it is said that she also secretly grades every member in the 48 family in terms of how “idoly” they are. Watanabe Mayu was of course given the full 100 marks in terms of idol-ness. For that reason, her nickname “Paruru” was tailored for her by Yonezawa Rumi, just like how she previously had given a similar sounding nickname to Watanabe.
Paruru is definitely one of the faces for Team 4 and has been furiously appearing in all sorts of media (sometimes even tie-ins with the Senbatsu members) for more exposure. She is one girl you won’t miss even if when new to Team 4.
Just last weekend during the final day of the Super Saitama Arena concert, it was announced that Shimazaki Haruka will join the Big Apple agency.
50. Oba Mina
Serving as the captain of the new Team 4, Oba Mina is one of the oldest members in the team. Since 2007, Oba Mina had tried auditioning for AKB Kenkyuusei spots without any success but after a total of 3 times, was has finally admitted into the 9th generation student. Since then “3rd time’s a charm” has been her favorite phrase.
Perhaps thanks to this same perseverance, it didn’t bring down her spirit or determination to stay in AKB48 despite being involved in a scandal last year. She was suspended in all AKB48 activities, including important ones like the AKB48 Janken Tourament and the first theater debut performance of Team 4. After begging the management (and fans) to give her a chance, theater manager Mr Togasaki Tomonobu finally allowed her comeback at the start of this year.
Prior to her suspension, Oba Mina was one of the more popular girls of 9th gen. Fans even furiously threw in votes during the AKB48 General Election to get her to #35, making her one of the only 2 Kenkyuusei Undergirls in 2011. After the scandal broke out, I would believe that she had probably also broken many fans’ hearts. Since her comeback this year, the management has been generous in featuring her in all sorts of media. Only time will tell if the fans have forgiven her.
During the final day of the Super Saitama Arena concert, it was announced that Oba Mina will join Japan Music Entertainment.
51. Takeuchi Miyu
Before the inclusion of Tano Yuuka as an official AKB48 member, Takeuchi Miyu was the youngest fully fledged AKB48 member. Even though she has now been relieved of this “youngest” duty, Miyu still remains one of the major key girls in Team 4.
With a mother who is a veteran in show business, Takeuchi Miyu has been trained since young in all aspects of performing, including vocal training, music lessons and even classical ballet.
Due to her past experience and training, Takeuchi Miyu was given the role of backup (should they be unable to attend a performance) for the “ace members” of all 3 teams at the AKB48 theater. To perform as a substitute of the 3 aces (Maeda Atsuko, Oshima Yuko and Watanabe Mayu) would surely have to be a silent confirmation from the management as to Takeuchi being an invaluable asset both to the team, and AKB48 as a whole. Despite her age, Takeuchi is known to be one of the best singers within the 48 family, rivaling the likes of Takahashi Minami herself.
Takeuchi Miyu has been admitted into the Oh Enterprise agency during the announcement held in Super Saitama Arena last weekend.
52. Nagao Mariya
Another popular member of Team 4, the two most notable features of Nagao Mariya would be her duck lips and yaeba (double teeth). These two charm points alone have drawn her quite a decent following within the AKB48 fans. While yaeba is fairly common trait among Japanese people, Nagao’s stand out rather prominently. When combined with her lips, her smiles should have earned her the title of “pouting killer” rather than her catchphrase, “wink killer”.
Oddly, compared to the other popular members in Team 4, Nagao Mariya receives much less exposure. This is possibly why despite her popularity in theaters and handshakes, Nagao has yet to grow enough of a fan base to earn her a rank in the AKB48 elections.
Also strangely, is the fact that Nagao Mariya is the only among the 9th generation girl who currently does not belong to any agency. Maybe she’s focusing on her studies before finally stepping into the entertainment world?
53. Yamauchi Suzuran
If AKB48 were to give out a “best fan service” award among its members it is likely that Yamauchi Suzuran would win. Tales of even non-fans walking away happily after a handshaking session with Suzuran is not unheard of. And waving and giving ample eye contact to fans during stage performances is also part of Yamauchi’s norm. Not to mention that she constantly updates the AKB blogs with wacky and interesting stuff to keep fans wanting for more.
When combined with her good MC skills and dancing abilities, it’s little wonder why Ranran even as a research student had managed to get herself ranked at 36th in 2010 AKB48 General Elections. I even know of a fan who had casted 500 votes for Suzuran! It might sound absurd, but if a fan was willing to devote 500 votes to a “mere” kenkyuusei at that point of time, you can only imagine the drawing power of Yamauchi Suzuran.
Also known as the golf girl, with both parents as professional golfers, Yamauchi Suzuran has since her youth been trained in the sport. She even participated in a few golf competitions while off duty from AKB48 duties and even now she’s going to be have a permanently weekly part in a golf program.
An interesting side note, is that other than sharing the same birthday as Oota Aika and Yokoyama Yui. Ranran was also born on the anniversary of AKB48’s debut theater performance!
During the Super Saitama Arena concert, it was announced that Yamauchi Suzuran will join Horipro.
54. Shimada Haruka
With MC abilites not losing to veteran members like Minegishi Minani or Sashihara Rino, Shimada Haruka is one of the most vocal members in Team 4. More often than not, during theater MC segments or variety shows, Haruka usually is able to spice up the atmosphere with her witty chats and daring speeches.
Yet despite her strong and daring exterior, Shimada is known to get nervous and stressed out from her heavy duties. This is especially true during times such as when Team 4’s captain, Oba Mina was suspended from AKB48 activities and Shimada Haruka had to take up the reins as temporary captain in her place. At some occasions she could be seen in solitary meditation at the backstage before the start of a theater or concert performance.
Shimada Haruka will be joining the Office 48 family, as announced during the Super Saitama Arena Concert. Given that most of the other Office48 members are in the DiVA group, may it be that we’ll be able to see the inclusion of Haruka in the not so distant future?
55. Nakamura Mariko
Possessing a booming voice and a desire to perform, Nakamura Mariko also brings out some of the better MCs in the team with her great impersonation skills. Along with Takeuchi Miyu, Nakamura holds one of the best vocals among the 9th generation members. Also a big fan of enka music, it was said that Mariko would make a great enka duo with Iwasa Misaki after hearing her performance in AKBINGO’s karaoke special.
Despite not being the oldest of members in the team, Mariko is often regarded as the motherly figure amongst the group. Through her team members’ votes, she is also said to possess the most beautiful pair of legs. It’s little wonder that she used to be a former gravure idol before joining AKB48.
Due to the fact that she shares the same name as Shinoda Mariko, members started using the nickname “Komari” to differentiate them. This nickname has since stuck with her as both her catchphrase and nickname.
Nakamura Mariko will be joining Shinei Production as per announced recently.
56. Ichikawa Miori
You might not be familiar with her name, but there is no way that you wouldn’t recognize Ichikawa Miori’s infamous nickname “Fresh Lemon”. Her catchphrase “I want to become a Fresh Lemon!” has been stuck in everyone’s head since her debut in AKB48, making her one of the most recognizable girls outside of the senbatsu.
Ichikawa gets her nickname of course from her ridiculous love of lemons. And apart from being able to eat them raw (without flinching), she boasts an extensive collection of lemon-themed goods. The management has been quick to catch onto this and the other traits that make up her wacky personality.
Ichikawa Miori was so outstanding in her display of caricature-like personality that she had managed to win over many fans in the shortest of time, evident from the fact that she gotten 39th place in 2011’s AKB48 elections. Making her one of the only 2 kenkyuusei ranked in the top 40 last year.
Together with Nakamata Shiori, Ichikawa Miori was one of the fastest 10 generation members to be officially promoted. Prior to that, fans often jokingly said that Ichikawa Miori belonged in the “9.5 gen” due to the amount of push and media exposure the management had given her. Ichikawa was also known to be closest to the 9th generation Oba Mina. She is also referred to as Miorin, or “Tenshi” by her fans.
Despite her youthful appearance and childlike demeanor, Ichikawa is actually one of Team 4’s older members. A trait that is sometimes pointed out during variety programs. Her tiny frame also hides the fact that she is one of the group’s stronger singers, having served as Masuda Yuka’s under as a kenkyuusei.
Prior to joining AKB48, Ichikawa Miori was part of Stardust Agency and another idol group called Power Age back when she was just 12 years old. Unfortunately, she is limited by her inability to articulate fluently due to a lisp.
During the members agency allocation during the Super Saitama Arena concert, it is announced that Ichikawa Miori will be joining Ogipro. Looks like Watariouka Hashiritai 7 will be welcoming a new member soon.
57. Nakamata Shiori
As a student of the prestigious Waseda University’s School of Political Science and Economics, it is said that probably no one else in the family of AKB48 members can beat Nakamata Shiori in terms of academic excellence. On the day it was announced that Shiori had been admitted into Wasada, the management had also decided to promote her. Coincidence? Maybe not. That aside, being able to cope with actively performing in the AKB48 theater and studying in a highly stressful university did earn me a high respect for her dedication.
Due to her highly busy schedule, Nakamata Shiori is usually active only in theater performance. Her appearances outside of the theater are limited to but sparse variety programs. This lack of media exposure does affect her fan base but she’s still very well received in theater shows.
The equally prestigious Watanabe Pro had spread their arms to welcome Nakamata Shiori into their agency, perhaps once she graduates from Waseda, there will be ample entertainment related opportunities waiting for her? Nakamata has in the past expressed her interest in journalism.
58. Abe Maria
It might seem a little unusual for this un-idol-like girl to be admitted into Team 4, but Abe Maria is fast becaming one of the dark horses of the group. Even prior to her official promotion announcement, the management have been actively pushing Abe into all sorts of media coverage through the group’s full repertoire of variety programs and even stealthily with the senbatsu in product tie-ins. She was also one of the few kenkyuusei members given the chance to take part in overseas performances.
Perhaps knowing that each team needs a little diversity, Abe Maria was slowly groomed and exposed to more than just theater performance, possibly to boost her confidence as she is known to be rather shy and reserved at times. Abe is known to be closest to Iriyama and a self-declared fan of Ichikawa Miori.
As one of the taller and more athletics girls, Abe Maria is best known for her dancing skills, which she had admitted to pouring in countless hours of self practice to reach the level that she is at now. Abe has expressed her dream to become a model one day and it looks like AKS is helping to path that future for her. Aside from that, Abe is also known for her amusingly blunt nature.
Together with Oba Mina, Abe Maria will be joining Japan Music Entertainment.
59. Iriyama Anna
Regarded as the member with the the highest hopes of being promoted among the kenkuusei at that time, Iriyama Anna was promoted together with Abe Maria to the newly formed Team 4 during the Seibu Dome concert back in 2011.
Despite her defined features, Iriyama is fully Japanese. She often plays upon this fact by mixing English words into her sentences and generally speaking as if she were a foreigner (with strange Japanese). Both fans and AKB48 members have pointed out her resemblance to Jaejoong from Korean boy band DBSK.
As quite the opposite to Abe Maria, the vocal Annin is rather adept at MCs, which she uses to display her endearing personality that has melted a good many fans’ hearts. Iriyama also declares her love for strawberries and has integrated this into her catchphrase.
In last week’s announcement Iriyama Anna signed up with the excellent Ohta Pro, which their lineup includes AKB48’s most popular girls, Maeda Atsuko and Oshima Yuko. Looks like she will really be going places!
60. Kato Rena
A shy and reserved girl on stage, Kato Rena has since grown to be able to handle herself better during introductions and MCs. AKS has probably realized her potential after watching her performances improve dramatically in just a year since she debut and had decided to give her a larger push. The “push” a sudden influx of appearances in all manner of TV programs, magazines and other forms of media.
Interestingly, Kato Rena shares the same birthday with AKB48’s ace, Maeda Atsuko. Maybe the management had seen her to have the potential to become their next ace?
Kato Rena is one of the newly promoted kenkyuusei to Team 4.
61. Kawaei Rina
When it comes to popularity, Kawaei Rina single handily wins hands down as the single most popular new kenkyuusei to get promoted into Team 4. Just how popular is she? During National Handshake events, Kawaei’s queue was comparable to those of the top senbatsu’s.
Part of Kawaei Rina’s charms comes from her cute boyish looks and equally boyish personality. Unlike some of the other members who were spotted early and pushed from the start, Kawaei didn’t stand out as much of a potential keeper to the management until the fans eventually made them realized what a gem they were missing out on. Since then Kawaei has been actively pushed in many of the group’s media and especially on the Ariyoshi AKB Kyowakoku program.
Ricchan is currently the only 11th generation member in Team 4, and the only other to be promoted besides former 7th generation member Suzuki Shihori. She shares the same birthday as teammate Ichikawa Miori.
62. Iwata Karen
Among her fellow 12th generation peers, Iwata Karen easily holds the best vocal and dance ability. She also possesses a confidence and calm that allows her to handle herself easily on the stage despite her young age (she turns 14 later this year). This is probably the reason why Iwata plays an active role in theater performances and important events.
Like Takeuchi Miyu, Karen has a mother from the entertainment industry. This would explain the plentiful formal training she had as a child. Her great dancing probably came from all the ballet, jazz and traditional Japanese dance she had picked up since then.
Hailing from Miyagi Prefecture, Iwata Karen participated actively in AKB48’s Tohoku Earthquake and was the only kenkyuusei to be interviewed for the “DOCUMENTARY of AKB48 Show must go on 少女たちは伤つきながら、梦を见る”.
63. Takahashi Juri
The most popular girl among the 12th generation members would have to be Takahashi Juri. Aside from her good looks, she does also give off a very positive vibe that attracts fans. AKB48’s theater manager Togasaki once commented that when Juri is able to break off her barrier, she will shine as brightly as Maeda Atsuko. A big comment indeed.
Unfortunately, Takahashi Juri is very weak during MCs. And even though she can be quite a chatter box, she gets tongue tied quite easily. Kojima Haruna also commented that Juri has “dead fish eyes” which was a killer for her. Perhaps once all those problems are solved, Juri would be able to shine like gem.
64. Tano Yuuka
Currently the youngest official member of the AKB48 family, Tano Yuuka is an odd choice among the kenkyussei to be promoted into Team 4. Surely in terms of seniority, experience or favoritism every fan could think of another girl who can “better” replace her as an official member. But this doesn’t mean that she is the weakest link of Team 4, for aside from Iwata Karen, Tano Yuuko would have to be the next best singer of the 12th generation.
Other than praising her vocal ability, Yuuka is also pretty adept in performances and MC’s. Only time will tell if she will be able to draw more fans to support her in the long run. Debates aside, some have pointed out that Yuuka bears a striking resemblance to Kuroki Meisa, whose marriage with Akanishi Jin has been making big news recently.Click here to search CDJapan for official AKB48 goods.