Meet the members of AKB48’s second edgier team18 May, 2010 by Chad
AKB48’s Team K was introduced during the group’s 3rd single back in 2006. Historically, Team K was blessed with a more mature lineup when compared to Team A. As a result, AKB’s new gang was sexier, spunkier and just more cool. All of this praise, coming from a Team A fan. This post will provide an introduction to the members in the new Team K.
Team K has benefited the most from the recent change in members. The team retains most of its core girls, while welcoming many popular new faces. Many of Team K’s current members rank favorably in last year’s elections. In fact, after the shuffle the majority of girls performing in singles now belong to Team K. Here’s a run through of the AKB48 members in the newly formed Team K.
17. Oshima Yuko
As the only other contender for the #1 spot, Oshima Yuko is Team K’s equivalent to Maeda Atsuko. At 22 years old, Oshima is one of AKB48’s older members. She is best known for her cheery personality, dimply smile and prominent squirrel teeth.
Yuko began her career as an gravure idol at the age of 13. She was part of the failed idol group Doll’s Vox back in 2005 before becoming one of the founding members of AKB48’s Team K in 2006. Since the formation of Team K, Yuko has been placed at the forefront of singles together with Maeda and Takahashi. She is currently the second most popular member after Maeda.
No stranger to show business, Oshima Yuko is one of the most natural girls on stage. She seems to truly enjoy her job, pulling off her performances with a certain playfulness. Off stage, Yuko comes across as a genuinely fun person to be around. It is her unique personality that makes her a favorite among fans.
Oshima Yuko’s blog can be found here on Ameba.
18. Akimoto Sayaka
The half Filipino, half Japanese Akimoto Sayaka is Team K’s captain. As one of the tallest girls, the boyish Akimoto is known for her intimidating built. This is further emphasized by her black belt in Aikido, which she has been practicing since grade school.
Akimoto Sayaka’s popularity has fluctuated over the years. Together with Miyazawa Sae and Nakanishi Rina, Sayaka was as part of Chocolove, a temporary subgroup created in 2007. The group didn’t kick off and was quickly scrapped after two failed singles. As captain, Akimoto Sayaka is a staple during Team K’s stage performances. Akimoto appears for AKB’s more energetic singles but is given little screen time in promo videos. She is also is left out from the group’s ballad singles.
Despite her scary appearance and fact that she is one of the group’s older members, Akimoto Sayaka rarely acts her age. She often performs silly slapstick gags on stage that put her #12 on the popularity charts.
Akimoto Sayaka is part of the office48 agency. A talent group that was created to hold some of the staple Team K members. Outside of AKB48, Sayaka has found some success in modeling for magazines and acting in theater productions.
Her blog can be found here.
19. Itano Tomomi
Itano Tomomi is one AKB48’s original members from Team A. While not featured as prominently as the lead singers, Itano has been featured at the front lineup for all singles to date.
Even though she is older than even Maeda, Itano’s childlike looks caused her to be marketed initially as one of the kid members together with Oku Manami and Ono Erena. During this time, Itano saw only moderate popularity.
In 2007, it was finally apparent that the childish stage persona simple did not fit Itano’s real life spunky personality. During Team A’s 4th stage, a new sexy Tomochin was born. Itano’s popularity soared after the image change.
Together with the other popular Tomomi, Kasai Tomomi, Itano is managed by the Hori Pro label. Hori Pro is perhaps the most prestigious agency that any of the AKB48 girls are currently signed to. The company is responsible for many A-list talents like actress Ayase Haruka and singing legend Wada Akiko.
Hori Pro takes an active role in promoting its talents and Itano owes part of her success to the efforts of the group. When not performing with AKB48, Itano and Kasai play for Hori Pro’s futsal team, Xanadu loves NHC. Itano’s Xanadu blog can be found here.
20. Ono Erena
17 year old Ono Erena is another founding Team K member that has been featured in all singles since her debut. After the introduction of Team B, Erena was promoted to a center position in singles together with Watanabe Mayu. While Watanabe Mayu enjoys a huge following, Erena comes in at #11, barely missing a spot among the Top 10 AKB48 Members.
As one of the group’s younger members during its conception, Ono Erena was part of the Honegumi (Bone Group) subgroup together with Itano Tomomi, Oku Manami and the graduated Masuyama Kayano. The ridiculously themed side project was created in 2007 to perform the theme song for a children’s TV program. This promotion did more harm than good when it was introduced as part of Team K’s 3rd stage. The song traumatized AKB48’s audiences (who are all teenagers and adults) thus damaging the participating members’ popularity.
With the introduction of much younger girls, Ono Erena is now relieved of being one of AKB’s junior members. For all her childishness, (the rather well endowed) Erena is still one of the girls consistently featured in gravure shots (gasp). Her career seems to be finally taking pace and she is set to star a leading role in the art film Sankaku that will open next month. Ono Erena will appropriately play a jailbait character in the show.
Ono Erena is also part of the Ohta Pro list of talents. Her personal blog can be found over here.
21. Kikuchi Ayaka
Up until she was fired from AKB48, Kikuchi Ayaka was a participating member of Team B. As one of the original members of Team B, Kikuchi even saw popularity on par with Team B’s cover girl, Watanabe Mayu. Back in 2008 however, Kikuchi found herself amidst a scandal after she was found to be dating one of the fans. She was immediately released from AKB.
After dumping her boyfriend (who was silly enough to release a photo of them together on his blog, causing the scandal), Kikuchi took part in the next auditions and restarted as a training student. After more than a year as an assistant, Kikuchi was promoted back into AKB48 during the recent restructure. Whether Kikuchi Ayaka regains her former glory as one of the A-Side girls is a fate left up to this year’s upcoming elections.
In February, Kikuchi returned to join her Team B friends as part of Production Ogi’s Watarirouka Hashiritai. Their combined blog can be found here.
22. Uchida Mayumi
Uchida Mayumi is another research student that was recently moved into Team K. Little information is known about her but it appears that she is being marketed as one of Team K’s “cute” members together with Minegishi Minami and Nakatsuka Tomomi. As one of the girls without much of a following yet, Uchida has joined the new Mousa agency.
23. Minegishi Minami
Even though she doesn’t feature prominently in videos, former Team A’s Minegishi Minami is another founding member that has consistently appeared in all of AKB48’s singles to date.
Minegishi can be regarded as the next biggest airhead after Kojima Haruna. What Minegishi lacks in wit, she makes up for with rhythm. Minegishi is one of AKB48’s best dancers, on account that she started her training at the early age of 6. She plays a more active role during the group’s live performances and gets to lead 1-2 songs during each of their stages.
Outside of her music career, Minegishi cameos in many low budget teenage dramas. She is part of the lineup of senior members signed to Production Ogi.
24. Nakatsuka Tomomi
Nakatsuka Tomomi was a former 5th generation research student that joined Team B last January. She was recently moved to Team K during the shuffle.
Nakatsuka was initially called “Chris” by fans due to her similar appearance to Fuji TV’s half French, half Japanese news reporter Takigawa Christel. More recently, AKB’s new Tomomi is now referred to as Tomochan.
Not a particularly popularly member, Nakatsuka remains as one of the AKS girls unsigned to any agencies. Tomochan is noted for being classmates with Team B’s Chikano Rina and former member Naruse Risa.
25. Fujie Reina
Fujie Reina was a training student that was promoted to Team A in 2008 to replace the graduating Masuyama Kayano. She is now part of the new Team K after this March’s restructure.
Fujie was the youngest research student promoted into AKB48. At 16 years old, she is also the youngest member of Team K. Interestingly, Fujie is the cousin of Berryz Koubou’s Natsuyaki Miyabi.
26. Tanabe Miku
Tanabe Miku is one of the members that debuted with the formation of Team B. She is a self declared otaku and a big fan of the Evangelion and Slam Dunk animations. Like some of the under less popular members, Tanabe was transferred to the Mousa agency last month.
Strangely Bubka, a Japanese tabloid specializing in celebrity scandals has recently announced their support for Tanabe Miku in this year’s member elections. They have erected a site in their support here.
27. Umeda Ayaka
Fukuoka born Umeda Ayaka is one of Team K’s members that have stayed with the group since its formation in 2006.
Prior to joining AKB48, Umeda had participated in the 7th generation Morning Musume auditions. She passed the first round but was not selected to join the group. Initially, Umeda was featured as one of the front members in Team K and was one of the group’s best talents. However she became inactive in 2007 after a serious leg injury. Umeda used this downtime to receive some cosmetic fixes to her previously horrible teeth returned and returned a year later in June 2008. Due to her injury though, Umeda now plays a much less active role in performances.
Umeda is part of Team K’s office48 talent group. Last year, Umeda did not rank within the top 30 AKB48 girls however she is one of the few members that are model material. Last year, she appeared as an image girl at the D1 Grand Prix.
More importantly, Umeda Ayaka has been the face of Japan’s most famous landmark, Tokyo Tower for the past two years.
28. Nito Moeno
Nito Moeno was originally one of AKB48’s many fans. On impulse, she appeared on the last day of auditions and passed, joining the 5th generation research students in April 2008. Moeno is one of the fastest training students to get promoted. After only 3 months of training, Moeno joined AKB48’s Team B.
Despite being a member of Team B, Moeno deserved special mention for taking over Oshima Yuko’s roles in Team K whenever Yuko couldn’t make it for performances. A very heavy responsibility, considering that Yuko (as one of AKB48’s most popular members) is frequently out fulfilling other duties. As a matter of fact, after joining the main team, Moeno appeared in more than twice the number of concerts as any other AKB girl.
At some point, the staff probably realized that Moeno was just better off in Team K and was moved into the team during this March. During AKB’s concert in Yokohama, it was announced that Moeno will join Itano and Kasai in the excellent Hori Pro agency.
29. Nonaka Misato
Nonaka Misato is another training member that joined the group this March. She did not appear much in any of the main teams shows and mainly performed only in research student shows.
She is currently hidden somewhere in Team K’s new 6th stage, appearing only in one song beside Miyazawa Sae. Nonaka is noted for being particularly friendly to Itano Tomomi, who comes from the same neighborhood as her in Kanagawa. Like Itano, Nonaka is also friends with their classmate and former C-ute member, Umeda Erika.
30. Miyazawa Sae
The boyish Miyazawa Sae is another original member from Team K and a staple in all of the AKB48’s singles. One of the most energetic girls of the group, Miyazawa leads many of of the groups stage performances. She was initially called “Genking”, due to her loud personality. Like Akimoto, Sae is one of AKB’s taller members the two were initially nicknamed the “twin towers”.
She shares a similar amount of popularity to the team’s captain, Akimoto Sayaka and was part of the same Chocolove subgroup. Instead of Akimoto’s slapstick antics though, Sae is one of AKB48’s “cool” members. She can be considered slightly less of a tomboy than Akimoto though as she occasionally sheds her image to rather amazing results. She is also signed to the office48 agency.
31. Matsui Sakiko
Matsui Sakiko is one of AKB48’s newest girls to join the research students last February. Before being promoted to Team K this year, Matsui was the oldest girl ever to join the training team. She is currently a university student at the prestigious Tokyo College of Music.
This March, Someday, the same agency that handles Shinoda Mariko expressed their interest in welcoming Matsui Sakiko. Thanks to this agency, Mariko receives more coverage than any other AKB48 member. If the transfer is finalized Matsui Sakiko can expect a bright future ahead. Suspiciously Matsui is the next tallest member of AKB48 after Mariko Shinoda.
32. Yonezawa Rumi
Yonezawa Rumi is yet another Team B founding member that was transferred to Team K this year. Yonezawa was the one responsible for coming up with Watanabe Mayu’s nickname Mayuyu.
Yonezawa Rumi is fairly popular among fans. She ranked #22 in last year’s elections, missing a spot in singles to Kuramochi Asuka by only 3 votes. Instead, she leads the group of “Under Girls” ranked 22-30 for B-Sides.
Yonezawa has recently signed up with Pyramid Artist House. The agency focuses mostly on gravure shoots, so fans can expect to see her in scantily clad photobooks in the near future. Rumi’s blog, here.Click here to search CDJapan for official AKB48 goods.