Last 1st Generation AKB48 Idol Minami Minegishi Announces Graduation
posted on by Kim Morrissy
27-year-old Minami Minegishi announced her graduation from the AKB48 idol unit at the "AKB48 Theater: 14th Anniversary Special Performance" on Sunday. Minegishi was the last first-generation AKB48 idol to graduate from the group.
Minegishi debuted as a member of the first generation of AKB48 in December 2005. In 2008, she formed a sub-unit called no3b ("No Sleeves") with Minami Takahashi and Haruna Kojima. In 2013, she famously shaved her head as restitution for dating while pleading that she didn't want to leave the group. As a result of the scandal, she was demoted to trainee status. In August the same year, she was reinstated into the group as a captain of Team 4.
Following Haruna Kojima's graduation in April 2017, Minegishi was the sole remaining first-generation member of AKB48. Her formal graduation concert will take place at the Yokohama Arena on April 2.
Regarding her graduation, she commented, "I worried about it a lot, but I decided that I wanted to graduate from AKB while I still enjoy being here. I chose to go to a place where I can watch over everyone. I'm going to do my best again, starting from scratch, so please watch over me."
The AKB48 group is produced by music industry mogul Yasushi Akimoto. Akimoto signed on to produce the 2020 Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony and plans to draw from AKB48 and its sister groups to form an idol group called "Japan48".