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All About Ayaka Umeda & Haruna Kojima, Former Members of Pop Music Groups Akb48 & Nmb48

Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

Ayaka Umeda

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Who Is Ayaka Umeda & What Is She Best Known For?

Ayaka Umeda was a Japanese pop music singer and a member of the famous girl group AKB48 as well as NMB48, making her one of several members in the Japanese idol industry to have been members of more than one group. She has also been featured in magazines as a model. In April 2011, she appeared in Weekly Playboy Magazine with former members Yuka Masuda and Sayaka Akimoto. The theme for the photo shoot was “Light of the Moon, Shadow of the Sun.” The girls were dressed in sexy black lingerie. Since Ayaka was still a member of AKB48 when I had first written this piece, she has sung in the group’s single called Heart Ereki. Other recent singles that she has participated in include Koisuru Fortune Cookie, Sayonara Crawl, So Long, Eien Pressure, UZA, and Gingham Check.

Quick Stats of Ayaka Umeda

  • Name is Umeda Ayaka in Japan
  • Born on January 3, 1989 in Fukuoka Japan, the same city that former member Mariko Shinoda is from.
  • Bust is listed at 78 centimeters
  • Her waist is listed at 59 centimeters.
  • Her hips are listed at 82 centimeters.
  • She made her AKB48 debut in February 2006 as part of the group’s second generation.
  • She was the captain of Team B before her transfer to NMB48.
  • Her favorite artist is the group EXILE. Their former member HIRO married actress Aya Ueto in September 2012.
  • Ayaka’s favorite AKB48 song is Yuuhi wo Miteiru ka.
  • Her favorite AKB48 song to sing on stage is End Roll. Her favorite AKB48 outfit is also End Roll.
  • She is very close to former AKB48 member Megumi Ohori.

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A Brief Look at the Career of Ayaka Umeda In the Japanese Idol Industry (2006-2014)

When she began her career with AKB48, she was a member of Team K but she was transferred to Team B in August 2012 and was given the position of team captain. Although she may be one of the lesser attractive AKB48 members, Ayaka Umeda still is able to keep up that cuteness that she has. Her charm point is considered to be her nose. Her career would have to be put on hold when in December 2006, she suffered a stress fracture in her leg and she had to take a hiatus from the group. Her time spent away from AKB48 was one year and five months. She used this time to recover and rehabilitate from the injury. Ayaka Umeda would make her return to AKB48 in May 2008 just in time for the start of Team K’s fourth stage performances. Ayaka originally took part in the seventh generation auditions for Morning Musume but she did not make it past the second round. In February 2014, Ayaka Umeda celebrated her 8th year with AKB48.

It is now time to talk about Haruna Kojima, the oldest member of girl group AKB48 prior to her graduation and she has always been one of its top ranking members.

Haruna Kojima

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Introduction to the Beautiful Haruna Kojima

Coming off of the great success of her first photo book called Kojiharu, Haruna Kojima of the girl group AKB48 shows that she has cuteness, elegance, and charm. Note: when this article was first written it was not intended to be a full biography of Haruna Kojima.

So Who is Haruna Kojima?

As mentioned, she was a member of AKB48 and she was part of their Team B. She was born in Saitama, one of Japan’s coldest cities. Like many other AKB48 members, her participation in their singles has been very extensive. Originally a member of Team A, Kojima was transferred to Team B as part of the group’s tradition of shuffling where certain members are moved around. Each one of these teams has a captain.

Haruna Kojima Was Always One of the Most Popular Members of the Group AKB48

The group also holds Senbatsu Elections each year to determine which members get to sing in which singles. Kojima was ranked at #9 in the group’s 5th such election held in the summer of 2013. Kojima is also a member of the sub-unit called No Sleeves. In the last such AKB48 General Election in 2016 which was the 8th year that this election was held, Kojima still finished among the top 16 AKB48 girls which shows how popular she really was. Throughout most of these elections, Kojima was ranked inside the Top 10 most popular AKB48 members even though she never won any of these elections during her AKB48 career.  

Haruna Kojima Has Also Worked as an Actress

Kojima is also an actress having starred in several TV dramas. Her most recent drama appearance as of this writing is the one called Priceless. In 2011, she received an award for Best Supporting Actress in the drama Ikemen Desu ne. Because she had the desire to work in the entertainment industry, Kojima was forced to drop out of high school when she was 16 years old. This was because school regulations did not give the students permission to work in the entertainment industry. I am always in favor of young people being able to graduate from high school but in Kojima’s case, her career has been super successful even with no high school diploma.

Haruna Kojima With Other AKB48 Members Back In 2011

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With Yuko Oshima (right).

With Yuko Oshima (right).

Some Interesting Things About Haruna Kojima

She holds the distinction of being one of the tallest AKB48 members. Kojima says that she would have liked to have joined Morning Musume instead of AKB48. Upon the graduation of Mariko Shinoda, Kojima was the oldest member of AKB48 prior to her graduation from the group. She is famous for being the best friend of former member Hitomi Komatani. Kojima is also very good friends with Yuko Oshima. When Kojima is not busy singing or touring, she likes to shop. Her favorite foods are mangoes and sushi.

How Successful Was Her Photo Book Kojiharu?

Kojima’s first solo photo book is called Kojiharu. The book sold 61,000 copies in the first week which it was released, making Kojima very happy and surprised. What is even more surprising is that so far, half of the book’s buyers are women.

Haruna Kojima & Her Graduation from AKB48

On April 19, 2017 also her 29th birthday, Kojima finally graduated from AKB48. Speaking to reporters after her graduation concert, she said that it did not seem real that she had graduated even though her career in AKB48 was technically over. She was also asked what left the biggest impression on her during the concert. She said that she was surprised to get a letter from Akimoto-san (Yasushi Akimoto) adding that it may be because she had been active with that group for so long. She was also surprised to see members such as Mayu Watanabe and Yuki Kashiwagi crying since they don’t normally cry. Kojima said that she intends to continue working in fashion and to become what she called “a more lovely woman.” She also thanked the fans and the people that supported her for her career in AKB48.

© 2019 Ara Vahanian

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