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All About Japanese Pop Idol Groups Sakura Gakuin & Hinatazaka46

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

Who is Sakura Gakuin and What Does the Group's Name Mean?

Sakura Gakuin is a Japanese pop idol group that has a different structure compared to the groups that are part of the 48 and 46 group franchise. The group’s name in English means Cherry Blossom Academy.

A March 2017 Photo of a Few Members of Sakura Gakuin At an Interview

A few members of Sakura Gakuin and they are from left to right: Sara Kurashima, Tsugumi Aritomo, Yuzumi Shintani and Maaya Asou.

A few members of Sakura Gakuin and they are from left to right: Sara Kurashima, Tsugumi Aritomo, Yuzumi Shintani and Maaya Asou.

How Sakura Gakuin is a Unique Idol Group

How is Sakura Gakuin different from groups such as AKB48 and Morning Musume? For one thing, the music and activities of this group are based on the Japanese school system. And since the Japanese school year comes to a close in March, that is the time when Sakura Gakuin releases albums. Also, when a member of Sakura Gakuin reaches the end of 9th grade in real life, they also graduate from the group which is like a forced sort of graduation. Sakura Gakuin also has school clubs that have many themes. The girls of this group wear special school uniforms as well.

"Fairy Tale" Sakura Gakuin Song

A Brief History of Sakura Gakuin

Sakura Gakuin’s roots date back to April 2010. Ayami Muto was named the Student Council President. Yui Mizuno and Moa Kikuchi who would later be part of the Japanese thrash metal pop group BABYMETAL would join the group thus completing the original lineup which had ten members including these two girls. The group initially began their work with 8 girls. In July 2011, two more members joined the group making it 12 members. But what would happen after this would be lots of lineup changes including changes to the president of the student council. That would make sense from a logical standpoint because if these girls must leave the group after finishing the 9th grade, then there would be substantial turnover. Let’s go through these changes. In March 2012, the three oldest members of Sakura Gakuin were Ayami Muto, Ayaka Miyoshi, and Airi Matsui and they all left the group. Since the group’s debut in 2010, the other student council presidents (leaders) have been:

  • Suzuka Nakamoto
  • Marina Horiuchi
  • Moa Kikuchi
  • Rinon Isono
  • Sara Kurashima
  • Aiko Yamaide
  • Yuzumi Shintani

Sakura Gakuin's 10th Album News

It has been announced that Sakura Gakuin will be releasing their 10th album called "Sakura Gakuin 2019 Nendo ~Story~" on March 3, 2020. This album will have the group’s first Christmas song which is called Merry Xmas to You and a dance song called Let’s Dance. Then there will be another song called Crossroad which is sung by the four oldest members of the group.

A Photo of Idol Group Hinatazaka46

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About the New Group Called Hinatazaka46

Next, we will write about a group that is much newer. This group which is now known by the name of Hinatazaka46 previously was known as Hiragana Keyakizaka46. Their first single which does not yet have a title will be released on March 27, 2019. Since this is a newly formed independent group not much information is available. But to add to the excitement of the group, four of their members have been named as exclusive models for four different woman’s magazines. These members are Shiho Kato, Kumi Sasaki, Mirei Sasaki and Ayaka Takamoto. Note: in February 2019, the group was splintered into a smaller group called Hiragana Keyaki and then they decided to become the group under their current name. They announced this during a stream of a special show.

Hinatazaka46 Has Released a New Video for a New Song

Note: this group has now released the promotional version of their new song called Konna ni Suki ni Nacchatte Iino? This is the group’s 3rd single and much time has passed since I wrote about this group with a really long name and I know that it can be confusing for certain people to have to read and even pronounce the name of this group. This single will be released on October 2, 2019 and it is the third straight time that member Nao Kosaka will be named as center for this song.

Hinatazaka46 Their Spring Tour and New Album Details

Here is some more exciting news about the group with a really long and complicated name Hinatazaka46. The group announced in December 2019 that they will be embarking on a tour across Japan starting in the spring of 2020. In addition, this girl group will also be holding a two day Christmas LIVE event called Hinakuri 2020 at the Tokyo Dome one year from now. This announcement was made on December 18, 2019 at the venue Makuhari Messe so the members were totally caught by surprise this time. The first two dates of this tour are March 18 and 19 of 2020 in Hiroshima.

The group has also now revealed the title of their new album that is scheduled to be released on September 23, 2020. That album is called Hinatazaka.

© 2019 Ara Vahanian


Ara Vahanian (author) from LOS ANGELES on February 19, 2019:

Thank you for commenting! I had not even heard about these two groups until I started researching about them today. You are more than welcome to check out my many other written articles.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on February 19, 2019:

Interesting and informative. Thanks.

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