Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.
Of all the members in the history of pop music girl group AKB48, perhaps one other member who has made the news recently for a very good reason and needs to be discussed is Sayaka Akimoto.
Why Is Sayaka Akimoto Famous?
Akimoto’s claim to fame is because of the fact that she was a member of AKB48 in its early years and she served as captain of its Team K. Akimoto was also involved with the AKB48 sub-unit called Diva (sometimes also known as DIVA).
Sayaka Akimoto Has Been a Very Good Role Model For the Philippines
After 2013 when she graduated from AKB48, she has since been involved in an acting career. Akimoto has what I would call an exotic background. She was born in Chiba, Japan to a Filipino mother and a Japanese father and she even made the news in the Philippines for a very good reason. In 2012 when Akimoto took part in the Tokyo Marathon for the second consecutive year, she donated that money to the Philippines. She came out with a solo book of photos called Ari no Mama. It would be on June 26, 2014 that Akimoto would end up being named the Goodwill Philippine Tourism Ambassador with the main goal of promoting that island nation as a tourist destination in Japan.
However, Akimoto has also made the news throughout her career for a scandal that caused her to resign as the captain of AKB48’s Team K. That is really the only blemish on what has been an outstanding and productive career for this 32 year-old singer and actress.
The Career of Sayaka Akimoto Before Her Scandal (2006-2009)
The career of Sayaka Akimoto goes all the way back to 2006 when she made her debut with AKB48 as a member of its second generation so even though she was not in the group’s first generation, she should still be considered as one of the group’s older members. Akimoto is one of the original members of Team K and the only other member that I can think of that made her debut with AKB48 and was older than her is Megumi Ohori who was born in 1983. On the final day of a concert at the venue called Nippon Budokan on August 23, 2009, there was a group shuffle and during this phase of the group’s restructuring, Akimoto was named as the captain of Team K. However, as she was headed to stardom and success, Akimoto would become involved in a scandal that had the potential to ruin her reputation and perhaps destroy her career as a Japanese idol.
The Scandal That Almost Ruined Sayaka Akimoto's Career and Reputation
It would be in October 2010 that the weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun reported on October 14th of that year that Ouji Hiroi, a producer and video game creator visited the apartment of Akimoto on October 9, 2010 and he stayed there overnight. The magazine reports that Hiroi visited her 30 minutes after she came back home. After Akimoto’s roommate left the next day, she and Hiroi were seen walking out of her apartment but separately. There are two aspects to this scandal, the first of which lies in the fact that Hiroi produced the AKB48 musical called AKB Kagekidan. This led many to speculate whether Akimoto actually landed the part in an honest manner. The second part of this scandal is the fact that no AKB48 member may even have any male person spend the night with them because of the no romance policy set forth by AKB48’s management. Akimoto addressed the issue on her blog saying that Mr. Hiroi is like an acting teacher for her and a stage director whom she greatly respects. Since Hiroi who was 56 years old at the time is older than Akimoto’s father, Akimoto apologized, saying that she did not expect something like this to happen. It would be on October 16, 2010 that Akimoto addressed what is being considered a sex scandal. She addressed the issue on the radio show called AKB48 no All Night Nippon. Akimoto first said that she had asked Hiroi for his help on the stage play called Izumi Kyouka since that summer. Akimoto revealed that both of them have visited each other’s apartments in the past and at that time, Akimoto was living with Ayaka Umeda. The original plan was for Hiroi and Akimoto to have dinner together and to discuss things about acting. However that day since Akimoto finished her work very late, and then Hiroi came over to her place and fell asleep. Akimoto also said that Umeda and she let him continue to sleep there. Akimoto apologized to her fans and the other AKB48 members. Akimoto also admitted that she must be a good role model and because she let everybody down, she did not feel qualified to be captain of Team K anymore. Akimoto the resigned as captain of Team K and it seemed like she would resign in disgrace. However, when she won the Tokyo Marathon in 2011, she was reinstated as captain of Team K.
The Scandal Should Not Be Considered Physical
It isn’t entirely accurate to call this scandal a sex scandal because we do not have proof that there was physical contact between Akimoto and Hiroi. Nonetheless, Akimoto violated the golden rule of AKB48 but was very fortunate to not be kicked out of AKB48 forever.
Some Interesting Facts About Sayaka Akimoto
- Her favorite AKB48 member as of this writing is Seina Fukuoka.
- She is very good friends with Sae Miyazawa and of course, the lovely Yuko Oshima!
- Akimoto really treasures her fan letters and gifts.
- It was on June 20, 2020 that she got married to PUNPEE, a rap artist.
Sayaka Akimoto Gets Fit
In an interesting turn of events, Akimoto posted a photo of her well worked on abs via Twitter and this was in November 2015. There was a stage greeting at the time for her starring film called Bikku. The director of that film commented that there is no stuntman that has abs that are that well defined. Akimoto encouraged fans to enjoy the photo of her.
In Spite of Her Mistake Sayaka Akimoto Is Still a Good Role Model
Through all that she has gone through, Sayaka Akimoto is still very much a good role model even in spite of that scandal because she is honest, and wants to improve. Her apology following the scandal shows me that she is willing to work on herself to be a better person. The fact that she won the Tokyo Marathon in both 2011 and 2012 and then donated money to her mother’s home country of the Philippines shows that Sayaka is very much a humanitarian that wants to enrich the lives of others.
© 2020 Ara Vahanian