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A Tribute to the Former Akb48 Singer and Fashion Designer Mariko Shinoda

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

Mariko Shinoda Graduated or Left AKB48 in July 2013

Sitting behind Mariko Shinoda in the audience is Minami Takahashi.

Sitting behind Mariko Shinoda in the audience is Minami Takahashi.

Mariko Shinoda was one of AKB48's original members

Mariko Shinoda, the very popular AKB48 singer, team captain, fashion model, and fashion designer has to now deal with the reality that her fashion brand Ricori announced that starting July 15, 2014, all of its stores would be closing down. This fashion label was founded in December 2012 and it had stores in Tokyo, Osaka, and Fukuoka. Shinoda, then 28, was the producer of the brand. On February 27, 2013, she was in attendance at an opening event for fashion line Ricori to announce the opening of her very first store. Shinoda has over 1,000 designs in stock and she spent over ten years working on designs. Shinoda also announced that she was an adviser for the brand until 2013 and added that she was sad to see it close down. Now with the closing of that fashion line, Shinoda has to explore what her other options may be. One consolation is that Shinoda did not have to experience a major personal tragedy and she did not engage in activities that are detrimental to AKB48. This article is a tribute to this pop music icon. Why do I consider her an icon in Japan’s entertainment industry? It is because she was a fan favorite, she did excellent work as a fashion model and she persevered and became involved with Japan’s most popular girl group in spite of failing the audition.

Shinoda's fashion line that closed down was called RICORI

Shinoda is a native of Fukuoka, Japan and she is also one of the tallest current or former AKB48 members. Shinoda is a huge fan of the famous singer Lady Gaga. I really didn'tt listen to Lady Gaga very much except for the songs Just Dance and Poker Face for the longest time but have since changed. Shinoda's taste in music is pretty good too. Why is this story about Shinoda's fashion brand important? It was always one of Shinoda's dreams to work as a fashion designer and with this brand closing for good, it is a very disappointing event for a member that has been so popular among the fans. This brand closing is a setback for the pop music beauty but I know that she will bounce back and continue to excel in her career. Even though her fashion brand Ricori is closed for good, I will pay tribute to her and that’s why I am writing about her.

Mariko Shinoda: her commercials and fashion modeling work

Mariko Shinoda has also starred in a commercial. On August 3, 2013, she starred in a commercial for Mentholatum's Lip Fondue. She was seen wearing a nurse's outfit and cap. Mariko is known as Shinoda Mariko left AKB48 on July 22, 2013 and was replaced as team captain of Team A by Yui Yokoyama. She was also one of the 7 AKB48 members that created the menu for the AKB48 Cafe and Shop. Shinoda has appeared as a bikini and lingerie model for magazines such as Young Jump where she is seen dressed in lovely pink lingerie! Shinoda was also involved in a photo shoot where she was wearing different colors of bikinis while in Hawaii. One of the photos has Mariko dressed in a multi-colored bikini as she is walking on the beach in Hawaii. Mariko Shinoda is not the only former AKB48 member to appear in a photo shoot in Hawaii. The other notable AKB48 member to do this is Atsuko Maeda. Maeda went to Hawaii in 2010 and she took part in a photo shoot for her second photo book called Acchan. Acchan is also Maeda's most famous nickname.

Various magazine scans of Mariko Shinoda

From Friday Magazine 2010.

From Friday Magazine 2010.

From the photo session for the AKB48 album called 1830m.

From the photo session for the AKB48 album called 1830m.

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Mariko Shinoda: her graduation from AKB48

The graduation of Mariko Shinoda on July 21, 2013 at the Akihabara Theater was one of those events that generated lots of support from the audience. In addition to this, several members of AKB48's Team A were present at the ceremony including Minami Takahashi, Haruna Kojima, Minami Minegishi, and former member Tomomi Itano. Haruna Kojima was the center for AKB48's single Heart Ereki. The first song that was performed was Namida no Seijanai. But at the beginning of the singing, Takahashi was unable to sing because she was in tears. Shinoda was said to have been weeping at the same time. Takahashi apologized to the audience who were also sobbing. Kojima said that it was too early for Takahashi to start crying. The feel and atmosphere of the venue started to change because of Takahashi and Shinoda and laughter ensued. Laughter has a way of bringing people together in a positive way. I can certainly understand Takahashi's emotional feelings because Shinoda was with AKB48 for seven and a half years. She established some kind of personal connection with these girls and it was obviously hard for her to know that Shinoda was leaving AKB48. Shinoda's career really began in 2005 after she failed the first generation auditions. She was working as a staff member at the AKB48 cafe. She was popular among the fans back then even though she was not an AKB48 member yet. Producer Yasushi Akimoto saw something about Shinoda that he liked and then asked her to perform and remember 12 songs in 4 days. This was the condition that Shinoda had to meet if she wanted to join AKB48. Shinoda succeeded, met the condition and became known as “the 1.5 generation member.” It is because of this that Shinoda continues to express her gratitude towards the AKB48 Theater and the fans. The fans really gave her lots of motivation to continue to succeed as she has. Shinoda said to the fans that every time she went into the theater as a staff member, she felt the distance and that is the reason why she cherishes that stage. Shinoda said that she was happy overall during her time spent with AKB48. The last song that Shinoda performed was Anata ga Itekuretakara. After that, Shinoda said to the audience that she will work hard to become a person that people will look up to. Mariko Shinoda is loved by fans in Japan and I certainly have lots of admiration for her as well. She can sing and she can entertain very well and she is also one of the most beautiful bikini models in Japan. But who really is Mariko Shinoda?

A few pictures of Mariko Shinoda on stage during concerts and other events


Mariko Shinoda: a brief but final introduction

Shinoda is a pop music singer and former fashion designer who is also one of the original members of AKB48. She was always one of the most popular members in AKB48. In the group’s first Senbatsu Election, she was ranked at #3. Right ahead of her were Yuko Oshima and Atsuko Maeda. In 2010, she was once again ranked as the 3rd most popular member of AKB48. In 2011, she was ranked at #4. And in 2012 and 2013, she was ranked at #5. This is a great way for Shinoda to have finished her career with AKB48. I really admire, respect, and love her for her dedication, persistence and hard work. Even though she did not get into AKB48 through the auditions system, she still got in anyway. This 31 year-old from Fukuoka is not only the favorite of fans in Japan but she is one of my favorite AKB48 members of all time as well. Her last single participation with AKB48 was the song called Koi suru Fortune Cookie.

Favorite original member of AKB48

A complete listing of Mariko Shinoda's photo books

Year releasedBook Title 











Mariko Magazine


Yes and No

Mariko Shinoda Is Married and She Has Given Birth to a Baby Girl

As of February 2019, Mariko Shinoda is now married. She announced that she had married a man that is not a celebrity. The man is three years younger than her. It is said that they had met in October 2018 and they were thinking about marriage because they had lots of things in common. An example of this is that they grew up eating brown rice and they both had the same thought process in terms of what the ideal family should be like.

On April 1, 2020, Shinoda announced that she had given birth to a healthy baby girl. She made this announcement via her Twitter and Instagram accounts, saying that she and the baby are both doing well.

Mariko Shinoda Starts a YouTube Channel

It is now being reported that Shinoda has started a channel on YouTube! This news is not surprising in and of itself. However, this channel was started as part of MIHA which is a video creator production being managed by Rakuten Group. Its theme or motto is to “cheer up the world with female creators.” As part of this mission the objective will be to deliver certain kinds of content to female viewers. Shinoda will have the role of serving as MIHA’s Alliance Creator and she will also plan to share her beauty and lifestyle tips at home.

© 2016 Ara Vahanian

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