Skip to main content

Reasons Why Singer Atsuko Maeda Is Important to the Japanese Pop Music Industry

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

Atsuko Maeda Showing a Big Smile


Atsuko Maeda has been an extremely popular celebrity among Japanese musical artists. This is an article addressing not just her graduation from AKB48 but also why she is such an important celebrity.

Her rise to fame began when she became a lead singer for the all-female pop music group AKB48. During her time in the group, she participated in what became known as teams. As a member of the group in Team A, Maeda got her start in the group during her teenage years. To make it easier on people reading this, a translation of the song titles will be provided when possible. The song called “I Wanted to Meet You” or Aitakatta became the group’s third single released by Defstar Records in October of 2006. To this day, the song remains a favorite among the fans and it has the distinction of being the theme song for the group’s TV show called AKBingo! But this event was only the beginning of Maeda’s career as a singer and what happened next; well you could say that this was an event that catapulted her to being a fan favorite and famous.

The Moment That Made Atsuko Maeda a Fan Favorite

When AKB48 released their 12th single called Namida Surprise, voting tickets became available during the 2009 Senbatsu Tournament. In this tournament, fans have the option of voting for who will be the lead singer for the next single. This is called the AKB48 Senbatsu or General Elections. Maeda won that position by amassing 4,630 votes and became the front girl for the single titled “Iiwake Maybe”. In 2010, the same type of election took place and Maeda lost to Yuko Oshima. So Yuko became the lead singer for the single “Heavy Rotation.”

Atsuko Maeda: the Graduation Announcement & Graduation

During a concert at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, Maeda announced that she would be leaving or “graduating” from AKB48. Maeda being in tears and in front of 25,000 fans stated that she had to “move on and make way for younger members.” She then closed her eyes, put her hands on her chest and made an announcement that she had auditioned for AKB48 at the young age of 14. She said this became the first big decision in her life and she also said that people needed to allow her to make what she called the second biggest decision of her life. And she said: “I am going to graduate from the group.” For those that may not know this, the word graduation is used by the Japanese media to describe the time when a member of a musical group leaves to pursue other activities. It is kind of like a sort of retirement from the group.

Regarding the graduation announcement, it was made official at the time that Atsuko Maeda would be officially graduating from AKB48 after the group’s three day performance at the Tokyo Dome. The date for the graduation or departure was August 27, 2012.

What Did Atsuko Maeda Do After Her Graduation From AKB48?

After the graduation, Atsuko would move on to a career as a solo artist. In fact, she held what are called solo lives in Tokyo and Kobe, Japan. These two performances took place in September 2012. These concerts were held to commemorate the release of her 2nd solo single called “Kimi Wa Boku Da.” The first concert took place on September 15, 2012 at Nakano Sun Plaza. The following week on September 22nd, the 2nd performance took place at Kobe Kokusai Kaikan.

Scroll to Continue

Reason #1 for Atsuko Maeda Being So Important

It has been almost nine years since the graduation of Maeda and we have to be very thankful for the contributions that she has made as a pop singer, actress, and bikini model. Maeda is so important because I feel that she has opened the door for other girls to get their chance to become idols. One of those people that I think has gotten her chance to prove herself and to excel is Ayaka Umeda of the group NMB48. Umeda is no longer captain of that group’s B2.

The Second Major Reason for Atsuko Maeda Being Important Is

Maeda who is considered to be the “face of AKB48” by many fans has also paved the way for the expansion of AKB48 to other countries such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Indonesia. What has Maeda not done? She has released a solo album called Selfish, gotten married and given birth to a baby boy and excelled so greatly as a singer and fashion model. In my mind, Atsuko Maeda has done it all even if she is no longer my favorite current or former member of AKB48.

The Song "Aitakatta" Performed in March 2012

© 2019 Ara Vahanian


Ara Vahanian (author) from LOS ANGELES on August 13, 2020:

You're most welcome! Maeda was probably the first AKB48 member I even heard about when I started getting into AKB48 probably around the year 2011 or 2012. Right now yes, she is an actress but she has also released a solo album called Selfish. Thank you for commenting.

AfnanAcchan on August 13, 2020:

I'm big fan of Maeda Atsuko. i just want to thank you for writing this. One thing I can add is that she is far more active as actress than singer.

Related Articles