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Rie Kitahara: A Look at the Life and Career of This Japanese Idol and Voice Actress

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

A first look at Rie Kitahara of AKB48 and NGT48

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Rie Kitahara was born in the special year 1991 and here is why 1991 is a special year

The popular Japanese pop music group AKB48 has given birth to lots of singers. Rie Kitahara is another one of them. This cute Japanese celebrity is also a voice actress. A native of Aichi Prefecture, Rie entered the world on June 24, 1991. I would say that the year 1991 was special in the Japanese entertainment industry. Why is that the case? Because that was the year that gave birth to a few very prominent members of AKB48 and its other groups. These are Aki Takajo (AKICHA), Yuki Kashiwagi (YUKIRIN), and Minami Takahashi (TAKAMINA). Rie Kitahara is a Japanese idol singer and former member of the famous girl group AKB48.

Rie Kitahara and her work with AKB48 and Not Yet

She made her AKB48 debut in 2008 as a member of Team A but then she was transferred over to Team B during a shuffle that the group frequently does as members are always moved around during their career with this group. She is signed to the Ohta Pro talent agency. As it is part of the custom of the band, Rie has participated in the recording of many of the group’s singles. Some of these singles are Namida Surprise!, River, Beginner, Heavy Rotation, and Give Me Five! As a member of Team B, Rie has been a part of the single called Love Jump. She is also involved in the sub-unit of the group called Not Yet. That group is an AKB48 sub-unit that also has the following members:

  • Rino Sashihara
  • Yui Yokoyama
  • Yuko Oshima

A brief look at Rie Kitahara's voice acting work

In 2010, she made her voice acting debut when she was part of the anime series called Gakko no Kowai Uwasa: Shin Hanako-san ga Kita!! In 2012, she was scheduled to make her movie debut in the one called Graffreeter Kintoki, which was released on July 14, 2012. Handball is one of Rie’s best skills.

Rie Kitahara in magazine photo sessions with other members

With Yui Yokoyama (right).

With Yui Yokoyama (right).

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Rie Kitahara and her role in opening up a shop in Shanghai, China

In an interesting move made by the group, they opened an official shop in Shanghai, China in November of 2011. The shop was started by Kitahara along with her fellow band mates Sae Miyazawa (former), and Yui Yokoyama. The members held a handshake event where they greeted 1,000 people. The name of the shop is called AKB48 Official Shop Shanghai” and it is the group’s 4th shop outside of Japan. There are branches in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan. This shop was constructed using the image of the AKB48 Theater in Akihabara. The store has lots of products including t-shirts, posters, towels, and other things.

The products can now be bought from the band’s online store in China. Rie also traveled to Taiwan in July 2012 to attend a handshake event to celebrate the one year anniversary of the opening of that store. Upon her arrival in Taipei she was greeted by 300 fans and 12 media companies. The fans let her know how much they like her by saying that they loved her and even called out her name. She held a press conference and she spoke in Mandarin Chinese!


Rie Kitahara during a photo session for VYJ

Rie Kitahara attends an exhibition for the cartoon series called ONE PIECE

Rie was in attendance at an exhibition event for the popular cartoon series called “ONE PIECE” during the ONE PIECE Grand Arena Tour. This tour took place at the Saitama Super Arena. This exhibition features 500 episodes in the form of figures and dioramas. The event is held in conventional halls and arenas in Japan. There is also a corner in each arena that sells games and limited edition items. The event took place from August 9th through the 19th 2012 and was held in other Japanese cities including Ehime, Fukui, and Sendai.

A few more images of Rie Kitahara

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With her band mates from the group Not Yet. From left to right: Rie Kitahara, Yui Yokoyama, Yuko Oshima, and Rino Sashihara.

With her band mates from the group Not Yet. From left to right: Rie Kitahara, Yui Yokoyama, Yuko Oshima, and Rino Sashihara.

Rie Kitahara would leave AKB48 being one of its most popular members

However, Rie would leave AKB48 and be transferred to the newest idol group called NGT48. This would happen on March 26, 2015 following the AKB48 Spring Shuffle. She would then be named the leader of NGT48. She was also given a spot in the group’s Team N3 on January 10, 2016. Kitahara is still an active participant in AKB48’s singles. Her work includes being a member for the group’s single called Kimi wa Melody. Rie has always been ranked pretty high in the AKB48 General Elections. In 2009 during the first such General Election, she was ranked as the 13th most popular member! In the last three elections, Rie has finished 21st, 19th, and 11th respectively. Kitahara would graduate for good in April 2018.

Kitahara Graduates From NGT48 and Starts a YouTube Channel

It would be in April 2018 that Kitahara would graduate from NGT48. But prior to this in January of that year, she would release her first photo book called Soshite. On June 24, 2020 which was also her 29th birthday, she started a channel on YouTube called KitaRie Channel. On this channel, she has plans to talk about her cooking skills, her new challenges, and how she spends her time at home.


© 2016 Ara Vahanian