TOKYO – Mayu Watanabe, a former member of the Japanese girl idol group AKB48, has retired from the entertainment industry for health reasons, his agency said on Monday.
Watanabe, 26, has left the agency, saying health problems will make it difficult to continue working in the industry. One member of the group who was better known during his tenure there, he had had health problems for several years.
“We have terminated the contract as he wishes, ending his time in the show business,” the agency said. His resignation is effective on Sunday.
Watanabe, who joined AKB48 in 2006, is known as “Mayuyu” by fans. He is often ranked at the top of the annual popularity poll, one of the advantages is that someone can appear on the next AKB48 single.
After leaving the group in 2017, she continued her career as an actress, starring in television dramas and on stage.
AKB48, a group named after the Akihabara region in Tokyo, an electronic and subculture district, is known for having produced a million million consecutive sellers.
This group has sought to increase its presence outside Japan, creating sister groups in countries such as Indonesia, China and the Philippines.
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