4.) TIE* Yokoyama Yui (横山由依) “Yuihan” (AKB48 Team A, 9th Generation)
~From unranked in 2nd Election to Rank #19 in 3rd Senbatsu Election, 2011~
Previous General Manager of AKB48, Yui is currently one of the most popular members in the 48 Group family. The details surrounding her promotion make up a well known story within the fandom: Yui showed great effort as a kenkyuusei and her hard work was noticed by the senpai she subbed for: Shinoda Mariko. This led to her becoming the first of her generation to earn a spot on a team. In the year after her promotion, her popularity skyrocketed, landing her in 19th place in the following election. Below she performs Team K’s well-known theater song Reset and AKB48’s 21st single, Everyday, Kachuusha at her solo concert in 2018. Notice a small clip of her promotion featured in the video as well!
Most currently you can find her on her Youtube channel, Yuihan Life, where she regularly posts lifestyle and artistic content. Below is a video she posted performing a solo version of Kioku no Dilemma, a song from Himawarigumi [a mix of Team A and Team K]’s 2nd Stage.
We’ve previously spoken about Yui in our article, AKB48 Members Aged 25 Years or Older Part 2, so if you’d like to know even more about her, follow the link! If not, watch her lead the rest of AKB48 in their 35th single, Mae Shika Mukanee at Takahashi Minami’s Graduation Concert in 2016 below!
4.) TIE* Watanabe Miyuki (渡辺美優紀) “Mirukii” (ex-NMB48, 1st Generation)
~From unranked in 3rd Election to Rank #19 in 4th Senbatsu Election, 2012~
Miyuki, or Milky for kicks, was a founding and pivotal member of NMB48. It can be said that she is one of the more popular girls to come out of the 48 Group franchises. She has done much across her idol career, which is still going strong. She is one of only a handful of members to have served in three different 48 Groups. We’ve previously done an article called 8 48Group Members Who Performed Warukii which is a song originally performed by Milky herself. Watch her perform it below in 2013 and for more performances, follow the link to the article above!
Miyuki has the ability to boast that she is NMB48’s original center, serving as center numerous times again in Sayaka’s stead and alongside her for several years until her graduation in 2016. She has continued her singing career after graduation and is currently promoting with her new idol group, Ange et Folleta. Watch her music video from her repackaged album below!
It’s rather great to see Miyuki continuing her idol career. In her graduation song, Yume no Nagori, she sings about her dreams hiding away while she waits for them to resurface. She laments that she must leave where she is to reach the goals she wants to achieve. Watch her perform the song below!
Miyuki returned to NMB48 in a surprise visit during Yamamoto Sayaka’s graduation concert in 2018. Listen to the crowd’s delighted screams as she is revealed to perform the NMB48 Single she originally centered, Boku wa Inai.
3.) Shibata Aya (柴田阿弥) “Ayachan” (ex-AKB48, 4th Generation)
~From unranked in 4th Election to Rank #17 in 5th Senbatsu Election, 2013~
Serving six years in SKE48, Shibata Aya helped form the original Team E. She quickly stood out with her kawaii features onstage and became one of the aces of her team. She is ironically most remembered for her jump in senbatsu, which landed her as the center of the fan favorite Undergirls song Ai no Imi wo Kangaete Mita. Watch the short version of the music video below or watch the full version by clicking here.
And why not entertain yourself with the fantastic live version? Aya is flanked by other stars you may know: HKT48/I*ZONE’s Miyawaki Sakura, AKB48’s Miyazaki Miho, and SKE48’s Takayanagi Akane, among others.
During her tenure with SKE48 she was commonly one of the more popular members within the 48 Group. SKE48 fans commonly looked to members like her to bring more awareness to the group. It came as a large surprise, then, when she chose to announce that she would not take place in the 8th Senbatsu Election in 2016. Many fans expressed their anger and disappointment until they got wind of her impending graduation. Watch her double center Datte Ame Janai? with Suda Akari below! You can find this song on SKE48’s 2nd album.
We recently wrote about Shibata Aya’s graduation song, Sayonara ga Utsukushikute, in our article, An Ode to Graduation – Part 2. Read more about her by clicking the link!
2.) Ikoma Rina (生駒里奈) “Ikomachan” (ex-Nogizaka46, 1st Generation)
~From not participating in 5th Election to Rank #14 in 6th Senbatsu Election, 2014~
It comes as a surprise that a Sakamichi group has popped up on 48 Group West! No one can forget the shock across everyone’s face when it was announced that Ikoma Rina, Center of Nogizaka46, would serve a kennin position on Team B of AKB48. At this point in time, the idea that a 46 group could exchange members with a 48 group seemed to break alternate reality barriers. Below, in Team B’s B Garden centered by Watanabe Mayu, Rina plays an interesting role, as she struggles to be present at AKB48’s side. Watch the full version with Rina by clicking here, or the (extremely) short version provided on AKB48’s youtube page (that does not depict Rina at all, except on a cardboard face cutout).
If you know anything about Nogizaka46, you know that Rina was to Nogizaka46 what Maeda Atsuko was to AKB48 for a long time. She had already centered numerous singles and coupling songs over her stay with the group, therefore it was no surprise that her popularity would follow her over to AKB48’s Senbatsu Election during her year there. Watch her center 48 Group West’s personal favorite Nogizaka46 single, Seifukuno Mannequin.
Rina is one of the many 48/46 Group stars to start a youtube channel to connect with her fans. Catch up with her below!
1.) Homma Hinata (本間日陽) “Hinatan” (NGT48, 1st Generation)
~From Unranked in 8th Election to Rank #13 in 9th Senbatsu Election, 2017~
For people who did not follow the brand new NGT48, their immense popularity came out of nowhere like a rogue tidal wave. Hinata is one of the few members in the group to almost immediately jump to senbatsu without much buffer time in the middle. Watch her center NGT48’s 3rd Single, Haru wa Doko kara kuru no ka? below.
Hinata’s fandom stems from her energetic and refreshing performance ability. Along with appearing very comfortable on stage, she has shown to be a fairly stable singer and dancer. All of these talents allowed her to perform almost 20 songs straight without a break for her solo concert earlier this year. Below, she performs AKB48 subgroup NOT YET’s 2nd single, Naminori Kakigoori.
NGT48 has had a rocky last few years if we can be so frank to say it. Many people that have relinquished their support of the group still seem to support Hinata. In fact, in many cases when NGT48 members were pulled from senbatsu and promotions, Hinata was one of the few whose popularity seemed consistently unbothered by the circumstances. Below you’ll find her center NGT48 Dance Senbatsu’s Junjo Yoroshiku.
Remember to like and comment below to let us know who you are! Enjoy a live version of Junjo Yoroshiku and have fun in the 48 Group World!