One new system has been introduced to this year’s election: Members will have to announce candidacy to be eligible for voting.
Members with the right to become candidate are as follows:
(1) Current members of AKB48, SKE48, NMB48 and HKT48 (as of March 31st, 2013)
(2) Former members of AKB48 currently abroad (Takajo, Nakagawa, Suzuki, Miyazawa)
(3) Graduated members who were part of the franchise for four years or longer
Unless a member submits her form to the election committee until April 7th, she will not be part of the election. This goes for all the above.
For reference, here is a list of former members that could – theoretically – be part of this election:
Urano Kazumi, Ohori Megumi, Oku Manami, Ono Erena, Kohara Haruka, Sato Natsuki, Sato Yukari, Nakaya Sayaka, Noro Kayo, Hirata Rikako, Hirajima Natsumi, Maeda Atsuko, Masuda Yuka, Yonezawa Rumi
Team A: ALL except Kasai, Nakatsuka, Nito
Team K: ALL except Akimoto, Matsubara
Team B: ALL except Komori
AKB48 KKS: ALL
Team S: ALL except Kito, Kuwabara, Takada, Hiramatsu, Yagami
Team KII: ALL except Akaeda, Ogiso, Sato Seira, Hata, Mukaida
Team E: ALL except Ueno, Hara
SKE48 KKS: ALL except Owaki, Ogino, Kobayashi, Fujimoto
Team N: ALL except Kishino, Shinohara, Fukumoto
Team M: ALL except Koyanagi, Yamamoto
Team BII: ALL
NMB48 KKS: ALL
Team H: ALL
HKT48 KKS: ALL
JKT48 – except Nakagawa
Stories of AKB48 Graduates and Graduating Members
Nakaya Sayaka – Fall Back after Milky Holmes Audition
After finally making it to the rankings last year, Nakaya Sayaka decided that she would graduate from AKB48 to pursue her career as a voice actress. She actually had to leave her agency to audition for the hit anime Tantei Opera Milky Holmes. She failed to make it and now she works as a part timer in a restaurant. Some say she would participate just because she pretty much had nothing to fall back on, but then she just graduated recently and she had no regrets in doing so.
Hirata Rikako – Could it change her mind?
Hirata Rikako, former captain of SKE Team S announced her graduation on her birthday. She says she wanted to be a reporter. Maybe it would have been good if she came back but she’s gotta move on with her life. With the recent Nippon Gaishi Hall event in which SKE had their recent shuffle, I think she would have been part of it and most certainly the ballgame would have changed for SKE48.
The AKB/SDN Girls – To Return Upon Dissolving their Group SDN Last Year, Have something to prove to the youngsters.
These 5 girls might have wanted to stay after SDN48 didn’t work out. I’m sure most of them would have retuned to an AKB team since not all of them are having the best times of their lives outside AKB. Given this chance, maybe they have one more shot and still feel like being an AKB member. Noro Kayo and Ohori Megumi have been part of the graduation ceremony of AKB member Kasai Tomomi and also they’ve been appearing in the theater if they can. Urano Kazumi is still a member of Watarirouka Hashiritai and is a temporary member of that group. Both Sato Yukari and Kohara Haruka have had works outside AKB but these girls think that maybe they have one more shot at being in the election single. Do not count these girls out.
Oku Manami – What’s in store for her?
Probably one of the youngest members to audition for AKB48, she auditioned for Team K. Most people haven’t heard from her since graduation. Where did she go? What did she do for the past 2 years? Currently, she’s 17 and she could have been one of the last mainstay members of Team K if not for her early graduation. She is younger than Ota Aika, the youngest of the old Team B (3rd gen). Again, what’s in store for her? She didn’t rank back then. She only tried to improve her skills in her 5 years in AKB and would her comeback be even recognized by the hardcore Team K fans?
Sato Natsuki, Masuda Yuka – Too Early for a Comeback?
While both of them decided to graduate from the group last year, both of them had different reasons. Sato Natsuki wants to pursue her studies and create a future for herself. Masuda Yuka wanted her way out after the magazine spread the scandal she was in. She actually had her graduation performance at Kouhaku Uta Gassen and left the group DIVA before Christmas day. While Natsuki never had the luck to rank in all 4 elections, maybe her return could spark some light from her fans and make her rank. Yuka always ranked at Undergirls even if there’s a time where she even ranked at senbatsu. She says she is not ready to face her fans and time will tell if she actually returns. She actually has a shot of ranking if she did return.
Yonezawa Rumi, Hirajima Natsumi – Brand New Start?
Maybe after the infamous scandal, time would have healed and maybe more fans would have trusted them. Both girls were a big part of Team B stages. Both of them ranked in the 1st 2 elections but Nacchan showed that she can rank 26 for the 3rd straight year. Rumi actually had something to do outside AKB and keeps her fans through her twitter account. Nacchan formed Watarirouka Hashiritai with the 3rd generation girls led by Watanabe Mayu. Nacchan had appeared in more than 700 performances in the theater up until early 2010. Nacchan can still do it imo and would probably rank now that she’s joining.
Ono Erena – Happy with outside work, might not want to get involved with AKB anytime soon
While it is a shock that she left early as an AKB member and that didn’t go so well, she focused to become a solo singer and an actress. She has a real shot at the elections if she joined. With 5 singles under her belt and an album coming up soon, maybe she isn’t gearing up for AKB48 anymore. She’s ready for the outside world and we know how much AKB fans miss her.
Maeda Atsuko – Not reclaiming the throne from the Queen
While she says she’s gonna be busy after the election date, she knows she won’t join just because she won the elections 2 times already and maybe it could go down to Acchan vs Yuko again if she joined. It’s pretty much pointless for her to join because AKB48 needs to get going with the 2nd chapter.