Atsuko Maeda

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Atsuko Maeda
Atsuko Maeda(前田敦子).jpg
Atsuko Maeda performing at the Anime Expo AKB48 live in Los Angeles, 2010
Background information
Native name 前田敦子
Born (1991-07-10) July 10, 1991 (age 23)
Ichikawa, Chiba, Japan
Origin Akihabara, Tokyo, Japan
Genres J-pop
Occupation(s) Japanese idol, singer, actress
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2005–present
Labels King
Associated acts AKB48

Atsuko Maeda (前田 敦子 Maeda Atsuko?, born July 10, 1991 in Ichikawa, Chiba) is a Japanese singer and actress known for her work in the Japanese idol group AKB48. Maeda was one of the most prominent members in the group, and placed first among all AKB48 and sister group candidates in the group's general 2009 and 2011 elections, and second in the 2010 election. She also appeared on many of its album covers. On March 25, 2012, she announced her graduation from AKB48;[1] it was held on August 27.[2][3] She has since continued with a solo singing and acting career.



At age 14, Maeda became a member of AKB48's first group, Team A,[4] which composed of 24 girls and debuted on December 8, 2005.

In 2009, Maeda won the first edition of AKB48's annual general elections, which are described as a popularity contest. As a result, she was the headlined performer for the group's 13th single, "Iiwake Maybe".[5] The following year, she placed second overall, but still had a significant choreography position in the lineup for "Heavy Rotation".[6] Later that year, AKB48 employed a rock-paper-scissors tournament to determine the top spot of AKB48's 19th major single "Chance no Junban". Maeda placed 15th, which secured her a spot on title track.[7] Maeda would also win the group's third general election held in 2011.[8]

Maeda was one of the members who sang on every AKB48 title track since the group's inception. Her streak of A-side appearances ended in 2011, when she lost to Team K captain Sayaka Akimoto at a rock-paper-scissors tournament which determined the featured members for the group's 24th single "Ue kara Mariko".[9]

On March 25, 2012, during an AKB48 Concert at the Saitama Super Arena, Maeda announced that she would leave the group.[10][11] This caused a large buzz in the Japanese news, and spawned a rumor (later proved false) that a student from University of Tokyo had committed suicide over the announcement.[12] AKB48 later announced that Maeda would leave after the Tokyo Dome concerts;[13] For her final performance, there were 229,096 requests filed for seat tickets.[3] Her farewell performance and ceremony occurred on August 27 at the AKB48 theater,[2] and was streamed live on YouTube.[4][14]

Solo career[edit]

On April 23, 2011, Maeda announced that she would make her solo debut with her debut single "Flower", released on June 22.[15] It was met with commercial success in Japan, debuting at number 1 on the Oricon Charts with first week sales of 176,967 copies.

The follow-up single "Kimi wa Boku da", released in June 2012, was Maeda's last solo single while still a member of AKB48. It debuted at number two on the Oricon charts and reached number one on the Billboard Japan Hot 100.

On June 15, 2013, at AKB48's handshake event held at Makuhari Messe, AKB48 announced that Maeda would appear as a special guest at the group's summer concert series at the Sapporo Dome on July 31.[16] There, she performed her third single, "Time Machine Nante Iranai" (タイムマシンなんていらない Taimu Mashin Nante Iranai?), which was later released on September 18.[17] It was selected to be the theme song for the live-action adaptation of Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo (Yamada and the Seven Witches).[18] Maeda described the song as "cheerful and fun" and hoped it would liven up the show.[19][20] "Time Machine Nante Iranai" eventually peaked at number one on the Oricon Daily charts,[21] and number two on the Oricon Weekly chart.[22] On Billboard's Japan Hot 100, it debuted at number one and stayed there for just the week of September 30.[23]

Acting career[edit]

In 2007, Maeda played a supporting role in the film Ashita no Watashi no Tsukurikata, which was her debut as an actress.[24] She starred in the 2011 film Moshidora[25] and appeared in Nobuhiro Yamashita's 2012 film Kueki Ressha.[26] She also starred in Hideo Nakata's 2013 horror film The Complex.[27] It was announced that she will co-star with Tony Leung Chiu-Wai in Kiyoshi Kurosawa's film 1905.[28]

In 2013, Maeda starred in a series of 30-second station ID videos for Music On! TV where she played Tamako, a Tokyo university graduate who does not find a job and lives at home where she just eats and sleeps, over the course of the four seasons. This became a TV drama special, and has been developed into a full-fledged film, Tamako in Moratorium, the last of which is planned for a theater release in November 2013.[29][30]

Maeda starred in the film Seventh Code where she plays a Japanese woman in Russia who is trying to track down a guy she previously met. The film was shown at the Rome Film Festival in November 2013, and will be released for a short theater run in January 2014. She is planning a release of a single of the same name on March 5.[31]

Stage units[edit]

A listing of Maeda's participation in AKB48's theatre programs, called stages:[32]

  • 2005-2006: Team A 1st Stage: "Party ga Hajimaruyo" (PARTYが始まるよ?)
    • small group songs: "Skirt, Hirari" (1st + 2nd units) and "Hoshi no Ondo" (2nd unit)
  • 2006: Team A 2nd Stage: "Aitakatta" (会いたかった?)
    • small group songs: ""Nageki no Figure", "Nagisa no Cherry", "Senaka kara Dakishimete", "Rio no Kakumei"
  • 2006-2007: Team A 3rd Stage: Dareka no Tame ni (誰かのために?)
    • small group songs: "Nage Kiss de Uchi Otose!" and "Seifuku ga Jama o Suru"
  • 2007, 2008:[note 1] Team A 4th Stage: Tadaima Renaichuu (ただいま 恋愛中?)
    • small group songs: "7ji 12fun no Hatsukoi"
  • 2007: Himawari-gumi 1st Stage: Boku no Taiyou (僕の太陽?)
    • small group songs: "Idol Nante Yobanaide" (1st unit)
  • 2007-2008: Himawari-gumi 2nd Stage: Yume wo Shinaseru Wake ni Ikanai (夢を死なせるわけにいかない?)
    • small group songs " Hajimete no Jelly Beans" (1st unit)
  • 2008-2010: Team A 5th Stage: Renai Kinshi Jourei (恋愛禁止条例?)
    • small group songs: "Kuroi Tenshi"
  • 2010-2012: Team A 6th Stage: Mokugekisha (目撃者?)
    • small group songs "Ude o Kunde"


Solo singles[edit]

Title Release date Chart positions Oricon sales
Billboard Japan Hot 100
RIAJ Digital Track Chart
"Flower"[35] June 22, 2011 1 1 5 176,967 213,787[better source needed]
"Kimi wa Boku da"[36] June 20, 2012 2 1 4 136,212 170,944[better source needed]
"Time Machine Nante Iranai"[22][37] September 18, 2013 2 1 60,687 74,293
"Seventh Chord"[31][38][39] March 5, 2014 4 3 42,784 51,120


Year No. Title Role[40] Notes
2006 Ind-1 "Sakura no Hanabiratachi" A-side
2006 Ind-2 "Skirt, Hirari" A-side, Center One of seven members who sang on the title track.[41]
2006 1 "Aitakatta" A-side
2007 2 "Seifuku ga Jama o Suru" A-side, Center
2007 3 "Keibetsu Shiteita Aijō" A-side, Center
2007 4 "Bingo!" A-side, Center
2007 5 "Boku no Taiyō" A-side, Center
2007 6 "Yūhi o Miteiru ka?" A-side, Center
2008 7 "Romance, Irane" A-side, Center
2008 8 "Sakura no Hanabiratachi 2008" A-side, Center
2008 9 "Baby! Baby! Baby!" A-side, Center
2008 10 "Ōgoe Diamond" A-side.
2009 11 "10nen Sakura" A-side, Center also sang on "Sakurairo no Sora no Shita de", Shared center with Jurina Matsui of SKE48
2009 12 "Namida Surprise!" A-side, Center
2009 13 "Iiwake Maybe" A-side, Center Ranked 1st in 2009 General Election
2009 14 "River" A-side, Center
2010 15 "Sakura no Shiori" A-side, Center also sang on "Majisuka Rock 'n' Roll"
2010 16 "Ponytail to Shushu" A-side, Center also sang on "Majijo Teppen Blues"
2010 17 "Heavy Rotation" A-side Ranked 2nd in 2010 General Election, also sang on "Yasai Sisters" and "Lucky Seven"
2010 18 "Beginner" A-side, Mint, Center Also sang on "Kimi ni Tsuite" as subgroup Mint.
2010 19 "Chance no Junban" A-side Placed 15th in rock-paper-scissors tournament.,[42] also sang on "Yoyakushita Christmas" and "Kurumi to Dialougue"
2011 20 "Sakura no Ki ni Narō" A-side, Mint, Center Also sang on "Kiss Made 100 Mile" as Mint.
2011 "Dareka no Tame ni – What can I do for someone?" charity single
2011 21 "Everyday, Katyusha" A-side, Center also sang on "Korekara Wonderland" and "Yankee Soul"
2011 22 "Flying Get" A-side, Center Ranked 1st in 2011 General Election, also sang on "Seishun to Kizukanai Mama", "Ice no Kuchizuke", "Yasai Uranai"
2011 23 "Kaze wa Fuiteiru" A-side, Center
2011 24 "Ue kara Mariko" B-side Did not participate in title song; lineup was determined by rock-paper-scissors tournament;[43][44] She sang on "Noël no Yoru", and on "Rinjin wa Kizutsukanai" as Team A[citation needed]
2012 25 "Give Me Five!" A-side (Baby Blossom), Selection 6, Center Played rhythm guitar in Baby Blossom; she also sang on "Sweet & Bitter" as Selection 6
2012 26 "Manatsu no Sounds Good!" A-side, Center Did not participate in 2012 General Election.
2012 27 "Gingham Check" B-side Did not participate in title song. Participated in "Yume no Kawa" which was also her graduation song


  • Mubōbi (2011)




  • Documentary of AKB48: The Future 1 mm Ahead (2011)
  • Documentary of AKB48: To Be Continued (2011)
  • Documentary of AKB48: Show Must Go On (2012)
  • Documentary of AKB48: No Flower Without Rain (2013)

Television dramas[edit]

Television shows[edit]

  • AKBingo! (2008–2012)
  • Shukan AKB (2009–2012)
  • AKB48 Nemōsu TV (2008–2012)
  • Gachi Gase (2012)

Radio shows[edit]

  • Atsuko Maeda's Heart Songs (2010–2013)


  • Hai (2009)
  • Acchan in Hawaii (2010)
  • Maeda Atsuko in Tokyo (2010)
  • Atsuko in NY (2010)
  • Bukiyō (2012)
  • AKB48 Sotsugyou Kinen Photobook "Acchan" (2012)


  • 2011: Voce Beauty Awards 2011 Best Cosmetics Grand Prix – The Best Beauty of the Year
  • 2012: 35th Japan Academy Awards – Popularity Award – Actor/Actress for Moshidora
  • 2012: 21st Japan Movie Critics Circle – Best Newcomer for Moshidora
  • 2012: Japan's Foreign Film Importers and Distributors Association – Foreign Cinema’s Best Supporter
  • 2012: 4th Tama Film Awards – Best New and Upcoming Actress Award for Kueki Ressha
  • 2012: Vogue Japan Women of the Year
  • 2013: 22nd Japanese Film Professional awards – Best Actress for Kueki Ressha[55]


  1. ^ Team A would return to performing the 4th Stage program from April–October 2008


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External links[edit]