AKB48 senbatsu member (#12 rank during last one) Takahashi Juri will be graduating from the group and has signed with Woollim Entertainment, the company has confirmed.
On March 4, Woollim Entertainment revealed, “It is true that Takahashi Juri has signed a contract with Woollim Entertainment. She will be included as a member of a new girl group we are preparing to launch, and she will soon make her debut.”
But the news broke when Juri herself announced it at an event with fans.
News of Takahashi Juri’s Korean debut first broke during a birthday event the singer held with fans the same day. She stated, “After graduating from AKB48, I’ll be debuting through Korea’s Woollim Entertainment. I visited Korea in February to prepare for my debut.”
She also commented, “Graduating from AKB48 was a huge decision. I love AKB48, and you guys are my pride.” She then explained that because she felt unsatisfied with current self, she decided to graduate and sign with Woollim.
Despite her popularity within AKB48, I think this move probably makes sense. It’s a risk but it might work out for her better over the long haul, especially since she already has Korean fans and doesn’t seem to have any baggage other Japanese contestants do in terms of doing anything anti-Korean or whatever.
Furthermore, the group seems to have potential if it goes the way it seems like it might. Chaewon and Eunbi from IZ*ONE are also under Woollim, so that’s quite a bit of name recognition right away for a debut if they’re all in a group. Of course, I don’t actually know if that’ll happen, but really it’s the only thing that makes sense to me.