• Kyodo

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Minami Takahashi formally ended her career as a member of the all-girl pop group AKB48 on Friday, after performing in her last live show in Tokyo’s Akihabara district.

“I am just thankful to you … I was super happy,” the tearful Takahashi said in her closing remarks, looking back at her 10 years of activities with AKB48.

Takahashi, 25, who was one of the group’s original members when it launched in 2005, sang with other members such hit songs as “Aitakatta” (“I wanted to see you”).

Some 250 fans selected by lottery gathered at the AKB48 Theater in Akihabara, the group’s birthplace. The ratio of ticket seekers to seat availability was a jaw-dropping 252.8-to-1.

At the end of the show, Atsuko Maeda, 24, another first-generation member who left in 2012, appeared on stage to cheer Takahashi and wish her the best in the future.

A native of Tokyo, Takahashi served as the group’s first general director, overseeing AKB48 and its sister groups from 2012 to 2015. She has said she will pursue a new career as a solo singer.

In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is strongly requesting that residents and visitors exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.

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