AKB48 Wiki

Graduation (卒業 Sotsugyou) is a term used to refer to when a member of AKB48 Group, Sakamichi Series, SNH48 Group and their respective national and international sister groups leaves their respective group. The term is not exclusive to these groups, and is used by other idol groups as well.

Graduation Process[]

1. Announcement[]

Members usually announce their graduation from the group as a surprise announcement at the end of theater performances. The date of the member's final performance is usually decided by management at a later time.

Other methods of graduation announcement include (but are not limited to):

Reasons for graduation can vary. Common reasons include:

  • Choosing to focus on studies
  • Poor health
  • Pursuing a career in show-business outside the AKB48 Group
  • Personal reasons
2. The Ceremony[]

The graduation ceremony for a graduating member of AKB48 Group, SNH48 Group, and their respective sister groups, usually consists of a final theater performance. After this performance the member takes down her picture from the portrait wall of the theater. Senbatsu members often get segments of concerts dedicated to their graduation in addition to a theater ceremony. In rare cases, a full concert can be dedicated to and named after the graduating member/s if the member is highly significant to the group.

(See: List of Graduation Concerts)

In some cases, graduated members are still obligated to attend handshake events after their final performance at the theater. This most often occurs when the tickets were sold before the member announced her graduation.

Graduated members can sometimes be invited to perform in commemorative concerts or special theater shows, even after their graduation.

3. Withdrawal (「辞退」・「活動辞退」)[]

This term can be used for members who chose to leave the group without a graduation ceremony. This most often occurs when a scandal involving the member surfaces, such as in the cases of Yonezawa Rumi, Hirajima Natsumi, Masuda Yuka, Harada Mayu, Tsuji Nozomi, and Yokono Sumire. It can also be used for kenkyuusei scheduled for promotion or debut but leave the group anyway, such as Mitsumune Kaoru, Fujimoto Mitsuki, Maemura Himea, and Nakajima Hikari. However, the term can still be used as a neutral way to announce leaving the group, such as with Uemura Azusa and Hirate Yurina.

4. Dismissal (「解雇」・「契約解除」)[]

(See Also List of Members who were Punished for Violating Rules)

This term is used for members who are forced to leave the group after breaking a group or contract rule.


A graduated member can return to the group she graduated from or to a sister or rival group. However, this is usually limited due to the age limit of auditions. Currently, a total of 16 members returned to AKB48 Group or Sakamichi Series after their graduation:

Graduated Members in 2023[]

Many members have graduated from the 48 Group since its formation. A full list of members who have graduated can be found here.

Below is a list of members who graduated or announced their graduation in 2023 (some cases in 2022) specifically.

Bolded names denote members who have yet to graduate since their announcement.













AKB48 Team TP[]






  • The first member to graduate from the AKB48 group is Team A's Usami Yuki who graduated on March 31, 2006.
  • In addition, mass graduations have occurred in several groups.
    • SDN48: Currently the largest mass graduation. All (39) members graduated together on March 31, 2012, following the group's disbandment.
    • MNL48: All 24 members that didn't ranked on the 2nd General Election were forced to graduate on May 1, 2019.
    • DEL48: All (22) members graduated on October 9, 2020, following the group's indefinite hiatus.
    • JKT48: 30 members left the group from March 11 to 14 2021, following the disbandment of all teams and JKT48 Academy.
    • SGO48: All (19) members graduated together on December 22, 2021, following the group's disbandment.
    • SHY48: 26 members left the group on January 19, 2019, following the group's disbandment.
    • CKG48: 26 members left the group on January 19, 2019, following the group's disbandment.
    • BNK48: 19 1st Generation members left the group on December 18, 2022.
  • The year 2021 had the largest number of graduated and graduating members.
    • 68 members from the Japanese AKB48 Group.
    • 16 members from the Sakamichi Series.
    • 90 from the overseas Groups.
    • 58 from the SNH48 Group.
    • A total of 232 members from the combined numbers of AKB48 Group, Sakamichi Series, and SNH48 Group have either announced graduation or graduated.