Update: Added her graduation date
Sutou Ririka has announced that she will be leaving NMB48.
Her graduation date will be on August 30th, and her last handshake will be on August 26th.
The announcement comes shortly after her surprising engagement announcement at AKB48’s 49th single senbatsu.
According to a recent interview with Nikkan Sports, she confirmed that certain details initially released by the magazine Shuukan Bunshun were true. Suto met her fiance, a non-celebrity, in November 2015 at a restaurant her mom works at during a party.
Upon meeting they liked each other upon seeing each other and started dating shortly after.
Their relationship was mostly kept long distance due to her working in Osaka and him working in Tokyo. However, when they did meet they did so carefully to avoid being seen outside together.
Sutou confirmed that the announcement came as a result of Bunshun announcing that they would reveal certain details regarding her relationship. She decided to announce it through her own words to avoid having it come out in a tabloid, not because she wanted the attention at the event.
She also confirmed that she is not pregnant and that they are not in a rush to get married.
Upon graduating she hopes to get a degree in philosophy (having already co-written a book about the theme in 2016) and continue working as a talent.
One interesting fact to note from this interview is that she was offered to remain in the group despite her being in a relationship, but ultimately she decided to graduate.
This is surprising since idols are well known for having a dating ban rule. However, it’s fairly well known that several idols are in relationships in their private time (most end up getting married shortly after graduating).
Some fans are understandably upset about the situation. However, the fact that she has found happiness should be a small sense of relief for those who have supported her throughout her tenure as an idol.
We wish Sutou Ririka and her fiance congratulations on their marriage and hope that she has an incredible career as a talent!