NGT48 Team NII member and captain Kitahara Rie has announced her graduation from the group.
The announcement was done during NGT48’s 2nd anniversary live at Niigata City History Museum. After revealing her graduation, Rie mentioned how she wishes to work in dramas.
This was later confirmed by the official NGT48 Twitter account that showed a video of the announcement.
No details have been released about her final event or handshake, but she will graduate in Spring 2018.
Kitahara had previously joined AKB48 in 2007 as a Kenkyuusei. She later moved to Team A in 2008 for her debut, Team B in 2009, and Team K as a vice captain in 2012. She then became part of SKE48’s Team S in 2012 before joining NGT48 in 2015. She was then promoted to Team NII in 2016.
While the announcement might come as a surprise, it was somewhat expected that she would be taking her leave soon simply due to her being a member of the AKB48 family for 10 years. Many others are hitting this mark and are beginning to leave to give newer members a chance to shine.
It’s a sad occasion of course, but it’s great to see that she already has her eyes set on staying in the public eye after her graduation so that fans can continue to support her.
For now, best of luck Kitahara Rie!