Produce 48 featured 39 Japanese trainees who came from various branches of the AKB48 family including HKT48, NGT48, NMB48 and SKE48. The temporary group that was created as a result of Produce 48 was, of course, IZ*ONE. But only three of the 39 Japanese trainees made the group: Miyawaki Sakura, Honda Hitomi and Yabuki Nako.
A further five Japanese members reached the last episode without being eliminated but didn’t make it into the final group. One of these finalists is making the switch to K-Pop.
Fans praised this trainee for her killer visuals which stood out even among the Japanese trainees who specialised in playing to the crowd.
She impressed Korean fans with her willingness to learn Korean and her love of K-Pop which is why she got so far in the competition in the first place.
Though she was usually given rap lines which she performed capably, she is also a talented vocalist and proved that in her group’s cover of “Short Hair” by AOA during the show.
The Japanese singer who is leaving AKB48 and moving to a Korean agency is none other than… Takahashi Juri.
Juri has transferred to Korean label Woollim Entertainment who house groups Infinite, Lovelyz and Golden Child. They are also the parent agency of IZ*ONE members Eunbi and Chaewon.
The label is rumoured to be debuting Juri in a girl group, whether they will wait for Eunbi and Chaewon to return and debut all of them in the same group or Juri will be in a separate group remains to be seen.