AKB48 research student Mitsumune Kaoru (19) has withdrawn from the group, it was announced on Wednesday. According to AKB48’s official blog, Mitsumune had voluntarily chosen to leave the group due to her poor health condition.
Mitsumune joined AKB48 in December 2011 after passing the auditions for the 13th generation of research students. She had received a lot of attention for her talent and was quickly pushed into the spotlight, even landing a television role in the drama series “ATARU” from April to June. It was also decided that she would be promoted to official member status as part of Team K when the new team formations take effect at the start of next month.
However, Mitsumune was absent from all three days of AKB48’s Tokyo Dome concerts in late August, due to poor health. She temporarily resumed activities after that, but she was again absent from a promotional event for the “Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou” movie earlier this month.
In her message that was included in the AKB48 blog entry, Mitsumune stated that the staff had encouraged her to just focus on recovering her health, but that also led her to wonder whether she should just completely stop her AKB48 activities for the sake of her health. After much further discussion with the staff, she chose to withdraw from the group, though she said she hopes to once appear again in front of her fans in another way.
It seems likely that she could continue with modeling (she won the Kobe Collection Model Audition in March 2011, before joining AKB48) or with acting (she already stars in the movie “Joshi Camera,” being released on November 24).