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Mayu Watanabe
Born: March 26, 1994
Born in: Saitama, Japan
Agency: Ogi Production
Majisuka Gakuen,
Megutan tte Maho tsukaeru no?,
Sailor Zombie
Mayu Watanabe
Mayu in one of her AKB48 uniforms in 2010.

Mayu Watanabe (渡辺 麻友 Watanabe Mayu?) is a Japanese actress and singer. She is a member of AKB48's Team B.


Watanabe auditioned for AKB48 and was placed in the newly formed Team B. Her first appearance on an AKB48 single title track was on "Bingo!". With the exception of singles whose lineups were determined by rock-paper-scissors tournaments, she has appeared on all the A-sides for the group's singles since then. In 2009, she placed fourth overall in the group's general election to determine the line-up for the group's 13th single.[1] She placed fifth overall the next year for the group's 17th single.[2][3]

She appeared on the cover of the December 2010 issue of UP to boy magazine together with Airi Suzuki from Cute. That was the first gravure collaboration between Hello! Project and AKB48.[4] On May 13, 2011 she released her photo book, Mayuyu. She commented that the book "is filled with a lot of expressions that I haven’t shown until now, it’s a book I’m really pleased with!” Regarding her nude cover picture, she said, “Despite being embarrassed, I did my best on the front cover, so I want a lot of people to look at it!”[5][6] In an episode of the group's variety show AKBingo!, Mayuyu and Haruka Shimazaki's nickname "Paruru" were coined by former teammate Rumi Yonezawa. For AKB48's general election in 2011, she placed fifth overall.[7]

In 2012, Watanabe got her first lead role in the Japanese TV drama Sabadol, where she played a 38-year-old high school teacher who is hated by her pupils whilst having a hidden life as an idol. On February 29, Watanabe released her debut solo single, "Synchro Tokimeki"; it was the theme song to the TV drama of the same name. The ending theme, sung in an enka style, was one of the B-sides. "Synchro Tokimeki" reached number one on the Oricon daily charts and second on the weekly charts. She hosted a solo live event on March 20, where she performed three songs in front of 10,000 people.

Watanabe participated as a voice actress in the anime series AKB0048.[8] In the anime, she plays a main character Chieri Sono,[9] and is part of the AKB48 subgroup NO NAME, which sings the opening and ending themes for the series. The series features a supporting character, Mayu Watanabe Mark 3, which is modeled after her likeness, and is voiced by Yukari Tamura. She reprised her role as Chieri Sono for the series' second season which aired in 2013.

Watanabe ranked second overall at the 2012 AKB48 general elections with 72,574 votes.[10][11] On August 24, during the group's reorganization announcement at the AKB48's Tokyo Dome concert, she was moved from Team B to Team A.[12]

On July 25, she released her second solo single, "Otona Jellybeans".[13] which reached number three on the Oricon weekly chart.[14] Her third solo single "Hikaru Monotachi" was released on November 21, 2012, and reached number one in the Oricon singles chart. The single was released in five versions, including one that has an illustration book. Her B-side "Sayonara no Hashi" was the theme song to the anime film "Nerawareta Gakuen" for which she voiced one of the lead characters. The film itself premièred in October at the Scotland Loves Animation festival in Edinburgh, before being released in Japan on November 10. She promoted Hikaru Monotachi with a short series of four hour-long concerts in two days. In July 2013, she released her fourth solo single, "Rappa Renshūchū". A contest was held to determine the cover artwork for one of its editions.[15]

Meanwhile, in AKB48, she received her first center position on the group's 30th single "So Long!", which was released on February 20, 2013.[16] On April 19, she released her second photobook "Seifuku Zukan Saigo no Seifuku", which contains 256 color pages and was based on the school uniforms of 94 Japanese schools. In the AKB48 general election for 2013, she placed third overall with 101,210 votes.[17]




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