More Graduations? Yuuka to leave Hello! Project?

A story published in one morning newspaper in Japan has just caused a frenzy online.

It reports that 1st Generation S/mileage member, Maeda Yuuka, is set to graduate on the 31st of December this year.

Apparently she commented that the wants to leave her duties in Hello! Project in order to focus on her schooling, so that she can get into a good university.

It wouldn't be the first time a member has graduated to go to university. Konno Asami being a pretty well-known example. In fact, schooling is a pretty standard excuse. More often than not it's the one given out by talent agencies when they'd rather not go into too much detail.

It hasn't been confirmed as yet. So it will be interesting to see just whether or not it turns out to be a hoax. Curious is the date chosen. It's traditional for a member to leave during a concert tour, but there is no concerts running in late December, as far as I'm aware. The Winter tour begins in January.

Perhaps it's fake. Perhaps not. 

More on this when (if) Tsunku posts his comments.

EDIT: An official announcement just appeared on the Hello!Project site.

The story is true. It says that she decided to attend high school and remain in S/mileage, but was struggling to do both. And, as she has a desire to attend college after High School, she has decided to leave the company and focus full-time on school, as it would not be fair on her fans if she wasn't giving them her 100%.

I must admit, I hate it when rumours like this prove to be more than just rumours. But we'll continue to support her and wish her luck in her academic life after she graduates.


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