With music as one of the top forms of entertainment in Japan, it’s no surprise to see several artists, musicians, and performers making their name on the world stage. The country is not just a powerhouse when it comes to creating animated shows and advancing technology. It has also become the home of some of the most notable bands and pop artists that Asia loves; some have even reached the West.
Among the most popular artists is AKB48, a prominent idol girl group with their own theater located in Akihabara, Tokyo. Over the years, the group has managed to build their reputation while at the same time attracting more members on board. And there is one former AKB48 member that has really made it in the entertainment industry thanks to the band.
— 佐藤亜美菜のアミメン！ (@amimen_agqr) June 26, 2017
With the huge number of members that compose AKB48, it can be difficult to steal the spotlight for yourself and be among the core performers in the group. Amina Sato is a former AKB48 member who ended up landing her dream career as a voice actress after around seven years of being with the team and being a part of several of the group’s sub-teams.
Just like most of the group’s members, Sato started as a trainee before she was promoted to the group’s Team A in the year 2008. During the 2009 annual AKB48 general elections, she was placed 8th in the overall ranking, which helped catapult her reputation as part of the core members. By the year 2010, Sato was transferred to the group’s Team B. On the same year’s annual election, she ranked 18th on the overall tally result.
Given the growing popularity of the group, it was only a matter of time before someone from the anime industry picked up the hype and created an anime series inspired by the girls’ influence. AKB0048 started casting the anime’s voice actresses around December 2011 before its scheduled broadcast around April 2012.
Sato, who apparently loved the idea, auditioned and ended up landing the role of Yuka Ichijo, one of the show’s main characters. She retained the role up to the show’s 2nd season.
She continued performing with the group and ranked 21st in AKB48’s 2012 general elections. By 2013, she was ranked 33rd, a position that made her the center of the choreography for ‘Next Girls’, a unit composed of girls ranked from 33 to 48.
Sato was transferred to Team K as part of the group’s member reshuffling and by December 2013, she finally announced her graduation from AKB48. Her last performance as a part of the team was on January 15, 2014. While many might have speculated on the real reason behind her leaving, Sato has been clear in expressing her desire to pursue her dream of becoming a professional voice actress.
The role she played on the AKB0048 anime became a good opening for more voice acting offers that came after. Among the most notable is her role as Arisu Tachibana in the anime The Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls. While she received initial negative critique and bashing for getting the role, Sato worked hard and eventually proved the critics wrong. Her live performance as Arisu Tachibana where she sang an original song was highly regarded by viewers and helped cement her reputation as a legit voice actress.
Other roles she has voiced include:
- Nanami from Nanami Sakuragaoka (Gi(a)rlish Number)
- Nene from Jewelpet: Magical Change
- Mariko from Sakamichi no Apollon
- Nashida Oriha from Triage X
Amina Sato might not have been one of the most successful AKB48 members of her time, but being a part of the group undeniably opened opportunities that allowed her to pursue her dream of becoming a voice actress!