A former member of Japanese mega-girl group AKB48 surprised fans this week after announcing that she just got married to a man who proposed right on their first date.
Mariko Shinoda was among AKB48’s original Kami 7 — the top seven idols in the Akibahara-based group’s periodic popularity polls — before “graduating” in 2013.
Shinoda, who joined AKB48 at 19, is now 32. In the seven years she spent with the group, she was forbidden to date — as the rest of the members — so she can focus on her idol career.
On Feb. 20, Shinoda posted a handwritten letter on a private fan club announcing that she had tied the knot, according to Sponichi.
She described her husband as an “ordinary man,” which in this context, means someone outside the entertainment industry or the public eye.
Shinoda revealed that her husband is three years younger and owns a beauty salon, as well as other business ventures.
Interestingly, it is the couple’s top-speed courtship that surprised fans.
Shinoda and her husband first met at a dinner with mutual friends in October 2018.
A second meeting with more friends followed. In mid-November, they finally had the time to go out for the very first time — and that’s when her husband popped the big question.
Apparently, Shinoda said yes.
“Even though we weren’t dating, we’d started thinking about marriage naturally,” she wrote to fans, adding that they had actually talked about the future at the time, according to SoraNews24.
“From the bottom of my heart, I thought to myself, ‘I want to be with this person forever.’”
As of this writing, fans have no clue who Shinoda’s husband is.
Nevertheless, they wished her the best on her new journey as a married woman.