KAT-TUN's Jin Akanishi (26) will officially graduate from the group later this year, it has been announced. KAT-TUN held a concert at the Tokyo Dome on Friday night, and Johnny's Jimusho president Johnny Kitagawa spoke to the press there on the same day. He said that the final decision will be made after Akanishi's U.S. tour this fall, but at this point it appears to already be guaranteed.
Since May, Akanishi has been in the United States, working on his solo career. He performed concerts in Los Angeles in June, and he has scheduled a 7-city tour for September and October. Kitagawa also revealed that Akanishi is already planning further concerts for 2011. Meanwhile, KAT-TUN has been continuing as a 5-member group, just as they did when Akanishi temporarily left in 2006 to study abroad.
Kitagawa explained that right now, the focus is only on Akanishi becoming successful in the U.S. He said that it would be too soft on Akanishi to let him return to KAT-TUN as a fallback if he doesn't succeed. It would also be unforgivable to KAT-TUN fans to have Akanishi dragging the group on, or returning the same way he did in 2007.
Kitagawa once again assured fans that KAT-TUN is not breaking up. Although the group's name is based on the initial characters of the members' names, it is said that Akanishi's "A" will be replaced by extending Kazuya Kamenashi's "K" to "KA." There are no plans to bring in a new member, as Kitagawa stated that there is no need to have six people in the group. He said that the five remaining members are currently doing fine without Akanishi.
Direct link: http://www.tokyograph.com/news/id-6357
Source: Sankei Sports
Newspaper and TV coverage of news
Credit post: xifandd @ LiveJournal
Fan Report of Tokyo Dome July 17th Concert
Credit post: weesachan @ LiveJournal
It may not be official to the rest of you, but Kat-tun fans pretty much knows this is it.
sigh......I won't spend my time on here saying all of my true thoughts, but I will say this.
Good luck Jin and Kat-tun. May all of you find what you are looking for.