When NMB48 member Ririka Suto announced that she is getting married, everyone waited for her to explain herself further, to get to the joke they thought was coming. Instead, Suto reaffirmed her statement, sending shockwaves across the audience both at home at the event.
On June 17, AKB48 held its 9th annual Senbatsu General Election. Suto placed 20th overall with 31,779 votes. When she took to the stage to give her speech, the idol took the opportunity to announce her marriage.
"I feel in love for the first time. I, NMB48's Ririka Suto, am getting married," Suto said.
During the televised election results, the members of the AKB48 family were shown to be in an uproar. Many laughed, jeered, and demanded that Suto finish the lighthearted joke they were expecting. Others could be seen confused, surprised, and even shocked.
Suto went on to confirm that she was serious about her marriage announcement.
"I am being serious right now. For the first time, I have met someone who I love very much," Suto said.
As it became apparent that Suto was serious about getting married, a state of confusion and perplexity swept over everyone in attendance. The words and their meaning made sense, but not in this context, not when it came to a member of the AKB family talking about love. There was a disconnect that could not be reconciled.
Upon hearing the announcement, reporters at the event quickly searched for anyone who could confirm what Suto had said. Most had no idea what was going on. Only a very small group of people were aware of Suto's impending marriage. Even fewer group members, if any, knew of the situation. However, those in the know were able to confirm that the marriage is in fact real.
The members of AKB48 and its sister groups are under a strict no dating ban. Members who are even suspected of being involved with a man face severe consequences. Notable examples of this include Rino Sashihara, a former member of AKB48 who was demoted and transferred to HKT48 after being accused of sleeping with a man, and Minami Minegishi, who was demoted to trainee status after reportedly spending the night with a member of GENERATIONS.
Suto is assumed to be in violation of the dating ban. Her future with the group and the future of her activities are currently uncertain.
After making the surprise announcement, Suto has been tight-lipped about further details regarding the situation. The idol says that she will be making a statement about her marriage, but this has not happened yet.
No details about the marriage such as when it will occur are currently known.