K-pop is no stranger to young talent. But even by industry standards, the journey of LE SSERAFIM member Sakura is remarkable. Recently, Korean netizens expressed astonishment at the tender age at which she began her career with HKT48 in Japan.

Sakura was only 13 years old when she first stepped into the limelight as a member of HKT48, a regional offshoot of the famous Japanese idol group AKB48. Her time with HKT48 wasn’t a fleeting phase. She began as a trainee in 2011 and was a full-fledged member by 2012. Sakura made history as the first HKT48 member to rank in the AKB48 general election at No. 47.

Her first A-side participation with HKT48 came with its first single, “Suki! Suki! Skip!” and “Melon Juice.” In 2014, she was transferred to the newly formed Team KIV, promoted to vice-captain, and given a concurrent position in AKB48’s Team A. Sakura also became one of two centers for AKB48’s 38th single, “Kiboteki Refrain.”

In 2015, she played a lead role in AKB48‘s drama Majisuka Gakuen 4 and released a photobook. She achieved her first solo lead position on AKB48’s 43rd single with “Kimi wa Melody” in 2016.

Sakura and K-pop

In 2018, Sakura‘s career took a significant turn. She participated in the survival show Produce 48, a joint venture between AKB48 and the K-pop scene. Despite the fierce competition, Sakura stood out, eventually securing a spot in the project group IZ*ONE.

After IZ*ONE‘s disbandment in 2021, Sakura took another bold step. She moved to South Korea and joined the K-pop girl group LE SSERAFIM. This transition was met with widespread anticipation and excitement, as fans were eager to see how Sakura‘s unique blend of Japanese and Korean idol training would manifest in her performances.

Korean netizens’ recent discussions about Sakura‘s early start in the 48 Group brought her journey back into the spotlight. They admire her for joining the entertainment industry at a very young age and successfully transitioning from J-pop to K-pop.

Sakura‘s journey from the 48 Group to LE SSERAFIM is a testament to her talent, resilience, and adaptability. Her journey demonstrates that it’s possible to do great things, even when starting at a young age. As Korean netizens continue to discuss her early start, one thing is clear: her impact on the music scene is far from over. —K-pop News Writer

Featured Image: Sakura returned to SNS when she signed with HYBE. Source: Instagram/Sakura’s personal Instagram account.