Atsuko Maeda (前田 敦子, Maeda Atsuko, born July 10, 1991 in Ichikawa, Chiba) was a member of the Japanese idol group AKB48. She was in Team A and was one of the most prominent members in the group, being voted number one in the 2009 and 2011 Senbatsu Elections. In the 2010 Senbatsu Election, however, she lost to fellow member Yuko Oshima, who was the lead for their 17th Single: Heavy Rotation. She was part of the "Senbatsu" group in the most recent singles.
On April 23, 2011, it was announced by Maeda herself at AKB48's handshake event in Nagoya Dome that she would make her solo debut with her debut single "Flower", one of the insert songs for Moshidora, a movie in which Maeda played the leading role, released on June 22, 2011. She was the second AKB48 member to release a solo single after Tomomi Itano with the single "Dear J".
In 2007, Maeda played the sub-leading role in the movie "Ashita no Watashi no Tsukurikata" (「あしたの私のつくり方」?), which was her first performance as an actress. She started shooting this film August 20, 2006 and finished it in late September. After that, she landed various TV drama roles, including lead roles in the dramas "Majisuka Gakuen" and "Q-10."
Maeda, along with fellow AKB member Minegishi Minami, starred in Moshidora, a film released on June 4, 2011, marking her first lead role as a movie actress. Moshidora is a movie about how a weak high school baseball team's caretaker named Minami Kawashima that Maeda plays leads the team to the National High School Baseball Championship by learning strategies from Peter Drucker's business book Management.
Maeda officially 'graduated' from AKB48 in August 2012, after 7 years with the group.