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AKB48's former star member Maeda gets married to Japanese actor

This combined photo shows Atsuko Maeda, right, and Ryo Katsuji. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Atsuko Maeda, 27, a Japanese pop cultural icon and original member of the all-girl group AKB48, got married to Ryo Katsuji, a 31-year-old actor, an official of his management company said on Tuesday.

"We will continue to support each other and sincerely engage in each and every work offered to us," they wrote in a statement under their joint names. The couple registered their marriage the previous day.

Maeda, a native of Chiba Prefecture near Tokyo, was among several girls who started the group, named after Tokyo's Akihabara, a subculture district, in 2005.

She was elected the group's most popular member in an annual vote by fans in 2009 and 2011 but quit the group in 2012 to pursue a career as an actor.

Katsuji, born in Tokyo, has appeared in various TV dramas, movies and theater productions, including the hit series "Amachan," which was aired on Japan public broadcaster NHK in 2013.

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