Solo Idol Karin Maruyama Loses Lifelong Battle With Cancer

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Solo Idol Karin Maruyama Loses Lifelong Battle With Cancer

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In a year which has been marked by many major graduation and disbandment announcements, the saddest departure yet took place on May 22, 2015. Solo idol Karin Maruyama passed away at the age of 21 after battling cancer for most of her life.

Karin had caught the attention of the media because of her courageous fight with cancer as she was active as an idol. Here is a previous story written about the road to releasing her first single “Eternal Summer”.


Karin’s mother announced the news on May 22 11:57 (JST) via Twitter.

“The idol loved by everyone, who never gave up hope until the very end, Karin Maruyama, lost her fight with cancer as she quietly took her final breath at 1:10pm today. Yesterday’s monologue video was the last one. Thank you very much for supporting Karin until today.”



Despite having 7 surgeries to remove brain tumors which had plagued her since elementary school, Karin had kept moving forward with her dream of becoming an idol. She even applied for several idol auditions from her hospital bed while she was recovering from one of the operations. CHEEBOW had written “Eternal Summer” for Karin in the autumn of 2013 but due to her condition, it was not until February 28, 2015 that she was able to release it as her first single.

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In addition to holding release events in support of “Eternal Summer” in her hometown of Koriyama, Fukushima, Karin even traveled to Tokyo and had an event at Shibuya Tower Records on March 4, 2015. Due to her weakened condition, it was an acoustic performance with her being accompanied by guitarist Shun Kanzaki. It’s a lovely performance made more impressive since, as Karin explains in the video, her right lung was no longer functioning. The entire event space was packed with people who had come to see her that night! Despite visibly struggling physically and tiring easily, Karin’s personality was not affected as she cheerfully signed posters and magazines and posed with fans for pictures for more than 2 hours after the performance.

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Starting on April 5th, 2015 Karin had started posting short videos on YouTube daily to communicate with her fans. Even though Karin had mentioned that she had wanted to release a second single that she had written the lyrics for, watching her daily videos, the possibility of a miracle that would let such a dream come true seemed to be slipping away.

Within the short time that Karin Maruyama was in this world, she ended up touching a lot of people. Here are just a few reactions to Karin’s passing from other idols via Twitter.’s Eimi Naruse (Eitaso), who is also from Fukushima, called Karin an idol that Fukushima should be proud of.

Idol singer-songwriter Mikichu reminded Karin that she wouldn’t forget that they had promised to do another performance together, whether it would be in the “next world” or the “next next world”.

Kaori Shikaki from Tsubasa Fly echoes the sentiments of Eitaso, adding that Karin would live on forever in people’s hearts and that she was praying for her happiness in the “next world”.

Kokoro Shinozaki from petit pas expressed her regrets for not being brave enough for going to talk with Karin when she had the chance.

Shoko Nakagawa, who apparently had only recently become connected with Karin, also had high praise for her and regretted that they had not had the chance to meet.

Thank you for everything Karin and “otsukare-sama” for fighting as hard as you did to stay with us as long as you did! You will be missed dearly but you will live on forever in the hearts of those that love you!


Karin Maruyama
(August 2, 1993 – May 22, 2015)

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Kai Okudara

Writer, researcher, photographer, foodie, KSDD

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