Before Kep1er‘s Sakamoto Mashiro joined Girls Planet 999, she actually used to train under JYP Entertainment alongside members of ITZY—and it seems they’ve never forgotten each other. In a recent video fan call, ITZY’s Yeji congratulated her fellow former trainee on her incredible success.
Just months before Girls Planet 999 began airing, 21-year-old Sakamoto Mashiro was announced as a trainee under newly created agency 143 Entertainment (alongside fellow Kep1er member, former Busters‘ Kang Yeseo).
However, this company isn’t the first one she’s been signed to. From 2019 to 2020, she was a Pledis Entertainment trainee—and for two years before that, she trained under JYP Entertainment.
After placing second in JYP Entertainment’s 12th Annual Auditions, Mashiro fast became one of the company’s most popular trainees. With powerful dance skills likened to TWICE‘s Momo, it’s no surprise she was expected to debut in the agency’s next girl group when the time came.
During her time at JYP Entertainment, Mashiro trained alongside all five members who went on to debut in ITZY. However, less than a year before ITZY’s debut, it was confirmed that Mashiro had departed the agency for unknown reasons. Thankfully, that wasn’t the end of her journey, with Mashiro now preparing to debut in Girls Planet 999‘s girl group, Kep1er. But despite leaving JYP Entertainment three long years ago, it seems Mashiro hasn’t been forgotten by her fellow former trainees.
In fact, in a recent video fan call for new album Crazy in Love, ITZY’s leader Yeji sweetly cheered Mashiro on! During the Shopee fansign call, a lucky MIDZY by the name of @ryupostle on Twitter asked Yeji if she remembers Mashiro—to which Yeji replied, “Yeah!”
The fan went on to tell Yeji that Mashiro debuted yesterday, referring to her 8th-place win on Girls Planet 999. Surprised, Yeji exclaimed, “Wow!” with a big smile while clapping for the former JYP Entertainment trainee.
In a subsequent tweet, @ryupostle revealed that Yeji also told them how “nice and kind Mashiro is,” adding that she’s “really happy for her.”
211023 Shopee Fansign 🖤💛
— amz ≷ (@ryupostle) October 23, 2021
It’s unknown whether Yeji had been keeping up with the survival show, but between her busy schedule and accidentally locking herself out of her phone for several days, it’s unlikely that she had a chance to check out the finale.
In an early episode of Girls Planet 999, Mashiro revealed she was “exhausted” and “thinking of giving up” after leaving JYP Entertainment, even worrying whether being an idol was really for her. Then 18 years old, she returned to Japan shortly afterwards and even took up part-time jobs while searching for a new occupation. “I was very envious,” Mashiro admitted recalling how she felt seeing ITZY debut.
But thankfully, Mashiro didn’t give up, no matter how much she struggled. Now, it’s only a matter of time before she gets to stand on stage successfully alongside her ITZY friends!
Missed the Girls Planet 999 finale? Here’s who made it into the Kep1er lineup: