On the same day BABYMETAL released ‘Starlight’, (an incredibly moving tribute to Mikio), a statement was also released confirming that YUIMETAL has officially left the group:

YUIMETAL had expressed her desire to return performing with the group in the following months after last December’s performance due health concerns. During her absence, both SU-METAL and MOAMETAL as well as the entire staff team had been preparing for her awaited return. However, YUIMETAL came to a decision that she will not be performing at BABYMETAL WORLD TOUR 2018 in JAPAN and that she will no longer be a part of BABYMETAL. We thank her for all of her contributions and wish her all the best in her future endeavors.

Outcries from fans worldwide soon appeared on BABYMETAL’s social media with fans expressing their sadness and wishing YUI all the best for the future. In the past few days, YUI has released her own statement via Amuse’s website (Google Translated below):

I have been absent for a while and I am really sorry for the inconvenience caused to many people. Although I thought over and over, I decided to leave Babymetal this time. I am sorry for the inconvenience to those who support the members of Babymetal. And, for all the fans who are supporting Babymetal, I’m really sorry I made you sad.

There was also a strong desire to stand on the stage once again but there is also a feeling that I am still not in perfect condition now, and I also want to advance towards my dreams as Yui Mizuno, which is why I made the decision. As Babymetal, I am thankful for having a lot of valuable experience. I feel blessed. It was a live, fun and happy time when everyone laughed and became one.

I will also strive hard to see you again someday as Mizuno Yui.

Thank you very much for eight years.

A message I’m sure fans will welcome and understand YUI’s reasons for leaving BABYMETAL but the question remains, could YUIMETAL’s departure have been prevented? I couldn’t even begin to comprehend the colossal driving force that works behind the scenes within the BABYMETAL camp; orchestrating every cryptic puzzle relating to a new single or key visual relating to the mysterious ‘Chosen Seven’.  If you could go back in time and tell the trio just how incredibly successful they would become and have a worldwide following whilst sharing the stage with the likes of METALLICA and touring with The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, that would be hard enough for anyone to imagine!

As BABYMETAL’s fanbase increased at a exponential rate worldwide and the group gained live TV coverage on US shows such as The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, it was only a matter of time before BABYMETAL would be on the road and flying to festivals worldwide to meet demand. Something that I’ve seen with western acts and artists on multiple occasions is burnout. From a management perspective, I’m sure it seems they’ve struck gold when their act is in such demand but where do you draw the line between making money & exhaustive touring schedules over your artists well-being?

Yes we’d all love to see our favourite artists as much as possible but surely a reduced touring schedule and better duty of care of YUIMETAL’s well-being (or any other artist / group for that matter) should come first. If this were the case, YUI’s health wouldn’t have come in to question and possibly she would’ve remained in BABYMETAL. Of course, maybe with YUI’s time away from BABYMETAL she may have decided that the BABYMETAL life just wasn’t for her anymore, we can only speculate but I would think the time off definitely gave her some clarity, time to reflect and aided her decision to leave.

I just hope other artists management would see YUIMETAL’s exit as a warning and a wake up call; look after your artists and they’ll look after you!

What are your thoughts on YUIMETAL leaving BABYMETAL? Should management take more responsibility and interest in their artists well-being? Share your thoughts in the comments below!