In 1999, Maki Goto was selected as the only member of the 3rd generation of Morning Musume. The first single to feature Goto, "Love Machine", sold over a million copies, over nine times the amount of copies they had sold for their previous single. During her time in Morning Musume she was one of the founding members of Petitmoni and she started a solo singing career in 2001 with the single "Ai no Bakayarō". Until her graduation from Morning Musume she was one of the leading vocalists in most of the songs released. Post-graduation she mostly concentrated on her solo career, and occasionally on temporary Hello! Project units such as Gomattō, Nochiura Natsumi, and Def.Diva. As time passed, she increasingly concentrated on acting in addition to singing. She also performed at the Asia Song Festival 2005 in Busan, Korea, representing Japan.
In early 2007, Goto was chosen to be a member of Morning Musume Tanjō 10 Nen Kinentai — a unit created to celebrate Morning Musume's 10th anniversary as a group. Morning Musume Tanjō 10 Nen Kinentai also consisted of Natsumi Abe, Kaori Iida, Risa Niigaki and Koharu Kusumi. Their first single, "Bokura ga Ikiru My Asia", was released on January 24, 2007.
Her seventeenth single, "Secret" (シークレット), was released on April 11, 2007. On September 19, 2007, Goto's fourth original album How to Use Sexy was released.
On October 28, 2007, during the final show of her G-EmotionII: How to Use Sexy tour, Goto suddenly announced to fans that she would be graduating from Hello! Project, though she was also leaving UpFront Agency completely. Her graduation was said to be that she was overworked and overly stressed, causing her health problems. She also had different ideas of the direction of her career to what her agency had planned. Because of her graduation, she would not be able to participate in the Hello! Project 2008 Winter concert tour, previously said to be because of "scheduling conflicts".
Late in 2007, after her sudden Hello! Project graduation, rumors aroused the very next day stating that Avex's CEO, Max Matsuura, had shown interest in signing Goto in for Avex. During Goto's brother trial, she disappeared from the media-eye.
Goto's official blog reopened on March 25, 2008. Over the course of several entries, she revealed that she was in Los Angeles, California, taking singing and dancing lessons. Her blog didn't include any reference to Up-Front agency (but remained at the same address), and it was assumed that her contract with Up-Front had expired on March 1 and was not renewed as expected. Her last blog entry was on April 22. On June 19, 2008, it was released to the press that Goto had signed with the record label Rhythm Zone under Avex.
Maki debuted with Avex when she participated in the company's shareholders' meeting on June 22, 2008, singing a cover of Whitney Houston's "Saving All My Love for You." She also participated in A-nation'08 (Osaka on August 24 and Tokyo on August 31) alongside Kumi Koda, Ai Otsuka, Exile, Ami Suzuki, AAA, TVXQ, Namie Amuro, and Ayumi Hamasaki, among others. At A-nation, she performed the self-written song "Hear Me", an unreleased song (although a version of the song "Mine" was featured on her mini-album Sweet Black feat. Maki Goto), drawing media attention for the first time since her graduation. She also sang "Saving All My Love for You", and a cover of Diana King's "Shy Guy".
The Sweet Black Project is a cross-media collaboration between J-Wave, Avex and Mixi. Goto herself chose the logo and the name, which is meant to reflect the “positive and negative” side of the life of today’s women.
On January 5, 2009, J-Wave premiered “Sweet Black Girls”, a 15-minute segment hosted by Goto and Ryū as part of the popular radio show "PLATOn". The show airs from Monday to Friday and focuses on the life of women in their twenties. Reception was extremely good, as 30,000 messages were received during the first week alone.
To complete the project, Mixi, the most popular networking community in Japan, opened a special space for Sweet Black, and Avex launched a web-documentary on YouTube based on Goto's daily routine as a singer. Promotions were met with immediate success, admittedly beyond expectations.
On January 21, Goto released her first digital single with Avex, titled "Fly Away". The lyrics, penned by Maki herself, are based on Mambo, a story written by young author Hitomi Kanehara, who won the Akutagawa Prize for her 2003 novel "Hebi ni Piasu" ("Snakes and Earrings").
Barely a month later, on February 25, 2009, Goto released her second digital single, titled Lady-Rise, also penned by herself. This time, Goto collaborated with Erika Sakurazawa, a Japanese Josei manga author.
On March 7, 2009, Goto modelled at Japan’s biggest fashion event, Tokyo Girls Collection.
Goto released her second mini album, "One", on July 28, 2010. This album and on she had begun to use her actual name rather than her "Sweet Black" stage name.
As promotion for this release, Goto appeared on several television shows. One particular show, "Kinyoubi no Suma tachi e", aired a 2-hour special on her life, and included interviews with Goto as well as a performance of one of her new songs, 華詩-hanauta-, written for her mother. This episode reached 19.3% ratings for the show, making it the most watched program of the day.
She released her third Mini album "LOVE" on May 5, 2011.
On June 22, 2011, Goto announced on her official website that she will take an indefinite hiatus from the beginning of 2012.
While she is currently on hiatus, she has appeared in several magazines.
On March 10, 2012, Goto joined Japanese pop group Dream Morning Musume and former band mates Aya Ishiguro and Nozomi Tsuji as special guests for a concert in Budokan. Unlike Ishiguro and Tsuji, her presence was not announced and thus a surprise. She performed a medley of Petitmoni songs, as well as "The Peace".
On April 21, 2014, Goto made her first appearance in almost two years at an event for the game, Monster Hunter. Following said appearance, Goto launched her official Amebla blog on the 28th. She stated in her opening blog that she was not, "resuming activities right now," and that she will, "still [be] on hiatus."
Goto has two older sisters and a young brother named Yuki Goto (後藤 祐樹, Gotō Yūki, born July 10, 1986). Yuki debuted with the short-lived idol group EE Jump in 2000, but throughout his career, Goto would hear gossip about his bad behavior. He was suspended for three months after the tabloid magazine Friday published photos of him drinking underage at a cabaret club, and EE Jump shortly disbanded afterwards. On October 20, 2007, Yuki was arrested and pleaded guilty that he and two accomplices, aged 18 and 19, had broken into a construction site in Edogawa, Tokyo on July 15, 2007 and made off with 80 reels of electric cable worth approximately 1 million yen. On the talk show Kinyoubi no Sumatachi he in 2010, Goto expresses guilt over Yuki's declining career and stints with the law and assesses that she should have been more attentive
According to the magazine Flash, Goto and one of Yūki's accomplices in the robbery had been romantically involved for some time, after the two met at Yūki's wedding in 2005. They have not been in contact with each other since his arrest.
In 1996, Goto's father died from a fall while mountaineering. On January 23, 2010 at 11 pm, Goto's mother, Tokiko Goto, fell from the 3rd story of her home in Edogawa, Tokyo. She was taken to the hospital, but died from her injuries in the early hours of January 24.
Goto announced on her blog on July 22, 2014 that she had married. She gave birth to a daughter and a son on December 7, 2015, and March 27, 2017, respectively.[2001.11.06] Maki Goto (後藤真希)[2003.03.21] Maki[2003.09.??] Pocket Morning Musume. <Vol. 2> (ポケットモーニング娘。〈Vol.2〉) – with Natsumi Abe, Mari Yaguchi and Kaori Iida[2003.06.27] More Maki[2004.04.24] Prism[2004.07.23] Alo-Hello! Maki Goto (アロハロ!後藤真希)[2005.04.26] Dear...[2006.08.21] Foxy Fungo[2011.11.27] Go to Natura…[2002.09.??] Maki Goto Myself (後藤真希myself)[2002.12.??] Maki Goto Otakara Photo Book (後藤真希お宝フォト)[2003.09.23] 99 no Maki Goto (99の後藤真希)[2003.12.??] Maki Goto Seishun no Sokuseki (後藤真希 青春の足跡)[2005.04.07] Maki Goto Chronicle 1999 – 2004 (19992004―後藤真希クロニクル) Pinch Runner (ピンチランナー) Nama Tamago (ナマタマゴ) Seishun Bakachin Ryorijuku (青春ばかちん料理塾) Koinu Dan no Monogatari (子犬ダンの物語) Mariya (マリア) Yanpapa (やんぱぱ) Izu no Odoriko (伊豆の踊子) R.P.G. Yoshitsune (義経) Matsumoto Seichō Special Yubi (松本清張スペシャル・指) Ken & Mary no Merikenko on Stage! (けん&メリーのメリケン粉オンステージ!) Sayonara no Love Song (サヨナラのLOVE SONG) Gekidan Senior Graffiti Yokosuka Story (横須賀ストーリー)[2003–20??] Young Town Dōyōbi (ヤングタウン土曜日)[2003–2005] Maki Goto no Makkinkin Radio (後藤真希のマッキンキンRADIO)[2009–] J-Wave (81.3 FM) "Sweet Black Girls" (毎週月～木曜日 23:05～23:15 ※「PLATOn」内)[2003.09.30] Maki Goto in Hello! Project 2003 Natsu (後藤真希 in Hello! Project 2003夏)[2004.03.13] Maki Goto in Hello! Project 2004 Winter (後藤真希 in Hello! Project 2004 Winter)[2004.06.30] Maki Goto Photobook Concert Tour 2004 Spring: Magane Shoku ni Nucchae! (Maki Goto Photobook Concert Tour 2004 Spring~真金色に塗っちゃえ！~)[2004.09.28] Maki Goto in Hello! Project 2004 summer (後藤真希 in Hello! Project 2004 summer)[2005.07.06] Nochiura Natsumi Live "Triangle Energy" (後浦なつみライブ「TRIANGLE ENERGY」) – With Nochiura Natsumi[2005.10.25] Maki Goto + Melon Kinenbi Hello! Project 2005 Natsu no Kayō Show −05' Selection! Collection! (後藤真希+メロン記念日Hello!Project2005夏の歌謡ショー―05’セレクション!コレクション!) – With Melon Kinenbi[2006.04.07] Maki Goto & Aya Matsuura in Hello! Project 2006 Winter (後藤真希&松浦亜弥in Hello!Project 2006 Winter) – With Aya Matsuura