Today, 9 SKE48 members (Kuwabara Mizuki, Takada Shiori, Hiramatsu Kanako, Yagami Kumi, Akaeda Ririna, Ogiso Shiori, Ueno Kazumi, Kobayashi Emiri) announced their graduations in front of fans after the stage had ended.
I’ve been informed of their intention to graduate and discussed the matter with them since around last summer. I believe that as each of them have things they yearn on doing, but they also wished to remain SKE48, so they struggled with conflicting feelings.
Talks went until late at night, tears were shed , many topics were discussed. Being already older than the members’ parents , somehow, those were like family talks. There is of course a good part of an idol activities in relation to which family members can give their support to the girls, but there is also a sizeable part of problem related those activities, that parents would be clueless about. I really felt as if I was their father. Perceiving members like if they were my own daughters, I wanted to answer their expectations and see them reach for the opportunities they desired. But we don’t live in such a simple world where all members can possibly see what they wish for become reality.
Live up to fans expectations and repay them for their support, to enter senbatsu, stand on stage, becoming an actress, becoming a seiyuu, going to College, studying abroad… Young girls have an infinity of dreams.
However, it’s with pleasure that I’ve received the assurance that as they took their decision, members were gald that they entered SKE48 and could work as part of the group, that even now they loved the theater and their work.
As I interact everyday with a large number of members, I’ve come to understand that everyone has something different gnawing them. But when you’re working as a group, those preoccupations become one. Witnessing it from close, I realized what a wonderful thing it was. To always engage in the battle with all your might if you were only one.
Right after Kouhaku performance, Kuwabara asked me “Yuasa-san, do you remember? The day of the opening of the theater (October 2010), during the meeting after our first stage Yuasa-san told us 「Let’s make it so that someday SKE48 performs independently in Kouhaku Utagassen」. It finally happened, didn’t it?” Kuwabara cried. All the members were the same, deeply moved , kindling. It’s thanks to SKE48 members’ power if I was able to show them the way to Kouhaku. Of course, words exchanged on this evening were considerably colored of gratitude directed at fans whose constant support had made it all possible.
Until now, together we have earned Oricon’s top ranking, we have performed outside the boundaries Nagoya, we have open a new theater, but we’ve reached a forking.
From here, members who will continue their activities with SKE48 and members who are graduating will part ways, but everyone will continue on the road toward their dreams. As much as it’ll be possible for me, I want to ascertain that members will be able to go forth following the road they picked for themselves. And I’m expecting members who remained to show their tenacity to keep leading SKE48 forward. For me too who have been entrusted with looking after SKE48 since its formation, delivering this information to fans proved to be a painful ordeal.
Today before the announcement members came to me 「Yuasa-san is probably the most nervous of us all.」「Please be your usual self.」. Their words made it possible for me to carry out my mission without showing weakness.
I hope you’ll keep supporting the graduating members until the day of their graduation.
Last, I want to thank Akimoto-sensei from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to write here my feelings regarding graduations in case.
From now on too, please keep supporting SKE48.
SKE48 Theater Manager - Yuasa Hiroshi -