This interview along with other pics is published in “Namida wa Kutoten AKB48 Koshiki 10 Nenshi”, a book capturing AKB48’s 10 years of history.
Q: Mayu san is the only one in Sousenkyo history who ranked within Kami7.
This is my only pride in AKB48. Thanks to my fans i have my position now.
Q: Do you still remember the first Sousenkyo?
At that time i only thought of it as the common popularity contest. The stage was small, it was just like an internal event.
Q: But actually from the first Sousenkyo, members started becoming serious. Mayu san also cried.
I didn’t think i would rank in 4th. I was shocked, uncomfortable and sorry. There were alot of seniors around too so i didn’t think i could get into Top 5.
Q: But you mentioned wanting to aim higher. It was a ambitious and passionate speech.
Sousenkyo is a place where you can be frank. I was nervous and stressed before my name was called. The relief from being called allowed me to spell out my thoughts naturally.
Q: In the 3rd Sousenkyo, you continued to rank at 5th. You mentioned that ranking is just a figure and you won’t be bothered by it.
The feeling of not moving up despite putting in effort was revealed in my speech. But because my mood changes quickly, i immediately thought of working harder next time so the speech was said with positivity. When you feel relieved, even your pronounciation becomes clearer (laughs).
Q: In the 4th Sousenkyo, your rank rose to 2nd, and you mentioned wanting to be No.1.
All along, i’ve only ever thought of aiming higher. Those words were said thinking that I can only aim for No.1 next time. Before me, Mariko sama also said “Please come prepared to crush me”. The speech i’d prepared just flew to nowhere. I was touched by her words and said “From now, the younger generation is going to pave the way.” I still remember the audience reacting to these words. Not only me, i believe others were affected by Mariko sama’s words.
Q: From 4th to 5th Sousenkyo, you were center of “So Long”.
I was just transferred to Team A. It was time of Maeda san’s graduation. Being to transferred to the most representative team of AKB48 is like being tasked with the future of AKB48. As the center, i was more conscious of the responsibilities of carrying the group. My perspectives widened and i was able to think from the perspective of the group. This can be said to be my turning point. It was also at this time when i started talking to Mariko sama and Takamina san!
Q: It was the first time you were separated from Kashiwagi Yuki of the same generation.
Objectively speaking, Team B’s Yukirin is really great. Her performances are eye catching so the fans would certainly be fished. Seeing these, i’d want to work harder in Team A so i can present a new side when i return to Team B. Me and her have this kinda encouraging relationship.
Q: In the 5th Sousenkyo, your rank went down to 3rd but in the 6th Sousenkyo, you placed first. Did you have a premonition for that?
When i woke up in the morning, somehow i thought it’s impossible. But as i left the house, it started to rain. I’m known as the rain girl. Whether’s a solo activity or filming for an MV, as the most important moment it’d always rain. At that time i started to become confident.
Q: Was it the first time that this happened?
Actually there was another time, during AKB48’s 3rd generation auditions. Probably because i failed the 2nd generation auditions, so with a previous experience, it was a day when i felt most confident. Same as that Sousenkyo day.
Q: That’s amazing!
When they were announcing the rankings,i also thought “i can do it”. Thinking back, i think its also because that was a very enriching day.
Q: You beat Sashihara with this result and started being coined the “Orthodox Idol”.
Looking at myself, i also thought that being the perfect student and orthodox idol may make me seem boring. But finally, what i’d done with all my heart has been recognised. Thinking hard, what other appeals, personality or skills do I have? I think what others lack is the traits of an orthodox idol.
Q: What is the Sousenkyo to you?
I think it’s a place which brings you to reality. You have to face yourself and analyze objectively. It’s a place where you can grow continuously.
Q: It’s now 10 years since the group is formed
I didn’t think we could grow to become what we are today. When AKB48 was first formed, i looked upon it as a fan, dreamt of wearing the same costumes and performing on the same stage.
Q: What was the charm of AKB, when you were a fan?
It was a place where young girls performed their best, and showed their hardworking selves. The effort they put into dancing and singing makes one feel touched. And being near to them makes it all the more charming. Personally, i think that idols typically show their glittery sides, but AKB48 defies tradition. If only everyone can see it too.
Q:When did you feel the break?
“IIwake Maybe” – it was the single which made it to No.1 on Oricon. We started off as underground idols, it was unbelievable that we could place first on Oricon someday.
Q:Nowadays, you and Kashiwagi are always in the Top3 of AKB48 Group.
That’s great! Takamina’s graduation is a huge thing for me and the group. Now that she’s not around, i’m worried. But it’s also a starting point for AKB48 to become entirely different. I have to work hard and lead the juniors too.
Q: What do you think of the juniors?
Nowadays there’s lesser members who are ambitious. It’s okay to be more ambitious.
Q: What advice do you have for them?
I should say something, but i’m worried they’ll only become confused so i won’t say. I act on my problems after considering it carefully, so i hope they’ll discover their problems naturally.
Q: What do you want to do for AKB48?
It’s because i was from that period where we fought hard, so i inherited what was important. Nowadays, girls join AKB48 because it’s famous. Although i think it’s difficult to pass on certain things to them, as long as everyone remembers their roots, having a little ambitiousness is fine.
Q: Finally, when do you think you’ll have that premonition again? (the morning during 6th Sousenkyo/3rd generation auditions)
When will it be? Those feelings only come suddenly in the morning. I’m also looking forward to it (smile).
Other contents in the book:
- Akimoto Yasushi’s long interview
- Takamina x Maeda Atsuko x Oshima Yuko talk
- Scholars, CM planners, politicians, economy experts analysis of AKB48
- All about the costumes
- Talk from veteran fans
Purchase the book here: