Tag Archives: Matsui Jurina

Matsui Jurina ends concurrency with AKB48

22 Oct

SKE48 Matsui Jurina announced through All Night Nippon earlier that she’d be ending her activities with AKB48 to concentrate on SKE48.

“I consulted Akimoto sensei 1 year ago.  I have alot of cute juniors coming into SKE48 and want them to look at my back. I have decided to concentrate on SKE48 only,” she said.

When 48 Group producer Akimoto Yasushi asked her what are her plans with SKE, she mentioned “I want SKE48 to be a group that leads the franchise forward. SKE48’s initial aims were to overtake AKB, but with me in AKB it’s somewhat….from now we want to be rivals and work hard.”


Countdown to graduation: SKE48 Matsui Rena and member talk

16 Aug

Decided to dedicate more “airtime” for my favourite SKE48 member Matsui Rena since she’s graduating soon. I hope Music Station gives her a special graduation stage next week just like all the former top members. Rena certainly deserves it!

Full MVs for “Mae no Meri” and “2588 days”

I was expecting alot of tear jerking footage of Matsui Rena since this is her last single but this music video was very bright just like the song itself. What i liked are the natural scenes of members surprising Rena with a party as she arrived in Okinawa. No script, no directing. The members each pass a sunflower to Rena and relay their personal messages. From there you can see what a motherly figure Rena has been for the group. One scene which struck me was the backview shot of Jurina crying. I’ve never been much of a Jurina fan but she must be feeling really lonely now that her co-pillar is leaving.

This is Matsui Rena’s last solo song “2588 days”, a documentary style music video showing footage from auditions, concerts, sousenkyos.

Matsui Rena x Takahashi Minami talk on Mujack

Matsui Rena appeared on Mujack hosted by Takahashi Minami and chatted about private topics.

Takamina: Who are the members you’ve dined out with so far(just the 2 of you)?
Rena: Takayanagi Akane only.

(Takamina is shocked.) Only her? So i’m the 2nd member you’re dining together with?
Rena: Yes

Takamina: Your graduation is a big thing for SKE48. Are you worried?
Rena: How do i say it? When i decided to graduate, i believed i had done what i can, so naturally i had to take the next step. Surely, when i pull out, something new will takeover. More than being worried, i’m looking forward to seeing how everyone creates a new SKE48.

Takamina: I’m most worried about Jurina. What are your feelings about Jurina? I thought that you were quite troubled in the past since Jurina is childish. She has to lead SKE and when she doesn’t know how to go about doing it you’d have to guide her. What is her presence like to you?
Rena: She’s like a sister to me, so i didn’t spoil her. (Takamina: Surprisingly you were rather strict?) Well she’s young and i can just praise her by saying she’s cute. But as we’re also colleagues,during times like @#$@#$ i’d say No, and when i see her feeling weak i’d encourage her. I think i was a rather strict sister.

Takamina: Did your relationship change after you announced graduation?
Rena: I didn’t change but Jurina will keep cuddling up to me, saying she’s lonely for example.

Takamina reads a letter to Rena: What i want to say is – Thank You.Even though Rena is straightforward,principled and concentrates well, i think you’re unable to multi-task. Your body seems weak too, so i was often worried.Also, you’re more of a loner and not accustomed to group activities but for the sake of SKE48, you didn’t choose to graduate immediately. As part of WMatsui, you led SKE48 together with Jurina. Jurina was quite the child in the past, and the person who supported her was Rena.You were like her sister, but now that both of you have grown up, seeing how you discuss the future of SKE48 and sometimes disagree, i think you’re both no longer sisters but friends. Honestly, i’m not able to imagine SKE48 without Rena, but since you’ve decided to graduate now, you must have seen the new SKE48. I’m also graduating myself. There must be lots of things that can’t be started without graduating first.  This applies not only to the group, but also yourself. So please move ahead to realise your dreams as an actress.

Rena reads a letter to Takamina:To me, AKB48 was my idol. When i first saw your performance “Skirt Hirari” on TV, i never stopped being a fan. Entering SKE48, being selected for AKB48 Senbatsu, standing on the same stage as the people i admired, i never thought this day would come.When i first entered senbatsu “Juunen Sakura”, i couldn’t remember the dance moves but Takamina encouraged me and gave me courage. We were the same age, but you were so mature. In such circumstances, you didn’t complain.I learnt alot, and i think alot of members gained courage the same way. When i talked about graduation the day after sousenkyo this year, you supported me just like the first day you talked to me. We will go on different paths from now on, but you’ll always be my star. I want to go to Takamina san’s live and cheer in a loud voice. This was my dream as a fan in middle school. From now on, please continue to show a cool side to everyone.

WMatsui talk on Nikkan Sports

SKE48 Matsui Rena(24) will be graduating on the 31st August after her last theater show. She has been active as part of WMatsui together with Matsui Jurina(18) since 2008. Even though Nikkan Sports got the scoop on her graduation first, Rena had already called Jurina to tell her the news 1 day before she announced graduation.

Q: Rena announced her graduation in June.
Rena: I wanted to tell the first generation members first. But, Jurina was sad after the sousenkyo, so it was bad timing to tell her. While i was worrying about it, Nikkan Sports had reported it.
Jurina: Laughs
Rena: But i had contacted her 1 day before the report came out.
Jurina: It was good that you told me, otherwise i’d be mad.
Rena: She cried hard over the phone.
Jurina: I was practically hyperventilating.
Rena: She was more emotional than me.
Rena: Oya Masana had asked me when I was planning to graduate. I thought everyone had an inkling about it.Although the day was decided, Masana told everyone my graduation hasn’t been approved yet.
Jurina: Masana was happily telling me that you won’t be graduating. *laughs*

Q: Your relationship?
Jurina: Soulmate will be good.
Rena: Eh? Friends? It’s more like family. Very often, people will ask me “Jurina is very special to you?” but personally, she’s like a sister.
Jurina: To me, Rena chan is special.

Q: You 2 look very balanced together.
Rena: We don’t share the same perspectives. Although we’re facing different directions, we try to be move towards the ideal goal. There are always 2 choices, so that’s good.
Jurina: During the early period, i didn’t think that people would call us “JuriRena” or “WMatsui” for long. The fans see us as rivals, so I also thought that we had to become rivals.

Q: What would have happened if one of you wasn’t around?
Jurina:…..I would have quit immediately.
Rena: Eh??Immediately?
Interviewer: That’s if you didn’t have a compatible partner.
Jurina: Yes..
Rena: I also think that if it wasn’t Jurina, we wouldn’t be compatible.  But as a rival its different. Because it’s impossible to topple her presence, i had to think about how to approach so I can move foward.

Q: You will be holding a graduation concert on the 29th and 30th in Aichi Prefecture Toyota Stadium?
Rena: What do i want to do? I want to sing Kareha no Station, if the fans and members are happy with it.
Jurina: I want to do all the songs with pair dances. Shall we?


Check out my other posts from the “Countdown to graduation” series:
Matsui Rena and the people she wants to apologise to
Matsui Rena holds thanksgiving festival for fans

Purchase Rena’s graduation single below:

Limited Type A

Limited Type B

Limited Type C

Limited Type D

Regular Type A

Regular Type B

Regular Type C

Regular Type D

AKB48 General Elections 2015: Final look at China fans’ campaigns

29 May

Final Edit – Final votes reported for all except Jurina. (Don’t read if you think it’s gonna be spoilers.)

I thought i’d give the international fans a deeper understanding on how the Chinese campaigns work, since last year it was widely reported that the Chinese fans had a hand in pushing Watanabe Mayu to the throne. This suggests that the elections are no longer a domestic affair, but how much support will the Chinese fans give this time?

Below is a list of Group48 members who have got significant campaigning going on in the Baidu Tieba threads(fyi that is where the activities are concentrated). I have ranked them based on how much funds their fans have contributed so far. *Note that these funds is not all-inclusive since there may be other campaigns who don’t report their earnings, and there will be fans who choose to vote directly instead of participating in crowd-funding. Fan clubs will announce the number of votes they’ve contributed before final results.

7. Yamamoto Sayaka

Amassed funds: 125,000RMB
Reported Votes: 2500  4647
Sayanee entered Kami7 last year and is now the handshake queen of 48G. However, her explosion of popularity in Japan is in stark contrast to the growth in her chinese fanbase. Much like the fans from her hometown of Osaka, her chinese fans seem apathetic and not at all interested in pushing her to the top.

6. Takahashi Minami

Amassed funds: 228,817 283,476 RMB
Reported Votes: 4576  5957
Takamina wants to aim for No.1 this year before she resigns in December. Her fans are reportedly quite happy now that they have amassed funds equivalent to last year, but they are equally aware that this amount will at best keep her in 9th place, not any higher. Lets just say that the Japanese fans will have much work to do if they want Takamina to see her wish being granted.

5. Shimazaki Haruka

Amassed funds: 462,601 RMB
Reported Votes: 9252 12,675
Paruru’s fans are the most creative when it comes to running campaigns. One of them is so fun that i’d find it hard not to participate. Basically they’ve created this imaginary restaurant called “Paruru Cafe” and the menu only has 2 items – the Salty combo or Sweet combo. The Salty combo consists of Shio Ramen,French Onion Soup, Croissant, Salty Popcorn and Salt Soda Drink while the Sweet combo consists of Borscht,Sukiyaki,Melon Buns,Almond Sweets and Juice. Each combo costs 111 RMB, and whilst you don’t really get to eat anything, you can see eventually which combo is more popular amongst fans – guesses anyone?

4. Miyawaki Sakura

Amassed funds: 400,000 RMB
Reported Votes: 8000 12,591
I previously posted that Sakura had only 10,000RMB worth of amassed funds. It turns out that she had more than that. The entire Sakura camp(including Japanese fans) are working hard to land her at Kami5 this year. It is said that her vote count will reach 80,000.

3. Sashihara Rino

Amassed funds: 661,345 674,898 RMB
Reported Votes: 13,226 14,046
Sashihara has the smallest fanbase amongst all the other Kami level members in 48 Group. According to her site, the 35,000 number of followers is only about 1/7 of Takamina’s followers. However, it seems like they are the ones proving that action(and perhaps wealth) is what matters, since they’ve easily surpassed Takamina’s funds more than 3 times.

Sashihara has promised to do a swimsuit concert this year if she wins the elections.

2. Matsui Jurina 

Amassed funds: 760,000 RMB
Vote Equivalent: 15,200 (*No final report.)
Much of the lobbying this year is centered around talk of Jurina turning 18, how they don’t want to make her cry, and how after this year she’ll have no more excuse to use her age as the reason for aiming No.1. There is not much fanfare about her campaigns, simply pleas asking fans to help fulfill the target.

Meanwhile, Jurina herself has promised to take on the “punishment” of riding on what may be the world’s scariest roller coaster – ACROBAT, if she does not take the crown this year.

1. Kashiwagi Yuki

Amassed funds: 1,200,000 RMB
Reported Votes: 24,000  38,000
If we were to talk about the fanbase who will go all out for their idol this year, it would probably be Yukirin’s. Ahead of the sousenkyo preliminary results announcement, her chinese fanbase have already surpassed last year’s standards and are even making Mayu fans panic.

According to Yukirin’s interview in the Sousenkyo Guidebook, it was mentioned that she has never specifically asked for a position as she wanted to “leave an exit route for herself”, in case she fell. Now that she’s one of the older members and probably wouldn’t have much chances to participate in Sousenkyo anymore, she wants to “push herself to the edge” and aim for the top. Yukirin has promised to challenge an event worthy of Sashihara’s swimsuit concert if she wins the elections.

0. Watanabe Mayu

Amassed funds: ~930,000 RMB in May 2015
Vote Equivalent:18,600 (*No final report.) 34,000 (Updated as of June 2016)

I didn’t give Watanabe Mayu a ranking because her campaign results is quite a mystery! What i listed here is the funds accumulated in May 2015. How much they’ve accumulated in the dark is unknown.

If you ask me how Mayuyu’s campaign is faring so far, i’d say that the enthusiasm is still there, judging by the variety of campaigns which started in the New Year. My favorite campaign is one where fans donate private items(cosmetics,anime collectibles etc) to those who participated in the crowdfunding.

However, there are lots of complaints about sabotaging going on, or journalists harassing the big voters, fans withdrawing their votes etc. Their team has decided to keep the results private this year.

Matsui Jurina, Kitagawa Ryoha, Miyamae Ami talk about being centers of SKE48

6 Dec

SKE48 16th single “December’s Kangaroo” will be released on 10th December 2014. Centers are Kitagawa Ryoha(16) and Miyamae Ami(17). These girls are the firsts to take on the role of centers other than double center combi Matsui Jurina(17) and Matsui Rena(23) since the group’s debut in 2009. Lets hear from the new centers and Matsui Jurina.

What do you girls think of Matsui Jurina?
Jurina: Eh..?
Ami: I often talk about her when she’s not around.
Jurina: What? You were talking bad things about me? (laugh)
Ami: I watched Jurina at the theater before i joined SKE48. I’ve always looked up to her.
Jurina: You’re lying (laugh)
Ami: It’s the truth! When the fans are exchanging photos of the members, i got one of Jurina san. From now, i will also be looking at your back.

What about Kitagawa san?
Jurina: You can say anything!
Ryoha: *in a small voice* Even if she’s tired she will not give up. She worries about us and gives us advice. Like a goddess..
Jurina: Goddess? I’m not that great. Although there’s a song like that in SKE…
Ryoha: She’s really great.
Jurina: Thank you.


Since Kitagawa and Miyamae have replaced Jurina as the center, you’ll have to aim for the “Kami” rankings don’t you think?
Miyamae:  Even if i can get closer to Jurina, I’m different from Jurina so i have to work at my own pace.
Jurina: You can’t impersonate me right?
Ryoha: I will do what i can so people think that it’s right for one half of the double center to be Ryoha.
Miyamae and Kitagawa, please introduce yourselves.
Miyamae: I have a strong image of a dancer, so i’ll develop from there.
Ryoha: I’m really clumsy in every way. I can’t dance, can’t talk, but the only thing i won’t lose in is my perseverance.

Jurina, what will you do from now on?
Jurina: I want to make people think i’m the center wherever I go. Whether i’m in the 3rd line or elsewhere, i’d be happy if fans decide to look my way.

So behind Kitagawa and Miyamae, there will be a great aura?
Jurina: Because within SKE my passion has never burned that strongly…(laughs)

That’s because no one stands in front of you right?
Jurina: Yes. No one so i’m looking forward to it this time.

It’s true that we can see your burning passion when you are in AKB.
Jurina: When the seniors are around I become like that.

Next time, for the sake of SKE48, Jurina should be the wall that everyone has to climb over.
Jurina: Yes, I want to become the ultimate aim for everyone.


Watanabe Mayu surpasses Sashihara, wins AKB48 6th General Elections

8 Jun

On the 7th June, the results of AKB48 6th General Elections(6th Senbatsu Sousenkyo) were unveiled in Ajinomoto Stadium. 80 members out of the 200+ member mega franchise were selected to represent the group in their next single. Of the 80, the top 16 will be able to sing the title track and take part in various media promotions. Check out the list of winners here.

Whilst 2013 winner Sashihara Rino had her sights on defending her title, it was 3rd generation member Watanabe Mayu(20) who did the impossible. Amassing the highest amount of votes in history(~160k votes), her victory was a happy ending fans have been waiting to see for years. Read on for the Top16’s winning speeches below.

1. Watanabe Mayu – the ace who got crowned late

“I said in my speech 2 years ago, that i wanted to win. I wasn’t able to realise that dream last year, despite all the hard work i put in. For a moment, i decided to give up. But fans gave me warm words, told me to grab my next chance. That strengthened my resolve to become no.1.

I joined AKB when i was 12, today i’m already 20. To get where i am today, i experienced alot. I am happy to have walked my path, believed in my fans, worked hard and not give up. When i joined AKB, there were alot of seniors. New juniors came in, sister groups were formed. Over time, the seniors whom i respect have graduated. I often wonder..what happened to the AKB48 that i knew in the past? As one of the leftover members from the 3rd generation, i have to stay strong and look forth. In the past, i followed the seniors around. Now that I have gotten this position, i have to stop leaning on the seniors. I want to become a member whom the juniors can look up to and follow, someone who doesn’t forget her initial passion, and is full of gratitude towards the fans.

To everyone, thank you!”

When asked what she had to say to Sashihara, Mayuyu teared up at one point and said, “Sasshi has gone through alot. Seeing her lead the HKT48 members, she has worked really hard. I want to say congratulations to everyone, and thanks too.”

Exiting member Oshima Yuko also made an appearance, congratulating Mayuyu on her win. When asked to give some advice, Yuko said “This is not advice, but in many ways, please take care of AKB48 from now on.”

Mayuyu confessed, “Yuko chan had wanted to entrust the AKB48 group to me 2 years ago,but i was unable to live up to expectations. Today, i’m happy i can finally answer to her request.”


2. Sashihara Rino – hopes for a winning streak crushed

“Honestly, i’m very frustrated. Awhile back, i overheard a conversation at this bookshop. An office lady was asking her friend who might win this elections. The friend answered ‘Sashihara’, but the lady said ‘If she won, wouldn’t it be weird?’. That lady also said ‘If Sashihara can win, then i should enter AKB and live a easy life.’. If that lady is watching this now, i want to tell you that AKB is not a easy place. Alot of members worry before coming here. Even though i still don’t know who’s going to become No.1, i will support that member with all my strength. No matter how tough it may be, i will not lose. I will participate in next year’s Sousenkyo, and i will certainly become No.1!”


3. Kashiwagi Yuki – the girl who doesn’t need to aim high

Kashiwagi Yuki is one of the rare members in AKB48 who has gained high recognition amongst fans despite never voicing her desire to rank high. In 2011, she surpassed same generation teammate Watanabe Mayu to take No.3 in the 2011 Senbatsu Sousenkyo, and has since kept a consistent ranking. This year is no different.

“I am very happy to be in Top 3. This Sousenkyo is not just a place to decide the center, it’s also a place where we can fight alongside our fans. I am not good with vying for things. But I can work hard because the fans are here. At first i only wanted to be an idol, but i have now become someone who wants to support the fans through songs and live shows. Last year, i said that AKB has become an important place for me.The handshake sessions are also an important place for me.  Today, i also want to show you my gratitude up close. There may be problems, but i don’t want to lose this place where i can interact with you directly. If you guys are here, i’m sure a warm place will be created for us. This year i am in NMB48 and have gotten alot of juniors, i will work hard as AKB48’s 3rd generation and repay you. Please support me!”


4. Matsui Jurina – 17 years old and aiming for No.1

c2b3809a.jpg (1440×810)

Matsui Jurina has been really ambitious since placing 6th in Sousenkyo last year. Considering her tenure in the group and her ranking, she is ready to battle for the throne. But looking at her disappointed frame, it’d be better if she develops some mental strength before coming back as the competition will get tougher next year.

“Even though i am very thankful, I feel frustrated not having ranked No.1. But i think it’s all my fault, i haven’t worked hard enough. Please let me make a promise with you. I will work harder than ever. Next year, when i turn 18, i will be No.1!”


5. Matsui Rena – a flourishing solo career and still flying high

As a fellow teammate of Matsui Jurina in SKE48, Matsui Rena has always been neck-to-neck with Jurina during Sousenkyo. This year she confessed to being worried about her placement, since her solo career has been impeding group activities. No wonder she was so happy when her ranking was called.

“I’m very happy to see so many of you here today, despite the heavy rain. Thanks for the support. Not only me, but alot of the other members have bet their lives by standing here, choosing a lifestyle different from that of a schoolgirl. I have the confidence to bet my life here, and work actively in the 48group, as well as in Nogizaka46. Just like how u guys have given me this present today, i will work hard to gift you the same present in future. This year, SKE will be doing a nationwide tour. Please wait for us!”


6. Yamamoto Sayaka – Osaka representative with overflowing ambitions

“This year, people have had expectations of me ever since the prelim results, some even guessed that i would win. On the other side, others have said it’s too early for me to win. I am really honored to have gotten this rank, but i’m really frustrated about not being able to refute those who said it’s impossible for me to win. When i entered senbatsu last year, i was able to work more and enjoyed every day. This time i am the only one from NMB48 to be called into senbatsu. I really love NMB48 and want to bring it to greater heights not only in Japan but also overseas.Last year, i said i wanted to be more active in my media work but i am sorry not have delivered the promise. My hopes to lead the group and become number 1 has never changed since i entered the group. I want to become someone worthy of the absolute center by next year. Please support me”


7. Shimazaki Haruka – ‘I am blunt but you will forgive me’

The member nicknamed “Ponkotsu Paruru”(Clumsy Paruru) is infamous for her blunt and less-than-friendly personality. Her army of fans continue to remain devoted by pushing her into Top 7. However, don’t expect her to contend for No.1 anytime soon. She works at her own pace.

“I don’t know what to say honestly. I am bad at this. People say i’m salty but having attained a great rank like this, i feel somehow satisfied instead. I tried to work hard at handshake sessions, but as expected i can’t do it. My fans always try to make me laugh instead. I think my fans are kinder and more forgiving than others. That’s the end! Thank you!”


8. Kojima Haruna – ‘I will graduate..’

The last beauty from the 1st generation apparently knows how to twist her fans around her finger. Talk about her graduation has been going on for months, so is it time?

“As usual, my prelim rankings isn’t good, but as usual the fans will always work hard for me towards the end. I am really happy. I don’t have any more regrets in AKB…I, Kojima Haruna, will announce my graduation here…..but i won’t! Sorry for the joke haha! I actually wanted to graduate here, but looking at the stabbing incidents recently, i think i will do what i can and stay on awhile more. I will graduate when everyone can smile from the bottom of their hearts. There is one more reason. When i looked on the internet, i was No.1 on the rankings for member most likely to graduate in the elections. I didn’t want to let that report come true, so i pulled back. I too, want the fans to be surprised when I announce my graduation. So please don’t spread rumors of graduation during big events like this. I don’t know how long i have with AKB, but i will work hard to the end.”

MC continued to asked when she started to consider graduation.

“I started to think about it when Acchan graduated. This time round, when the costume for Labrador Retriever was handed over…i am 26 but when i saw the dog prints, i thought ‘omg it’s about time’…LOL.”

MC asked her to declare her lifelong career as an AKB idol.

“That’s not going to happen! I’m just going to work abit more..”


9. Takahashi Minami – Hard work will definitely be rewarded

“This year i asked to be ranked within Top7. Even though i wasn’t able to reach that goal,i thank all of you from the bottom of my heart. As you know, recently a bad thing happened. At that moment,i thought AKB48 was over. I wasn’t unable to cheer up for days.Because of the fans my heart grew stronger. Even on such a rainy day, you guys are willing to wait for us. Because of you we are able to move on. There are people who asked me why i’m still here. I’m here because i love AKB48. AKB48 is the best! There’s a big challenge infront of us. If everyone is here, i think we can overcome this. Please let me support AKB48 a little while more.  Finally, let me say the words which i wasn’t able to say last year. Hard work will definitely be rewarded!”


10. Suda Akari – I’ll shine from any position

Suda Akari has the brightest smile amongst all the members and is so professional she smiles even when the camera is not on her. She is known for being a “fisher”, kind of derogatory for a girl but over the years I can really see the sincerity in her. Still, i’m not used to her over enthusiastic personality.

“I am not good at talking. When i googled my name, people say i’m not cute at all. I can’t imagine saying that to a person who got so many votes. Last year, i got into into Top16 due to the help of everyone. After getting  Top16, i was even able to move up front within SKE. I wonder if that was a good thing, and cried everyday. Some have questioned why i am up front. But still, i left an impression on them isn’t it? In future, in order to become the center in your eyes, i’ll work hard to shine from any position.”

She cried at the last part because she thought she’d never rank in senbatsu again.


11. Sakura Miyawaki – My rival is Sashihara

Sakura is probably the only member in HKT48 who has a fanbase so strong that she doesn’t need to rely Sashihara’s help. She hailed Sasshi as her rival, but as the original ace of HKT48, she should probably challenge the beasts of sister groups Jurina and Sayanee instead.

“I’m really shocked to receive this rank. I’m always nervous, but the fans are always here for me. If you guys aren’t here, there won’t be me. Someone asked me who my rival is. I can only think of one. My rival is Sasshi. She is all-rounded. I think that if there’s no one who can surpass Sasshi in HKT, then there won’t be growth. I am still not there, but i will work hard so Sasshi can call me as her rival. I’ll show you that i can surpass Sasshi!”


12. Miyazawa Sae – A formidable presence despite zero TV appearances

“Thank you! This year has been an unforgettable year! I met alot of people…experienced alot of feelings. I’m really thankful for it. Again, i want to be a source of strength for many in AKB48. To be able to stand on this stage, i feel very happy. I want to repay everyone, and I hope to show the juniors my cool back!I am also happy to be featured on the LINE stamps!”


13. Yokoyama Yui

-Skip translation because it’s kinda boring-


14. Ikoma Rina – Shocker of the night

As the former center of rival group Nogizaka46, Ikoma was offered a concurrency with AKB48 in February. She accepted it thinking of creating more opportunities for Nogizaka46. No one thought that she’d go far in these elections, but the Nogizaka fans are obviously hungrier that we thought. Catch the priceless expression on her face when her ranking was announced. Even exiting member Oshima Yuko was amazed by it.

“Do you know me? Oh, that’s great, thank you very much! Um… I-I-I never thought, e-even a tiny bit, that I would enter senbatsu, so when I heard just there “Nogizaka’s…” I didn’t know what to think and I still don’t know what to do. But… ah… um…. um, the reason that I’m here is that my fans supported me in all sorts of places, making and handing out flyers, cycling all the way to their home towns, even to places I don’t know, they did all that hard work for me. Members… well, I’m here on a concurrency from a rival group so this surprised a lot of people and no one really knows how this is going to go. But now I feel glad I went through with it… thank you very much. There’s a lot of people I feel grateful to. But I think there’s also a lot of people in Japan who don’t know who I am. I want to take this opportunity for, well for myself as well but I’m from a group called Nogizaka46 and I want to work hard in order to get more people to know who we are! Thank you very much!”


15. Shibata Aya – Another cinderella story

Shibata Aya is one of the cinderella girls in this year’s senbatsu. She is not favored by management but moved into the limelight last year due to fan support. She placed 17th in last year’s general elections and has since been included in the senbatsu lineup for SKE48’s singles.
“Last year, i experienced alot after placing 17th in the elections.I felt very blissful becoming an idol. But seeing the difference between 16th and 17th positions, i felt frustrated realizing what entering senbatsu is all about. This year, i promised to enter senbatsu and is finally able to have that dream come true together with the help of my fans. I won’t waste the chance from the fans. I will work hard to aim higher.  I like the saying ‘If you don’t aim for No.1, you won’t become 2nd or 3rd.’,so i will become everyone’s No.1 idol.”


16. Kawaei Rina – A bounce back from adversity

The baka center had a poor placement in the preliminary results of this year’s sousenkyo despite receiving much push the past year. The recent stabbing incident threw her back into the spotlight as she was one of the 2 injured, together with Iriyama Anna. I don’t know if it helped to get her sympathy votes but the girl definitely hopes it was not the case.

“I’ve worried everyone! I am very healthy now. Honestly, when i was ranked 52 in the prelim results, i had been worrying and crying every day. When i was thinking of what to do, this incident happened. I think God was telling me to stop waiting around and to wake up. I think everyone converted my adversity into a chance for me. In this year, i will not lose no matter what happens. Thank you.”

MC asked if she was afraid during the stabbing incident. Kawaei said, ‘It’s ok! I wasn’t afraid!”

“Actually i was thinking i shouldn’t care about the results anymore. But the fans created this great position for me. Thank you!”

“This year i had done alot and had no regrets, so i was really afraid of the sousenkyo results this year. But now i am no longer afraid!”

“This time, i entered senbatsu because fans had expectations of me and were worried for me. Next year, i hope to enter senbatsu without the help of any adversities!”
And this concludes my translations for their speeches.

Matsui Jurina talks about being center for Janken single “Suzukake Nanchara”

16 Dec

How is the pressure compared to previously?

It’s the first time being a center by myself, so definitely there’s pressure. But when we get to sing on tv and when i think of fans praising the song, i’m really happy. It’s like i’m being saved by the song.

“Suzukake Nanchara” is a song that was made specially for you?!
It’s a song made for us, especially for the fresh members.  I don’t think it’s a song tailored specially for me. Fans thought that cool dance numbers like “UZA” would be released, but in a good way, we have exceeded their expectations.

Talk about your solo part for the song
It’s weird. I seldom sing solo even in SKE, so i’m quite nervous and not used to it.

The regular senbatsu members are not in this single’s lineup, so do you feel the burden?
There are alot of members in this lineup for the first time. When we were shooting for the MV, i thought everyone would be nervous, so i kept the tension up and cracked alot of lame jokes.

So you were a leader aside from being the center?
Yes. There were alot of members unsure about things, so i thought them based on experience.

What kind of advice did you receive from your seniors?
I told Takamina-san that i was very nervous before our first live performance, but she said, “That’s rare…but you just have to be yourself as usual.” I calmed down after that.

This is a chance for you to raise your fame, but is it also a chance for you to show your skills?
Alot of fans apologised for not being able make me center through voting. I was like “no..no”, but it’s true that i’d be happier if i’m called the next center, or the center who got no.1 in General Elections.

Will you be aiming for this chance next?
If even 1 more person thinks i’m suitable to be the next center of AKB, i’d be happy. There hasn’t been anyone who’s gotten No.1 in Jankan tournament nor General Elections, so i want to be the first!


“I want to act as a student in dramas,” says Matsui Jurina

“The song this time is a cute one, so i just need to show my real self. But before this, i had to show my mature side in “Heart Eleki”, or my cool side in “UZA”. I want to be able to bring out the colors of different song genres. Even if a different genre was given to me this time, i want to make everyone think that this song is made for me.”

On the topic of acting, Jurina confessed to not having any interest initially, but through various opportunities her interest has been sparked. “I’ve been given chances to act recently and i think it’s really fun. Since i’m a high schooler, i want to act as a student in school dramas,” she said.



Matsui Jurina wins AKB48 Jankan Tournament, becomes center of 34th single!

19 Sep

SKE48/AKB48 next generation ace Matsui Jurina clinched her first Janken Tournament title yesterday, making her the face of AKB48’s 34th single (to be released towards the end of this year).

The annual Janken Tournament is an event organised by the management of AKB48 to give an equal chance to all members to earn a spot in the single senbatsu. Rounds after rounds of “scissors, paper, stone” is played until the eventual winner is crowned. This year, Matsui Jurina faced off against NMB48’s Team B captain Emika Kameida, AKB48 Muto Tomu, NMB48 Yagura Fuuko, AKB48 Shimada Haruka, NMB48 KKS Uno Mizuki, AKB48 Tano Yuka and AKB48 Hirata Rina, winning all of them with simply “paper”. This is unbelievably similar to how Shimazaki Haruka won the Jankan Tournament last year, simply with “scissors”.

After realising she’d won, Jurina collapsed to the floor in happiness and cried.

“I can’t believe i actually won the center position!”
“I’ll work hard to be recognised as a true center, not just the janken center.”

Graduated members Shinoda Mariko and Maeda Atsuko also took to twitter to convey their congratulations.

Shinoda Mariko: “I received a call from Acchan. Congratulations Jurina! Because i couldn’t go, i gave you my janken power!”
Maeda Atsuko seems to have watched it live and tweeted “Good luck Jurina!” before congratulating her after she won.

Who says that Acchan and Jurina weren’t on good terms?!

Anyways, the rest of the senbatsu members are:

Uno Mizuki, Tano Yuka, Furuhata Nao, Abe Maria, Kitahara Rie, Tsuchiyasu Mizuki, Hirata Rina, Oya Shizuka, Oba Mina, Yumoto Ami, Sasaki Yukari, Natori Wakana, Kikuchi Ayaka, Fujie Reina,Kameida Emika

This lineup has several up-and-coming faces but i’m doubting how well the single can sell, since Jurina is the only “famous” face fronting the whole lineup. However, this is the chance for Jurina to shine and if she does well..lets just say that the top 3 of AKB48 will face another shakeup next year. I have high hopes for Jurina and i hope she shows Sasshi what a true center is all about!


And here’s the last portion of the Janken tournament with Jurina’s win.

Mayuyu, the center who pulled out from “UZA”

27 Feb

There was a brief period of time when i was thinking why Matsui Jurina and Oshima Yuko were the double centers for AKB48’s 28th single “UZA”. Based on the rankings of General Elections 2012, Watanabe Mayu, who placed 2nd after Oshima Yuko, should be rightfully pushed alongside Yuko. But looking at the style of “UZA” which requires strong dancing skills and a fierce aura, Jurina seems like a better fit instead.

Yesterday,Yahoo Japan posted an article which revealed that the real center of “UZA” was supposed to be Watanabe Mayu. I’ve translated it with my limited Japanese…so pls don’t mind if you find my translation awkward.

[Interviewer] I’ve interviewed you for so many times. Recently, your face seems to have changed?
[Mayuyu] Really?

[Interviewer] Seems like you’re showing the face of someone who has been entrusted with the responsibilities of a center. Did you even notice that you’ve changed?
[Mayuyu] I’ve changed. I’m from the 3rd generation so i’ve always relied on the 1st and 2nd generation seniors. But now i have to think deeper about the group as compared to the past. My time spent thinking about the group has really increased.

[Interviewer] Is it tough? Thinking about the group?
[Mayuyu] Yes

[Interviewer] The first time when you knew that you’d be the center for “So Long” was in November last year when you were shooting for the PV?
[Mayuyu] Yes

[Interviewer] What were you feeling at that time?
[Mayuyu] I was abit nervous, but i looked forward and told myself to work hard.

[Interviewer] Your dreams of becoming the center of AKB48 has finally come true!
[Mayuyu] Really…i’ve worked hard all these while so i’m happy that everything has turned out well. Just like what Takamina-san said (“If you work hard, your efforts will be rewarded.”), i truly feel the meaning of her words.

[Interviewer] Actually, you were entrusted with the center position of “UZA” last year, but as you were unable to perform the difficult dance, it ended with Oshima Yuko and Matsui Jurina taking over as double center right?
[Mayuyu] Yes

[Interviewer] Do you regret that moment?
[Mayuyu] Yes, i thought that i have to work harder than ever at that moment. It became a great experience actually.

[Interviewer] At the backstage after last year’s General Elections, Oshima Yuko said that she wanted to entrust you with the title “Next Generation Ace”. Have you thought about carrying the burden of leading AKB48 after that?
[Mayuyu] Yes, having placed 2nd in the General Elections, i’ve in fact thought much more about that.

[Interviewer] You made an impression when you were crying at last year’s Japan Record Award?
[Mayuyu] I took over Maeda Atsuko san’s center position for “Manatsu no Sounds Good!” after she graduated, so i thought i had to do a good job and was pressured by that. It was the first time we “challenged” the Japan Record Award after Acchan graduated, so when i heard we won, my nervousness and happiness just spilled out in the form of tears.


NTV airs special drama for AKB48 “So Long” single & who wins the best actress award?

14 Feb

To commemorate the release of their 30th single “So Long”, each team in AKB48 took part in a 3-episode drama special, which aired during midnight from 11-13th February on Nihon TV. To make it more exciting, viewers are asked to vote for the best drama and best actress after watching the series. Now this is one big opportunity for those aspiring actresses in the group to showcase their talent, but unfortunately, only the rising stars and the senior members got major parts in the drama, which is not a bad thing cos we now get to see how much talent these girls got aside from singing and dancing!

Check out the 3 episodes below and let me know what you think!

Leads: Team A- Watanabe Mayu(18) & Shinoda Mariko(26)
Plot: Watanabe Mayu discovers a cassette tape recorder in her school’s broadcasting room which somehow transmits voice messages from a boy living in the era of 1995. After they get over the surrealism of this cassette tape recorder, they start communicating regularly, talking about life in 2013 and the people they know in common, for example the teacher who forced them into participating in broadcasting club. Friendship grew into love and Mayuyu eventually gathers the courage to record her confession for him. Just as she was about to send this tape into his world, the boy sends her a tape of his own, telling her he’s fallen for a girl in his era(Shinoda Mariko) who is also a ballerina like Mayuyu.(In 2013, Shinoda Mariko is actually Mayuyu’s ballet teacher.) He asks her for advice on how to ask Shinoda out. Mayuyu became disappointed and stopped communicating with him for awhile. One day, she discovers that the boy had actually died years ago due to an accident while going out with Mariko. She hurries to send a msg to warn him about the accident, but somehow he interprets it as a warning that Mariko is going to die and hence sacrifices himself to save her. After that fateful day, Mayuyu passes Mariko a tape from the boy which contained his confession for Mariko, and Mariko ends up crying after listening to the tape.

I personally like this plot the best.As cliche as this time travelling thing may be, the plot succeeded in catching my attention throughout. Only bad thing is Mayuyu’s acting. She needs to show more expressions….other than her standard smile and standard frown!

Leads: Team K – Matsui Jurina (15) & Oshima Yuko(24)
Plot: Yuko is a music major who wants to give up piano and start looking for a proper job. Her sister, Matsui Jurina, visits her one day and starts poking her nose into Yuko’s life. She tries to stop Yuko from giving up piano, turns up at her job interview and spills ice-cream on her clothes, knocks into her friend in school, goes on secret dates with her boyfriend etc. Yuko has this impression that Jurina is trying to steal everything from her and gets into an argument with her. Jurina left the apartment after that and gets into an accident. Yuko hurries to the hospital and discovers that Jurina has a degenerative eye disease, which meant she was almost blind already, thus resulting in those incidents which Yuko thought was part of Jurina’s plan to turn her life upside down. She tearfully makes up with Jurina, who revealed that she wanted Yuko to continue playing the piano since that was what makes her happy when they were younger. Hearing this, Yuko decided to take part in a piano competition and played the song “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” as a tribute to their memories.

I don’t think this plot matches up to Team A’s drama but Jurina & Yuko’s acting are very impressive indeed! We already know that Yuko has something to show since she has acted in dramas before, but Jurina is really good as well  for someone so young!

Leads: Team B – Shimazaki Haruka(18) & Kojima Haruna(24)
Plot: Kojima Haruna is the form teacher of Paruru’s class and she announced one day that she has tendered her resignation, 2 months before their graduation ceremony. Her students talk about her behind her back, not knowing that Haruna actually quit because she only had 2 months left to live. Paruru came up from behind, told them about the truth and chided them for being so mean especially when Haruna really cared for them despite her “aloof” and “irresponsible” demeanor. One by one, the students think back on incidents when Haruna saved them from embarrassment/loneliness by secretly helping them out, sometimes at the expense of creating a negative image for herself. They finally come to sense and decided to hold their graduation right outside Haruna’s hospital. While Haruna shied away from them, she was able to hear her students’ words of appreciation from her hospital bed. And as her students sang a last graduation song, tears rolled down her cheek.

Plot-wise, i think this wins hands down. This is as cliche as the drama for Team A’s, but somehow more realistic and moving. People had said that Paruru is bad at acting, but i think she’s a natural. Kojiharu can improve though…i’d expect more tears when she was lying in that hospital bed.

P/S: The votes are in for best drama and best actress, look out for it in my next post!

AKB48 reveals sakura song “So Long” on 火曜曲 (and the emergence of next gen Aces)

23 Jan

On the 22nd Jan episode of 火曜曲, AKB48 performed the first stage of their new single “So Long”!

Not digging the song as much as last year’s “Give me Five”, but i’m sure AKB48’s selling power will work it’s magic anyways.
One thing is clear after watching this performance though, the new pillars of AKB48 are:
So Long

Shimazaki Haruka, Watanabe Mayu, Matsui Jurina

And the center is of course:



Being a Mayuyu fan, i’m more than happy to see the position she’s gotten for this single.Other than being in the center position, she even has a solo line in the middle!

I’m glad that Watanabe Miyuki is not featured prominently here because i absolutely cringe when she unleashes her fishing skills on the camera. She is just not as charismatic as Mayuyu, period.