Saigo no Door (最後のドア) by AKB48 (2013)
1st Generation and Kami 7 member Tomomi Itano’s graduation announcement went a different direction than most others in the past. Instead of announcing at a large event, like a concert or handshake event, she casually let the masses know of her plan during the filming of an AKB48 documentary (No Flower Without Rain), when asked by the interviewer her thoughts on leaving. Watch the music video for her graduation song below.
The emotional lyrics let us know that Tomomi is leaving her most serious relationship so far: AKB48. She sings of being lost while in the group, searching for her dream, but being thankful all the same for the time she was able to spend there. Watch the emotional performance later that year at Request Hour after her departure below.
Sayonara ga Utsukushikute (サヨナラが美しくて) by Shibata Aya and 4th Generation (2016)
Aya’s graduation song is one of our favorites here at 48 Group West just for the sheer message. She seems surprised to look back and realize that she’s learned and made many friends over the years. She laments over missed connections and misunderstandings that were made in the past with hopes that she can think about things in the future without a heavy heart. Watch the short version below or the full version by clicking here.
Senaka Kotoba (背中言葉) by AKB48 (2015)
It’s easy to understand why Takahashi Minami’s graduation hit the group and fans so hard. As a natural leader to both members and staff in the company, it was as if the captain had left his crew.
If there were an award for music videos for graduation songs, Senata Kotoba would take the cake. Click here to watch the full version. In the video, AKB48 watches concerned and helplessly as Minami struggles to carry the burdens of the group with her head held high. After giving her some support, they relinquish her of these burdens, and push her forward to take her next steps. The amazing performance that follows took place at her graduation concert.
Takahashi Minami, being the General Manager of the group at the time, was not only given a graduation song, but an A-side Center as well. Kuchibiru Be my Baby was her last appearance as a regular member on an A-side (Although she returned for the very next single under the title of a graduated member).
Watch them perform the song at her graduation concert by clicking here!
Kimi no Dai-ni shou (君の第二章) by AKB48 (2015)
The road that lead to Rina’s departure from the group is a sad one that is known by many. After recovering from her injuries sustained in the Iwate Incident, Rina understandably made the decision to step down from her idol career. Her graduation song, Kimi no Dai-ni shou has rather haunting lyrics, considering the circumstances surrounding her leave. It speaks of suffering but surviving and having enough hope to begin a new chapter. Watch the short version below or click here to watch it in its entirety.
Tabi no Tochuu (旅の途中) by Miyazawa Sae and Friends (2016)
Miyazawa Sae’s road through AKB48 had many twists and turns and ended without the finale we would have wanted. After being caught in limbo for a couple of years with her botched transfer to now rogue group SNH48, she came back to the Japanese 48 groups as an SKE48 team captain. Her time back with the group only lasted a little more than a year before her graduation announcement. Watch her graduation song, Tabi no Tochuu below.
Watch the song in its entirety by clicking here or watch the live version sung during her last performance in SKE48’s theater:
Wasurete Hoshii (忘れて欲しい) by Yamamoto Sayaka (2018)
No one was surprised with Sayaka’s appeal to graduate. It was known that Sayaka had long reached past the peak of what was achievable in AKB48 as well as having a solid foundation in the music industry as a solo artist. Her graduation song is a passionate mid tempo ballad that speaks of earnest and heartfelt goodbyes. Below is the performance from her 2018 Graduation Concert, Sayaka Sonic.
Like Takahashi Minami and a few other 48 Girls who have come before and since, Sayaka was also alotted an (unsurprising and deserving) A-side Center to add in the commemoration of her graduation. Boku Datte Naichou Yo, NMB48’s 19th Single, is monumental in that the entirety of NMB48’s members took part in the promotional video for the song. To get off the train of factual and delve into the realm of “Opinion,” this single also boasts the prettiest dresses NMB48 has ever had the pleasure to wear.
Enjoy a live television performance below!
Kidzuka Renai you ni… (気づかれないように…) by Kojima Haruna (2017)
Kojima Haruna, another legendary Kami 7 member, announced her graduation as if she were welcoming an old friend. She was approaching 30 years of age, so all knew that her announcement was only weeks away. If I may throw my opinion (again) into the ring, I might say Kojiharu had the most exciting graduation concert across all the 48 groups. Watch her music video for her graduation song, Kidzuka Renai you ni…. below, or click here to watch the full video.
Whilst at her graduation concert, Kojiharu claimed “You want to know why I didn’t leave AKB48? Because I love AKB48 so much.” Watch as she performs her graduation song during Kojimatsuri by clicking here.
Kojima Haruna was also the center for the corresponding single that her graduation song was a part of. Shoot Sign is an AKB48 song that we can never see too much of. In fact, you really won’t see too much of it, as they rarely perform the song.
Enjoy one of our favorite performances of Shoot Sign (also at Kojimatsuri) by following the link!
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3 thoughts on “An Ode to Graduation – Part 2”
Takamina’s grad was the first grad I experienced as a fan and it was just so moving and sad. I ugly-cried so hard! The group truly lost something special when she left, but unfortunately, she couldn’t stick around forever. Imho, one of the things that is keeping AKB from really succeeding (ala the Golden Gen years) is the lack of a prominent leader. But that’s just my opinion.
NyanNyan’s grad was amazing, simply because it didn’t feel so much like a graduation, but more of a wild celebration. Sure you had some of the graduated girls back, but at the end of the night, saying such-and-such was there was kind of the last thing on the list, because there was SO MUCH going on! It was wild and fun and I kind of wish more graduations were like that. And Shoot Sign has such a nice dance, it’s a shame it’s not performed more often.
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We wholeheartedly agree 100%