First of all, there is something that we want to get across to the members of AKB48 group and the fans. Last month, there was a horrible incident which happened. But instead of losing and giving in, you all managed to appear here. To that courage, we want to send you an applause from bottom of our hearts.
I, the head of the Gamushara Cheering Squad Mutou Takahiro, during the Spring of my first year in Senior High, I admired the Cheering Squad at my high school greatly and I joined. However, I was unable to cope with the pressure from my senpai, and the hard lessons which I had to endure, and I quit after two weeks. I wanted to change my pathetic self, so after I graduated high school, I told my family and my friends that I would not return to my hometown until I graduate from an American university. And so I left for America when I was 19 years old.
I thought that when I got to America, I would live happily and have great experiences. However, on that first day, when I was on the flight from Narita to America, I was already unable to do it. I was worried about my lifestyle in the future from that point, and I could not stop crying. I realised I chose the wrong life path. I started at school. I didn’t understand the language. Even though I went to the classes, I had no idea what the teacher was saying, and I had no idea what my home work was. I didn’t make any American friends. No one would be friendly with me. I had many depressing thoughts. But somehow I managed to graduate, and I returned to Japan.When I came back, everyone praised me.
Of course like everyone else, I am happy when I am praised. But there was something else that I was happier about. Do you know what that is? Although it was such a hard period of life for me, I made it through. I was able to be accepted as someone who had accomplished this all.
When I look back now, not everything was easy. Rather, I remember that moment when I cried on the airplane to America, the moments when I broke down because I didn’t understand my lessons, that feeling I had when I entered the cafeteria and wondered how I could get everyone to accept me. Now I think: ‘I made it through! I didn’t run away! Although I didn’t know what would happen, I held on fiercely, even while crying, I didn’t lose and I clung on.’ When I think about it now, I feel power coursing through me.
Even now, the thought of taking one step forward scares me. But we should challenge the walls before us. I can believe this because taking that one step forward whilst still being scared and anxious is my life’s treasure. This is it. Even if it’s painful, even if no one in the world acknowledges your efforts, you yourself know this the best. That’s why even though I’m scared, I’ll take that step forward.
I want to say this to the members who applied for the AKB48 Senbatsu Sousenkyo. It’s scary to have a rank pushed upon you, ‘What if I fall down in rank from last year?’ It’s probably a terrifying prospect. To you all, who are probably facing this with nervousness, we want to say this with all our feelings put into it. Congratulations. The sousenkyo is a wall where you have to expose yourself completely, and to you all who are doing this right now… congratulations.
I want to send you these words. You might ask why.
No matter what today’s results are, no matter what rank you are placed in, the fact that you have tried your best does not change. And if you are to keep taking those steps forward, the results of today will surely become some form of strength for you. As long as you keep clinging to your dreams, you will definitely grow to love yourself more and more. Even though it was tough, you didn’t run away. Even if you kept falling over, you have all kept rising up again. What determines you isn’t your results from today. You will grow to love the person you have become after making it through today. You will grow to love the you who concentrated fiercely on this. Believe me, and love yourself more. If you are serious, no matter what environment you’re in, your heart will move. You will all become happy in the future.
That’s why we want to say congratulations to you. With these feelings, we want to send you some spirit.
Sending you some spirit! All the fans, say it together with us and cheer on the members.
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. WE ALL BELIEVE IN YOU. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. WE ALL BELIEVE IN YOU.