Introduction Chapter 1. Graduating from AKB48 Chapter 2. Father and Mother and the Philippines Chapter 3. Being an idol Miyazawa Sae x Akimoto Sayaka “To you, who’ve always been with me” Chapter 4. The power of being true to yourself From kouhai “Our beloved Akimoto Sayaka-san” Chapter 5. My future from now. Things I want to show. Oshima Yuko “Our youth” Epilogue
CHAPTER 1 GRADUATING FROM AKB48
At Tokyo Dome
Every moment now, even when I close my eyes, I can still see it so clearly. The image of Tokyo Dome dyed in one green ocean of penlight, I think I will never forget it until the end of my life. My precious fans. And all the members who have cried their tears for me. Many years later, if there will be a day when I look back, I wonder how I will see me on that day? There’s only one thing I can say for sure. AKB48 used to be my everything.
2013.08.22 Even when that day was coming closer and closer, I still felt so unreal. That I had my graduation ceremony held at Tokyo Dome… The first concert I’ve ever seen in my life was Micheal Jackson’s concert at Tokyo Dome. My beloved Misora Hibari-san also had her concert tour at the dome. I can’t believe that I actually have my graduation ceremony held at such a big place like Tokyo Dome. At the same time, I knew I had to put in a great effort to make this dome the best place to take off on my new journey. “I wish I can graduate without any regret.”
Staffs told me, “Akimoto you can do whatever you want” about the setlist and stage direction for that day. I was really happy to hear that. But I thought, I would rather have a concert where you can see AKB48 like usual. Because even though you say it’s my graduation, I know with only me alone I could never gather 42000 fans to a place. Actually I think almost everybody go to the concert is because they want to watch AKB and other 48 groups instead of me. Just having a proper AKB48 concert like usual and Akimoto Sayaka’s graduation ceremony will be a part of it, that’s ideal to me. Because I’m graduating soon anyway, I didn’t want to break the flow of AKB concerts from now on. However, there’s only one thing I wanted to do no matter what. It was to sing my one and only solo song “Mushi no Ballad” in front of all the people who have gathered there. As long as my voice can reach everybody during that moment, I don’t care even if I can’t take part in many songs in the whole concert. Because I believe just one song is enough for you to convey your feelings. As long as I can sing one song with all my body and soul, I don’t have any regret. …… I thought so, but my best friends Miyazawa Sae and Oshima Yuko gave me a lot of advices about producing. “This is no good!”, “This song is better than that!” they also discussed with staffs about setlist and costumes for me. I seriously have no idea about things like this so they really saved me.
During encore, a lot of members have cried for me. Seeing them like that, suddenly many feelings come and go inside me.
Up until now, I really didn’t have any confidence in myself.
People around me always see me as a girl full of confidence, but it’s not true at all. “Is this really alright?”, “What will people think if I say this or that?” I always lived my life each day feeling afraid of something.
At backstage, many kouhai have come and told me, “I will miss you so much”, “I don’t want you to graduate.” There are many of them, whom I’ve talked to for the first time. Yuko also cried so much she made everybody worried. Seeing her like that, I thought. “There’s a meaning of me being here.” I’m always the type who think that “I’m nothing…”, but after 7 years and a half, I finally realized. I’ve grown up. I’m glad I joined AKB48.