On March 26, 2015 AKB48 shuffled their deck of members during their Saitama Super Arena concert. There were many changes in the structure of the main AKB48 teams and little to no effect on the sister groups except for two. And there were a couple of announcements to go along with all of the internal movement of personnel as well.
First up are the cancellations of some of the existing concurrencies.
Team A: Furhata Nao (Team K2) and Yagura Fuuko (Team M)
Team 4: Kotani Riho (Team N)
Team S: Tanaka Natsumi (Team H), Watanabe Miyuki (Team B2)
Team K2: Yamada Nana (Team M)
Team K4: Kimoto Kanon (Team E)
Team N: Kashiwagi Yuki (Team B)
Team B2: Takayanagi Akane (Team K2)
And the “exchange student” program ends for now with Matsui Rena (Team E) and Ikoma Rina (Nogizaka46) going back to their original groups/teams.
Now for the new rosters of each AKB48 team.
Yokoyama Yui (Captain)
Nakamura Mariko (Co-captain)
Miyawaki Sakura (Team K4)
Yamada Nanami (Team 8)
Shiroma Miru (Team M)
Minegishi Minami (Captain)
Shimada Haruka (Co-captain)
Kodama Haruka (holds a concurrent post in HKT48 team H)
Suzuki Mariya (holds a concurrent post in SNH48 team SII)
Nakano Ikumi (Team 8)
Matsui Jurina (Team S)
Yamamoto Sayaka (Team N)
Kizaki Yuria (Captain)
Oshima Ryoka (Co-captain)
Kashiwagi Yuki (NGT48)
Sakaguchi Nagisa (Tteam 8)
Yabuki Nako (Team H)
Watanabe Miyuki (Team B2)
Takahashi Juri (Captain)
Okada Nana (Co-captain)
Kitagawa Ryoha (Team S)
Shibuya Nagisa (Team B2)
Tomonaga Mio (Team K4)
Member have 2 days to accept their reassignment. The exact date of the when the reshuffle will take place has not been announced.
Matsumura Kaori (SKE48 lifetime honorary kenkyuusei) promoted to Team K2.
Kitahara Rie transferred to NGT48, will be their captain.
Kashiwagi Yuki concurrency with NGT48 and AKB48 Team B.
AKB48 group general manager Kayano Shinobu announced that Kawaei Rina will graduate from the group. Kawaei explained that her reason for graduating was due to the stabbing incident in May of 2014 and her desire to pursue a career in acting. Her graduation date has not been determined.
So what does this all mean?
Well for those who are casual observers of AKB48 you’re going to have to learn where all the members you know are placed all over again. As if it wasn’t confusing enough already right? If you are in the camp of people who have a heavier investment in this particular group of idols then you are perhaps discussing this current round of movements in a possibly intense manner.
I won’t really do that here. To be honest, movements between teams doesn’t phase me as much since I never have a good idea of who is which team at any point in time. Yeah, I suck as fan. =P
What I will do is briefly point out the one thing that caught my attention and that is the announcement of Kawaei Rina’s graduation. The explanation makes sense given that she almost died on the job and it was probably stressful to not be able to participate in handshake events after going through a traumatic event.
That appears to be an important part in promoting the whole “idols you can meet” concept so not being there to be met was probably not the best when it comes to keeping in touch with the fan base.
I have heard some reactions asking why she didn’t suck it up and get back out in the wilds of handshake events like Iriyama Anna did. They were something similar to the following:
Kawaei Rina exemplifies the weakness of today’s youth. Back them up in the corner, and they wilt away. She has no “yamato damashii” or “warrior spirit” that used to be so common in Japanese society. Yes, she was attacked. Yes, it is traumatic for such a young woman to experience. However, it’s what you do after that builds the foundation for the remainder of your life. Sure, she came back, but if she cannot bring herself to shake fans’ hands, how is she going to deal with a poor review of her future acting gigs?
It’s hard to want to put any effort into supporting someone who lacks mental toughness.
And if you’re wondering, I didn’t make that stuff up nor do I support what the above statements are implying. But in the interest of fairness I figured it would be best to show that side of the discussion when talking about Kawaei’s upcoming departure. Personally I am saddened by her intent to graduate since she is rather entertaining.
Her graduation announcement will also have some rippling effects in the upcoming election. One would assume that she will take herself out of candidacy, and if she does then it opens up another somewhere in the top 16 for fans to push their oshi into. But that’s another subject for another time.