March 31, 2012

Maeda Atsuko's Message to Fans

She gave a speech during "AKB48's All Night Nippon" radio program, here is the full translation.
(Wingom from ProjectSUB48 helped me with parts that I couldn't figure out - Thanks!)

AkiP and Kobayashi Kana

Kobayashi Kana posted about a conversation with her father:

Dad called and yelled at me -
He told me to work harder
and that I'm not understanding the order of chance is different for everyone
Comparing me with others
He must be worried.
I understand
I do understand, but...
and now I'm writing this because I'm feeling down
I'm sorry.

AkiP shared this and responded:

Everyone is working pretty hard.
So is Kana.
You don't know when the order of chance is coming to you.
Maybe it won't.
But you can only do your best and wait.
But didn't "Kurukupaa" rank pretty high this year during Reqhest Hour?
It's because you were sitting there with the green onion.
You're waiting for your chance.
I can only tell you to keep doing your best.
But, someone will surely see your worth down the road.

Oh and sorry about the lack of formatting in the past few entries - too many things going on and had to translate as fast as possible, so formatting had to take the backseat.

March 29, 2012

AkiP Posts More About Maeda Graduation

Sponsors, advertisement agencies and record company were surprised by Maeda Atsuko's graduation announcement.
Usually I'm supposed to be the one making all the arrangements, 
but it turned out like this because I let Maeda make the final decision.

I think she was able to do it without hesitation and confusion because I told her, "Don't think about anything else and decide for yourself."

I would like to apologize to all the staff.
I will take full responsibility.

But her smile was so refreshing - wasn't it great?

I am writing this because I've been getting an earful at meetings about commercials and CD releases, after the graduation announcement hype calmed down a bit.

March 25, 2012

AkiP On Maeda Atsuko Graduation Announcement

Maeda Atsuko announced her graduation.
We discussed this quite a few times, and of course I tried to stop her, but I told her "please decide for yourself".
I also said that if she decides to announce it, then do it on the last day of SSA concert.
Probably during the MC of "Dareka no Tameni".
When her hand was on her chest and she was calming down, I thought, "she's going to do it."

She is a stoic person.
She doesn't like to have casual/meaningless relationships with people so she corners herself.
She is a loner.
She is hard on herself and sometimes people think she's cross.
But it's also difficult for her when she thinks everyone coddles her.
Maybe she is afraid that if she stays in this easy environment longer, she might become an unreasonable, selfish person.
So, she is going to challenge herself by jumping into the cruel real world.

I have asked the ever-so-clumsy Maeda to be the center for 6-1/2 years, so it's time to let her do what she wants.

We haven't decided anything yet, but we would like everyone to send warm wishes to her graduation.

You worked very, very hard.
You did great.

More Afterthoughts from AkiP and Togasaki about Jurina and Miyuki

Oops, I meant to post yesterday, but this post didn't go through.
It's difficult to decide whether or not to go ahead with something new,
because of course some people will disagree.
I am the producer of the entire AKB48 group.
I don't think it's a good idea to only focus on making AKB48 better.
SKE48, NMB48, HKT48, JKT48 are also important groups.
I don't know what the time frame is for Jurina and Miyuki's rental transfer,
because we haven't decided the schedule for original performance for Team N of NMB48, new performance for Team S of SKE48, Team K and B of AKB48.
Also because we want to give them more experience.
Of course it will be slow and we will not overwork the members.
We also want Jurina to do well in school.
It's possible that AKB48 members will be "studying abroad" and sent to SKE48, NMB48, HKT48, JKT48.
Let's try some new ideas.

Thanks for everyone's passionate comments.
"Please explain this in detail"
It's important to explain everything,
but I am not at liberty to tell you everything.
With regards to Jurina, her health condition is our priority.  She works harder than her body allows because she feels responsible as one of the two centers of SKE48.  In a good way her rivalry with Rena is keeping her up.
To be concurrently in SKE and AKB, I feel that she's not resting if she doesn't perform when she is asked to go on stage.  It's also no good to let Jurina rest when SKE is working very hard out there.  I talked to Yuko and Itano from AKB, and they think that Jurina can grow by learning the group stage songs, and SKE will grow by having to cover Jurina's absence.
With regards to Miyuki - she is always between being confident and being worried.  She always double-checks with the manager about her position for new songs or gravure shoots.  She is the type that cries and comes asking "Why was I not chosen" when we announced that Yamamoto Sayaka was picked for senbatsu for AKB's new song.  As one of the two current centers of NMB, and as future center material, we want her to have more charisma like Kashiwagi or Mayu.
We want Team K to benefit from Jurina's high potential, and Team B to benefit from Miyuki's "magic" - this should give them a good jolt.
I am doing this for SKE and NMB.
If this decision turns out wrong,
I will resign as SKE and NMB's producer.
Of course, if this is also a wrong decision for AKB,
then I will resign as AKB's producer as well.
I will push the entire AKB group forward, even if this means putting myself on the line.

Here's one more thing.
A lot of people are asking, "Why them?"  So here's the answer.
These are "signs".  Like when a flower about to bloom, I feel these girls are on the brink of stardom.
Even if it's just now.
Maybe there will be other "signs" in 6 months, from members that I didn't choose.
The cruel part,
is that blooming has nothing to do with seniority or hard work.
It's not that hard work doesn't pay off, but rather "hard work" is one of the minimum requirements.
But still they won't bloom equally.
I want to make as many members bloom, so I change how I shine the light on them, I choose different fertilizers, I change the amount of water.
Like Iwasa Misaki, the first Enka singer in AKB, and Matsui Sakiko, who is about to release her first solo album.
But what will happen to ones that haven't bloomed?
They get worried, and they become dissatisfied with how they are being brought up.
What kind of advice am I suppose to give them?
It's hard to console them.
"Wait until you bloom"
"Wait until the it's your chance"
Do I focus on a few, or open up the field to everyone and end up not having a lot of flowers blooming?
Maybe one can get into AKB.
But it isn't guaranteed that everyone will become a star.
It's "Can you accept this cruel reality?"
As a producer I always try my hardest to make as many people stars as possible.
But I want them to understand that the road to stardom requires more than this.
"But Akimoto-san decided that I pass the audition"
So even the ones that haven't bloomed will have a chance to bloom.
What if you're still not blooming?
Then that means I have bad eyes.
So please go see someone else who has more talent than me.
I will write referrals.
Until then, please let me know of "seeds" that I haven't noticed.

Last week, I stayed up all night writing a new NMB song.  Now I'm writing a new SKE song.
I think about these groups more than anyone else, but am I making the wrong decisions?
I've stopped writing.
What to do.
It's a shame that SKE and NMB fans don't understand where I'm coming from.

From Togasaki:

I have received a lot of questions from everyone, regarding the "Concurrent" roles.  We will let you know as soon as we work out the details and adjustments, so please bears with us.
As expected, we acknowledge that there are pros and cons.
Looks like there are a lot of people that want to talk to me in person - please come see me at the Theater CD handshake event on April 7th in the Manager Room.
I would also like to meet SKE and NMB fans to talk about this.
I have talked to the respective managers and will be going to their respective event venues, so please wait patiently.
Anyway - these sudden announcements might be shocking, but the theme for AKB48 group, known for its increasing sister units and sub-units, is "change".
The two members will bring DNA from their time in AKB48 and spread them in SKE/NMB.  By the same token, SKE/NMB DNA will be brought to AKB48.
We would like to think of this as a chemical reaction.
What kind of reaction, though?  I would be glad to wait with everyone and find out.

March 24, 2012

AkiP: We Are Making A Team 8

We got a lot of worried responses regarding the KKS/trainees that did not get promotions...we were not going to announce this until later, but I'll spill it.

I'm sure some of you already know, but

We will have a Team 8.
That's our target.

they need some sort of challenge.
A rolling stone gathers no moss.
Let's hope for some chemical reaction.

I talked to Jurina and Miyuki after the concert.
They talked about their love for SKE and NMB.
Of course I know what they mean.
SKE and NMB will show you what they are made of.

Full Togasaki G+ Post on Promotions/Transfers

We had some "surprise announcements" at the end of the SSA concert just now, and I'd like to report them here.

There were two announcements today.

First announcement was promotions to Team 4.  Those promoted were:

Kato Rena
Kawaei Rina
Iwata Karen
Tano Yuuka
Takahashi Juri

The other announcement is about filling Team K and Team B's roster, one spot each:

To join Team K:
Matsui Jurina from SKE48 Team S

To join Team B:
Watanabe Miyuki from NMB48 Team N

These two new members will still perform with their respective teams, which are Team S of SKE48 and Team N of NMB48.

As AKB48 members, there is a limited time for the "rental transfer, and we would like to see them develop while working with sister groups, as we think there is a lot they can learn from one another.  So please send them your warm thoughts and keep cheering for them.

Thank you for your continuous supportive to AKB48 and its affiliated groups.

March 15, 2012

Kashiwagi Yuki's Banana Mayonnaise Sandwich Available at AKB Cafe

Lately the AKB cafe in Akihabara is getting all sorts of new items.  The two that are being discussed on google+ are Paruru's Blueberry Cream Sandwich and Yukirin's Banana Mayonnaise Sandwich.

The former was introduced a while ago and received a lot of good reviews.  It was even pulled off the menu for a while because "the taste was a little bit off from the original", and chefs scrambled to reproduce the taste of Shimazaki Mama.

Then one day Yukirin decided to post one of her favorites - Banana Mayonnaise Sandwich.  The reactions were very polarized but it generated a lot of discussion.

Yesterday AkiP finally got a chance to try out both and this is what he said...

March 14, 2012

AkiP Posts More About Clubs

An informative g+ post from AkiP today - we finally get a glimpse of what each club is working on.


Art Club, do your best!
We're counting on you, Katayama!

[translation note: it's art club's first day and they're out doing stuff, so Katayama will probably post more later]

Light Music Club, how about composing some songs to practice?
We'll put it in an album.
We're counting on you, Yokoyama!

Cultural Club, see if you can get some sort of weekly/monthly column somewhere.
Also think about new TV programs.
You can even make movies or dramas.
We're counting on you, Kitahara!

Cooking Club - how about making some items for AKB cafe, plan a TV show or publish a recipe collection?
We're counting on you, Nakatsuka!

Drama Club - have you started any workshops?
I would like to see some scripts/scenarios in the theater soon.
Let's discuss this soon.

Looks like there are calls for sports clubs, but we don't really have any place for it at the moment.

March 12, 2012


This blog is now on twitter as well -

Short translations that don't require elaborate write-ups will be posted there.

March 11, 2012

Urano Kazumi Tentatively Joins Watarirouka Hashiritai 7: Reactions from Warota Members

News of a new Watarirouka 7 member broke out around 10pm on March 10th after AkiP announced his decision (my translations for those are available in the relevant article on Melos no Michi).  This was a surprise to both fans and members alike.  I follow a lot of AKB fans in Southeast Asia on twitter, and my list was scrolling almost as fast as the comments on google+ after the news was reported.

Here are the responses from Watarirouka Hashiritai members...

March 10, 2012

AKB48 Interviews in HongKong Walker Part 1

The March issue of HongKong Walker featured AKB48 members on the cover, as well as a separate A4-sized booklet with interviews from these members and some information about the AKB48 Official Shop in Hong Kong.  At the end it also contains a list of upcoming AKB-related events in Hong Kong.

This post includes translations first two interviews.  Part 2 will include translations of the remaining interviews and the list of upcoming events in Hong Kong.

March 9, 2012

Things I'm Currently Working On

Sorry about the lack of updates, I've been busy preparing for my wedding in June.

Here are some articles I'm working on:
- Double Interview: Maeda Atsuko x Oshima Yuko
- Oshima Yuko article in Girls! 
- Ikoma Rina short interview in Girls!
- AKB48 Interviews in Hong Kong Walker 

I will try to post at least one each week.

March 2, 2012

AkiP Compares AKB Members to Food

This was pretty funny and I just had to share.

AkiP's response to fan comments at 1am March 2nd:

I've been reading all the comments, and a lot of people were asking that we treat all the members equally when it comes to cutting and editing their time on screen in commercials or music videos - unfortunately that cannot be the case.

"I don't remember ever eating a memorable Makunouchi Bentou" [tl note: a bento box with at least 3-4 different side dishes, sometimes more]
There are too many side dishes, so they're not that memorable.
The Unagi [eel] Bento was very delicious,
The Ikura [salmon roe] Bento was great,
The Gyu-tan [beef tongue] Bento was excellent,
That's because there was only one dish.

If everyone got the same amount of attention in commercials or videos, people won't remember.
Of course, I do want to make sure everyone gets their fair share of screen time.
I'll ask the director to see what he can do.
Now I wonder...did he have any particular members in mind when he mentioned Unagi, Ikura, or Gyu-tan?