Hello everybody. I’m back again with my occassional posts to this blog.
I think today’s announcement by Takamina that she intends to graduate from AKB48 next year is the end of an era in many ways in the group’s history and one that I’m really sad about. Takamina is only one of three that’s left from the 1st generation (Kojima and Miichan the others). She might not be the most popular member amongst the fans but she sure as hell is the hardest working out of all of them. If there’s one person that I’ve admired over the years of being an AKB48 fan for her sheer hard work it’s Takamina. As fans we only get to see one side of Takamina – the crybaby/goofy character she portrays but away from the cameras and the public eye I’ve got the feeling that she’s a determined woman who genuinely cares about the group and her fellow colleagues. She rallies the girls before a performance, scolds them if necessary but also is quick to praise if they’ve given it their all. It’s obvious that’s why Aki P gave her the job as General Manager even though she’d been doing it unofficially for years. I’ve been thinking for years what if a young teenage Japanese girl asked me to pick a female role model from their own country they should aspire to be and you know what, it’s probably Takamina I would choose. It’s not the performing side as an idol that I’m talking about here but what she does backstage. I’m sure I’ve read or heard somewhere that she’s the first to come to work everyday and the last to leave. A bright and intelligent woman that’s embraced the role that’s been thrust upon her. She’s given blood, sweat, tears and more besides in fulfilling her job as General Manager. As she said in her graduation statement, the job as General Manager isn’t easy, it’s a tough role for a young woman but she’s risen to the challenge and made it her own. I just couldn’t have seen anybody else in that role but her.
So the baton of her job will be gradually handed over the next 12 months to a worthy successor in Yui Yokoyama. It’s a wise choice as I can see many of Takamina’s qualities in her. It’s true they could have chosen the old stagers in Kojima or Miichan as the next General Manager but I think both might also be graduating in 2015. I’m sure Yuihan will do a fine job and make Takamina proud. Even though I know AKB48 hasn’t been the same since Acchan, Tomochin and Yuko have gone, it will be strange not to see Takamina’s face amongst the members performing from 2016. I’m sure we will eventually find out what she intends to do after she graduates. I wish her the very best in whatever she does.