Exclusive Photo Report: AKB48 Coming of Age Ceremony 2015 at Kanda Myojin
Twenty-two members belonging to AKB48 and their sister groups (commonly known as “48 groups”) celebrated their first step into adulthood at Kanda Myojin near Akihabara on January 12, 2015. Despite bone-chilling winds and a 7:30am start time, 1,000 fans had gathered to congratulate their “oshimen” and catch a glimpse of their glamorous furisode. Around 7:40am the procession made its way to the shrine and the fans began jumping up and down, waving fans and penlights, and shouting out the names of their favorite members on this special day.
As you can see from the two pictures above provided to us by AKS, no other cameras were allowed inside the shrine during the ceremony. Even though these are Japan’s “national idols”, Coming of Age Day is a tradition that dates back at least 1,000 years before the first idol debuted.
Having received the prayers of good fortune for their new lives as adults, the members made their way outside where hundreds of cameras stood by to document this momentous occasion. With the ceremony over, the fans broke their silence once more, their cheers and shouts mixed in with the clicking of camera shutters.
After posing for photos outside the shrine, the 22 members appeared one-by-one before the press once more, turning around to show the specific points of their furisode and hairstyles chosen for the day before taking their place on a stage. Suzuran Yamauchi explained that she was wearing the same furisode kimono worn by her mother at her Coming of Age Ceremony and that her hairstyle was supposed to look like cat ears. Misaki Iwasa, who is active as an enka singer and familiar to wearing fancy kimono was asked her opinion on “who wore it the best?”. Iwasa commented that Yamauchi’s furisode was great because it was passed down from mother to daughter and that Jonishi also looked good, adding that she was kind of “eroi” (sexy or erotic). Take a look at the gallery of over 80 pictures below that showcase the combination of the cuteness of idols and refined beauty of furisode!
The members were asked things like what their plans were now that they are considered adults in Japan. Many of the answers involved becoming more familiar with drinking alcohol. Riko Sakaguchi mentioned that Rino Sashihara had given her a One Cup Ozeki single-size sake on her birthday last July but it was still in her refrigerator. Emika Kamieda said she would keep studying English and Spanish in order to become a global actress. Natsuki Kojima declared that she wanted to do more gravure photoshoots in the future and complained that the furisode was stifling her ample womanly curves. Famous for her lack of book smarts, Rina Kawaei boasted that in her studying English, she was proud of knowing a word “hardly anyone else in the group knew”. The word was “hippopotamus”! Kawaei was challenged to recite multiplication tables but failed magnificently, causing the press to burst into laughter. Towards the end, the interviewer called Aika Ota “Tada-san” (a misreading of the character in her family name) which resulted in her announcing “Ota desu!” (I’m Ota) when she came back to take pictures with the other two HKT48 members.
With the main indoor photoshoot completed, the members rearranged themselves so there could be group photographs taken starting with AKB48. As Riho Kotani is a member of AKB48’s Team 4 and NMB48’s Team N, she appears in both groups’ pictures.
AKB48 (Back row: Nao Ota, Saho Iwatate, Mayu Ogasawara, Natsuki Kojima; Front row: Riho Kotani, Tomu Muto, Rina Kawaei, Misaki Iwasa)
SKE48 (Rumi Kato, Suzuran Yamauchi, Tsugumi Iwanaga, Makiko Saito
NMB48 (Back row: Mai Odan, Emika Kamieda, Anna Ijiri, Saki Kono; Front row: Kishino Rika, Riho Kotani, Kei Jonishi, Natsumi Yamagishi)
HKT48 (Riko Sakaguchi, Aika Ota, Marina Yamada)
AKB48: Misaki Iwasa (K), Saho Iwatate (4), Nao Ohta (8), Mayu Ogasawara (B), Rina Kawaei (A), Natsuki Kojima (A), Riho Kotani (4), Tomu Muto (A)
SKE48: Tsugumi Iwanaga (E), Rumi Kato (E), Makiko Saito (E), Suzuran Yamauchi (S)
NMB48: Anna Ijiri (BII), Kei Jonishi (N), Emika Kamieda (BII), Rika Kishino (N), Saki Kono (N), Riho Kotani (N), Mai Odan (KKS), Natsumi Yamagishi (N)
HKT48: Aika Ota (KIV), Riko Sakaguchi (H), Marina Yamada (H)
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