AKB48 Group Promise their Continuous Restoration Support for the Tohoku Earthquake
On March 11, exactly 3 years since the Tohoku earthquake, AKB48 groups held special concerts for the restoration support. The members of the AKB groups have been visiting the disaster areas once a month since in May of 2011.
On the day, a total of 266 members divided into 7 venues (16 members in Miyako, Iwate, 16 members in Ishinomaki, Miyagi, 14 members in Minamisoma, Fukushima, 58 members at AKB48 theater, 63 members at SKE48 theater, 57 members at NMB48 theater, and 42 members at HKT48 theater), and participated in the special concerts in each location.
Using relay broadcasting, they connected all 7 venues, and the girls performed their restoration support song “Tenohira ga Kataru Koto” all together. They also promised their continuous support.
At 2:46 pm, which was the time the earthquake occurred, the members observed a moment of silence for the victims.
Soon to graduate, and paying her final visit as an AKB member to an area struck by disaster, Yuko Oshima reconfirmed her feelings about her visit to Ishinomaki city, Miyagi prefecture, “Even after I graduate from AKB48, I want to continue supporting the people living in areas affected by the disaster in my own special way.”
Minami Takahashi, who appeared in a special performance at the AKB48 theater announced, “Three years have passed. To help ensure those memories don’t fade away, even though our ability is poor, I hope that we can work together to expand the circle of support.”
The ticket fee for the concerts (2000 yen), the profits from charity T-shirts (1000 yen) and the fund raising will all be donated through Japanese Red Cross Society.
All Photos (c)AKS
Comments by Each Member
• Minami Takahashi (AKB48) /
Three years have passed. To help ensure those memories don’t fade away, even though our ability is poor, via the “What can I do for someone?” project, I hope that we can work together to expand the circle of support. Since immediately after the earthquake, the AKB48 group have been doing fund-raising activities to support the people living in areas affected by the disaster. Last month we carried out 34 visits to affected areas and every year we perform a special concert on this day, March 11th. By standing on stage on this day, we want as many people as possible to remember that this is the day when the Tohoku earthquake occurred, and that this day should never be forgotten. All of us in the AKB48 group want to do our best to continue performing these activities, and it would make us very happy if everyone would lend us their strength.
• Mayu Watanabe (AKB48) /
I’m so glad that I’m able to meet the people of Miyako city, Iwate prefecture again like this. It really makes me happy that I’m able to meet everyone and shake hands, talk about lots of things and make them feel happy too.
• Yuko Oshima (AKB48) /
Today, for the first time I was able to come here with Karen (Iwata), to see a fellow AKB48 member who had the terrible experience of her hometown being destroyed, and seeing her crying next to me, the sadness caused a pain in my chest. But, by performing this show and delivering high spirits and happy faces to so many people, at any rate letting them have fun, and lightening their hearts, I realized again today that this is the best thing that we can do. As for me, even after I graduate from AKB48, I want to continue supporting the people living in areas affected by the disaster in my own special way.
• Jurina Matsui (SKE48 and AKB48) /
I was able to go to Miyagi prefecture before the earthquake to shoot a music video for SKE48. Since then, I’ve been participating in the reconstruction support effort as a member of the 48 group, along with the other members of SKE48. Today, the members who couldn’t come here are doing a special performance at the SKE48 theater as well. Actually, there are a lot of members who have not yet been able to participate in visits to the affected areas, so I would really like to carry out some support activities involving those members too. Also, it would make me very happy if people are able to cheer themselves up by listening to SKE48’s songs.
• Miyuki Watanabe (NMB48 and AKB48) /
Today, I was so happy to see everyone’s smiling facing from the stage at the performance hall, to get high fives, and to meet a mother who said to me, “You made my daughter smile, thank you.” Every time, from the bottom of my heart I really feel glad I came here, so I want us to continue doing what we can from now as well.
• Yui Yokoyama (AKB48) /
On this day March 11th, I feel very grateful that I’m able to go to Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate as a member of AKB48. To see everyone’s smiling faces, and to spend time together, I strongly felt that I shouldn’t waste a single moment of this day. I think the only thing I can do is to put everything I have into my singing and dancing, and hope that it makes everyone just a little bit happier. I want to continue doing this in future too.
• Haruka Shimazaki (AKB48) /
I saw the reality that there are many people still living in temporary housing, and felt that there are many areas which have not yet been reconstructed. Three years have passed, and where I live in Kanto, many people’s memories of the event are fading, but I realized once again that the reconstruction is not finished, it’s still continuing. I want to continue doing what I can as a member of AKB48, and through this event, I want everyone to think about the people of Tohoku, and always keep them in your hearts, not only on March 11th.
• Sayaka Yamamoto (NMB48) /
This is the first time I’ve visited Fukushima prefecture. I was nervous when I went on stage, but so many people came to see us, and brought so much positive energy, it made a great impression on me and I was very happy. This time, I went to Yamada Shrine, which actually suffered damage in the disaster. It was in such a poor condition that you couldn’t even tell it was a shrine, but I could see the ocean nearby. What happened there, without seeing it I was able to imagine, and standing there I experienced a new sensation for the first time. This time there were lots of members, and I got to sing lots of songs, and spending a long time with everyone was really fun. From now on as well, I hope I can take this kind of opportunity to bring good energy and smiling faces to everyone.
• Rino Sashihara (HKT48) / Minamisoma city, Fukushima prefecture
I visited Minamisoma city at Christmas in 2011 as part of a support activity. From a long distance, it looks like the reconstruction is making good progress, but when I actually saw the coastal area of Fukushima prefecture, once again I realized that there is still a lot more that we can do. By taking part in the AKB48 group’s support activities to help affected areas, I’m able to actually meet the people living there and listen to their stories directly, so I would really like to continue these activities in future as well.
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