Aya Shibata Ends Her 6 Years of Idol Life With a Smile: SKE48 Theater Graduation
Aya Shibata left the stage at the SKE48 Theater in Sakae, Nagoya for the final time as she graduated from the group during Team E’s “Te wo Tsunaginagara” performance on August 31, 2016.
The ace of SKE48’s 4th generation, Shibata ranked in the top 20 of the AKB48 Senbatsu Sousenkyo 3 years in a row, 17th in 2013 and 15th in 2014 and 2015. After her graduation concert at Zepp Nagoya on August 26th, this was the end of her 6 years with SKE48.
She cheerfully teased the fans from offstage, asking “Will I cry today? Will I not cry?” via the public address system before the performance began. Taking the stage with the rest of Team E during the overture, “Ayachan” was all smiles as they ran through the opening songs “Bokura no Kaze”,”Mango No.2″, “Te wo Tsunaginagara”, and “Chime wa LOVE SONG”. During the self introduction, Mei Sakai, also of the 4th generation, revealed that Aya declared that she would not cry during the performance. Aya followed up by enthusiastically vowing to give a performance that would echo in the hearts of the fans for all of eternity.
The encore began with an “Ayachan” call accompanied by the glow of sky blue and white penlights (her colors). Returning with “Rope no Yuujou” “Kayoubi no Yoru, Suiyobi no Asa”, the mood shifted to graduation mode, tracing Shibata’s path as an idol.
Alongside Asana Inuzuka, Mai Takeuchi, Rika Tsuzuki, Yumana Takagi, Mei Sakai and Kanon Kimoto, Aya performed “Aun no Kiss”, the Shirogumi song from SKE48’s 9th single “Aishiteraburu” and her first song as a center member.
Changing into a flowing pink dress, Shibata returned to the stage for her graduation song “Sayonara ga Utsukushikute”, joined by her fellow 4th generation members who appeared on the stage one by one and sang along with her. In the middle of the song she announced, “Today I graduate from SKE48. I have no regrets as my 6 years come to an end! Thank you very much!”
With tears in her eyes, Sakai read a letter expressing her heartfelt gratitude and encouragement to Aya who responded with, “SKE48 has been my everything for the past 6 years. Frustration, passion, happy feelings, painful feelings, joy; it has been all SKE48. In these 6 years I have been able to make such precious “nakama” (friends/comrades) who I trust wholeheartedly. No matter what happens, I won’t give up and won’t give in so even though my stage will change, I would be happy if you continue to come with me from this point on.”
She introduced the final song of the encore “Tooku ni Ite mo” by commenting, “Just as this song says, no matter how far, our feelings are one.” Even as tears flowed down the cheeks of Mei, Kanon, Akari Suda, and Rara Goto, true to her promise made in the dressing room, Aya kept a bright smile on her face until the very end, the curtain falling on her life as a member of SKE48.
SKE48 Official site: http://www.ske48.co.jp/
Aya Shibata Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/_shibata_aya
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