On March 3rd, 2019, Sakura Gakuin released their 9th album “Sakura Gakuin 2018 Nendo 〜Life Iro Asenai Hibi〜” commemorating their activities in the year 2018.
The group has a tradition where members graduate when they complete junior high school. On March 30, the three members by 3rd year junior high school students, Yuzumi Shintani, Maaya Asou and Marin Hidaka will graduate from the group at their farewell concert “The Road to Graduation 2018 Final 〜Sakura Gakuin 2018 Nendo Graduation〜” held at Kanagawa Kenmin Hall.
In the lead up to their graduation, we interviewed Marin from 3rd year junior high school student and Hamidase! (Breakthrough) Chairman. It was her first solo interview and conducted entirely in English with Tokyo Girls’ Update’s Singapore-born writer.
We asked her about the highlights of the new album, the group’s activities in the past year, and her experiences and memories from her time in Sakura Gakuin.

Marin Hidaka_Sakura Gakuin_AS_2018_001

An album packed with Sakura Gakuin from 2018

― Congratulations on your 9th album, “Sakura Gakuin 2018 Nendo 〜Life Iro Asenai Hibi〜”. First of all, I’d like to you ask you about three of the tracks featured on the album, “Fairy tale”, “Carry on” and “Clover”.

― You’ve performed “Fairy tale” several times at live concerts. It’s the first Sakura Gakuin song where you use towels in the choreography and have Fukei (Sakura Gakuin fans) join in the fun with their own towels! Please tell us you and other members thoughts on this last part of the choreography.

Marin: When I got the chance to perform this choreography, I was really happy and excited. It was the first time for us to dance spinning towels around and the other members were really happy, especially Maaya. She was shouting and jumping around.

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― As for “Carry on”, the music video is being included on the album’s limited edition Sakura special Blu-ray version. What are the parts of the music video to watch out for? Are there any memorable episodes from the filming?

Marin: On the day we shot the video it looked like it was going to rain, and it really did start to rain a little in the afternoon. We didn’t really feel up to shooting the video in the rain. I went outside along with the other members and we all asked the sky to stop raining (laughs).
Then the rain turned into a sun shower and soon after the weather cleared up. The scene on the terrace was filmed after the rain had stopped. I want everyone to see the beauty after the sun shower in the video.

The studio was a house studio, and the music video was shot in one cut. When I watched the finished video, the backgrounds were constantly changing. That was so interesting. It was a little difficult.

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― “Clover” is sung by 3rd year junior high school students, Yuzumi, Maaya and Marin. What were your impressions of the song when you first got it, and what was it like singing as the three of you?

Marin: When we first got it we thought the song really suited us. The lyrics really matched the theme and our experiences of this year. We all liked singing the song and it felt good.

― Apart from new songs, the album also includes new versions of existing Sakura Gakuin songs. How does your perception of the lyrics and way of expressing them change as you move up in school years?

Marin: I think our perception and expression have changed because each year we grow to understand these songs more and more. Because of this understanding we interpret these songs more deeply.

I felt the biggest change with the song “Jump Up ~Chiisana Yuuki” that’s in the album. For this song the dance formation is divided between the seniors and juniors. Before I used to dance the juniors’ formation, but after moving up to the seniors’ positions I began to realize the feelings of the previous seniors when they danced.

― In the first limited edition Gakuin version, the special DVD includes the Sakura Gakuin 2018 nendo end of year test (annual final exam feature) . Please share with us the highlights.

Marin: Of course I’d like to say it’s the exam, but the interaction between the members and Mori-sensei was the highlight for me. I think the reaction of the members when we were filming until the prank was fun. If you want to find out what happens, please check it out.

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The standing live that made me feel the members’ bond

― Let’s talk about Sakura Gakuin 2018.
In March 2018, Aiko Yamaide, Megumi Okada and Momoko Okazaki graduated from the group, and in May Sana Shiratori, Kokona Nonaka and Yume Nozaki transferred in. From your point of view, what was last year like?

Marin: I think this year really blew up. The personalities of Sana, Kokona and Yume were really strong and I was so surprised as to how fast they adapted to Sakura Gakuin.

― Did you have any struggles or worries after becoming the most senior in school year?

Marin: It was examination year for me; it was difficult to balance Sakura Gakuin life with my school studies. I was really busy and didn’t have so much time, but because I had everyone’s cooperation I didn’t find it stressful. I like to do things at my own pace and be natural.

― Was there a moment you felt the bond among the members the most? When was that?

Marin: The first time I felt this bond was at the last standing live. This was the first concert of our graduation tour. The feeling in the dressing room was tight and I could feel our bond was getting stronger.

The unfading days in Sakura Gakuin

Marin Hidaka_Sakura Gakuin_AS_2018_002

― I’d like to ask you about yourself now.
The year you transferred in, 2015, was the year with the most transfer students. During the entrance ceremony, Saki Shirai who was then a 3rd year junior high school students, brought you up on stage. Please tell us how you felt when you first stood on stage as a member of Sakura Gakuin.

Marin: I was really nervous. At that time I really had a wonderful overstretching smiley face. I’m embarrassed when I think about it now. But I still can’t forget the view from the stage. I felt the moment I first saw the face of Fukei, that my Sakura Gakuin life had started. I remember it like it was yesterday. Shi-chan (Saki Shirai) was very kind to me.

― What did you learn and grow in during your four years in Sakura Gakuin?

Marin: Of course I learned how to be a better performer but I really grew up over the last four years in learning to communicate with the people around me. When I was in 1st year junior high school students, I was looked after by Sara Kurashima; I had been with her all that year and loved her so much. But she graduated and I felt very lonely. After that I felt I had to be a big sister to the younger members of Sakura Gakuin.

― You’re very flexible and delicate when you perform on stage, and your hand and finger moments are particularly beautiful. Once you’ve learned the lyrics and choreography, do you then add your own interpretation to it?

Marin: Thank you so much, I’m glad to hear that. I think I’ve become more aware of performing lately. I try to convey the meaning and feeling of every lyric and dance move as much as I can.

― Your imagination shows clearly in your blog posts. What is the source of your creativity?

Marin: Since I was little I liked reading books, watching movies, making stories and drawing pictures. These things are a big source. My mom told me that when I was a child I would love to use my imagination to sing and dance although I don’t remember it well (laughs).

I love Harry Potter and Disney movies. Apparently I used to dance along to them, so there must have been some influence. I also used to watch a lot of concert DVDs of artists such as Beyonce; I’d wear the exact same costumes and dance and sing in front of the television.

― Lastly, there’s about only a few left till your graduation. Please share with us your feelings about graduating, as well as a message to the Fukei all over the world.

Marin: I have been a member of Sakura Gakuin for the last four years. I feel like it was yesterday when I was a new entrant. But now I’m a 4th year and will be graduating soon. The time went by so quick; those four years were a lot of fun and I enjoyed every minute. Every day was a colorful day with both dark but mostly bright days. I think the title of the album “Iro Asenai Hibi” reflects these colorful days I spent in Sakura Gakuin. I love Sakura Gakuin so much. I feel so sad when I feel about leaving here but at the same time I’m really excited about the future I have. After graduating I will continue to be thankful for my time in Sakura Gakuin. I hope you will continue to support me in the future. We really appreciate our Fukei.

Buy Item


Sakura Gakuin 2018 Life Iroasenai Hibi [Limited Edition Sakura ver. CD+Blu-ray] / Sakura Gakuin
Sakura Gakuin 2018 Life Iroasenai Hibi [Limited Edition Gakuin ver. CD+DVD] / Sakura Gakuin
Sakura Gakuin 2018 -Life Iroasenai Hibi- [Regular Edition / Sakura Gakuin


Sakura Gakuin Aso Shin Aya Hidaka Asa Suzu Shintani Yu Zumi 2019 Nen Sangatsu Sotsugyo / Sakura Gakuin / Cho

Concert Informaion

The Road to Graduation 2018 Final ~Sakura Gakuin 2018 Nendo Graduation~
March 30, 2019 (Saturday)
Open – 4:00pm / Start – 5:00pm
Kanagawa Kenmin Hall Main Hall (Kanagawa)

The Road to Graduation 2018 Final ~Sakura Gakuin 2018 Nendo Graduation~ Live Viewing
March 30, 2019 (Saturday)
Start – 5:00pm
Movie theaters all around Japan
Venue list: https://liveviewing.jp/contents/sakuragakuin2018/

Related Links

Sakura Gakuin Official site: http://www.sakuragakuin.jp/
Sakura Gakuin Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/sakura_shokuin

Interviewer: Sharuru


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