February 22nd, also known as “Nyan Nyan Day”, was the second and final day of Haruna Kojima’s 2-day graduation concert at Yoyogi National Gymnasium.
Titled “Kojimatsuri ~Kojima Haruna Thanksgiving Day~” was also the send-off celebration for the woman known as “Kojiharu”, celebrating her more than eleven years as an AKB48 member since joining as a 1st generation member in 2005.
After a video introduction, the star of the day set the bar quite high by appearing alongside AKB48’s legendary “Kami7”: alumni Maeda Atsuko, Yuko Oshima, Mariko Shinoda, Tomomi Itano and Minami Takahashi who had returned for the occasion and performed “Skirt, Hirari” with her and Mayu Watanabe.
All of AKB48 then performed “Shoujotachi yo”, where Kojiharu was paraded through the venue in a cart to greet the audience, and “Love Shugyou”, before launching the main show in a MC.
The show continued with appearances by Team 8 and the freshly debuted 16th generation followed by famous songs like “Oogoe Diamond” and “Heavy Rotation”. Another MC allowed a brief rest for Kojiharu, who then launched a tailor-made showtime, mixing pole-dancing and sexy parading in a cabaret atmosphere. Then a medley of song took the lead of this minority part of the concert. To end this segment, the entire group lit up Yoyogi Gymnasium, turning it into a giant nightclub with “High Tension”. All members were wearing T-shirts from Kojima’s fashion brand along with leather skirts and high heels, dancing all their might on the heart-shaped stage runway.
After a short talk, the venue screamed in surprise as the legendary duo “KojiYuu”, aka Haruna Kojima and Yuko Oshima, returned to the stage to perform the forbidden-girls love anthem “Kinjirareta Futari”. Kojiharu headed to a specific area in the audience… which revealed to be quite the VIP corner, where all of the former 1st generation members were sitting! They all sang original Team A’s 1st stage song “Koi no Plan” together.
Famous members were gathered to sing “Bye Bye Bye”, Hoshi no Mukougawa”, Scandalous ni Ikou” and Dakishimeraretara” with Kojiharu, but the surprise was even bigger when the Kami7 members showed up one more time! Tomomi Itano, Mariko Shinoda, and Minami Takahashi joined with Minami Minegishi, Jurina Matsui and Kojima for the former Team Surprise song “1994-nen no Raimei”.
This Kojiharu unit segment and legendary members cameo ended with Atsuko Maeda reappearing to sing a duet piano version of “Sakura no Ki ni Narou” with the star of the day.
The main concert ended with the whole group showing up in new costumes and putting a shiny jacket on Kojima’s shoulders to perform AKB48’s upcoming 47th single “Shoot Sign”.
After several minutes of fans chanting Kojima’s name, the final part of the concert started off with a video retracing her history in AKB48, going backwards from 2017 all the way to her audition in 2005. After it ended, the curtains on stage fell down, to reveal Kojiharu sitting on a swing, five meters up in the air of Yoyogi Gymnasium, wearing a beautiful princess-like white dress.
Kojima began her final speech, speaking into a glittering silver microphone:
Thank you, everyone, for this beautiful time today. I saw my first AKB48 poster in Harajuku in 2005, this is why I decided to come back eleven years later. I have been thinking of graduating for the past year, and at some point I was scared I would not be able to do it. I saw Acchan, Marichan, Tomochin, and Takamina leave… and I was wondering, “Why am I even still there too?”…but now I understand. This is because I love AKB48! To be honest, right now, AKB48 is my most precious thing, but seeing everyone’s support made me realize I’m ready to go to my next step. Everyone, thank you for everything!
Once her speech was over, the long-awaited “Yuuhi wo Miteiru ka?” began resonating through the venue, sending a chill through the audience. Kojima began the first half by herself before descending to the stage like an angel from heaven. Joined by Maeda, Itano, Shinoda, Takahashi and Minegishi, they all walked down the runway for “Aozora no Soba ni Ite”. The entire group, and even the 1st generation alumni assembled for the iconic “Sakura no Hanabiratachi”.
After receiving a special hug from Kashiwagi, Kojiharu disappeared briefly during “10-nen Zakura” and “First Rabbit” to change outfits, Kojiharu returned wearing a billowy pink gown covered in ruffles, crossing the stage and jumping in a basket, lifted by enormous pink balloons! She floated through the air while singing “Heart Gata Virus”, landing on the 2nd floor of the arena at the end of the song.
When Yui Yokoyama asked Kojima where she was going, the reply was that she was in a hurry to catch a flight to Milan, Italy! Two days after the concert, it was revealed that Kojima had accepted an invitation to the prestigious Italian Fashion Week.
Much to the surprise of the audience and members, everyone watched her as she ran away in her pink dress, leaving the venue on a red carpet, reaching the plaza of the arena where a white limo was parked. Wearing a leather jacket, with the words “GRAZIE AKB48” (“Thank you” in Italian) written in silver glitter on her back, Kojima hopped onto the limo… ending the night on a very fitting grand and surprising exit for AKB48’s eternal glamorous icon.
01 Skirt, Hirari
02 Shoujotachi yo
03 LOVE Shugyou
04 47 no Suteki na Machi he
05 Iiwake Maybe
06 Kimi no Koto ga Suki Dakara
07 Yobisute Fantasy
08 Ogooe Diamond
09 Heavy Rotation
10 Tanjoubi TANGO
11 Shamu Neko
13 Tadaima Renaichuu
14 Baby! Baby! Baby!
15 High Tension
16 Kinjirareta Futari
17 Senaka Kara Dakishimete
18 Koi no Plan (Haruna Kojima, Michiru Hoshino, Tomomi Ohe, Kazumi Urano, Nozomi Kawasaki, Hitomi Komatani, Hana Tojima)
19 Bye Bye Bye
20 Hoshi no Mukougawa
21 Scandalous ni Ikou
23 1994-nen no Raimei
24 Junai no Crescendo
25 Sakura no Ki ni Narou
26 Shoot Sign
E1 Yuuhi wo Miteiru Ka?
E2 Aozora no Soba ni Ite
E3 Sakura no Hanabiratachi
E4 10-nen Zakura
E5 First Rabbit
E6 Heart Gata Virus
AKB48 Official site: http://www.akb48.co.jp/
Kojimatsuri special site: http://www.akb48.co.jp/kojimatsuri/
Haruna Kojima Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/kojiharunyan
Haruna Kojima Official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nyanchan22/
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