Minami Takahashi’s 3775 Days Finally Comes to an End at AKB48 Theater in Akihabara
On April 8, 2016, after being an AKB48 member for 3,775 days, Minami Takahashi had her final stage performance at the AKB48 theatre on her 25th birthday.
Titled “Minami Takahashi Graduation Special Performance ~Looking Back on the Past 10 years~”, the setlist opened with a video of past Team A performances. She took the stage afterwards and sang “Sakura no Hanabira Tachi” a capella with teary eyes while the audience clapped along.
She then smiled and said, “Let’s get Started!”, called other members onto the stage and launched into “Party ga Hajimaru Yo”, one of the songs from their debut stage performance 10 years ago and also the title of their very first theater setlist.
The setlist continued with, according to Takahashi, a “reflection on how far we have come in the past 10 years,” as they performed the title songs from each of Team A’s 2nd to 6th theater setlists: “Aitakatta”, “Dareka no Tameni”, “Tadaima Renaichuu”, “Renai Kinshi Jourei”, and “Mokugekisha.”
This was followed by her unit from each of the Team A’s theater setlists: “Skirt Hirari”, “Nageki no Figure”, “Glass no I Love You”, “Bird”, “Junai no Crescendo”, and “Itoshisa no Accel.”
The graduation performance was also her last birthday celebration in the group. Mariko Shinoda, a graduated member who was unable to attend the performance, surprised Takahashi by dialing in. Takahashi also said that as a 25-year-old woman, she aspires to take her post-AKB48 work very seriously.
As the setlist drew closer to the end, hit singles “RIVER”, “Oogoe Diamond” and “Kuchibiru ni By My Baby” were performed as Takahashi savored every moment on stage.
The encore, accompanied by loud calls of “Minami”, started with a video that showed her memories of the past 3,775 days as an AKB48 member. She took the stage in a white dress and performed “Senaka Kotoba” as tears rolled down her cheeks.
“I really enjoyed my time here,” “I have no regrets,” and “Thank you for the last 10 years” were the words that she used to express gratitude towards the fans. As for members who were at the theater today, she said, “Thank you for following me all this time.”
The last song was “Sakura no Hanabira Tachi”, and graduated 1st generation members like Atsuko Maeda and Tomomi Itano also joined Takahashi on stage to give their blessings.
Takahashi, Haruna Kojima and Minami Minegishi were the only members left on stage after the final song. Despite crying, they carried on as usual to enjoy one last chat. Finally, after tapping the floor of the stage and saying, “Thank you for everything”, Minami “Takamina” Takahashi left the stage that she stood on for the past 10 years as her graduation performance came to a close.
Comments from Minami Takahashi
(After performing “Senaka Kotoba” during encore)
It’s really coming to an end, isn’t it?
I’m finally thinking about what Yuko Oshima said when she graduated. “The saddest thing is not graduating from AKB48, it’s graduating from the theater.” It’s finally hitting me. Even though I wasn’t here every day for the past 10 years, I was more or less raised by fans that came to see us as we stood on the stage and performed. I am very grateful.
This was a special stage because it’s my last one, and I performed every song that I wanted to. Maybe it was a bit selfish, but I had a great time. I really did…now I really have done everything I wanted to do here. I have finished everything here.
It was not all smooth sailing for the past 10 years, as there were difficult times and I definitely cried a lot. Maybe I spent the majority crying, too. But going through difficult times gave me opportunities to look within myself and reflect. Why did I join AKB48 and kept going? Maybe some will think it’s lip service, but I really thought it was because of the fans. I would not have worked hard if it weren’t for the fans. I have always said that I have not considered actually quitting, but there were plenty of times when I couldn’t tell anyone and could only quietly endure frustrations by myself. It was your kind words that kept me standing.
Anyway, I don’t know what else to say… I have already said a lot. Everyone thinks I am the good talker “Takamina”, but on my last day, I am able to be “Minami Takahashi” because the theater makes me feel at home. I have nothing but gratitude for the last 10 years. I was very blessed. I want to thank all of you for having supported me until today. I want to thank the staff that has supported the 48 Group, because they listened to me when I became soukantoku. We talked, we argued, and I am sorry for all the troubles I caused. But because you lend me you ears, I was able to carry on until today.
As for Yui Yokoyama, I do kind of feel bad passing the baton to her at a time like this. But we all know that time keeps going forward and stops for no one. I was 14, and now I’m 25. I wanted to be here forever, but I know that I have to leave at some point. It will be lonely, but having met the ones who will be in charge after this is one of my most cherished treasures from my 10 years here. I will leave this to them and move forward. Like the song “Senaka Kotoba”, I want to become someone that the juniors can look up to.
(After performing the final song, “Sakura no Hanabira Tachi”)
I was very, very blessed for the last 10 years.
[Referring to the graduated members that came] They graduated before me, but I will do my best to catch up to them. I kept moving forward for the last 10 years, and I don’t think I will be stopping anytime soon. I will keep moving. Please come with me. I feel like if you are with me, I can accomplish anything. Thank you for your support, and thank you, AKB48, for the last 10 years.
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