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The Party Starts in Niigata! NGT48 Makes Theater Debut

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The Party Starts in Niigata!  NGT48 Makes Theater Debut

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The opening ceremony of NGT48 Theater took place on January 9, 2016. It was held at the entrance of the theater, with members Rie Kitahara (NGT48 Captain) and Yuki Kashiwagi (concurrency with AKB48). Special guests were Akira Shinoda, Mayor of Niigata City, and Yoshihiro Hirokawa, a managing officer of Mitsui Fudosan, a real estate developer that operates the shopping mall Lovela 2, where the theater is located.

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Next to the entrance, there is a device that will display “NGT48 Theater” once it collects 25,000 red balls, so at the ceremony, the 4 participants placed the first 4 balls into the device to commemorate the opening of the theater.

After the ceremony, the entrance and the lobby were opened to the general public, and everyone was able to catch a glimpse of parts of the theater, whose design is based on the same red and white motif as the logo and uniform of the group. It is different from other theaters in that candid photos of the members were posted on the walls. It is also designed like an all-girls’ school, with a blackboard where members can leave messages, or locker rooms designed to look like shoe cupboards. The inside of the theater was not open to public on the 9th.

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NGT48 members also surprised shoppers by performing “Koi Suru Fortune Cookie” with the choir from Miyaura Junior High, which is located in Niigata City as well.

On the other hand, Etsuro Imamura, Theater Manager of NGT48, completed his epic 345-kilometer pilgrimage from AKB48 Theater (Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo) to NGT48 Theater (Niigata City, Niigata) by only walking and biking.

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NGT48 members and fans were waiting in cold rain in Bandai City Park near the NGT48 Theater, which was the goal of the journey. Crying members rushed to greet Imamura as he crossed the finish line.

Imamura took a panel from the AKB48 Theater and carried it with him the entire time, because he wanted to infuse the NGT48 Theater with the spirit of the pioneers and pray for the group’s success. The panel was presented to Captain Kitahara, and will be installed in the NGT48 Theater.

“I would really like to thank everyone that came by,” said a teary Imamura, “I was able to carry the spirit of the AKB48 Theater here with me. Finally, tomorrow is the theater debut. Please keep supporting us.”

“I hope the performance tomorrow will be a success,” said Minami Kato, whose voice was cracking because she was also on the verge of tears, “because Imamura-san worked really hard for us, and we’d like to make him proud.”

Then, on January 10, 2016, roughly one year after construction started and 5 months after the debut, NGT48 was finally able to perform in their own theater for the first time.

The debut event started with a video of Imamura’s pilgrimage that reiterated the importance of NGT48 having inherited a piece of AKB48’s spirit.

The memorable first stage, which was decided by members and staff after a fan vote, was “Party ga Hajimaruyo.” When the movable LED panels, which is a specialty of the NGT48 Theater, opened, 16 members of the newly formed Team NIII came on stage in their brand new uniforms, which are in red, white and navy blue.

 

During the MC corner, Captain Rie Kitahara claimed that she is now “a woman of Niigata.” Some of the members cried when greeting fans, because they were both nervous and overjoyed.

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The units took full advantage of the members’ personalities as well as their dynamics, such as “Classmate”, performed by Kitahara and Tsugumi Oguma, who is 11 years younger than Kitahara; or “Anata to Christmas Eve” performed by Anju Sato, who is said to be the best singer of the group, and Yuki Kashiwagi.

The encore opened with “Sado wo Wataru”, which was a SDN48 song about traveling from Niigata to Sado Island. Since SDN48 was formed by adult members, this song followed suit and only had members that are in high school or above.

During “Kuchibiru ni Be My Baby”, the acrobatic Minami Kato performed her new move, aerial cartwheel, which was much harder than the front flips she had been performing. She said that this new move could only be seen in theaters, so it may become an NGT signature.

For the last 2 songs, the remaining 10 kenkyuuseis also came on the stage. The group then performed with all 26 members and expressed their gratitude to Niigata residents and fans for supporting them.

Comments from Etsuro Imamura (NGT48 Theater Manager)

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To residents of Niigata Prefecture, and to fans, I’m happy to say that after waiting for so long, the theater is finally open. Everyone worked very hard and they deserve a lot of praise. Going forward, members and staff will work together and make these theater performances even better. Thank you for your support.

Comments from Rie Kitahara (NGT48 Captain)

On Opening Ceremony:

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Even though the theater opening was postponed for quite a bit, I think the delay was worth it because the theater looks magnificent. AKB48 Group is built on theater performances, so tomorrow is the real beginning of NGT48. We will work hard so that all of the Niigata Prefecture and eventually all of Japan will come to love us.

On Theater Debut:
We want make this place loved by all of Niigata, and we’d also like the theater to become a place that attracts people from outside the prefecture. It would be great if one day we can be listed alongside Niigata’s rice and alcohol as the prefecture’s specialties.I didn’t think that after being in the group for 8 years, I’d be in a new group standing on a new stage. We will lay this stage to waste with our sweat.

Comments from Yuki Kashiwagi (with a concurrent position in AKB48)

On Opening Ceremony:

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Finally, NGT48 Theater will open in Lovela 2 tomorrow. It would be great if people from the prefecture will come check us out casually while they’re shopping, and it would be great if people from other prefectures come visit Niigata because they’ve heard about us. We want to let the whole country know just how great Niigata Prefecture is, right from this theater. Thank you for your support.

Comments from Minami Kato
Even though we revealed ourselves in August, today was our first theater performance, and I consider this our true start. We will work hard on this stage, so we can eventually become one with our fans and residents of Niigata as we spread our wings and fly all over Japan. It was a very humbling day. Thank you very much.

NGT48 Roster
Team NIII (16 members)
Yuka Ogino, Tsugumi Oguma, Yuki Kashiwagi, Minami Kato, Rie Kitahara, Anju Sato, Riko Sugahara, Moeka Takakura, Ayaka Tano, Rika Nakai, Marina Nishigata, Rena Hasegawa, Hinata Honma, Fuuka Murakumo, Maho Yamaguchi, Noe Yamada

Kenkyuusei (10 members)
Yuria Ootaki, Yuria Kado, Aina Kusakabe, Reina Seiji, Mau Takahashi, Ayuka Nakamura, Miharu Nara, Nanako Nishimura, Ayaka Mizusawa, Aya Miyajima

Related link
NGT48 official site : https://ngt48.jp/

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Author
76do_
76do_

An overseas 46/48 fan who used to translate under the name of bilingual48. Can also be found at Nogizaka46 handshakes once every 2-3 months near Karin Ito’s lane – just look for the guy with purple sunglasses. Also, apparently I look like Akimoto-sensei, especially when wearing a suit.

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