Nogizaka46’s Holy Mother Mai Fukagawa Bids Farewell to Group and Fans at Home
Nogizaka46’s Summer 2016 Tour kicked off with 2 shows at Ecopa Arena in Shizuoka on June 15 and 16, 2016. The 2-day live was also the graduation concert of the group’s oldest member, Mai Fukagawa, who announced her intention to leave the group on her blog 6 months ago. A total of 16,000 fans (8000 each day) flocked to say goodbye to her in her hometown and both days sold out incredibly fast.
The bittersweet show on June 16 opened with Fukagawa’s bright smile in “Harujion ga Saku Koro”, the group’s most recent single, followed by summer-y upbeat singles like “Taiyou Knock”, “Natsu no Free and Easy” and “Girls’ Rule”.
The setlist then took a turn with a medley of the group’s hidden gems: “Boku ga Iru Basho”, “Nani mo Dekizu Soba ni Iru”, “Ushitakunai Kara”, “Tender Days”, “Hane no Kioku”, “Ningen to iu Gakki”.
The show also featured “Mochiusa”, a rabbit-like character drawn by Fukagawa and voiced specifically for this occasion, as well as “MaiTube”, a segment where videos of other members stored on Fukagawa’s phone were played on the big screen.
During the encore, Fukagawa read her letters to members, staff and fans while holding back tears, and everyone was able to get a glimpse of what kind of role she played in the group. She then hugged and talked to each member on stage, and it was evident that every moment meant a lot to her. In their letter to Fukagawa, Hashimoto, who represented all the members, wrote that “Maimai’s (Fukagawa) strength lies in her kindness and determination”, which was on full display throughout the evening.
Fukagawa’s mother had written her a letter as a surprise, and she was not able to hide her shock. Her mother’s loving message moved not just Fukagawa, but also everyone at the venue.
As a first-generation member who helped propel the group forward, Mai Fukagawa, also known as “Holy Mother”, was loved by all.
“There were difficult times,” said Fukagawa, “but I can only recall the happy memories. I am really glad to have met all the fans. Thank you very much.” It is safe to say that this moment will be forever etched in the memories of every Nogizaka46 fan.
Nogizaka46 official site : http://www.nogizaka46.com/
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