Rina Ikoma’s Graduation Live: Opening Doors to the Future Beyond Nogizaka46

Rina Ikoma’s Graduation Live: Opening Doors to the Future Beyond Nogizaka46

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Rina Ikoma, who has served as Nogizaka46’s center from their debut up until their 5th single, graduated from the group on April 22, 2018 at Nippon Budokan.

Affectionately called “Ikoma-chan” by everyone, the idol came to become a symbol of Nogizaka46. As if to prove her immense popularity, the chance of winning the ticket for this live was one out of thirty, or nearly 3%, and live screenings of the concert in 128 theaters all over the country sold out. The 60,000 lucky fans who managed to win the ticket lottery came down to the venue to watch over Ikoma’s graduation.


Many fans regard “Seifuku no Mannequin” as the symbolic song of Rina Ikoma as the group’s center. Her cool expression and pose were firmly printed both on the concert T-shirt and in the audience’s minds. The lyrics “even though the door to the future is there…the one who changes is you” represent especially strong emotions for the first generation members. The graduation concert was a look back to the world of the “door to the future” that Ikoma kept opening.


The graduation concert started with Nogizaka46’s theme song “Nogizaka no Uta”, which is usually the song that is performed at the end of the concert. The other members stood in a line and sung the first lines acappella. Ikoma appeared in the center with penlights in both hands, vigorously crossing her arms and raising them to the sky. In her honor, the fans had arrived with penlights in her image colors purple and blue ready to give her their yells of support. There began a stage just for Rina Ikoma.


“Nippon Budokan! Let’s go!!” Rina kicked it off with a war cry, beginning with her famed center songs “Oide Shampoo” and“Taiyou Knock”. She charged on into her solo song “Mizutama Moyou”, which she first sung when was just 16 years old. Singing the difficult melody and high notes, Ikoma showed the tenacity of her performance and her true self that had not changed since six years ago. After the song ended, she wryly commented in the MC with a dry laugh: “I practiced behind the curtains right up till the last minute, but in the end I still couldn’t get it right.” But it was this awkward side that had endeared fans to her. It was this sheer determination of hers that had wrenched open every door to this point.


The third generation members then performed a new song followed by the second generation, before the first generation members took the stage to sing “Against” for the first time with Ikoma at the center. During the solo dance, she overwhelmed the fans with the intimidatingly powerful expression that had established her cool beauty. The concert continued with a performance of Ikoma’s graduation single “Synchronicity”—behind Mai Shiraishi, Erika Ikuta and Nanase Nishino who stood as center, Ikoma seemed to fill up the second row as a center in her own right. The lyrics in this song seemed to reflect the evolution of Nogizaka46 from when Ikoma stood as the center with hunched shoulders to the present where the third generation members Mizuki Yamashita and Shiori Kubo, and graduated members sung in resonance with the distinctive sound of Nogizaka46.


The next door was opened with a message from former AKB48 member Mayu Watanabe. Ikoma was known as the sole member of Nogizaka46 who had experienced a concurring position in AKB48. At that time, the center of an unknown group managed to overcome harsh criticism and claim the 14th place in the 2014 election. Thanks to her, many people came to know Nogizaka46. It can be said that the cornerstone of Nogizaka46 was cemented with the AKB48 song “Shonichi”, which was sung by the third generation members who carry the future of the group on their shoulders. “Temo Demo no Namida”, a unit number sung with Mayu Watanabe, was performed with fellow Akita-born member Ayane Suzuki.It followed with “Kokoro no Placard” by Ikoma and the second generation members including Hinako Kitano who had been on a break. During “Temo Demo no Namida” Ikoma took over Mayu Watanabe’s position, turning it into a part of her own. Watanabe reportedly rushed over to Nippon Budokan after finishing her stage play rehearsal that day. After all, it was a special occasion of looking back on Ikoma’s history as an idol.


As said before, many fans consider “Seifuku no Mannequin” the symbol of Rina Ikoma. The center positions for this song were taken by Erika Ikuta, Rina Ikoma and Minami Hoshino, whom the fans collectively called “Ikuihoshi”. They were 14, 16 and 13 respectively at the time; now at 21, 22 and 20, the three members performed “Koko Janai Dokoka” “Mangetsu ga Kieta”.Rising musical heroine Erika Ikuta, Minami Hoshino who had just released her first photo book, and of course Rina Ikoma. The three of them had not had many opportunities to perform together till now, but the beloved trio wanted to finish one last stage together at the very end. Ikoma is a vital presence in Nogizaka46’s unit songs, including “Arakajime Katarareru Romance” and “Mukuchi na Lion”. On a side note, the Ikuihoshi trio had also stood together in the large chorus of “Against”. 6 and a half years had formed a deep story within this bond.

After a video message from BANANAMAN who had worked with them on their TV show, the Rina Ikoma’s story continued to grow. She performed the theme song “Tsuki no Ookisa” from her beloved anime “NARUTO Shippuden”, a precious performance that showcased her expressive ability and respect. She was then gifted with an illustration together with a message from the series’ creator himself, Masashi Kishimoto. Ikoma had not shed a single tear until this moment. “I’ll keep working hard forever. I’m so glad to be alive,” she said in tears. It was a moment that truly felt like the concert belonged to her and her alone.


Ikoma’s tears would not stop, as her parents delivered a message wishing for her health. It was followed by a performance of “Kimi no Na wa Kibou” from the first time they appeared at Kohaku Uta Gassen and “Kanashimi no Wasurekata” from the Nogizaka46 documentary that had painted Ikoma a heroine.

In the MC afterwards, the members gave Ikoma their warm messages. “Being able to see Ikoma-chan’s smile is my greatest joy”, “I couldn’t have grown if it weren’t for Ikoma-chan”, “I’ll tell everyone about the amazing senpai I had”, said Mai Shiraishi, Nanase Nishino and Miona Hori respectively. Nogizaka46, who regularly sold a million copies, had received the Japan Record Award and achieved their awaited Tokyo Dome concert. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say they had reached the summit.In the midst of that success, member Asuka Saito said to Ikoma: “I regret that we couldn’t be a group that would make you stay. But we’ll continue to fulfil your dreams.” These words truly demonstrated the all-round talent Nogizaka46 had as a group, and their leap towards the door to the future.


Rina Ikoma’s graduation message:
“Although there were many people I respected and opportunities for me to grow, more than anything I always wanted to keep improving. I want to walk steeper streets. I know it’s a selfish desire of mine despite having so much here. Even though I’m in such an amazing place, I have a dream in this world. I want to grab hold of dreams that continue from beyond this point. That’s why someday I want to show the members the new me that’s working independently. I’ve been causing a lot of trouble for my parents, but I want them to look forward to the day I can build a home for them in Tokyo. I’m also still going to rely on the staff from now on. It’s my goal to become someone that earns work. I want to become an entertainer that can make fans forget about reality and have fun from the bottom of their hearts.

The girl from the countryside who had once applied to Nogizaka46 to escape from her dreaded school and laughed and cried in this large environment, had grown to create a miracle in the 6 and a half years. Ikoma-chan was undoubtedly a key figure in the group’s evolution.


Ikoma-chan, who had frolicked around in high spirits and soon as she stopped being the center in singles, will hold a handshake event on the 3rd of the this month in Nagoya. On the 6th, today, she participated in her last handshake event as a Nogizaka46 member at Makuhari Messe.


The concert powered up again with a double encore, and for the first time it was revealed that “Kimi no Na wa Kibou” had been written in the image of Rina Ikoma. On stage, her manager, television staff, wardrobe coordinator and sound staff all appeared with messages for the idol whom everyone loved.

The concert concluded with Rina Ikoma’s signature song “Seifuku no Mannequin”.

“Even though the door to the future is there, I call you again and again/The one who changes is you”

Rina Ikoma brought this phrase to reality in Nogizaka46. Even as she graduates from the group, there is much to anticipate in the future that she unlocks for herself.

“Rina Ikoma Graduation Concert @Nippon Budokan”
Set List

01 Nogizaka no Uta
02 Oide Shampoo
03 Taiyō Knock
04 Mizutama Moyou
05 Tokitokimekimeki
06 Scout Man
07 Against
08 Synchronicity
09 Shonichi / Rina Ikoma, 3rd Generation
10 Temodemo no Namida / Rina Ikoma, Ayane Suzuki
11 Kokoro no Placard / Rina Ikoma, 2nd Generation
12 Koko Janai Doko ka
13 Mangetsu ga Kieta
14 Arakajime Katarareru Romance
15 Mukuchi na Lion
16 Yubi Bouenkyou
17 Tsuki no Okisa
18 House!
19 Kimi no Na wa Kibō
20 Kanashimi no Wasurekata
21 Seifuku no Mannequin

E1 Hashire! Bicycle
E2 Shakiism
E3 Guru Guru Curtain

WE1 Kimi no Na wa Kibō

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