Rina Kawaei Smiles Until the Very End at Her AKB48 Theater Graduation Live!

Rina Kawaei Smiles Until the Very End at Her AKB48 Theater Graduation Live!

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Rina Kawaei took a step towards the next chapter in her life as she left the AKB48 Theater stage for the final time at the end of the Team A “Ren’ai Kinshi Jourei” on August 4, 2015. It was a graduation performance full of smiles, highlighted by her performance of “Hasute to Wasute” with her fellow 11th generation members Wakana Natori and Natsuki Kojima.

Kawaei announced her graduation at AKB48’s Saitama Super Arena concert on March 26th and returned there for her graduation ceremony during the group’s summer 2-days concert on August 1-2, 2015. It was a chance for Kawaei to express her gratitude to the fans and talk about her future aspirations. August 4th was her last performance at the AKB48 theater, marked by the removal of her portrait from the hall leading to the theater entrance.


With a “Ri-chan” call the curtain was raised on Kawaei’s graduation performance. The first song, “Nagai Hikari”, by Kawaei and fellow 11th generation member Natsuki Kojima, brought tears to the eyes of those in the audience. Haruka Shimazaki began to cry during the second song, “Squall no aida ni”, casting her eyes downward. In sharp contrast, Kawaei was the same as always, cheerfully giving her all. She poked fun at Chiyori Nakanishi, commenting that her makeup made her look like a yamanba (an extreme type of gyaru).

Kawaei retained her composure, even when the other Team A members were conveying their parting messages to her. Karen Iwata, who had been connected to Kawaei through always being in the same team as her, confessed, “I have always loved you”. Kawaei responded, “I somehow realized it since we always seemed to be on the same team”, adding (in regards to Iwata), “You’re OK, a little better than average.”

Other occurrences that kept the mood of the performance light included Kawaei mentioning that Minami Takahashi’s hairstyle looked a lot like the character “Wasute”, causing all of the members of Team A to burst into a fit of laughter. But as the performance began drawing to a close, Kawaei’s mood became more solemn. When Kawaei admitted, “I don’t really feel it yet…but I really will be leaving…”, Anna Iriyama was moved to tears and the other members were unable to lift their faces as they looked down at the stage.

Attempting to dispel the gloomy mood, Kawaei decided to perform her song “Hatsute to Wasute”, a song written for her when she was crowned “baka center” during an episode of Mecha Mecha Iketeru. Replacing the puppets (named Hasute and Wasute, referring to a mistake she made translating the saying “Haste makes waste” into Japanese) were Natsuki Kojima and Wakana Natori, who made a special appearance (she is currently a Team B member). This was the moment when Kawaei showed her brightest smile to the audience, sandwiched between her two friends.


To commemorate the graduation, there was a special surprise at the end in the form of a video message from Sayaka Yamamoto, Mina Oba, and Yui Yokoyama. This was followed by members that Kawaei was close to making a surprise appearance on the stage, beginning with Yokoyama, during the final song, “Kimi ga Oshitere Kureta”. It was at that point where Kawaei could smile no more, tears welling up in her eyes and rolling down her cheeks. Filled with the love from the fans and the members who had supported her for the 5 years that she had been a member of AKB48, with tears still in her eyes, Kawaei showed her bright smile one last time before walking off the stage to begin her journey to follow her dreams and become an actress.

Thank you and see you soon, Rina Kawaei!


Rina Kawaei will be starring as the lead in the upcoming stage play ”Azumi Bakumatsu-hen” which opens at the New National Theater in Tokyo on September 11, 2015.

Set List

— Romance Kakurenbo
00 Overture
01 Nagai Hikari
02 Squall no Aida ni
03 JK Nemuri Hime
04 Kimi ni Au Tabi Koi wo Suru
05 Kuroi Tenshi
06 Heart Gata Virus
07 Ren’ai Kinshi Jorei
08 Tsundere!
09 Manatsu no Christmas Rose
10 Switch
11 109
12 Hikoukigumo
13 Ano Koro no Sneaker

E1 AKB48 Sanjo!
E2 Namida no Shinkokyuu
E3 Ogoe Diamond
E4 Hasute to Wasute
E5 Kimi ga Oshite Kureta

Related Link

AKB48 Official site:

Rina Kawaei Official Ameba blog:

Translated by TanoshiiEmily

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Related Artists : AKB48
Kai Okudara
Kai Okudara

Writer, researcher, photographer, foodie, KSDD

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