Mariko Shinoda And We Fans Are And Will Always Be Home To Graduated Members

  April 25, 2012

Mariko Shinoda was presented her Birthday Celebration Festival at AKB theatre in Akihabara, Tokyo.

On 11th Mar, one year after the day the largest disaster after WW2 hit Japan, Mariko Shinoda turned 26th. In this belated birthday festival for her, her close friend Kojiharu, her little sister Jurina Matsui and her old friend Yukori (Yukari Satoh) turned up to give blessing to Mariko.

After the event, Mariko uploaded her letter she read on the stage on her blog, in which she confessed her pleasure and complicated feeling on being in AKB as the oldest member, and her thought on her own graduation.

I want to be a place where members can always belong and return to when they had hard times, that they can always show their faces, and I and fans are always welcoming them. “ – Mariko’s letter

To my dearest fans. This is the 6th time I was celebrated my birthday by fans and members in this beloved small theatre. When I was give a celebration in this theatre for the first time, I thought like this “Does there exist a happier birthday party than this? If it’s possible, I want to be celebrated my special day as long as possible.

Now I turned 26. Honestly, at this point I sometimes think until when I am allowed to be a member of AKB. But as my birthday had come, and I am being celebrated my birthday by my fans, I feel like I got an approval that I can still be AKB.

People who have worked for the preparation of today’s festival, people who are disappointed that they couldn’t bring themselves here and you who managed find a time to came over here in your daily life… I’m a so fortunate person that can receive so much support. Recently there’re increasing number of fans who are younger than me, but I also want to grow old together with my old fans as well as newer fans.
To members, thank you for welcoming such a girl. Starting from this small stage, each of us has different goals, and different directions to head for, and now started walking their own path… but we are and always will be mates. Even after you graduate AKB, you are still our mates, our fans are our mates too.

These days I often asked this question, “When will you graduate Shinoda-san?” I’ve kept saying I will be AKB until either when I am told “We got enough of Shinoda.” by fans or when Akimoto-sansei tell me “Shinoda, goo job, You’ve done enough job here in AKB.” But…. a little before, when Acchan announced her graduation, I am determined that I am going to graduate as late as possible. I want to be a place where graduated members can always belong and return to when they had hard times outside AKB, that they can always show their faces at this theatre, where I and fans are always welcoming them.

Whatever it may be… I love AKB. I really love AKB. I think I owe AKB and fans and members what I am now. So I am hoping to repay you as much as possible from now. Please keep loving AKB48, and please keep supporting Mariko Shinoda. Yoroshikuonegaishimasu.