Togasaki and Saruobasan Interview ~ The past and future of AKB48

  October 6, 2012

-First of all, let me ask how you’ve become involved in AKB48?

Togasaki: “My name came up when people were talking that ‘Akimoto-sensei will start the new project, gathering many girls.’ Like, for that sake, there’s an ideal person who can help Akimoto-san. And it was me, It was in July of 2005”

Nishiyama: “I’ve been at Recruit, and in charge of works directed or produced by Akimoto-san, as a publisher. Because of this connection, I’d often paid visits to Office Akimoto, and it was on Saturday in the middle of November. While I was playing golf in Shizuoka, I received a phone call from my secretary, and told ‘Come back to Tokyo as soon as possible’. I cut short my golf and returned to Tokyo by Shinkansen, then I was explained about this AKB project thing, and asked to be a PR manager.
But because I didn’t receive any notice or inquiry when we kick start the project, I worked on hiring staffs, job-training as well as a reception at the theater together with Togasaki-kun.”

Togasaki: “We were in short of staffs back then. Probably we only had 8 staffs at the beginning. I wasn’t the manager of the theater back then. There were no managerial positions back then, and I was kinda like a store manager.”

Nishiyama: “Yes, everyone thought you were a store manager back then.”

Togasaki: “What I’ve done before the opening of the theater were finding the property venue, putting announcement about the audition on magazines, and I worked on interviews, too. When I found nice girls, I made a post about them and uploaded on the blog.”

Nishiyama: “Time has passed and now his blog is called Togablo (トガブロ:Togasaki’s blog) and considered something legitimate, but back then, it was considered just a personal blog.

Togasaki: “Sure. We already had an official website for AKB48, but it existed separated from my personal blog.
But since then, we were like believing in Akimoto-sensei and working frantically rather than feeling uneasy about the future.”

Nishiyama: “Yes. We haven’t felt uneasiness. But in the middle of January 2006, perhaps. We had only one setlist, Party ga Hajimaruyo, and audiences who came to the theater were always the same faces. So I was worried if these people would get tired of the performance.”

Togasaki: “Back then, I, too, had visited the theater like everyday and heard voices from fans. ‘Why don’t you release CD?’ etc. And it was my job to tell fans voices to Akimoto-sensei.
And I was learning the way fans in Akihabara do things from them. Like ‘You know what? Akihabara is a place where….’ I didn’t even know about MIX that is called by fans during the song performances, so I asked fans ‘Could you tell me what are you calling?’ haha”


  1. Mark Weber says:

    Remember that there are more pages!!

    Awesome work here, really nice article.

  2. Marty says:

    “Still at this later date, it’s only (Oshima) Yuko who dares to pounce on me” LOL. Yuko xD

  3. archite says:

    for translating this Tommy. Just thought I would like to express my thanks to
    you and all the other authors for always translating all of these articles and
    delivering these news updates to us all everyday without fail.

    My thoughts about the current AKB: I’m
    a Yuko Oshi and I do like how’s she is playing the Center role much more now
    that Acchan’s gone but lately, I have been thinking that I don’t want her to
    become the replacement for Acchan. Using the jigsaw puzzle analogy that TGSK
    mentioned, Yuko is part of this huge jigsaw puzzle piece called AKB and if she
    has to be moved to replace Acchan’s place then that would just create another
    gap where she is. That’s the situation which AKB is at now: Yuko playing center
    while others try to fill up the gap Yuko left behind at her place. But everyone
    plays a unique role and that just can’t work in the long run. I do hope that
    AKB, both the younger generation and perhaps the older generation too may be
    able to rise up as a whole and challenge Yuko’s placing. They always called the
    Senbatsu’s tops, Kami 7 but imo, it had always been just Kami 2.

    Yuko too has voiced out how she feels
    frustrations about not having a rival. Rise up AKB members, challenge her
    position. Yuko can’t stay in AKB forever and it’s up to the next generation to
    be able to pull AKB forward in the long run. There has to be a good challenge
    in order for her to put up a good fight. That’s just how I feel.

    • Tommy says:

      Thank you.
      It’s really nice to see kind reactions from readers.
      Currently I’m the only writer, translator for this website.
      If you know someone who wants to join this website as a partner plz let me know^^
      (Please note that: We’re not looking for translators but someone who can search and edit news by themselves.)

  4. bentobox says:

    This is very rare and valuable interview, because it is conducted from management’s point of view. It is good for anyone who has interests on AKB48 and business in general.

  5. LC says:

    thank you so much for translating this, tommy. where was this article originally published?