On August 27th, Maeda Atsuko (21) appeared at AKB48 Theater in Akihabara, as a member for the final time, and officially graduated from the group.
Maeda joined AKB48 as the 1st generation member when she was 14 years old, and had led the group as its “immovable ace” since then.
At Maeda’s graduation performance, 28 members gathered, and each member made their farewells to Maeda. Then Maeda said toward the members, “I know we all have been through some tough times over the past 7 years. There was a time when all of us said nothing but wanted to quit, but the reason why we were able to overcome the hardships, is that we had each other, and pursued one dream all together.”
Then she looked out over the members, and said “Today, I can tell you this with a smile. Thank you very much for everything up until now.” She continued, “I love this theater, and love all of you members I danced together on this stage, and people who has supported me, so much. I’m not sure if it was long or short this past 7 years was, but I can say that it was the best 7 years. Everybody, thank you very much. This is from AKB48 team A’s Maeda Atsuko. Thank you very much.” with a deep bow. After that, the members performed the last song “Sakura no Hanabira tachi” together.
In the very end, Maeda stood on the stage alone, and said to the fans, “I’m happy to be able to come back here to you fans on the next day of the Tokyo Dome concert. This made me realized again that this is AKB48, and that I was able to stay in such a wonderful place. It was the happiness that was too good for me. I’m really happy that I was able to encounter the members, the staff members, and of course, all of you fans. Thank you so much everybody. Thanks to you guys, I was able to graduated without any trouble. I will try my best from here on. Thank you very much.” Maeda then gave a deep bow once again, and left the stage with a smile.
Source & Image: MANTAN WEB