Nanami Hashimoto of Nogizaka46 is graduating???
Nanami Hashimoto saying goodbye?
That can’t be true. Hours after I celebrated the end of the 8-year title drought of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, I stumbled upon the news of Miss Nanami Hashimoto‘s graduation announcement on Facebook. She was just chosen as the center of Nogizaka46‘s upcoming 6th single, “Sayonara no Imi“.
I just recovered from a bout of flu, and I got well just only to hear this news? Ok, let me get back to suffering.
Honestly, it is not what I expected. Miss Nanami is just getting her share of the limelight after being overshadowed by Miss Ikoma Rina, Miss Shiraishi Mai, Miss Nishino Nanase, and Miss Saito Asuka for a long time. And her selection as center of the 16th single is an honor befitting one of the original members of the group and one of the most beautiful and stylish ladies of Nogizaka46. Her looks remind me of Miss Mariko Shinoda, formerly of AKB48. Miss Nanami is one of the three ladies I idolize a lot in AKB48’s official rival. The other two are Miss Rina and Miss Rena Matsui.
The graduation bug first hit me in 2012, when my first ever oshimen, Miss Atsuko Maeda, graduated. I was still unaware of the graduation thing of Jpop groups. I eventually caught up to understand that graduation, in the Jpop lingo, is more than a farewell ceremony, but a heartful moment of gratitude and camaraderie. For the graduating group member, the graduation ceremony is the last time she will perform as a member of the group and with the group so she ought to give out her very best. To her adoring fans, it will be the last time they will see her with the group before she returns to normal life, move to another career, etc.
I do not idolize a lot of people in Nogizaka46, AKB48 or SKE48, but I do feel sad whenever a member is graduating, especially if that member is one from the first batch and sings in a track that I like very much. I want the first batch members to stay until the very end, but that’s the nature of Jpop groups. The veterans need to give way to the neophytes, the group needs to replenish itself of new talents…or one needs to move on as her life does not entirely belong to the group.
Miss Nanami intends to graduate so she can return to normal life. Anyways, her life does not entirely belong to Nogizaka46. Miss Rena does not entirely belong to SKE48, and Miss Miyuki Watanabe does not see a future being a member of NMB48 forever.
Single is a premonition?
The upcoming 16th single, Sayonara no Imi, may have something to do with teary goodbye. The word “sayonara” and the tune of the song really say it all. Was Miss Nanami looking for a sign and the time to say goodbye to Nogizaka46? Did she time her graduation announcement with her centership and the choice of song? A fitting, well-planned farewell, if you ask me.
Will she say goodbye after the release of the 16th single? Or will there be a single dedicated to her graduation as in the case of Miss Mai Fukagawa? Nogizaka46 fans should not miss the developments that will follow.