Arama They Didn't

2:10 am - 04/12/2012

True Story Of A 48Girl's Graduation - The Life Of Hara Mizuki, NMB48 1st Gen Trainee

Recently, NMB48's 1st Gen Kenkyuusei/trainee Hara Mizuki annnounced her graduation from NMB48.
If you're wondering who on earth this girl is, then you've come to the right post.
Not just people who are not familiar with the 48Fandom, there are definitely 48Fans who do not know her either and even NMB fans who may not have heard of this girl until now.

Hara Mizuki. A girl who auditioned for NMB48 when they first started with hopes and dreams for a bright future as an idol.
In the beginning, the prospect seemed promising, and all the girls seemed to be given equal chances and opportunities. However, not everything turned out well for Mizuki. Until this day that she has announced her graduation, she never got a big break or a time to shine. Quoted from somewhere below: "When the light is shining on certain people, there is always a shadow."

Unlike most other 48 girls who leave without saying a word, Hara Mizuki has took a different step and expressed her frustration and true feelings on G+. This prompted responses from several people including NMB48's captain Yamamoto Sayaka as well as creator and founder of the 48franchise, Akimoto Yasushi.


Her true thoughts and feelings regarding her career in NMB48 can be found from her long post  here from her Google +
Here is a translation:

Hara Mizuki:
It's quite late to talk about this now, but
I announced my graduation during the performance on the 9th.

Upon joining NMB48, I was able to perform at AKB48's Tokyo Autumn Festival as one of the debuting 26 NMB48 members.  But I was not picked for the first NMB48 theater performance on 1/1 and cried with everyone in front of the screen.

On 1/23 I had my first theater performance along with Riho-chan and it went well.
I remember being very stiff because I was so nervous.

Then Team N was announced and I was not chosen.

Everyone cried a lot.

This is when the different amount of work between kenkyuusei and team members became apparent, and people became tense, agitated.

But staff members said it's always possible to become a team member, so please work hard - and everyone did.

This is around the time when kenkyuuseis got their own talk event and people were happy.

When we changed from "Dareka no Tameni" to "Seishun Girls", everyone wanted to perform on the first day of "Seishun Girls" so they all worked very hard.

When the other kenkyuuseis were called to perform, Mizuki was the only one not called.  And I remember this is when I started to dislike the lessons.

But I was very happy when the first day ended without any trouble.

Then NMB48 debuted on CD.
There was only songs from Team N and I was frustrated.

A-nyan graduated and I wasn't sure how to feel.
Then Yuppi was promoted and took A-nyan's position in performances.

I was really sad but the other kenkyuuseis cheered me up and I was happy.

I was also happy when I got a lot of messages and presents on my birthday.

Nana and Ayame also wrote me letters and that made me happy as well.

I got a huge ken-tama from fans and I was happy.  I brought it with me when I went around Japan.

Then NMB48 released its second CD.

I remember everyone was happy that Natsumin got into Senbatsu.

But I also remember that prior to this announcement, I attended a handshake event and shook hands with fans after crying.

Kinoshita was chosen for the 3rd CD but I was not.

Around this time WING was formed, though it was unofficial.

It means everyone will spread their wings and fly towards their dreams, and it was exciting.

Then I told someone higher-up in Yoshimoto about WING.  I said we would like to go on a radio show and they seemed happy about it.

But we ended up not doing anything on radio.

When the disciplined members returned, I ended up not performing much.

They were immediately placed in senbatsu upon returning and it made me really frustrated.

What does this mean for WING, who worked very hard during their absence?

Then Team M was announced and 5 of the WING members were chosen.
I was actually sad and not happy at all.

They say kenkyuuseis will be promoted if they work hard.
Everyone worked hard but in the end only 5 were promoted.

So now do people think A-pon, Arii and Mizuki don't work as hard?

I thought about this a lot.

But I beg to differ.
A-pon goes to lessons every day

Arii does her best to balance high school and lessons

Takahashi-san, whom I admire very much, said hard work always pays off

But I don't think so.

This is where "graduation" occurred to me.

Having entered NMB, I was able to experience a lot of extraordinary things that I wouldn't be able to do elsewhere.

I am grateful towards NMB.

I don't have a lot of time left in NMB, but I'd like to thank everyone for their support.

I would also like to say that I did well in my studies and I was able to get into high school.

Team N
Please keep leading NMB48

Natsumin, Riona, Ayame, Renapyon, Kinoshita
Please make Team M a better team and hope you get along well with 2nd generation members

Arii and A-pon
There's still a lot to learn for 3rd generation members

And Team BII, do your best!

Everyone will be there at my graduation performance
It would be great if everyone from WING can perform

Now it feels like I'm talking about my memories.

I am sorry this ended up being a long post.

I will do my best until I graduate.

Thank you for your support!

After her heartbreaking post, NMB48 captain Yamamoto Sayaka directly responded to it on G+


Translation here:

Yamamoto Sayaka:
Akimoto has said to me bitterly,
“The spotlight never shines on everyone equally.”

When the light is shining on certain people
There is also a shadow
Someone other than you
Is thinking jealously
And eagerly awaiting their chance

But being rewarded is not decided just by your efforts now.

The “labor” in “the fruits of your labor”
Is a long-term word
Results do not mostly come after quick bouts of effort.

This graduation of Mizuki and her determination will surely open new doors.

Feeling uneasy about Hara Mizuki's graduation with Mizuki being in the same generation as her, coming into NMB48 the same time as her as well, Yamamoto Sayaka wrote another long post to show her appreciation to Mizuki as well as to serve as a form of encouragement.

Here is the translation.
Yamamoto Sayaka:
"Someone whose been in the spotlight since the beginning can’t possibly persuade anyone”
Is a reaction that can’t be helped in this situation.

It’s true that since NMB began, I have been captain, and part of the spotlight.
But that’s a story about NMB.

I have a past as well.

There isn’t much to discuss about this, so I’ll keep it short.
Before I joined NMB, I debuted as part of a band.
We performed in the streets, and sold CD’s by hand.

Even when we performed, there would be days where we only had 2 guests.
Finally, the record company told us “Write 10 songs in a week, if not, then we can’t use you”
And that was the end.

For the middle school me, a large wall had blocked me from my goals.
But..but even then, I wanted to sing. I wanted to make music. That is why I am here today.

And because I endured all those things all those years ago, it has all become a reality, bit by bit.
I think Aapon and Arii, who are in the same position as Mizuki, have the same opinion.

But it’s not okay without everyone.
Being an under is an important role, and so is looking after all the juniors.

That’s why I can’t go without thanking Mizuki, Aapon or Arii.
They may say harsh things at times, but the team, even more than the kenkyusei, are grateful.

I may not be able to persuade people.
But I just wanted everyone to know.

Seeing these long posts from the NMB48 members, the matter caught the attention of Akimoto Yasushi, the founder and producer of ALL48. A translation of his response to the whole issue via G+ can be seen here:

Akimoto Yasushi:
For those who think their hard work have not paid off.

The only thing you can do is keep up the hard work.
Work hard, and wait for your chance, that's really about it.

Does the hard work pay off?
The problem is that you won't know when and where.

So what should you do if it doesn't pay off?
...blame it on someone else.

If no one notices your hard work, then the problem lies with people around you.
So for NMB, that would mean Kaneko, Kenmotsu and Sekine are doing a really poor job.
Which means, I'm doing a poor job.

Of course, this is after you've gone to the point that it's impossible to work any harder.
Then you can say, "these guys just don't see what I'm doing."

Actually, about 20 current "stars" were born from people who did not pass auditions, people who were turned down by producers, and people who I did not find interesting as a "creator".
I have terrible eyes.
In fact everyone has terrible eyes.

All you have to think is that there is definitely someone who understands your talents and sees your hard work.

Of course, you can concentrate on school now for a few years, and then give NMB auditions another try.

Please stand stall and say, "I have worked very hard.  I will keep working hard."

Life is a marathon.
It isn't a sprint.

Hara Mizuki, please do your best.

When Maeda Atsuko's graduation announcement was widely reported, Suzuki Rika, a kenkyuusei, graduated quietly without being noticed.  She graduated because she wanted to focus on school.  Both Maeda and Suzuki are in the middle of the marathon.

The goal is far away.
Pace yourself and you'll be fine.

Anyway, I posted this cause I thought it would make an interesting read as well as an eye opener to how these girls, the unders, really feel. You may agree or disagree with everything that was said, but in the end, I am glad Hara Mizuki expressed her true emotions before leaving the group. The idol world is not really as easy as it seems...this is the harsh reality of it all. Of course, this may be unfair on her part, but as implied from above, the end of a dream doesn't mark the end to everything.

In fact, the end of a dream could be a start to a new dream. Whatever new dream these unnoticed graduates may choose to pursue, whether it is related to the entertainment biz or not, that will be up to them. However, though, I wish Hara Mizuki all the best for her future and at least, she can be proud that she was brave enough to speak up just before leaving. With that, at least she did leave a mark even on Aki-P before leaving. Kudos to her for that.

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yuki_yang 11th-Apr-2012 06:51 pm (UTC)
Sayanee is awesome...flawless captain and ace of NMB.

I don't disagree with anyone. I feel like Hara Mizuki is going through a tough time.
We have all been "there" at one point, or many points in our life.
Hard work PAYS off...just not when you expect it might even come at all.

Success is not an entitlement. Just because you work hard doesn't mean you are entitled to anything.
Sometime, it's all about picking the right path and..making the right choices.

Pick your battles.
iusta_rum 11th-Apr-2012 06:55 pm (UTC)
i agree with all of what you said.

But if she wanted a instant spotlight i think she would have to join a 10 or less member idol group. Being with more than 48 people must be really difficult.
iusta_rum 11th-Apr-2012 06:52 pm (UTC)
I like how they handled the situation. They all were sincere about their feelings and nobody was forced to delete what they wrote.

Aki-p words encouraged me to pursue my dreams!

Edited at 2012-04-11 06:52 pm (UTC)
sakana93 11th-Apr-2012 07:00 pm (UTC)
mte :)
rei176 11th-Apr-2012 07:01 pm (UTC)
she express everything and we know everything....but it doesn't mean that we should think negative about 48 family and Aki-P...there are some part that we should understand about them...even the popular members got their own pressure...thumbs up for her...wish her best for the future :)
rei176 11th-Apr-2012 07:02 pm (UTC)
thanks for sharing~~~
flightbyzephyr 11th-Apr-2012 07:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you for sharing these translations with everybody this is a very good post. I realy hope Hara-chan find sucess elsewhere. :')
(no subject) - Anonymous
kazu_kumaguro 12th-Apr-2012 01:27 pm (UTC)
Akipi doesn't have that much power in NMB though, if NMB managed the same way as AKB some of the girls would have disappeared.
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
misty__eyed 11th-Apr-2012 07:19 pm (UTC)
Thanks for sharing this. :) I hope things work out for her whatever she decides to do.
tha_x 11th-Apr-2012 07:24 pm (UTC)
I wish her good luck. I understand her, knowing myself I would be forever bitter.
sheix0 11th-Apr-2012 07:26 pm (UTC)
If you want to be an idol, joining the 48 would be the best chance to be popular since they're so huge right now but honestly it sound so horrible competing with 1230804198 something freaking girls in one group...=__='
I feel bad for all the undergirls..:(
convenience93 11th-Apr-2012 07:32 pm (UTC)
It's definitely harsh but I think they had an idea before they joined.

With so much competition, you wouldn't know whether you'll be able to shine or not. It's a chance they took and they were fully aware of it...

It is sad though coz 48 was meant to be a platform for girls to achieve their dreams. Sometimes they aren't able to achieve that but imo, at least they've tried.

If being an idol doesn't work out for them, they could always try work out something else. In the end, there's a lot more that they could do with life ;)
nalty7 11th-Apr-2012 07:40 pm (UTC)
There are many girls in Mizuki's place and I guess these are their feelings too.It takes a lot of courage to work hard in the shadows when people don't see or acknowledge your achievements.Sometimes I wish the management or their agencies would give them more chances in doing things they like and they are good at even if they aren't popular.
Graduating may be a better choice for her eventually.I wish her luck in everything she chooses to do!
sundaetea 11th-Apr-2012 07:45 pm (UTC)
wow, an interesting and heartfelt read. i can definitely understand her! although our circumstances are different, there's always competition in life. best wishes for her future!
shikobe 11th-Apr-2012 07:47 pm (UTC)
wow thats some pretty depressing stuff...
i totally feel for her.
i know nothing about Natsumi Hirajima, but when i found out she was a gen 1 AKB48 member, i felt for all those under appreciated members who dont get to shine.
i hope those girls will either get their time to shine or realize their talents can be shown elsewhere
convenience93 11th-Apr-2012 08:04 pm (UTC)
Yeahh this. I pretty much agree.

She is still really young after all like 14/15.

Really possibilities are still endless for her :)

koichiko 11th-Apr-2012 08:32 pm (UTC)
It must be so hard to work hard every single day while others tell you your work will definitely pay of some day ... and that day never arriving.
I understand that Akimoto wants to keep his girls encouraged and wants to devide equal limelight to everyone. But it seems a little pretentious to me to be saying something like that when you have over one hundred (?) girls doing their absolut best and knowing that there are only a few who will ever shine.
I fell really bad for her and hope she can find happiness in something else soon :)
nyappnyappcafe 12th-Apr-2012 12:04 am (UTC)
But it seems a little pretentious to me to be saying something like that when you have over one hundred (?) girls doing their absolut best and knowing that there are only a few who will ever shine.

Nail on the head.
I would be a little bitter too if I was first gen member of ANY group and have worked my butt off only to be told to sit down somewhere and wait until people think I am working hard. It's only natural.
I'd be rollin' out. She could probably be putting that time and effort into something in which she will actually reap the benefits of her work. Being an idol is not a job one can fall back on, and after a certain period of time, I would be ready to start looking into different avenues.
taecish 11th-Apr-2012 08:33 pm (UTC)
sounds like she needs 2 get over it n stop being bitter shes not popular
niainwonderland 11th-Apr-2012 09:29 pm (UTC)
Easier said than done. She's only human. And honestly it's hard to smile and act like you're okay while everyone else around you is reaching success and their dreams.
peniko 11th-Apr-2012 09:23 pm (UTC)
wooow... someone actually use Google+
taylorniw 11th-Apr-2012 10:10 pm (UTC)
It's to be expected, though. When you take into account the number of girls that get promoted versus the number of girls in the actual group, the odds are unfortunately against you in terms of popularity. You don't join a near fifty member group if you want to stand out. I honestly feel like being in the 48 groups have few perks compared to even lesser known groups if you're not at least a senbatsu or upper undergirl.

At least she's young. It would be unfortunate to be an unknown girl who stuck around for so long that she couldn't really move on or do anything else. It's easier to if you're younger.

Edited at 2012-04-11 10:14 pm (UTC)
mrjl_writer 12th-Apr-2012 02:26 am (UTC)
Precisely, this is why I don't like these giant idol groups. As far as I can tell, they just give a lot of girls false hope because I'm sure every girl who goes into these groups dreams of having that spotlight shot. There's no sense of equality in these large idol groups because there's no even rotation. Not everyone gets equal spotlight time because there are always going to be those girls who end up more popular and sell better being at the front and those girls are going to be the ones who move up. I don't doubt that a good majority of these girls work as hard as they possibly can, but what are they getting out of it career-wise by constantly getting overlooked? Aside from a front seat into the harsh realities of the entertainment world? Does it matter if you say "I was in idol group *insert name here*" if no one remembers you? What's the point in so many members?
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