AKB48's Sato Natsuki has announced that she will be graduating the group, in order to focus on her studies at Waseda University. The following was posted to the AKB blog:
I, Sato Natsuki, will graduate from AKB48.
As a second generation member, I have really accumulated a lot of experiences during my time in AKB. I have met and said goodbye to a lot of people during my exciting times here.
After 6.5 years here, the Tokyo Dome concert this summer was an eye-opening experience for me.
Being able to perform on the stage of Tokyo Dome, even though I was definitely not the focus of the concert, was definitely proof that I have accomplished my dream. I will treasure this experience for the rest of my life.
I joined AKB I was 15, and when I realized it, I am 22...and because I am already 22...
I've been thinking about that, but realized I have been looking at the world as if I have seen a lot, and thought "wait, I am just 22."
Maybe there are things I have overlooked.
I realized there are still a lot of challenges, and a lot of things that need to be done diligently.
That's why now I want to go to an University, study hard, and graduate.
I want to be recognized as an able individual and I have to work hard for that.
I am going to focus on my studies and put the entertainment industry behind me.
I am sorry that I have come to this conclusion selfishly and caused trouble.
To fans that have supported me...
Thank you for all the smiles and all the love.
All my fans have great smiles that cheered me up and gave me courage all the time, but I've always been on the receiving end.
I have shown you my weaknesses as well, but you guys have become my support, which made me stronger.
Thank you for supporting someone like me.
I am grateful.
To my family...
Thank you for always being on my side.
I am sorry about all the trouble and tears I caused.
I will return the love you gave me many times more.
Thank you so much.
To staff and members -
To all the staff, who have always been serious to me when I asked for advice.
To all the members that have laughed, cried and went through everything with me.
Because you were here all along with me
I was able to enjoy everything from the bottom of my heart.
The ability to laugh from the bottom of my heart until I start crying, I think that doesn't happen all the time.
The times I was able to spend with everyone during our extremely busy days, when we have to give everything every single day, is my life-long treasure, and it will serve me well for the rest of my life.
Thank you for the extremely happy times.
Original Entry / Blog Translation
Wow, with Nnacchi and Yuttan gone, AKB just lost their two best singers. Nnacchi was clearly getting nothing from AKB, despite being so talented. It's a shame because in AKB's early days she got a decent amount of push as part of Nacchinon. I can't really see her staying in the industry either, although she is still part of Watanabe Ent.