March 11, AKB48 and their sister groups SKE48, NMB48,and HKT48 held special performances on the 2nd year anniversary of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake. The performances were held to support the ongoing reconstruction and they were held at the group’s theaters as well as the disaster areas.
The members also visited 10 locations in the disaster-struck areas for the special performances. The girls stated their everlasting support once again, and at 2:46 pm, 264 members from the 4 groups stood in silence for a few moments at each location, as a tribute to the victims.
The day happened to be member Shinoda Mariko’s 27th birthday. Shinoda who visited Rikuzentakata, said, “To be honest, I was very anxious if it’s really fine for us AKB48 to visit here on March 11 (anniversary date), but seeing many people’s happy faces made me think that I’m really happy to be here.” She also said, “The news reports about the disaster is ramped up around March 11 for sure, but we visit the disaster area every month continuously. That’s why I believe that there are things only we could express, so we would like to continue for the support activities.” Fellow member Akimoto Sayaka who was also one of the members who visited Rikuzentakata and said, “The kids’ smiles were just amazing. I felt that even though their hands are still very small, they will get much bigger, and will grab and create many things while overcoming this earthquake. As fellow Japanese, we also want to think about what we can do.” Shinoda, Akimoto, and other members also offered flowers at the memorial site with locals.
Oshima Yuko was one of the members to visit Otsuchi-cho, Iwate. This marked the second time for Oshima to visit the town as she was there back in May of 2011. She said, “I was really happy to hear, ‘You are here again, thank you! You really came back!’ When I visited here 2 years ago, I did not know what to say while I was talking to everyone, but today, there was a student who said, ‘You cheered me for my entrance examination 2 years ago, and I passed it!’ I realized that something we started 2 years ago was all connected to the present.”
Takahashi Minami visited Kamaishi-city, Iwate. She said, “I was truly grateful that people welcomed us warmly. I was also thankful to be able to share this precious time together with them.” She then continued, “I know there are things we can do for sure, so we would like to continue our support activities through 48 groups, though I don’t know how helpful we can be.”
At each location, the members performed 12 songs in total including their new charity song “Tenohira ga Kataru Koto.” (You can download the charity song for free, and make a donation here!)
Below are the list of locations and the members.
【Iwate・Otsuchi-cho】Oshima Yuko, Kikuchi Ayaka, Kuramochi Asuka, Uchida Mayumi, Muto Tomu, Takeuchi Miyu
【Iwate・Yamada-machi】Yokoyama Yui, Matsui Rena, Takahashi Juri, Kawaei Rina, Oya Shizuka, Natori Wakana
【Iwate・Rikuzentakata-city】Shinoda Mariko, Akimoto Sayaka, Iriyama Anna, Maeda Ami, Abe Maria, Nonaka Misato
【Iwate・Kamaishi-city】Takahashi Minami, Nakagwa Haruka, Umeda Ayaka, Nito Moeno, Tanabe Miku, Suzuki Mariya
【Miyagi・Kesennuma-city】Kashiwagi Yuki, Yamamoto Sayaka, Katayama Haruka, Sato Sumire, Suzuki Shihori, Ota Aika
【Miyagi・Watari-cho】Matsui Jurina, Takajo Aki, Matsui Sakiko, Tano Yuuka, Nagao Mariya, Nakatsuka Tomomi
【Miyagi・Onagawa-cho】Watanabe Mayu, Shimazaki Haruka, Kodama Haruka, Fujie Reina, Kojima Natsuki, Iwasa Misaki
【Miyagi・Takajo-city】Kojima Haruna, Sashihara Rino, Iwata Karen, Kobayashi Kana, Oshima Ryoka, Komori Mika
【Fukushima・Minamisoma-city】Minegishi Minami, Kitahara Rie, Watanabe Miyuki, Miyazaki Miho, Oba Mina, Yamauchi Suzuran
【Fukushima・Iwaki-city】Itano Tomomi, Miyazawa Sae, Kasai Tomomi, Kato Rena, Shimada Haruka, Sato Amina