Kobayashi Kana: I became an AKB member, but I couldn’t become an idol

Kobayashi Kana had her graduation theater performance on March 31st, 2016. In it she reminisces about her time in AKB48, and her prospects going forward. Here is an English translation of her final message.

“I took a quick look around, and I see that some fellow 2nd generations members came. Tojima Hana, from 1st generation, also came. So many people came to celebrate with me. Right now, as I am, I’m so happy that I’ll be able to graduate like this” (チラっと見えちゃったんですけど、2期のメンバーも応援しに来てくれて、1期生の戸島花ちゃんも来てくれてて。こんなにたくさんの人にお祝いされて卒業できることが今の私には本当に幸せです)

“When I became part of AKB48 10 years ago, my father was so strictly against it. He always told me, ‘You need to study!’ Because of that, I was really not good at studying. My parents also had a lot of things they wanted me to do. At the time, I naively thought, “Oh, if I did this kind of work, maybe they won’t be angry with me” — with that in mind, I attended the audition” (私がAKB48に入ったのは10年前で、うちはお父さんが凄い厳しくて、ずっと「勉強しろ勉強しろ」とか言ってたから、勉強、私苦手だったんですね。うちの両親もこういうのをやって欲しいっていうのがあって、「あっ、こういう仕事をしたら親に怒られないんじゃないか」っていう安易な考えでオーディションを受けたんですね、その当時は).

“But, when you’re studying at school, there’s a right answer. In AKB48, there is no right answer. That’s why, I never quite understood how to go higher” (でも、学校の勉強には正解があるけど、AKB48には正解がありません。だから、何をやったら上に行けるのかとかまったくわからなくて).

“That first performance day, 10 years ago, I was the center for ‘Sakura no Hanabiratachi’. Even so, I couldn’t manage the rear positions, and there were a lot of things I wasn’t able to keep up with (10年前の初日は「桜の花びらたち」でセンターだったのに、後ろに下げられちゃったりとか、私が守りきれなかったこともありました).

“But, it’s because I had that experience, that I felt much closer to my fans and the like. Therefore, I want to tell myself that I’ve done a good job.” (でも、それを経験したから今こうやってファンの人をもっと近くで感じられたりとかしてるので、私は今のこの自分にお疲れ様って言ってあげたいです)

“I think that the fans know this: I might have became a member of AKB48, but in these 10 years, I always felt that I was never able to become an idol. It’s like… I was just acting as ‘Kobayashi Kana’, like usual, and then somehow, I amassed a lot of masochistic fans. Haha!” (たぶんファンの人は知ってると思うけど、私はAKB48の一員にはなれたかもしれませんが、10年間アイドルにはなれなかったなってずっと思ってました。なんか、小林香菜っていうのを普通にやってて、そしたらなんか、ちょっとドMのファンの人が一杯きたりとかして).

“No matter how cold I was to everyone, I had a lot of interesting fans. After I graduate, if it’s okay, I’d like you to come see me again” (なんかどんなに冷たくしてもついてきたりとかしてくれる面白いファンの人たちだったので、卒業後もこんな私でよければまた会いに来てください)

“After all this… there were a lot of fans who kept on saying they were worried. But, I was probably the most worried… No worries, but for these 10 years, I arrived at this point always telling myself, ‘It’ll work out somehow.’ I have so many things I want to do, so many dreams. So as I tell myself, ‘It will all work out somehow’, I want to look forward into the next chapter of my life” (今後はですね。今後のことについてファンの人が「不安だ不安だ」って凄い言ってくるんですよ。でも、不安なのはたぶん私が結構一番不安・・・。不安はないけど、でも今まで10年間「なんとかなる、大丈夫」ってやってきてここまで来たんで、やりたいことも夢も一杯あるので、「なんとかなる、大丈夫」って思いながらこれから先の第二章を始めたいと思います).

Author: jerry

Sometimes editor. Sometimes translator. Mostly a proofreader. I like Japan and things.

  • novakayne27

    that was a pretty good speech… I always liked how levelheaded she became as she got older… I guess i’m one of those fans she talked about lol, always liked her always will

  • Derek Vasconi

    I will always appreciate her and who she was in AKB. It’s so sad to me that most of the old guard in AKB are clearing out in droves. But this one hurts a little more than most… I totally understand what she meant by not being able to become an idol, so I definitely and truly hope whatever is next for her will bring her the kind of success she’s been after while in AKB. I know she’ll do it. Ganbatte Kana!

  • reika