Maeda Ami announces graduation

Maeda Ami announced her graduation during her 21st birthday theater performance, which took place on June 1st, 2016. Here is an English translation of her graduation announcement and commentary.

The full commentary is much longer, but I shortened things to the two most relevant pieces of the talk portion, when Maeda Ami is asked about the past year, and the year ahead.


  • How was the past year? (この1年はどんな1年でしたか?)

Becoming 20 years old, it’s really like, so I’ve made it 20 years now, and I’d call it a turning point. When I really think about it, this past year has gone by really fast. Probably the fastest year in my life so far. It’s been really fulfilling and fast year. (二十歳の年は、やっぱりこう、20年間生きてこれたというか、節目の年でもあるし、ほんとによく考えたらあっという間に過ぎた1年、今まででたぶん一番早かったなって思うぐらい充実もしてたし、早いなって思う1年で)

As for what else, becoming two years means taking part in the Coming of Age ceremony. The people around me, like my family, and to my fans – from the bottom of my heart, I tried my best to express my thanks. I feel like I’ve said, “Thank you”, so many times now. This year has been filled with new encounters and break ups. (あとはやっぱり、二十歳になって、成人式とかも迎えて、人に、とか周りの家族だったり、ファンの皆さんだったり、周りの人に感謝の気持ちを伝えようっていう心がけをしてて。なので凄い「ありがとう」をたくさん言った気がするし、出会いも別れもいっぱいあったなーって思う年だったし)

Also, I’ve felt that live theater has been really big for me, and I’ve been able to appear in three different plays this year. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to handle it, but a lot of different people supported me. I’ve gotten advice from members like Nana, who have theater experience. And there people who also starred with me taught me a lot. The writers were really strict and told me about all my mistakes. It was kind of amazing. Recently, as part of AKB, as I’ve slowly become a senior member, there have been less people to get mad at me, or teach me things. That’s why I learn a lot when I’m in a stage play. That’ what I’ve thought this year. (あとは舞台がやっぱり一番大きいかなって思うんですけど。やっぱこの1年で舞台も3本だったり、やらせていただいて。やっぱり私なんかができるのかなって凄い不安だったんですけど、周りの人が支えてくれたりとか、なぁなとかも舞台に立ったことがあるメンバーからアドバイスもらったりとか、あとは一緒に共演してくださる役者さんのみんなが凄く教えてくれたりとか、私のダメなところを演出家さんが凄い厳しく怒ってくれたりとか、教えてくれたりとか、凄いなんか、そういうのを最近あんまりAKBに入って、先輩になっていくうちにやっぱり怒られたりとか教えてもらうことって少なくなってきちゃってて、だからそういう舞台の中で、そうやって教えてもらうことが凄いたくさんあったので勉強になったなって凄く思う1年でした)


  • What do you want to do this year? (これからの1年はどんな年にしたいですか?)

For this next year, well, I turned 21 yesterday. There were so many people who celebrated for me. And today also, I’m so very happy to hear all of your kind voices.

I… well… it’s really hard for me to say. I want to graduate from AKB48.

Umm… I really gave it a lot of though. At this time, I really feel that I want to graduate from AKB48. I want all of you to be the first to know, so I used this opportunity to allow me to say this. (あの、やっぱり凄く悩んだんですけど、今この時期に私はAKB48を卒業したいと凄く思いまして、みなさんに早くというか一番最初に伝えたかったのでこの場をお借りして言わせていただいたんですけど)

Honestly, well, I become part of AKB48 when I was thirteen years old, and have been a full-fledged member for about 8 years. I really think I was able to make it this far thanks to all of you. When I first started, I was really terrible at dancing, and I couldn’t do anything. Even though I was really air-headed, I received center position in some songs, and I was able to appear in many music shows. In that environment, so many new girls appeared. And very quickly I felt as if I was being pushed out, and every day was a battle. Every day was so bewildering. There was a lot going on. (やっぱり、そうですね、13歳ぐらいから入って、もう今約8年ぐらいAKB48に所属させてもらって、ほんとにここまでこれたのはほんとにみなさんのおかげだなって凄く思いますし、やっぱり入った当時、ほんとにダンスも苦手で何もできなくって、ぽんこつな私だったんですけど、センターの曲を頂いたりとか、歌番組に出させてもらったりとか凄い恵まれた環境にいて、新しい子がいっぱい入ってきて、どんどんやっぱり抜かされるし、毎日が戦いの日々で。凄い目まぐるしい毎日で。なんか色んなことがあったんですけど。)

But, because you were there for me, I was able to do my best. I made it this far. Even so, I was so frustrated because, even now, I wasn’t able to make it into the top 16 members in any of the elections. I really didn’t want to give up, but…

But, right now, we’re talking about handing over things to a new generation. I really, really want AKB to keep going. That gives me a kind of strength, and taking that all in, I know I want to try harder. In the end, when I was thinking about why I wanted to graduate, I really felt that being an idol is was I’ve wanted to become and wanted to do (でも、もう今はやっぱり世代交代っていうのもあるし、もっともっとAKBにも頑張って欲しいし、私もそれをバネにというか、刺激を受けて頑張りたいなって思いますし、やっぱり、そうですね、卒業を決めた理由は、改めて考えた時に、私は、やっぱりなりたいものというかやりたいことがアイドルではないなって凄く思って)

I also dreamed about being an actress after entering AKB, acting in stage plays, and learning many things.

Therefore, since I’ve past 20 and have become 21 now, I want to open a new path to the the things I want to do. Being supported by all of you has given me so much confidence, and I feel so much support. Every day, I realized how glad I am to be a part of AKB. (なので、この二十歳を迎えて、今21歳になって、今やりたいことを、道を開いてやりたいことをやりたいなと凄く思いまして。こんなにたくさんのファンのみなさんがいてくれるっていうのは凄く私の自信にもなったし、ほんとに支えられているなって凄く思ったし、AKBに入ってほんとに良かったなって凄く思うことも毎日あって)

I’ve meet so many people, and I’ve met so many new members. I realized that my work was supported by so many people. I’ve gained courage. Being able to stand on this stage in the theater every day has given me courage, the strength to support others, and I’ve learned a lot. Now that I’ve turned 21 years old, and I want to build a new life, and that’s why I’ve decided to graduate from AKB. (色んな人に出会うのもそうだし、こんなにいっぱい、たくさんのメンバーに会えたのもそうだし、凄い周りに支えられているお仕事だなっていうのも実感できたし、やっぱり度胸もついたし、公演っていうこういうステージで毎日立たせてもらったりとかするとやっぱり度胸もつくし、対応力もつくし、色んなことが勉強になって。なので、私はもう21歳になって新しく生まれ変わりたいなと凄く思ったので、AKBの卒業を決めました)

As for my goals, I think that I want to become a role model for others. When they become part of AKB, Mogi-chan and Tatsumaki, and so many other members, told me how much they liked me. A growing number of members said to me, “I really admire you”. Even members from NMB. I listened to that and was so very happy. I’m really glad to have been a part of AKB. I have absolutely no regrets, only fond memories. It might be really lonely, but I’m graduating and heading toward my own dream. Thank you to everyone for supporting someone like me. I’d be very happy if you still followed me, and I hope you’ll continue to support me. (あとは、目標としていたのが、憧れられる存在になりたいなって凄く思っていて。AKBに入って、茂木ちゃんだったり、たつまきだったり、色んなメンバーが私のことが好きって言ってくれるメンバーが増えて、「憧れてます」って言ってくれるメンバーが増えて。NMBにもいたりとか、そういうのを凄く聞いて、凄く嬉しいなと思って。なのでAKBに入ってほんとに良かったなって凄く思ってるし、全然後悔はしてないので。ほんとに楽しい思い出ばかりで。凄く寂しいんですけど、でもやっぱり今、私は卒業して、自分の夢に向かって、頑張っていきたいなと思いますので、こんな私ですが、みなさん、本当に今までいつも応援してくれてありがとうございました。これからも是非ついてきてくれたら嬉しいです。これからも前田亜美をよろしくお願いします)

Author: jerry

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

  • Mattes Cog

    Thank you for the translation. I discovered AKB about 2 yrs. ago. And as I became more of a fan I was also learning how many of the girls I’d just discovered had already graduated and moved on with their lives. I don’t know how AKB will continue to evolve. But I truly believe that in yrs. to come the first 5 gens will become more legendary. And I believe there are other members from later gens who will also. Maeda Ami was fun and with a sweet personality. I hope she’s well and happy. As I do all of the members who made me love them. In this world we need to laugh and smile as much as possible. I have much gratitude for anyone who’s given me that gift. I hope Ami feels good about her time in AKB. She was part of something special.