For AKB48, it’s said that it’s a place where you personally grow your own appeal. NMB, however, has a grand goal of winning against AKB48, and that strength of unity is really something. Up until now, it’s been said that Kashiwagi doesn’t take an interest in other people, but when I look at how NMB comes together, not only do I think it’s great but I’ve become really interested in them. In the 8 years I’ve been in AKB48, I don’t think I’ve changed that much.
When my kennin was announced to NMB, a lot of fans said things like “Her Namba Kouhai will be able to receive a lot of idol power from her.” But in reality, it was the opposite. They did nothing but teach me. Of course, there’s the opinion that senpai teach their kouhai. Once I threw away that line of thinking and let it go, I found the importance of giving everything you have. In 8 years, if you’ve been in the same surroundings and practice in the dark, you forget about the things you can’t see and the effort you used.
When I started with NMB48, at the time Sutou Ririka from Team N had also just entered. She was at a level where she didn’t believe in herself and couldn’t do anything at all, like with dance. But she sucked it up and kept practicing. And with that, Keicchi and other senpai members would divide their time and take turns teaching Ririka. I was honestly surprised with that.
When I looked at that, I began to think, “I also want to teach my kouhai some things.” That’s why, in March, for the Saitama Super Arena Young Members concert, I went to see them thinking that it would be great if I could praise the kids and help them grow.
Honestly, even now I am at a loss when I think about what I can teach to others. When I was in primary school and I researched idols and their strength, there’s no possible way you can easily teach someone all that. But, in real life when someone teaches another, they grow proportionally, and that’s something I understood when watching the NMB48 members.