On June 9 Oshima Yuko decided to bring her 8 years and 2 months worth of activities as a member of J-pop mega-group AKB48 to an end. Oshima became the captain of Team K in 2012 and has been a leader ever since. The last song she performed live was "Heavy Rotation".
Here is her long, but heartfelt graduation speech,
"We, AKB48, began from this small theater. It has a capacity of 250, and we could not fill to the capacity, but the number of the audience started growing, then everyone began to support us, and it made our concept 'idols you can meet' gradually get around.
Just yesterday, we, who started as 'Akiba-kei idol', were able to fill a huge venue like the Ajinomoto Stadium which has a capacity of 70,000 audience, and it was really like a dream. Since we still perform here at the 48 theater in Akihabara, today, we are performing in front of 250 people, although we performed in front of 70,000 people yesterday. It feels really small, but this narrow space is the starting point of me, Oshima of AKB48. The saddest thing for me is that I could never dance here, or commute here.
This place is a full of memories, like everyone's smiles and sweat, the narrowness, dirtiness, and also the bad air of its dressing room, but I truly think that I am happy to have been able to start from here.
After our small dream changed to a big one, I am about to depart with the big dream on my back.
Now, over 200 members are in the 48 groups. Each one's dream came together, and we tried our best to make them come true one by one come to become this big family.
To you that support us, because of your support, AKB has been able to come this far after 8 years and a half, and soon it will be 10 years. You see the 2 pillars right there? (While pointing at the 8 ribbons wrapped around the pillars), currently, it has 8 of them, and it will be 10 of them with an additional 2. I am looking forward to seeing the 2 to be added.
Thinking that everyone will continue to perform at this theatre until then...even though I can't come here, I'm sure the image of the members performing will pop up in my head around 7 o'clock.
To you all who found us, who were just ordinary girls, and supported us, thank you very much. It's ok for an ordinary girl to have a big dream, isn't it? Thank you for giving me the courage to do so. Though my ability is still lacking in many ways, changing what I have gained this past 8 years to the confidence in myself, I will keep on walking while standing on my own feet.
To whom who could not come here from all over Japan, please continue to support AKB48, me, Oshima Yuko, as well as the graduated members who have departed from here.
AKB48 is my treasure. Thank you very much for cheering for Oshima Yuko of AKB48. Please continue to cheer for me."