Last Bus Stop “AKB48 Theater” for Yokoyama Yui

#AKB48, #横山由依 – Japanese idol group AKB48 said goodbye to their grand lady Yokoyama Yui. On 27 November 2021, the graduation concert “Yokoyama Yui Graduation Concert – Shinya Bus ni Notte” was held at Pacifico Yokohama National Convention Hall, and with the traditional graduation performance at the AKB48 Theater, Yokoyama Yui gave her final goodbye to the group on 9 December 2021.

Yokoyama Yui made her debut with the group in November 2009 as a member of the 9th Generation.On December 8, 2015, she took over the position of AKB48 Group Soukantoku from AKB48 founding member Takahashi Minami. In the following years, she led the group with her outstanding personality. On 1 April 2019, she handed over her position as Soukantoku to AKB48 15th Generation member Mukaichi Mion.

A ride on the night bus.

On 27 November 2021, the graduation concert “Yokoyama Yui Graduation Concert – Shinya Bus ni Notte” was held at the Pacifico Yokohama National Convention Hall. The title was meant to be reminiscent of Yokoyama Yui’s early days in AKB48 when she regularly commuted between Kyoto and Tokyo by night bus. Due to hygiene measures, only a limited number of AKB48 members could attend the concert.

The concert started with a video of Yokoyama Yui boarding the night bus once again and reviewing her career in AKB48 to the sounds of the trademark AKB48 “Overture.” Arriving in front of the concert hall, she sang a solo of the popular AKB48 song “Shoujotachi yo.” The song was followed by songs from the early days of AKB48. The block ended with the title song of AKB48’s current single “Ne mo Ha mo Rumor.”

Each new block was introduced with a video of the bus ride. The first major block was a medley of all eight Senbatsu Sousenkyo songs in which Yokoyama Yui was a member of the Senbatsu, beginning with “Flying Get” and ending with the last AKB48 Senbatsu Sousenkyo song “Sentimental Train.” While the songs were presented, the corresponding acceptance speeches were shown in the background. EX-AKB48 member and current CGM48 manager Izuta Rina, who has not shied away from quarantine, then appeared as the first surprise guest.

After her solo song “Tsuki to Mizukagami” and the “Sailor Zombie” unit song, EX-AKB48 member Kawaei Rina appeared and personally delivered her congratulations.

The next block brought back memories of Yokoyama Yui’s time as a Kennin member of NMB48, “HA!” and the popular NMB48 song “Dazai Osamu wo Yonda ka?” as a duet with Oya Shizuka. A video showing Yukuyama Yui practicing various musical instruments for AKB48 concerts introduced the song “Saishuu Bell ga Naru”. Here Yokoyama Yui again showed what she is also very well known for, her skills on the drums.

After video messages from Shinoda Mariko, Minegishi Minami and Kojima Haruna, Yokoyama Yui’s time with one of AKB48’s most popular subgroups “Not yet” was remembered. Again, former teammates Oshima Yuko, Sashihara Rino and Kitahara Rie didn’t miss the chance to say goodbye to Yokoyama Yui personally, All four performed the two Not yet songs “Shuumatsu Not yet” and “Already”.

With the greetings of EX-AKB48 Soukantoku Takahashi Minami the last part of the main concert was introduced and a potpourri of popular AKB48 songs was shown. With “Tanpopo no Kesshin” the main part of the concert ended.

The graduation began with a video of Yokoyama Yui reading a letter from her mother. Afterwards, Yokoyama Yui appeared in a flowing beaded dress in the color of the blue flowers of evergreen lilies. She presented her graduation song, “Kimi ga Inaku Naru 12gatsu.” After “Mienai Sora wa Itsudemo Aoi” and “Juuryoku Sympathy”, which Yokoyama Yui presented together with AKB48 members, the current AKB48 Soukantoku Mukaichi Mion gave her message to Yokoyama Yui. With “Shoujotachi yo” which was sung by everyone this time, the graduation ceremony and the concert ended.

Last Bus Stop “AKB48 Theater”

Traditionally, each AKB48 member leaves with a graduation performance at the AKB48 Theater. This is also how Yokoyama Yui’s journey ended at the AKB48 Theater on 9 December 2021. Yokoyama Yui, with a mix of Team A members and longtime companions, presented a colorful potpourri of AKB48 songs that Yokoyama Yui personally selected. Including song from her subgroup “Not yet”, her solo “Tsuki to Mizukagami, the duet “Tomodachi de Irarerunara” which she sang with Kashiwagi Yuki. CGM48 manager Izuta Rina appeared as a surprise guest for “Junai no Crescendo,” a song that became famous thanks to the subgroup “No3b” of the first Soukantoku Takahashi Minami.

After a moderation, Yokoyama Yui appeared in her 2018 Soukantoku costume, which she wore to her solo concert. In this costume, elements from the AKB48 Group were incorporated, especially all the groups were presented as pennants on the costume. She presented songs like “Oogoe Diamond” and “Zutto Zutto” with changing AKB48 members. With “Hikaro to Kage no Hibi” the main part of the show ended.

The graduation ceremony began with a video clip. Yokoyama Yui appeared in the dress she wore during her graduation concert and sang her graduation song “Kimi ga Inaku Naru 12gatsu”. After “GIVE ME FIVE!”, the main graduation began with Oya Shizuka presenting her with a photo album as a memento. This was followed by taking the farewell photo. Ex-Soukantoku Takahashi Minami did not miss the opportunity this time and appeared in person to see her successor off. She set a personal record in bursting into tears. A short speech followed in which Yokoyama Yui thanked the staff and members as well as the fans of AKB48. Traditionally, the graduation ceremony ended to the bells of the song “Songs no Hanabiratachi”.

The traditional last act of each member of AKB48 is to take down their photo in the lobby of the AKB48 Theater.