Usually take the final day of a month off and had all intentions of doing that today. But wasn't planning on doing a post for Yui until December 14th or 16th, whenever her position on this year's faves list came up. At first was going to make this a very short post but coming in said why not go all out and muse about a few of my other favorite J-Pop Idols who have departed recently too.
You can probably guess what the theme is for this post after reading the above and if you somehow haven't heard the news a little over 24 hours ago Yui announced her graduation on the Keya 'Diary' group blog. To say that came out of nowhere and stunned me along with tens of thousands of others would be an understatement! A couple of times the last few months had said it appeared we wouldn't be seeing Yui depart Keya/Sakura for a while and was very confident on that. So this news has sent me into such a funk, can think of only one other graduation that hit me so hard and will talk about her in the final part of this post. Though by far the biggest J-Pop tragedy to me is when C-ute disbanded as that too was a bit unexpected and they remain my favorite J-Pop of all time.
Above is the link to Yui's blog entry which she posted yesterday. It wasn't too long and sure more will be coming out about her future as she never talked about it. Yui felt after eight years that she had experienced everything an Idol could accomplish though she never was the center for an A-side song. Of course she added in her thanks to her 'Buddies' fans and said let's make the next two months a happy period. Two months for Yui will be leaving Keya with a pair of concerts at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium on January 31st and February 1st. We all knew this day would come so I would have been sad regardless of when her graduation took place but this was just so unexpected and think I will be in a Zombie like daze for a while....
What really shocked me was the timing of this announcement. Mizuho had just graduated three days before Yui said she would be departing too and why didn't she wait just a bit longer? Obviously she must have had this planned out for a while but wouldn't it have been just a bit wiser to wait a few more weeks and let the dust settle from that last graduation? Perhaps that wouldn't have worked out as well as far as having two graduation concerts go and there's probably a few other things we're not aware of. So this means Yui will have no farewell single, maybe if she had waited two more months she could have finally been the center for an A-side single, hard to believe she never had that honor and could that have been a reason too? One other thing is that it seems so rushed, the announcement just came out of nowhere and two months from now isn't a long time.
But on the bright side you can say that Yui is going out on a high note as her last fourteen months have been her busiest stretch ever. Her second photobook came out a little over a year ago, she was in the "Actress" drama, is now a model for the andGirl magazine and of course appears at every major fashion show. Plus Keya/Sakura has also been very busy this year with three singles, two tours and for the first time did a few concerts outside of Japan. So perhaps this is the wisest time for her to graduate as her popularity may not go any higher and hope she follows what other successful Idols have done and remain busy with no long breaks after departing. As a final sendoff wouldn't a third photobook be the icing on the cake? It would for me and sure so many others reading this too, if you think about it that would be the last time we would ever see any kind of gravure photos from Yui.
So that should wrap up those thoughts about Yui leaving, for over four years now have said she's easily been the most likable woman I post about. Wonder where I would put her on my all time list as far as just J-Pop Idols go? Probably around fourth, she would be beaten out by a smidgen by an old Keya mate of hers, one member from C-ute and maybe one Nogi gal but that would be it. Had said a few times if Yui would end up staying with Keya until 2025/26 she had an excellent chance of being my #1 woman of all time which is still possible but not as likely now. Her next post will be in a little over two weeks from today, will have some other musings then and hopefully a bit more news of what her future may hold.
That above is from a July magazine spread featuring the final five first generation members. Soon it will be down to three and for a long time have been saying Fuyaka on the left would be the last 1G member standing and that prediction so far is holding up. The last two years has not been kind to me as far as my fave J-Pop Idols go as so many have left their groups, not just regular faves but some of my biggest ones of all time. Let me end off with some those massive faves who have left recently and is it any wonder why I'm not nearly as big of a fan of J-Pop as I once was?
Bet there has to be so many like me which is that when so many of your favorite members leave you lose a bit of interest in the group. One thing Keya has which is a huge positive is that their second generation members are so strong and will continue doing posts for them. On to the list of some of those massive faves who have left their groups recently and of course have to mention Risa first as she's my #1 woman of all time! She will have a post coming up in six days and though I hated to see her leave wasn't all that broken up about it. Risa has remained busy and hope Yui has been noticing that, for the sixth time she will make the top ten on the yearly faves list.
She left Keya in May 2022, the previous month my all time top Nogi member had departed!!!! That's Hinako and back to back months with a #1 leaving didn't make that period of time a happy one for me. Hinako was my #2 woman of all time on the faves list and what has happened with her? She was busy for the first ten months after leaving Nogi but since April of this year has done virtually zero and haven't done a post for her since March!
To top it off two months before that my second fave Nogi member Mai had graduated! She went out in style with a fabulous photobook and is one of the few that is busier after she left her group. Mai has appeared at so many events this past year, hosts both a radio and TV show, has been in two stage plays, just released her second calendar, all in all she's been one busy woman since leaving Nogi. Will have more on her soon as she will have a post this Sunday.
Whew, so my top three members from Keya and Nogi all left within three months and there is a more recent gradation. That's of my all time favorite Morning Musume member Mizuki who held her graduation concert yesterday, when is this going to stop?!?! I've liked Mizuki immensely for about seven years but she had been way too quiet since the beginning of 2022 though just did a post for her a few weeks back and will have another one for her coming up very soon. Do have her graduation concert on video but how I hate viewing those....
Coming up soon will be Miku's HKT graduation concerts, her final theater show will be at the end of December and her farewell concert will be in March but that's it as she no longer is doing any other group activities. Over the last fourteen months she's become my all time HKT member but her leaving isn't a bad thing as the group was holding her down, her next post will be in ten days.
If you want to go back a little bit further Miru left NMB in August 2021 and she was the last of the first generation members. Since 2016 she had been my top NMB gal and for the most part hasn't been all that busy since graduating. Her third photobook did come out in June so was busy for that period but besides that we haven't heard all that much from Miru.
So in the last 2+ years my favorite members from Keya, Nogi, Morning Musume, HKT and NMB have all left!!!! So you can see why the posts this year have gone down and there's many others from groups who have left that I had liked quite a bit too. You can add in SKE to the mix as thirteen months ago my all time number one member Akari left the group and in such a rarity is more popular than ever! Akari has done things right as she's worked harder than ever since graduating and it's paid off, all Idols who are planning on leaving should look at how she's handed her post-idoling career.
Final bit and while I did say my top two Nogi members left last year there is another who would have been number one. Not just for Nogi but would have been my #1 top woman 😍 and Idol of all time, her graduation was the biggest blow of them all! Am talking about Nanami and can you believe this February will mark seven years since her departure, how time is zooming by. Sure many have forgotten about Nanami and can understand why, she was my fave Idol by far when she left and what a shame she retired from the entertainment industry, I've missed her more than anyone else.... 😢