Nogizaka46 captain Akimoto Manatsu has announced her graduation from the group.
Akimoto updated her blog reporting, "I have decided to graduate from Nogizaka46 on February 26th, 2023." She explained that she had made her decision to graduate in the beginning of 2022. "I had so much time to write this blog, but I didn't know what to write until the last minute. I'm writing this during the New Year's holiday while listening to Nogizaka's songs," she revealed.
Akimoto continued to express, "Because I love everyone so much, I'm afraid I won't properly be able to say goodbye. I love Nogizaka, the members and staff, and the fans who support me so much that I feel like I should have graduated before developing these feelings. At the same time, I want to see what kind of Nogizaka all of these people I love will create from now on. So, I decided to graduate." She declared, "Even if I am born again, I want to be an idol, I want to be a member of Nogizaka46. I am so happy to have been in this group for 11 years."
Nogizaka46 will hold their '11th YEAR BIRTHDAY LIVE' from February 22nd to 25th. There will also be a graduation concert for Akimoto on the 26th. Ticket details will be revealed at a later date.
Akimoto joined Nogizaka46 as its first generation member in 2011. She was a senbatsu member for the first time in their fourth single "Seifuku no Mannequin" released in 2012. She is the last first generation member remaining in the group.