IZ*ONE and HKT48 members Miyawaki Sakura and Yabuki Nako have angered IZ*ONE fans recently after it was revealed that the duo would be participating in an HKB48 concert.
On December 2, it was revealed that Miyawaki Sakura and Yabuki Nako will be participating in HKT48’s 8th anniversary concert at the Tokyo Dome City Hall on December 15. A source stated, “Their participation was decided on suddenly. We hope they will be able to take on their last performance as HKT48.”
This appeared to be at odds with the announcement of their exclusive contract to be IZ*ONE members, which led to IZ*ONE’s fans to denounce the group’s company, Off The Record.
Fans released a joint statement, where they stated, “The IZ*ONE fan union cannot understand this announcement. This is our statement denouncing IZ*ONE’s agency Off The Record.” The statement continued, “Their participation in the HKT48 concert completely contradicts the September 24 announcement guaranteeing IZ*ONE’s full-time activities. At the time, the agency’s announcement stated that the single album released on November 28 would be their last activities as AKB48 Group. With the information at hand, the concert is an AKB Group activity that is irrelevant to the promotions for the single.” Fans added, “This act has betrayed the trust of all IZ*ONE fans, including WIZ*ONE (IZ*ONE fandom), and it is an act that is incompatible to the guarantee of IZ*ONE’s full-time activities. If they allow these kinds of plural promotions, then Off The Record is nullifying their own promise, and we will not be able to trust any of the guarantees for full-time IZ*ONE activities in the future.”
Off The Record then released a response, saying that the pair would be participating in the HKT48 concert as members of IZ*ONE (lol), confirming that they will not be involved in HKT48 activities, and apologizing for the concern.
Off The Record Entertainment commented through an official statement, “This concert is being held in celebration of HKT48’s 8th anniversary. Miyawaki Sakura and Yabuki Nako, who have become full-time IZ*ONE members, will be participating as IZ*ONE members to congratulate this.” The statement continues, “This does not mean they are overlapping HKT48 activities, and the members’ participation in some stages was decided to congratulate HKT48’s 8th anniversary. As announced previously, the three members Miyawaki Sakura, Yabuki Nako, and Honda Hitomi will not participate in activities as AKB members during the full-time promotion period, and they will continue IZ*ONE group activities as members of IZ*ONE during the full-time promotion period.” “We express apologies for causing concern to fans, and we ask for your understanding. In addition, we request generous support and love for IZ*ONE from fans,” the agency concludes.
I actually believe it’s reasonable that fans are worried that this is a slippery slope type of situation, and they just don’t want it to lead to a situation like they had with IOI, where members are just going off and promoting with their groups.
That said, I also feel like this was likely a one-off deal that they are only going to because they were already committed to the anniversary event. And while they are unlikely to admit it in an official statement, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was contractually agreed upon beforehand given some of the language used.
Hopefully it doesn’t turn into a bigger thing for them, because barring anything else going down, this doesn’t seem to warrant it.