A few days ago it was announced that NGT48 member Tominaga Yu would depart from the group. While that in itself isn’t especially odd in terms of members coming and going, the timing was certainly suspicious as it came a month after she her live broadcast on SHOWROOM where she spoke out about the state of things behind the scenes, including how the management only liked and gave special treatment to those who sucked up to them.
A translation* of the SHOWROOM broadcast has been emerged, and it provides insight into not only her thinking and how NGT48 is being run, but is a look at how the industry can be at times as well.
*The translation also highlights the reason journalists do not literally transcribe everything the subject says. It’s usually to the benefit of the subject … and the reader’s sanity.
“How to say? The way the situation is, as of late, it’s truly…how should I put it? Seriously messed up. Or, saying it more precisely, insane. I was kinda debating inside myself whether or not to say it to fans, but…what can I even say? What’s visible…only that side of things that’s being shown to everyone of you out there is the pretty one. But on the inside, instead, it’s really…how to say? Things have hit the end of the line — it’s messed up. It’s downright abnormal.”
“More so than favorite members, those people in general that they personally like, those are the only ones that they would give preferential treatments to. That’s pretty much how things are like.”
She basically talks about how she wanted to be an idol to perform for fans and what not, but the political side of things behind the scenes is demoralizing.
“Speaking of myself personally, what I wanted to do by becoming an idol is to appear in front of all of you fans, dancing and doing performances, in general. It’s those things that I desired to do. I desired to normally carry out the job of idol. It was simply that, yet in spite of that, after having finally gotten to be an idol, regardless of how much hard work you put into it, this one is such a world where if you don’t butter up to people, you won’t get to move up the ladder, and I truly dislike that. Personally, I haven’t become an idol so that I would have to butter up to any person. So yeah, I am not the only person who feels like that about it — so I do imagine. … The fact is that, after all, there actually are a lot of people who do think that they won’t be able to ever climb up the ladder unless they do that sort of thing. And so, as a matter of fact, I happen to personally witness these sorts of situations. Though I am not willing to do any of that, myself. That’s basically the sense of it.”
Later, she specifically says she didn’t have intention to graduate. Though obviously now we know she resigned.
“As far as I’m concerned…I am not going to graduate anytime soon, yet. But when one day, at some point, I finally go on to graduate…maybe I won’t be able to graduate exactly in a good fashion!”
“Anyway, personally, I honestly can’t find the motivation towards my job as it is. But I have everyone of you out there. Plus I’m also working to personally create something enjoyable to people, so…some way or another, I wanna try keeping my emotional mood up anyhow.”
NGT48 is, of course, the group that came to international attention when former member Yamaguchi Maho came forward about being assaulted and then scandal ensued. Thus, it’s rather hard to be shocked that the people in charge continue to have issues no matter what they said publicly about things changing.