31 Jul - Sashihara Rino bids a tearful farewell to AKB48 during her last performance as an AKB48 member, as she officially becomes a member of HKT48.
According to Tokyo Hive, Sashihara's made her final performance at the AKB48 theatre with a special send-off concert for her, together with members from A Team of AKB48 and Team H of HKT48.
"There's no doubt that I'm sad, but at the same time now, I am very positive and full of drive. In this way, everybody will send me off and welcome me to my new start with smiles. I'm very thankful," Sashihara said during the concert.
In addition to the usual repertoire of songs in Team A's "Mokugekisha" set, Sashihara also performed "Itoshiki Natasha"; her first song in centre position and her solo number "Soredemo Suki Dayo".
The idol finally broke into tears when Team A member Oya Shizuka read a letter to her from Kitahara Rie at the end of the concert, as fans and members from both AKB48 and HKT48 cheered their support.
AKB48 producer Akimoto Yasushi announced her transfer on 16 June, following a scandalous report of her with an ex-boyfriend in a tabloid magazine. Although some fans speculated that the transfer was a 'punishment' for the breakout of the scandal, Akimoto had called it a 'restart' for Sashihara's career.
Sashihara was initially planned to be transferred to HKT48 in June, but undue circumstances had delayed it until July.