HKT48 released the music video accompanying departing member Rino Sashihara’s “graduation song” called “Itsudatte Sobani iru.” The track is included in Type A of the group’s 12th single, “Ishi,” released Wednesday (April 10).
Sashihara, or Sashiko as her fans call her, has been a member of the Fukuoka-based AKB48 sister group since 2012. She’s currently also HKT48’s theater manager and has contributed greatly to the group’s evolution. She announced her departure from the group back in December, and will leave the AKB48 franchise April 28.
The music video was shot on location in Fukuoka City to fulfill Sashiko’s wish to revisit memorable locations from her time with the group. Starting off from Fukuoka Airport in the morning, Sashiko spends the day stopping by such places as the Kushida Shrine, famous for the Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival, Tenjin Central Park, and the ACROS Fukuoka cultural facility.
Greeted by members at each destination, she also strolls through the Momochihama waterfront area, where the visuals for HKT48’s previous single, “Hayaokuri Calendar,” was shot, and the place where the HKT48 theater used to be located near the Yahuoku! Dome. The video for AKB48’s hit song “Koisuru Fortune Cookie” from 2013 featuring Sashiko in center position was shot there.
The video captures the natural expressions of the members, enjoying each other’s company during the short time left as a group, but with some tearing up from the prospect of saying goodbye. The song’s title means “I’ll always be with you,” and that’s what the slightly red-eyed 26-year-old is singing when she’s looking into the camera during the final chorus.
There’s also a quick highlight reel near the end that celebrates Sashiko’s career in the AKB48 franchise. With flashbacks from AKB48’s 32nd Single General Election when she won for the first time — she’s an unprecedented four-time winner — and HKT48’s concerts at the former theater, as well as footage from the popular “Fortune Cookie” video, it’s a sweet tribute to one of the groups’ most well-known and popular members.