AKB48 released the music video accompanying “Jiwaru Days,” the J-pop girl group’s 55th single and the last featuring Rino Sashihara, slated to depart from the group in April.
The 26-year-old Sashihara, aka “Sashiko,” has been a pivotal member of AKB48 since 2008. She’s a four-time winner of the group’s “general election,” three of which were consecutive wins, which was an unprecedented feat. Sashiko announced her departure in December, and will leave the group April 28.
Her “graduation” single expresses the sadness and loneliness of good-byes while also celebrating new beginnings, a sparkly pop number that reflects Sashiko’s buoyant character.
The dresses lining the backdrop and floor in the video are actual outfits used by AKB48 in the past, which took the costume team all night to set up for the shoot. There are 3,450 outfits in all, a play on “Sashiko,” Sashihara’s nickname. The sheer volume reflects the popular girl group’s history while also visually expressing the team’s gratitude to the departing member.
The choreography includes nods to the group’s past songs that featured Sashiko in the center: “Koisuru Fortune Cookie,” “Halloween Night,” “LOVE TRIP,” and “#Sukinanda.” It also features pointing moves inspired from her nickname – Sashihara’s name written in Japanese uses the kanji character that means “to point” — and a cat-like dance because she is famous for showing off her beloved kitties on social media.
Sashiko says that seeing the completed “Jiwaru Days” visuals made her keenly aware that she is really leaving the group, but that the video is her favorite out of all the AKB48 singles.
AKB48’s “Jiwaru Days,” featuring covers with striking black-and-white portraits shot by Itaru Hirama of Tower Records Japan’s “No Music, No Life.” visuals, will be released March 13.