Saki Says Goodbye to Smileage

Here’s some unprecedented news. It was announced on Smileage’s official page that Ogawa Saki will be graduating, saying that she had requested it as far back as May of this year. Knowing this, it’s now pretty clear why the Smileage auditions took place, as a three-member unit just wouldn’t work for an up-and-coming group with large future aspirations.

Idol site Takamaruyo has translated the whole announcement containing a statement from Tsunku and Ogawa which you can read here.

No one saw this development coming and completely struck me by surprise, though I suppose a member leaving early in a idol group’s career is fairly common. Another striking notice was that Ogawa has said her last day with Smileage will be on August 27th, which is before this week even ends.

Smileage definitely won’t be the same without her, and without a scapegoat like big, bad UFA to throw rocks at in frustration, fans will simply have to swallow the hard pill and at least take solace in that she wants this.

Can five new people help ease the void? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Dae

About Dae Lee

-Dae, aka Mizu -Writer, broadcaster, and podcaster on New School Kaidan

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12 comments

  1. Whaaaaaa? Totally didn’t see this coming. Although like you said it does make sense why they chose to hold an audition and add a bunch of new girls now.

    Best of luck to Saki in whatever it is that she decides to do next.

  2. Fuck everything. :I

    Hm, this could explain why she has been so down and why she (to me) appeared to really dislike the whole new member thing. She probably felt like she was being replaced (and so soon too).

    Though I can’t say that to be sure. But she told them in May she wanted to quit and the new member announcement was made in at the end of May. So clearly that had some influence and I guess UFA wanted to make a scramble and get more girls to train and see if they could find some talents to pick up the slack. Now knowing that she is leaving, it really makes me wonder if he will keep all five new additions. He very well could drop a few at this point if he finds 1 or 2 girls to be a lot more solid then the rest.

  3. Not very knowledgeable of Smileage’s history myself but lately it has been one of the Idol groups I’ve been paying attention to. Hope Saki does well in her future. This news kinda came out of nowhere and took me by suprise but I suppose it makes sense.

  4. GOD DAMN IT. My favorite smileage member gone in an instant. I felt like her career as an idol had only just begun. Saki easily had the best personality out of the group. Her presence alone was the epitome of the name, smileage.

    So, the true reason for new member auditions is finally revealed. I’ll admit it, I was pretty shocked. I was wondering why they were crying so much during their last performance as a 4 member group. They even made it sound as if the “old group” was dead during their backstage interviews.

    The biggest question now is, what will become of the sub members? We were originally led to believe that these 5 new members would officially become a part of smileage, but then we found out that they were only sub-members. Now that we know sakichy is graduating, does that mean tsunku/ufa are only looking for one of the sub-members to replace saki rather than an additional few? In other words, will smileage remain as a 4 nin group with one new member replaceing saki or will they exceed the amount of original members by including more than one sub-member? I’m hoping for the latter to make up for what I feel is a huge loss to smileage.

    • So I’m not the only one who’s starting to wonder if the new sub-members are going to have to fight it out over the opening that Saki’s departure has created?

      Glad I’m not the only one.

      • Put em in a pit, throw in a blunt instrument and say only one can leave as a Smileage member. GO!

        • Of course by blunt instrument you mean a microphone, right?

        • That’s how all idol decisions should be made, with gladiator style fights. I think that’s how Koharu got into morning musume.

          AKB48 should get rid of the fan voting and just lock the members in a cage and see who’s the last one standing…I’m putting my money on Akimoto Sayaka.

          P.S. Tamura Meimi is cuter than a box of puppies,.

  5. I am going to admit that I have not been paying attention to s/mileage, but this seems really devastating to the group. I think adding sub-members was a huge mistake. If they are always going to be looked down upon, why add them anyway? How can they ever hope to replace a regular member that way?

  6. Great, after my Favorite MM leaves (well actually my 3 favorites) the next one to leave is my S/mileage favorite!!!! serious face plam moment!

    this announcement is very sad and very sudden, of course it does kinda shed some light on why auditions took place and perhpas why some of the members reacted in a less than positive way to it….

    what perhaps is more shocking is how quickly she will leave, I mean we only just go the announcement and she’s leaving on the 27th? wow really not much time to get our heads round that one is there, not the almost year long adjustment we get to Ai leaving, I assume this is because they wanted to announce this after the adutions had finished but, as a Saki fan I’m sad that the news is so sudden, I know it’s her choice and she wants to leave but I would of like a last concert or something none the less

    Hmm, perhpas a final thing to think about is however that perhpas the reason Miyamoto Karin and perhaps, dare I say it, Jang Da Yeon were not in the second gen was maybe so one of them would be the direct replacement to Saki………

  7. I certainly do wish Saki the best for a happy future. She was probably destined for a rough time in S/mileage. I am sure that the many fans of Saho Akari were disappointed that Akari was not kept with her Shugo Chara sisters as S/mileage was developed. Then last year they counted Saki out of the Lilpri group. At 2010 “Fankora” she was left to the side stage to dance separately from the Lilpri/Smileage sisters. I found her dancing there was very cute, but lonely. This year with Saho Akari leaving the Hello Pro Eggs and Hello Project for the UFZS UpUpGirls has ruled out her re-joining them. Actually, I really like this new group. As a group they have a special comeradery as all former HP Eggs and other former partnerships. I especially hope that former HP Eggs Takeuchi Akari and Katsuta Rina will find a permanent new home and acceptance in S/milage.

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