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.