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A Tribute to Rino Sashihara of the Girl Group Hkt48

Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

Rino Sashihara in 2018

Two major reasons why Rino Sashihara deserves a tribute

HKT48’s Rino Sashihara is really popular these days. And that’s why she deserves a tribute. This will not be a full biography of this pop music singer but instead it will focus on why she is important enough to be worth writing about. The next part of the article will focus on her collaboration with Morning Musume 17. So why is Rino Sashihara important to pay tribute to? The first reason has to do with her soaring popularity. Following the June 17, 2016 AKB48 General Election which was the 9th one of its kind, Sashihara finished as the most popular member of AKB48 and its other related groups. She has accomplished this feat for the third straight year! Because of this strong finish, she and the other 15 top ranking girls will be singing in a new single which will be released in August 2017. Sashihara has been ranked #1 in 4 out of the 9 elections that have been held. Sashihara’s last #1 ranking before her “hat trick” was in 2013. I know that the term hat trick is a hockey term but I have used it to emphasize her three wins in a row. The second reason why I feel that Sashihara deserves to be given a tribute is because of the fact that she recovered from a major scandal which could have destroyed her career. How did Sashihara go from success to scandal?


The Relationship Scandal That Could Have Destroyed Sashihara's Career

An article which appeared in a Japanese tabloid magazine on June 13, 2012 reported that an ex-boyfriend of hers leaked out information to the press about their nearly one year “secret” relationship. I put the word secret in quotes because AKB48 members are not allowed to get involved in romance or sex. But nonetheless, this is what she got herself caught up in. The source who would only reveal himself as Mr. A. dated Sashihara from 2008 through 2009. But Sashihara and Mr. A. met each other at the famous Akihabara Theater in Tokyo. Mr. A. was making 80,000 yen a month and would make regular trips to the theater. He revealed that although he was initially a fan of a different member, he would often make eye contact with Sashihara. He would attend various events so that she would remember his name. He also remembers that he got a message from a friend of Sashihara’s named Miho. Mr. A. would make it a habit of sending mail to Sashihara’s phone. Mr. A. revealed that “she was super-sexually aggressive,” (Kono, 2012). Mr. A. is said to have woken up at 5 AM and taken what was a 2 hour train ride all the way to Sashihara’s apartment in Tokyo. He did this while skipping school! He must have really been in love with her because what other reason would he have used to miss his university studies? The relationship ended in October 2009 after the end of the first AKB48 General Election when Sashihara did not make it into the Top 16 ranking girls. This was a major blow to Sashihara who felt that she wasn’t good enough or cute enough. When Mr. A. told her that he wanted to end the relationship, she protested, saying that she didn’t want it to end after all this time that they were involved. It was only for one year so that does not seem like a long relationship to me. But I think for her it was a long time. Mr. A. even sort of foretold what Sashihara would say when she was asked about the relationship. Sashihara lied about the relationship, saying the she and Mr. A. were only friends. This was not true and then Mr. Akimoto (her producer) heard of the relationship and Sashihara was transferred to HKT48. She was very lucky that she did not get kicked out of the Japanese idol industry for good.

AKB48 Works With Morning Musume For New Album And A New Unit Is Formed

Because of the skills and knowledge of one man, Yasushi Akimoto, Japan has seen the manifestation of AKB48 that is a pop culture icon in Japan. And they will add to their worth as a group by collaborating with Morning Musume 17. AKB48’s latest studio album Thumbnail was set for a release date of January 25, 2017 at that time since it is now December 2017 as I update this story. As per the agreements of the collaboration, member Rino Sashihara and all the girls of Morning Musume 17 will take part in a song called Get You! That is the first of the two major functions. The next part of the collaboration is that there will be a new unit formed called Sashining Musume. This unit will have Sashihara along with all the members of Morning Musume from the 9th generation all the way to the new 13th generation. In this unit, there will be sub-leaders Erina Ikuta and Haruna Iikubo, Reina Yokoyama and Kaede Kaga. Kaga and Yokoyama are the two new members that joined as part of that 13th generation. Sashihara expressed her happiness to work with the girls of Morning Musume because she considered them an idol when she was a young girl in elementary school. A few other members took the time to share their thoughts on the song. Mizuki Fukumura who leads Morning Musume 17 called the song “The Idol Song.” This is also a duet that she will sing with Sashihara. 10th generation member Masaki Sato mentioned that she feels that singing with Sashihara brought them closer together. As a result, instead of a rivalry between the two groups, there will be more of an affectionate feel for the groups.

Some Information About the Album "Thumbnail"

"Thumbnail" also has two of AKB48’s most recent singles High Tension and LOVE TRIP. On the song called Ayamachi, there will be a duet. Singer Junichi Inagaki will sing with Sayaka Yamamoto of the group NMB48.

Rino Sashihara in traditional Japanese idol uniform


Final thoughts About Rino Sashihara

Sashihara who was 24 years old at the time this written piece was published was fortunate to still be active in the Japanese idol industry in spite of her lack of professionalism and judgement. If the future is any indication, she should continue to be successful.


Kono, T. (2012, June 14). AKB48 Wrap Up. Retrieved from http://www.akb48wup.com/2012/06/shuukan-bunshun-ex-boyfriend-confesses-akb48-sashihara-rino-super-sexually-aggressive/

© 2017 Ara Vahanian

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