Matsui Jurina Solo interview: Next Center of AKB48

  September 19, 2012



[do action=”news” title=”” source=”Solo interview of AKB48 and SKE48 member Matsui Jurina”]


As everybody knows, now it’s quite likely that she will be selected as Center for AKB48’s next chapter. Now she is Center for SKE48, but in the past, she played as Center for AKB48’s single, too. This time she talked about pressure and responsibilities that only those who’ve experienced can talk, as well as about SKE48, now thriving group, whose 10th single and 1st album will be released on 19th.

3 weeks have passed after the graduation of Maeda. Matsui Jurina talked that there’s an unforgettable scene of Maeda. It was more than a year before.
When Maeda, who was an absolute Ace of the group back then, upset her health and staffs told her that she must be replaced with someone else.
“In the end, Maeda-san insisted she will ‘perform the stage’. Her performance. That was perfect. Even if it meant to risk her own life, she fulfilled her responsibilities. That moment, I was convinced that she is such a great person.”
She stared at Maeda’s back from the behind, standing on the same stage. Her admiration towards Maeda has become all the stronger since then.

(skip) It was July in 2008, when she joined SKE48. She was 11, and was the youngest member of 48 groups back then.
Since then, she’s always been Center of SKE48, and in this Mar, her concurrency in AKB48 was announced.
She has been running up the stairs. step by step. It’s understandable that she is dubbed Next Generation’s Center by fans, but the fact is she actually knows what it meant to be Center of AKB48, how much pressure Center has to overcome.

In Oct of 2008, right before she joined SKE48, she was named, Center of AKB48 10th Single “Ogoe Diamond”, by Akimoto Yasushi, all out of sudden.
She was 11, and this raised so much question and generated tons of argument among fans.
“Back then, I even have no idea what to do with SKE48. So, naturally, (being selected for AKB48’s Center made her) I was perplexed and confused.”
Once, her body didn’t move properly right before the start of Theater performance. There was a day when she fell sick, too. She stood in the center position for TV music shows even when she was reluctant to do it.
“When I, for some reason, listened to ‘Ogoe Diamond’ one year after that. Tears flowed out from my eyes, just naturally.”

This June, she once again stood at the Center position of all 48 groups. At Senbatsu Sousenkyo held at Tokyo Budo-Kan. When they performed “Manatsu no Sounds Good!”.
She was named to play a role of Maeda, who has withdrawn from the election.
“I was so nervous. Honestly speaking, I was much more nervous than during the announcement of the election result. Members around me in the performance were all great people. Once again I realized how great job Maeda-san has been doing as Center.”

There was a thing she was conscious about during the performance filled with nervousness . “Be yourself”. “I just thought let’ do it brightly and cheerfully. Just be SKE48’s Matsui Jurina, when I was performing the song. I think it’s not right to change your attitude and be milder just because you’re playing Center of AKB48. I just tried believing that I can be myself, I can be myself as my fans in SKE48 always tell me that they love my performance and love the way I am.”

There was a reason why she could keep this inner strength and overcome the pressure.
She was named Center of AKB’s single at the tender age of 11. “Thanks to that experience, I could overcome any hardship I’ve faced, I think. Like….. ‘Well, this is nothing hard compared to that experience’.”

SKE48 made a great leap in the election this year. Of total 64 members who made their name in the list, 15 members were from SKE48. She ranked in 9th spot, the highest position of SKE48.
“I felt, finally, people have started to recognize SKE48. I felt really happy.”

She is getting conscious about the change in how people look at her as she is now a concurrent member of AKB48 and SKE48.
“Fans and members of AKB48 warmly welcomed me, like ‘You’re welcome!!’. I felt, ‘Oh, I don’t need to be worried about it anymore’.”

SKE48 never stops thriving, too. The group always sell more than 500K copies for every single release. And recently, they announced the double release of Single “Kiss datte Hidarikiki” and Album “Konohi no Chime o Wasurenai”.

As the group is getting bigger and more popular, Jurina, the leading figure of the group, also pictures bigger goals for the group.
“This year, I aim at performing in Kohaku Utagassen as SKE48, as a solo act.”
SKE48 made cameo appearances in the year-end grand music festival as a sister group of AKB48 (2010 and 2011), but “That made me all the more eager to join the show as SKE48. I think SKE48 can now confidently perform in Kohaku.”

What she wants people to know through SKE’s solo appearance in Kohaku Utagassen is “There’s a difference between SKE48 and AKB48 in tastes of songs and performances. I want more people to know that ‘Performances and songs of SKE48 and AKB48 are totally different


[do action=”news” title=”” source=””]

In the opening of AKB48 29th Single Janken Tournament, new Senbtasu members performed the 28th Single “UZA” for the first time in public.


She declared to win Center before she joined this tournament. Jurina was dressed in Ogoe Diamond’s costume and cut her bang hair short, to reproduce the hairstyle she had back when she played Center for AKB’s single “Ogoe Diamond”.

Despite her enthusiasm, she lost to Namamura Mariko (team 4) in the 2nd round.

It’s all about Akimoto Yasuchi’s expectation on her that he chose Jurina over Watanabe Mayu, who placed far higher than Jurina in the 4th AKB48 Senbatsu Sousenkyo (for 27th Single). It’s natural that Oshima was selected for Center as she won the election, but surprisingly, it was Jurina, who was  in 9th spot in the last election, who was chosen for the partner of Oshima Yuko as a part of Double Center.

Jurina’s names was called after all the rest Senbatsu members. When her name was called, shouting raised from the crowd as fire column and laser beams started lighting up the stage, making blasts. In the breakdown portion of the song, members who are good at dancing, Matsui Jurina, Yamamoto Sayaka, Oshima Yuko, Takahashi Minami and Minegishi Minami nailed almost EXILE-like dance performance.

Jurina is fairly conscious of her role as Next Generation’s Ace. Before the tournament, she stated with a firm determination, “Not only SKE48, but I hope I will be able to lead the whole AKB48 group.”

She openly expressed her fighting spirit toward Shinoda Mariko’s famous remark “Challenge us with determination to crush us!”, by responding “I will make Mariko-sama graduate AKB48.”

She had practiced Hip-Hop dance since the 3rd grade of an elementary school. She passed the 1st audition of SKE48 in July of 2008, as a 6th grader. Three month after that, she was selected for a part of Double Center along with Maeda Atsuko for the single “Ogoe Diamond”, the single released for the first time from KING RECORDS after they lost the contract with Defstar label because of dismal sales of the 8th single “Sakurano Hanabiratachi 2008″ and released the 9th single “Baby!x3″ only through online distributing, the period AKB almost lost it’s hope.

Matsui Jurina saved AKB48 as the single gained a lot of attention from wider audiences, and her position has established since then. It’s totally expected that she will make a comeback as Center for AKB48’s single after Maeda Atsuko’s graduation.

In this April, she experienced hardship as she fell sick due to anemia and vertigo from overworking. She was hospitalized and almost gave up to join SKE’s grand concert at Nagoya-Gaishi hall. She watched the concert from a monitor at the backstage. “They were performing confidently and captivating the full packed audiences. I think I may better not only look forward but sometimes count on my teammates.” she talked about the importance of “bonds”. The 15 year-old girl who’ve grown up through experiencing both glory and setback will lead the nexxt chapter of AKB48.



  • Kirito

    Jurina very Majisuka look like i guess its Black Jurina.. (^^)

  • ashl3o

    erm …i don’t know but it still feel wrong for me if she really become center for akb48..
    like people said the akb48 will become the family group it will feel wrong for me..
    she was center for ske48 & if she become the center for akb48 iit will surely feel wrong for me…sorry but i just want to share my opinion..

    • crazykuroneko

      i think she won’t be akb’s ace permanently unless suddenly aki-p transfer her permanently to akb.

      but i’m sure enough she will be one of akb’s pillars just like the kami now.And she said she only wanted to ‘lead’ not ‘being an ace/center’ of akb though Yuko has said it would be okay for AKB having a center who is not originally from AKB. Yes, she said it on interview between her and jurina on Tokyo Dome mook.

      And I see a chance of AKB using rotating center position, trying to make the AKB’s future pillars more famous to general public.

      Jurina in 28th, Paruru (surprisingly) in 29th, I bet they will have Mayu on center in 30th single

      • ashl3o

        yup..but i still can see her as one of future kami but man i cannot guess what aki-p thinking..this single thought fit her image but since i’m mayuyu oshi i still want to see her in front..but well maybe i have to wait next year..

      • cryt

        I like the rotating center using the same 2 or 3 girls and also the double center system. If Aki-P isn’t ready for a Mayuyu center song, I would like to see TeamOshiri double centers, Mayu and Oshima.

        Jurina has been center since her debut on Oogoe Diamond and every SKE single, so she does have experience. But I think it’s better and more fair to AKB48 members if she transfers permanently if she wants to lead AKB48, because although they are both 48group, SKE48 still competes with the other groups for promotion TV time, sales, and fans.

        AKB48 members not only have to worry if new generation pushed members but also SKE/NMB/HKT senbatsu will bump them off the next singles senbatsu. Like for UZA, no Kasai, Umeda, KitaRie, Takajo, but we do get Sakura, Milky, Sayanee, and Rena. Sooner or later, we have accept that only AKB members on senbatsu are Kami8, and the other half is from sister groups. More sister groups means more spots are taken on AKB48 single senbatsu.

        It’s not like NMB/HKT/JKT members are put on SKE’s singles or hold concurrent positions there, although it would be interesting.

    • asudja

      so there are ppl still can’t understand that AKB48 have 2 definitions:
      1. an idol group based in a theater in Akihabara, Tokyo which consists of team A/K/B/4 + trainees.
      2. a main group of “48 groups” throughout the world, in short:

      looking at definition 2, what’s wrong about having SKE member leading/ be center of AKB48 (def 2)? even JKT members have the right to do it (if she have the right amount of qualifications)

      PS. I am not a jurina oshi..

  • Alexandra Huttová

    Well, she showed she is good center in Uza. With Yuko they are doing good :) I feel little sorry for Mayu, she really wants to be a center and when she finally ranked as 2nd she is not in center position but Jurina is. But i think it’s ok. Until is Yuko still in front :)

    • renx2

      I wouldn’t worry about Mayuyu. I’m quite sure she will be center in the 30th single.

    • Sei

      Yep, just like renx said. I think the only reason they put Jurina as center is beacause this type of cool song/dance fits Jurina better. I’m sure Mayu will be center in the next one.

      • Sei

        Just to make thinks clear not the “only reason”. That made it look like I think she doesn’t deserve to be center, she does, I like her very much but I can’t shake the feeling that they’re grooming her to take on Yuko’s role when she leaves.

        • Alexandra Huttová

          yeah i agree, mayuyu fits more for cute songs. I am pretty curious how akb will continue after acchan graduation, i think they still don’t know what to do so they are trying to figure it out with various center experiences .

  • Jessica

    They overrated Jurina. IT was River that got them to wider mainstream audience. And the reason Oogoe Diamond did better sale-wise because AKB changed record company from Defstar to King Records, who chunked out more promotions for them. It wasn’t because of Jurina and she didn’t save AKB either. I’m not a Mayuyu-oshi at all but making her future center is the most reasonable choice. And I don’t like how too overconfident she is by saying she wants to lead AKB. AKB should be led by an AKB’s member.

    • renx2

      Jurina is an AKB48 member. She is a Team K member (at least for now). How is she overconfident saying she wants to lead AKB? How long has she been in the 48 group? More than 4 years now? And she has had Center experience from the beginning (Oogoe Diamond in AKB, and all the other SKE singles and many coupling songs and stage songs). She has been putting up with pressure from antis, management expectations, her own expectations, and media scrutiny since 11 years old. I think she has the experience and the ability to say things like that. I do agree that the article overexaggerated several things, including her “saving” AKB. But saying she is overconfident and ignoring her contribution is just a slap on her face for all her hard work and dedication to the 48 group.

      • Jessica

        Where did I say that I ignored all her contributions to the group? Saying she’s overconfident of herself has nothing to do with not appreciating her contribution! Stuffs like how she contributes, how she get pressures from anti, how she’s hospitalized due to overworking, etc. have been said over and over many times and every one knows that already, but she’s not the only one. Yes, she’s a team K member, concurrently with being an SKE member, not a full-time AKB member nor original AKB member (and no, I’m not referring to 1-3 gens), so yes, I’m straightforwardly saying that it’d irritate me if she were to be made center of AKB (not like Aki-p cares about my opinion). If it’s fine with you, then let be it. But doesn’t mean me, or any other has to agree with it.

        • renx2

          You know what “overconfident” means? It means that she does not have the qualifications/abilities/experience to succeed in what she said. But she actually has a better background, history and experience than most members in the group in leading. And yes, you or any others do not have to agree with Aki-P’s decision for center (though I think Jurina would only be center for this song). Go head and get hung up on this separation of AKB, SKE, NMB, HKT etc. when it comes to the senbatsu for AKB48 singles. It would just make your AKB fan experience less enjoyable. Because we all know that Aki-P has set up AKB48 to be the mother group where the other sister groups participate in many of their singles, concerts, tournaments and other events. That has been the trend since Oogoe Diamond. I recommend that you get over it so you’d be happier.

        • asudja

          well yea.. for every opinion, there will be people who disagree.. you can’t satisfy everyone.. that’s for sure..

          the question is.. how can she overconfident things when she really have the confidence to do the job? like renx2 said, she really have the needed experience/background etc..

          lol what’s the correlation about “full time AKB member/ original member” and “leading the team”? none! leading the group means having the right attitude, pushing self to the max, taking care of juniors, rallying all members to move toward goals, etc.. so far.. she have good marks on all those criteria..

          if this is 9gag, I would post “Jessica, u must be new here..”
          or maybe she’s just trolling.. or pure naive..

          • Keyrol Geronimo

            Jurina is Aki-P oshi, so go figure that this not purely because Jurina is good at dancing there is some Aki-P conspiracy on Akb48 like politics
            Mayuyu rank 2nd place and Jurina rank at 9th place talk about unfairness.

            it doesn’t matter if it fit her or not. Mayuyu deserve to be the next absolute Ace since she already prove on the Senbatsu Election ranking 1st or 2nd meaning that majority of the fans wants the media senbatsu to be the face on every single.regardless if the song doesn’t fit her like Acchan on some AKb48 single.i.e Beginner
            in contrary to Aki-P choosing Acchan as center because she doesn’t upstage other Akb member since she has average dancing and vocal skills. lacks self-confidence on the other hand Jurina is said to be one of skillful dancer of Akb48. upstage other member since she has more screentime on PV’s on any other Akb48 member except Acchan. and overconfident.

            and what’s with the it suit her better because of her image on Uza.
            can’t Yuko be the only center on that song? does she really have to share her well-earned spotlight to someone.
            I remember Beginner PV of Mayu with Jurina as the center when Kojiharu doesn’t have one center pv on beginner.

  • irontech

    Yuko will still hold the center position for a while longer until the next “aces” are ready to take up the role. However, I do agree with crazykuroneko’s statement that they might do a “double centers”, with Yuko being one of the center and the other will be rotated between Jurina/Mayu/Paru … and maybe from NMB/HKT in the future, perhaps??

    We’ll see how the 30th single is being planned, but we’ll never know Aki-P. He might have other plans.

  • justsaying

    Actually I wish AKB will just use rotating-center system from 1-3 members in future..
    Or in AKB0048’s term : no center nova after acchan
    and give quota for sister groups in senbatsu.

    Since AKB groups will gradually transform into ‘school’, getting into senbatsu based on scores would be awesome too
    In that way, I think, members would receive spotlight more fairly .-.

    ps: I know all of AKB-purist fans are dreaming for this and I respect them, but I think we won’t ever able to see AKB’s senbatsu will just consist of only AKB’s members again. In Aki-P’s mind AKB48 = 48groups

  • Yagashiaria

    I think it’s should be mayu rather than Jurina I’m not saying I’m a mayuoshi but she deserves it she’s was ranked 2nd and Jurina 9th only to be fair . Jurina chan is a great dancer and works really hard in akb and ske since she was 11 but she is already in SKE member and already has all center singles in ske48 .why can’t we let someone from akb be center like mayu/paruru/ or even yuko before she graduate s. I don’t hate Jurina she s my oshi from SKE48 , but mayu is more suited to be ace .For those people who think that mayu or other girls from akb can’t pull off the cool singles and only yuko or Jurina can do it .Look at acchan she wasn’t the best dancer neither in vocals , but she’s was amazing in cool rather cutesy singles like beginner . And she was granted ace even how plain she is .If acchan can pull it off then mayu/paruru and the other s like haruna / yuki / or takamina Ect.To be honest I don’t believe in the kami7 should be only center other generation of girls can be center too since there not gonna be there forever like who graduated acchan / tomochin/ mariko and yuko is gonna graduate soon so the next generation can shine too . But I respect akp answer if Jurina is center of akb48 it he’s decision . This is only my opinion