A Youth Revolution

 

Their name has a nice rhythm when said out loud, a group of sounds that rolls pleasantly off the tongue as you pronounce each syllable. 青春革命. Youth Revolution, when translated to a more familiar language.

Seishun Kakumei.

A name as bright as the dreams they hold in their hearts. As I’ve watched them perform on stage through the years, I’ve seen them grow into their name, and grow into their identity.

The name Seishun Kakumei has always stirred fond memories in my heart. It was, to me, a cheeky nod to a shared love for a JPop group who had boldly proclaimed themselves to be the representatives of their generation. This is an idol group that wants to carve out their own mark in a longstanding tradition of pretty faces and sparkly costumes in their own right. Perhaps, this reference was a foreshadowing for what this group of women would set out to do.

I’ve watched their performances as a supportive friend, but one particular performance led me to the path from being friend to fan.

They were invited to perform at a convention, but their tailor-made costumes were not delivered on time. On the day of the performance, I’ve seen them deal with the frustration of the curveball that the universe decided to throw at them.

About an hour before their scheduled performance and no promised costumes in sight, the group marched to a friend’s booth that was selling shirts, each member buying one for themselves, and decided that they’ll perform on that stage. Costumes or no costumes. I’ve watched them regroup, then collectively throw that curveball back at the universe.

They stood on that stage, different individuals with similar-but-not-quite shirts.

The most fascinating thing? You’d barely notice.

As I watched them bow to a cheering crowd of strangers and friends alike, arms linked across each other’s backs, I felt the tears threatening to surface.

As the young ones say nowadays, we have decided to stan.

This remains to be my favorite picture of them that I have had the privilege to take. Through the years, I will be given the privilege of taking more pictures of them, as well as watch them develop new skills and deeper bonds with each other.

 

From taking their pictures at events, I jokingly said that I can volunteer to be their group photographer. Somehow, it stuck. I got to tag along their events, and got to see them perform in a multitude of venues and stages. Even if they didn’t mean to, helping them behind the scenes has taught me to cherish their stages as they happen, to enjoy the moment. After stepping off the stage, seeing them interact with friends, supporters, and fellow performers (Cheki + Chika, truly a life-changing experience) is truly heartwarming.

There will always be a spark of pride in my heart whenever I watch them. From being acknowledged by 9nine, to performing on stage with MNL48, I’ve had the privilege to watch them perform to their heart’s’ content. The way they take on the stage with everything they got just… gets to your heart. And getting to watch them is something I’ll always cherish.

Their genuine dedication to their dream, and the bond that this group has with every member, past or present, is something I am always thankful to witness.

The way they taught each other through different sequences, on how they discussed the best ways to get into formation, & how they truly listened to each other, not being afraid to call each other out, really puts into perspective how their friendship really is a strong foundation for how they make it work.

I’ve been lucky enough to witness (and receive!) their kindness, and seeing them all grow as a group and as individuals truly makes me want to be a better friend, a better person. Their success is hard-earned and truly deserved, and their happiness is mine as well.

Writing this all out, I couldn’t help but feel… quiet gratitude. The kind of thankfulness that gently wraps around your heart to alert you of its presence. The way I’ve seen them work together through the years is formative of who I’ve become, as an adult and as a person. I’ve grown with them through different performance eras, different costumes, different stages. The songs they perform may change, but the fire that has sparked the revolution they are leading through their performances has yet to fade.

Thank you Seishun Kakumei, for letting all of us witness your journey, eight years running. For being yourselves, similar-but-not-quite, and still making it work. My youth has a brighter hue because of you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Love, this #StaffKakumei and forever fan 🙂

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