THIRD GENERAL ELECTION: Is it Kay Ishiyama’s time to emerge?
Kay Ishiyama (Team L)
1st GE rank: 34th | 2nd GE rank: 23rd
Sweet yet stern at times, Kay Ishiyama has quietly established herself as an integral part of MNL48 after more than two years.
Tracing her idol journey from the days of auditioning for Japanese idol group Morning Musume, the 20-year-old Filipino-Japanese from Cavite continued the pursuit of her dreams here and ranked 34th in the First General Election and took the task of being the captain of Team L.
It did not take a long time for Ishiyama to make her own individual mark, as she entered the senbatsu for the second single “Pag-ibig Fortune Cookie” and third single “365 Araw ng Eroplanong Papel”.
These achievements eventually paid off for Ishiyama as she moved up to the 23rd rank in the Second General Election last year.
Strengthened by experience
Ishiyama found herself in a sea of opportunities after the Second General Elections and she proceeded to take on all of it.
She made the MNL48 contingent for the AKB48 Group Asia Festival in Shanghai, China last year and landed a supporting role in the movie adaptation of Japanese manga “Seikimatsu Blue” where she joined fellow members Abby Trinidad, Coleen Trinidad, and Brei Binuya. After these overseas commitments, Ishiyama went back to the country and joined the Undergirls unit for the fourth single’s coupling song “Gingham Check”. She went to follow it up with her third senbatsu appearance in the fifth single “High Tension”.
Following the mainstream success of the “High Tension” era, Ishiyama was one of the surprise non-inclusions in the senbatsu for the sixth single “RIVER” and its coupling song “10nen Zakura” much to the surprise and dismay of some fans. She later went on to reveal that it was due to issues regarding her body mass index but since then vowed to keep fighting and make up for it in future singles.
More than being a typical MNL48 member, Ishiyama has made her name through her brand of leadership and taking on various roles inside the group. Alongside captaining Team L which most fans consider as the “best team” in terms of performing, Ishiyama has also performed staff work, notably helping out in translating song lyrics from Japanese to Filipino.
These range of duties on and off the stage helped Ishiyama to progress into one of the group’s silent forces. Kay kami-oshi Gwyneth Aristo emphasized this in an online interview with PAKSA MNL. “Being an idol with lots of obligations made her really grow to who she is today. It's to the point where I can say that she is nearly on par with some of the well-known idols in AKB48,” Aristo added.
Ishiyama also stepped up a notch in her performing talents. Initially doing solo covers of MNL48 songs, she made her way into producing snappy dance covers of AKB48 and Korean pop songs lately through her TikTok account. Aristo noticed these improvements, stating that her kami-oshi was already an excellent performer before but her singing improved so much. “Very controlled yung vocal abilities niya, while her dancing is still as amazing as always,” she said.
Moreover, Ishiyama remains focused in providing fan service to her followers through friendly interaction and well-thought puns and jokes. “Kaede (Ishiyama)’s love for her fans is so great that I can't even explain it properly. She cares about us as much as we care for her,” Aristo added.
Readying for another fight
For this year’s General Election, Ishiyama’s fan club, Kay Icings, has launched their fundraising project, “Fight for Kay”. Its “Banana Bundles” consisting of sixth single merchandise and fan-made shirts are available for ordering. They are also accepting donations for election funds and will give corresponding freebies to those who will do so.
Ishiyama’s fans are also working hard to promote their kami-oshi in social media, sharing updates and reposting contents like dance and song covers for other fans to consider voting for her.
A higher aim
Despite her influence and role inside the group, Ishiyama has yet to enter the senbatsu in the General Election. But with a power vacuum looming large due to a number of members either graduating or withdrawing from the fan poll, this might pave the way for her to finally barge into the Top 16. Aristo echoes the same sentiments, saying that reaching the senbatsu is their primary goal for her kami-oshi this year. “Honestly, I really want Kaede to at least be included in the senbatsu. Although last GE, her rank was considerably high as part of the Under Girls, I'd still want for Kaede to be part of the senbatsu. Of course, my main goal for Kaede is for her to be a center girl but realistically speaking, senbatsu is a good position to strive for,” she added.
Asked about a personal message for Ishiyama, Aristo gave a heartfelt statement of motivation to her kami-oshi. “No matter what happens, we will always support you. You have my, and all other Icings, utmost love and support. Never give up on your dreams, my kami-oshi, because I know you will reach them someday. Always remember that you're an inspiration to us all,” she said.
She also reminded other supporters to work together so they can help Ishiyama reach her dreams as an MNL48 member. “To the other Icings, let's all keep supporting our oshimen! We can do this if we work together,” she added.
Kay Ishiyama has worked tirelessly to become one of the silent forces inside MNL48 on and off the theater stage. The upcoming Third General Election will be the perfect opportunity for her to rise up and show more people what she has progressed into and the things that she is capable of.