Special Translations

This category includes translations of interesting or news-related posts we do not regularly translate.

℃-ute’s Okai Chisato talks about Morning Musume。’14 and her thoughts about Himuro Kyousuke

℃-ute’s 25th single 『The Power/ Kanashiki Heaven (Single Version)』 is now on sale。

This double A-side that has gone on sale contains 『The Power』, a single different from ℃-ute’s usual fare、 and a rerecording of fan favourite 『Kanashiki Heaven』 as 『Kanashiki Heaven (Single Version)』。 With a Nippon Budokan performance slated for this year as well, making it 2 years in a row、 ℃-ute are expected to make even greater strides。 We talk with one of their members, Okai Chisato, about their new songs、 as well as ℃-ute from now on、  and even more, her respect for Himuro Kyousuke。


-『The Power』 smacks of the Middle East, doesn’t it? It’s a song that’s unlike any of ℃-ute’s singles。

The first time I listened to it, I honestly went 「So this is going to be a single?」 in surprise。 For ℃-ute、 we’ve got a lot of songs that range from the extremes of ballads to intense numbers、 so how different this song was became the topic of discussion amongst the members。 But having taken a good look at the lyrics、 it leaves a girlish impression、 so I think it’s very much like the recent ℃-ute。 Also、 the Middle East? Me、 I can never remember that term, the Middle East!

- What do you mean?

At other interviews, I hear the members talk about 「Middle East」、so I thought 「I have to remember the Middle East」、 but I end up forgetting it。 Speaking about the Middle East、 basically、 I can’t remember it because 「It isn’t in my head at all」。 And so I explain it as being 「Oriental」。

- You can remember Oriental?

I remember Oriental thanks to Oriental Radio-san!

- You could probably remember the Middle East…。

Well、 I really don’t get the Middle East、 I think of it as technical jargon, like 「Kurikinton」 (potatoes mashed with chestnuts)。 But、 since you’re mentioning that it’s Middle Eastern、 it definitely is Middle Eastern!

- Okai-san、 rather than explaining the song, we’ve been just talking about the Middle East (laughs)。

I think that there’s all sorts of genres in music。

- You concluded it loosely (laughs)。

I can sympathise with the lyrics、 it’s a story about a person who can’t do anything, yet still talks big。 You know、 that’s just like my papa! While he says「After 3 years, I’ll have a house built~」, it’s already been close to 10 years and nothing’s been built…。

- However、 don’t the other members have different, strong feelings about the song?

Their thoughts are completely different! Maimi-chan  (Yajima Maimi) and Airi (Suzuki Airi) were saying that the guy in the lyrics is a person who’s really working hard~。

- Well then、 how about Suzuki Airi-san and Okai-san’s wildly popular twin-vocal song 『Kanashiki Heaven (Single Version)』?

This song was originally a coupling track for 『Aitai Aitai Aitai na』, but I never thought that it’d become a single track! I love this song、 and other groups can’t pull it off. I love it because it’s an individualistic song where Airi and I are constantly harmonising while singing! Now that it’s turned into a single, there’s a lot more chances for us to sing it、 so I’d like make this song even more widespread。

- Okai-san stands out a lot in the song, right?

Well、 it seems that way based on our LIVE performances of the song or from the MV、 but actually the dancing leaves a great impression, since everyone’s impression is 「℃-ute can dance at that level?」。 It seems that the 3-person dance stands out、 and even my mother mentioned that 「The dancing at the back stands out」。

- What are the differences between the original song and the current recording?

For this one (the Single Version)、 it’s more mature。 Tsunku♂-san told us that it was calmer since ℃-ute have become adults… so I guess he made the song that way。 The 「singing」 stands out more than the music、 and at the beginning, when it starts, and  also at the end, there isn’t any music, just our singing vocals. That was really nerve-wracking。 There are lots of idol songs、 but I think this song is pretty awesome since there aren’t really any songs like it。

- To match Suzuki-san、 how much practice did you need?

Honestly、 we only had a single practice round for the original song. What’s more, we had no idea that the song would require us to sing in harmony before that practice。 And so、 I think that there probably are parts of the original song where we slipped up。At the beginning、 I was nervous about singing this song, so I made a ton of mistakes。 Airi has an amazing sense for sound, so she didn’t make mistakes、 but I made plenty of blunders…。 It’s a song that caused a lot of anxiety, with me often being asked 「Okai-chan, are you all right?」。 And so、 it was a pretty hard-fought battle。

- Drawing on from your experience、 did the recording for this 「Single Version」 turn out better?

Yes! Airi shouts out a 「Wao!」 in the second part、 but she seems to have regrets about it in the original song. So she was happy that the 「Wao!」 she does this time around is more like the 「Wao!」 she was aiming for (laughs)。

- By the way、 Okai-san has turned 20, right?

I haven’t really changed much though…。

- Have you drank any alcohol?

Alcohol… I drink it! Basically I do drink it、 I mean, wouldn’t it be a loss to not drink, since I’ve turned 20! I’m drinking to make up for the 20 years I’ve missed out on until now!

- What drink do you recommend?

The first drink that I ever had was champagne at my birthday, but that was bitter…  I drank Cassis and Orange after that、 but my mother was like 「You’ll get fat, stop it」… Recently I’ve been drinking oolong tea highballs。

- You’ve abruptly turned into an old man。

I brainwashed Nacky (Nakajima Saki) into drinking oolong tea highballs!Actually, I get embarrassed when ordering drinks at a bar since it looks like I’m putting on airs、 but when Nacky orders, I can order by just going 「I’ll have the same」。 But、 I basically drink alone at home。

-For ℃-ute no Hi、 you’ll be continuing on from last year with a Budokan performance。

I’m thankful for the Budokan performance、 and it seems like the members of Hello! Project are having a lot of chances to perform there。 There were times when hardly any spectators came around、 so I’m really happy! However、 we’re all rivals in the end、so I want people to say that ℃-ute is the best。

- After the Budokan、 the next step would be Arena class venues。

That’s right… The challenge is to see if we can completely fill up the Budokan this time around。 I feel like we had fans who came mainly because they wanted to congratulate us the first time around、 so the battle this time around is to see if we can sell out our 2nd Budokan。 It’s really nerve-wracking! I’d love to say that arenas will be next、 but I think I shouldn’t ask for too much。 I’d like to move forward steadily, step-by-step。

- The summer Hello! Pro concerts are starting in Fukuoka。

Honestly、 we’ve got lots of girls、 so I think that with that, we’d get more girls coming。 With guys and girls coming、 I think that’ we’d get to spread our influence further。 Even from our point of view、 Hello! Pro’s idols are pretty stylish! So far、 our juniors have been called 「Cute!」、 but recently they’ve increasingly been referred to as 「cool」。

- Hasn’t ℃-ute contributed a lot to the acquisition of female fans?

Doesn’t it seem like that? For Morning Musume。’14 and the others too、 their intensity is amazing。 I think that if they really come and have a look、 they’ll come to like them…。

- You don’t have a sense of rivalry with Morning Musume。’14?

We’ve got a burning sense of rivalry! I want to assimilate all of Morning Musume。’14′s good points。 For me、 I’m in charge of Sayashi’s position in my dance unit, Team Okai。 When I danced Sayashi’s part、 my body was completely sore the next day、 so I think that she’s really amazing。

- Please tell us about Team Okai。 Recently、 there’s been the 「Hello! Sta Dance Club」。 What’s the difference?

Team Okai hasn’t been active recently! Actually、 quite a number of girls from Team Okai have joined the Hello! Sta Dance Club!

- And so、 you’re in crisis mode。

Quite a number have joined them! Plus、 new members aren’t coming in…。

- The members who joined the Hello! Sta Dance Club should be completely cut off!

That’s right、 that’s on the nose! Since the girls who’ve gone to the other side have become our rivals。 For me、 I didn’t join the Hello! Sta Dance Club because I had Team Okai!

- So、Team Okai can’t grow careless。

I’d like to resume activities immediately、 but it’s pretty hard to line up the members’ schedules… Hello! Sta Dance Club gets to immediately perform at a Hello! Con、 that’s amazing。

- The Hello! Sta Dance Club has also appeared on TX’s The Girls Live。

Eh!? Is that so? Well、 we haven’t even got to appear…。 Team Okai doesn’t need cash for photo shoots or a warehouse。 We don’t want to be a bother to the company。 And so I’d like it if they could make more use Team Okai! But our military prospects、 Miyamoto Karin-chan and Takagi Sayuki-chan have also gone to the other side… Once we’ve replenished ourselves with new members、 we’ll catch up where we left behind!

- Recently、 the topic of Okai-san working with Dainoji Otani-san has come up、 please tell us about your future activities in the world of variety。

I’m doing well with Otani-san、 but he supports Maimi-chan、 and recently he’s been supporting Nacky as well… While on the other hand, he refers to Chisato as 「Keema Curry」。 Meaning that I’m something that’s good to have once in a while (laughs)。 But、 I’m sure that he likes Chisato! He just shows his affection in an opposite manner。 For variety、 I’d like to come up with a programme for ℃-ute! I’d like to come out with a programme like 「Shabekuri 007」 where we can just show each and everyone’s good points。 All of us in ℃-ute usually end up getting nervous and unable to talk。 And so、 I hope we get to appear on all sorts of shows、 and I want us to grow accustomed to it。

- The issue of who’ll succeed Michishige-san as Hello! Pro leader once she graduates has been garnering attention、 what are Okai-san’s thoughts about that?

Shouldn’t it be Captain (Berryz Kobo’s Shimizu Saki)? It’s kind of a bit too early for our leader (Yajima Maimi) ~ Since she immediately panics、 we can’t really leave it to her。 Basically、 when we have activities together with Berryz Kobo、 everyone looks for Shimizu Saki-chan。

- It’d be difficult for Yajima Maimi-san?

Because she has to fully focus on doing her own thing (laughs)、 and she’s also got air-headed tendencies、 so it’s kinda… However、 she’s perfect as ℃-ute’s leader。Everyone in ℃-ute resolves their own problems on by themselves、 so someone like Leader is great。 However、 occasionally Leader makes proper declarations、 and in those cases, Leader’s decisions are absolute。 Since she only says things like that once in a while、 we make sure to carry it out。

- Changing topics、 regarding Okai-san’s favourite Himuro Kyousuke、 he’s declared that he’s done with LIVE performances。

If he’s going to retire、 I’d like it if he settles on exactly how many days there are until his retirement! Since I need some time to brace myself! However、 that part of him is cool too (blushes)。 Well、 since Himuro-san has said it, there’s nothing I can do about it、 but、it’s really worries me since it was just so sudden! Just DVDs don’t do enough for me! I want to see it to the end with my own eyes!

-一 Yes、 but it seems like so far he’s only said that he’s retiring from doing LIVE performances…。

You know、 that’s the big question! Although he hardly appears on TV、 where should we go to see the real thing! We want to see him! We want to feel his presence! Isn’t this what happened during BOOWY’s time as well! Wasn’t everyone like ‘With this sort of timing!?’ when he quit? For me、 I wasn’t around for BOOWY’s breakup、 but now it’s definitely a 「With this sort of timing!?」 situation。 Yesterday、 I was keeping a constant eye on his official homepage。 Since I think that whatever I hear might not be accurate、 I definitely won’t believe anything until I hear a proper explanation straight from the horse’s mouth!

- But an explanation has come out on the official homepage、 hasn’t it?

Well、 if it’s not words from the man himself, I won’t believe it! Although it was posted by Himuro-san’s staff、 until I see the words from Himuro-san himself、 I still won’t believe it…。

- How passionate… Let’s end this talk about Himuro-san. To conclude、 can you please tell us what are Okai-san’s personal goals。

I think that Momochi’s appearances on television are spreading the word about Berryz Kobo。 So I too would like to become active in the variety circuit、and spread ℃-ute’s name! All of the members are doing their best at all sorts of things by themselves、 so I’d like to properly work hard on variety! First our new song、 then the Budokan! I’ll do my best!

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Juice=Juice’s Single 「Black Butterfly/Kaze ni Fukarete」 to be released on 7/30

Tsunku♂ Comments『Black Butterfly/Kaze ni Fukarete』

Juice=Juice’s 7th Single。
It has been one year since their debut。Though it has only been a year、I wondered about how I should express how much they’ve grown!?
As a result of thinking about it、the image of pupas growing into beautiful butterflies came into my mind
And so I wrote a song and called it as 「Black Butterfly」。

Firstly I started out by composing a piece of tango-like music。

When I was making the melody、somehow there was no image of a 「butterfly」、
but when I was in the middle of shortening the arrangement I pictured the girls flapping their huge wings and floating upwards 。

Even so、the image as for up to now is bright and full of energy!
Rather than a butterfly、sometimes a little lonely、but、to be able to also have a strong mind and spirit 、
Such an image came to mind。

And that’s how I might have arrived at 「Black Butterfly」。

At the dance choreography for the high part of the song there was the image of five of them merged together as one butterfly。

I tried to project the girls currently as if they are looking for a place with bitter honey、rather than sweet honey。

「Kaze ni Fukarete」
This is the other song。
It seems that the girls flapping their wings freely gives off a strong feeling。
This music gives a complete feeling of 「I want to be able to fly away into the sky」。

These girls were all selected from Hello Pro Kenshuusei since they were center members。
I think that after all 「honor students do exist」 which is similar to drifting into the atmosphere。

So、likewise I wanted to wipe away the images that we produced and made 、
and to wish for one to break out of one’s shell and crawl upwards、I was thinking in such a manner。

This song is about a girl falling in love and being able to display one’s true self very well as well as devoting herself、
even if she feels a premonition she still approaches the end。
Sometimes she is a good child、but sometimes that is not her real nature、
Do you regret that this story has turned out to be like this?!

Honestly sometimes we send such a feeling towards the girls、and then we feel regretful、
I think that the girls should work together as five of them and face all their fans
so that they can succeed and advance to the next round of this entertainment business world。

Miyazaki:Though she is very accustomed to her work、her face is still looking worried。
When she’s given a situation she is professional at handling it 。As for the music video this time her expressions were all very appropriate 。
But instead of just solely a feeling of darkness and gloominess、somehow there was a pure feeling、it was certain that this child was filled with pureness。
This child slightly resembles a firefly that is brightly glowing。

Kanazawa:I think that I may have written this many times already、but this child’s voice is now one of the features of Juice=Juice。
She always pretends to feign ignorance about this、but her voice is amazingly strong with power which leaves a great ambiance、her way of appealing to others is somewhat different、this child is able to bring out her sexy beam。
Her dancing too、she includes her eyebrows in her facial expressions、she really is a sexy beamer。

Takagi:She is the child who hides her competitive spirit in her heart。
This child was able to climb up when she was in Hello Pro Kenshuusei 、but it’s all thanks to her competitive spirit。
For several times her face shows she is timid、but she gives herself opportunities
to make a come back with a smile on her face。Surely it will be so from now on too。

Miyamoto:She really has a strong vision。
Previously、pherhaps the reason why she injured herself is related to the growth of her big heart。
Disappointments and frustrations make people grow。That frustration and disappointment is the source of her feeling she is a burden (regret)、I think the biggest difference is that she feels thankful for experiencing these situations that she is able to grow into a great person。
I feel that she is very reliable。

Uemura:This child makes me laugh with a bright smile even if I feel troubled or down。
Which seems like it will bring on a mature and adult-like atmosphere。But even so、she has many things to
talk about like being from Osaka、and she is also a natural airhead、
likewise、there are times where she’s over impulsive and her facial expressions just surprises us、I am looking forward to how things will be after this。

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【Berryz Kobo】 Sugaya Risako・ Talking about their 10 years and her vision of the future「The members are like lovers to me」

Berryz Kobo

Berryz Kobo

On the 3rd of March 2014、Berryz Kobo celebrated the 10th anniversary of their début。 They held their first independent Nippon Budokan performance in November of last year、and their 10th anniversary commemoration tour held in the spring was a success. They have released new songs and held a stage play、 and as they’re scheduled to hold a performance at the  「15th Japan Expo」 held in Europe in July、 they continue to run at the forefront of the idol world。

And so、 this time around, we’ll be having a talk with one of the members, Sugaya Risako、 about the 10 years up until now and her vision of the future hereafter。 In 2014、 while rushing into their 11th year from their début、Sugaya, the youngest member, will also be entering into the age of adulthood、 it’s a turning point where all of the members have 「Become adults」。 The past and the present、 and what sort of future she’d like to paint out、 she conveys her thoughts through this interview。

Sugaya Risako

Sugaya Risako

――You celebrated your birthday on the 4th of April 2014. Have there been any changes in your mental state from around the time you turned into an adult until now?

From the age of 19 to the age of 20、 honestly、 I didn’t really feel like anything much had changed。 However、 born in me was the thought that I should take responsibility of the things that my parents have been taking care of。

Also、 at Berryz Kobo’s post-event parties、 I’ve been drinking ginger ale so far. Although I don’t drink alcohol as I’m not a fan、 I feel excited to be able to enter into places where they serve alcohol.

――You drew a mug of beer on your birthday commemoration T-shirt, didn’t you?

I drew my image of what it meant to turn into an adult、 but I don’t actually drink (laughs).

―― It’s mentioned in the title of your new song、  but I think that getting to “10 years” is a huge landmark, even if you aren’t talking about being an idol. Celebrating your 10th anniversary、 breaking into your 11th year, do you feel that anything has personally changed for you?

I entered this world in my 2nd year of primary school、 when I was 8。 While devoting myself to my studies、 I had to wrestle with work as well。 Looking back at it, I think 『It really was difficult』, trying to make them compatible with one another。

When I was still going to school、 we had to present our report cards to the managers。 So it wasn’t just about work, they checked on whether we were studying properly as well。 I’m pretty bad when it comes to studies、 so even though I worked hard on my homework, my results weren’t great. I wasn’t scolded but I was told 『You’ve got to work harder at your studies, okay』。

But、 I really love this line of work、 and though I’ve had my fair share of enjoyable and painful events、 I wasn’t alone as I had the members、 and surrounding me were the staff-san who were supporting me from behind and my family、 that let me get through these 10 years.

――When you were in primary school、 did you get any help from the other members with your school homework?

In our free time, there were times when we did all go study together(laughs).

Berryz Kobo

Berryz Kobo

――Sugaya-san, as the group’s ”youngest child”、 from that standpoint、 were there any points where you felt there were changes in the group in things like the relationships between the members?

All of the members are from the same generation、 but there definitely was the sense that I was the youngest child、 and since I wasn’t good at striking up conversations, there were times when I had to be careful。

However、 I don’t remember this clearly、 but there was once where I had a moment when I spilled out my emotions suddenly、 where I told them my opinions and my thoughts like 『I want to do it this way』。 Up until then, a lot of the time I would ride on the coat tails of the other members、 but I became able to say things like 『For me ~、 so I think this is wrong』。

The members too、 for a long time ago we would only start making moves once we were told to by the adults around us、 but recently、 we’ve started gathering the members’ input on things like the song order and costumes for lives、we even did it during our plays.

――For example、 do you discuss among members what to do beforehand for things such as MC corners at lives?

We do。 For MCs、 Momo (Tsugunaga Momoko) and the other members think about it、 and come up with all sorts of ideas like 『Wouldn’t it be funny if we did it like this?』。 I tend not to think about the MC and organisation since I’m bad at it、 I’m more in charge of thinking about costumes and make-up.

―― On fashion in particular、 we can see your obsession with it everywhere, like on your blog、 but what spurred that awareness?

Some time ago、 I appeared together with my friend Kyary-chan (Kyary Pamyu Pamyu) in a magazine、 so it might have been then when I woke up to a new discovery,   『Even these types of fashions exist』。 It started with me wanting to challenge myself to try out all sorts of clothes、 and changing what I wore depending on the day、 I tried on girlish fashions、 I tried casual styles、 and how I felt on the day was totally different depending on what I wore.

―― Let’s continue、 talking about singing、 amongst the fans, the topic of  「In 『Otakebi Boy  WAO!』, the strength of your singing changed」 has come up、 was there something that started it or was there a reason behind it?

Up to then, I had followed the instructions of the recording director、 but for that song, Tsunku♂-san entered the booth together with me、 and standing by me, gave me guidance。 『Try singing the next one in that way』, 『Try putting in more breath here』、 he taught me all sorts of ways to sing at the time、 so I discovered new ways to bring out my voice from within。 And so、 from then on, you could say that my awareness and a lot of things changed.

―― Currently、 I think you’ve had chances to sing the songs from the time of your début、 are there any changes that you’ve noticed when you compare then and now?

At our 10th anniversary live (Held 3rd March 2014)、 we sang a number of songs from the time of our début。 Like for 『Fighting Pose ha Date janai』、 the 7 of us sang it energetically as we hadn’t sung it for a number of years. At its release, everyone’s voices were cute、 but having aged, the way we sing has more presence (laughs)

Even though we also thought 『We’d like to revive our selves fromthe past』、 and we wanted to mimic even the finest details of the song as much as possible、 it definitely was difficult to sing since it was a bit different than usual。 Still、 the fans enjoyed it, so I think that 『It’s good that we sang it』.

Ai ha Itsumo Kimi no Naka ni / Futsuu, Idol 10-nen yatterannai desho!? (Limited A cover)

Ai ha Itsumo Kimi no Naka ni / Futsuu, Idol 10-nen yatterannai desho!? (Limited A cover)

―― Did you try to reproduce the dance as close to that time as possible too?

We tried our best (laughs) However、 recently we haven’t had many songs that are brimming with youthfulness, compared to when we made our début、 and because our past selves were very young, 、the cuteness would ooze out when we danced. But while our current selves were wondering how we should dance it、 we tried to dance while maintaining as much of that awareness as  possible.

―― Dancing songs from your début, from ages ago、 how did the members react during the rehearsal held before your performance?

While dancing, everyone was going 『This is nostalgic』。 While watching a video of our dance lessons during those days、 all of had exchanges going『We danced like this』, or 『Ah、 how young』、 it really was nostalgic.

―― In connection with an episode from your 10th anniversary live、 you wept at the MC of your first independent Nippon Budokan performance held last year(Held on 29th November 2014). Could you tell us your feelings at the time and about the view that was reflected from your eyes?

Honestly、 I was really nervous before it started。 I definitely was tided over by all sorts of emotions、and I was already sobbing even before we went out on stage。 The song we were starting with was 『Anata Nashi de ha Ikite yukenai』、 and the moment we stood on-stage, the view really made me want to cry、 but since the tune itself didn’t have an atmosphere of shedding tears, so while I was frantically holding it back,  thinking 『I can’t cry』, I put up a confident face and sang (laughs).

―― The Budokan covered in the light of glowsticks and the roar of the crowd was amazing, wasn’t it?

It’s normally difficult for the cheers from the audience to go beyond our ear monitors. But when we were at the Budokan、 it got through、 you could really hear the cheers of the fans on a grand scale。 And so、 I was constantly in tears throughout the day。 At the final MC、 I was deeply moved by the fact so many people had come to see us even though it was a weekday. The enjoyable experiences we’ve had up until now、 and of course, the hardships and the tough experiences、 and then、 the faces of the people who had been supporting us came to mind. At any rate, all sorts of emotions just welled up、 so it had me crying at the MC.

―― Once the Budokan live was done with、 did you feel a sense of accomplishment?

I did。 But、 rather than feeling that I was done with it、 even stronger was the feeling of wanting to do it again.

―― In September of this year、 you’ll be preparing for a Nippon Budokan live again, right?

That’s right。 I’m really looking forward to it!

―― Within the 10 years since Berryz Kobo’s début, there’s been a clamour about the 「Idol Warring States period」、 and showdown events have also increased、 with the circumstances surrounding idols changing from moment to moment、 but as an idol、 have you felt any changes in the idol scene?

I think that there aren’t that many groups with individuality like Berryz Kobo has、 where each and every one of our members pulls in different directions、 and I mean that in a good way。 We’ve had more than a few thoughts about other idols、 but I think that our forte is 『Although we may be all scattered, we do what needs to be done when it needs to be done』。 I’ll hold on to this feeling to the bitter end、 but I don’t have a strong sense of rivalry with other idols.

―― Currently、you’re just facing the selves who are just in front of your eyes, without wavering。

That’s right.

―― Have you had any chances to watch other idols or artistes?

I’ve watched them through the television。 When I get the hint of an idea、 between the time our live performances are announced and before they actually start, I use them as references and make suggestions.

Ai ha Itsumo Kimi no Naka ni / Futsuu, Idol 10-nen yatterannai desho!? (Limited B cover)

Ai ha Itsumo Kimi no Naka ni / Futsuu, Idol 10-nen yatterannai desho!? (Limited B cover)

―― Turning to the topic of you new single that went on sale on the 4th of June 2014、 while it was a double A side, they had completely opposing vibes、 but to connect it with your 10th anniversary、 what were your impressions the first time you saw the lyrics of 『Futsuu、 Idol 10-nen Yatterannai desho!?』?

Honestly、 I truly felt surprised。 The title itself has a great impact、 and I don’t think it could be sung by anyone besides us。 Also、 although I expect Tsunku♂-san wrote the lyrics、 it really is completely packed with our thoughts and feelings、 and we were astonished, like 『How does he understand our feelings to such an extent』。 It feels like he hit the mark splendidly.

―― For the other song, 『Ai ha itsumo Kimi no Naka ni』、 what were your impressions?

Listening to the intro, my first thought was that it sounded like the opening for the drama 『Mitokōmon』。 The melody is majestic, like something out of a musical、 but the dance is characteristic as well。 At the beginning, our dance teacher told us 『Even the expressions on your faces have to be precise』。 The choreography itself wasn’t that difficult、 but since we had to make detailed expressions for every phrase、 there were parts where we were hard-pressed.

―― Let’s go back to talking about the group again. For Sugaya-san、 you’ve spent 12 years together with them, counting from the Kids era, so what is Berryz Kobo to you?

They’re like a second family、 like lovers to me。 Obviously they’re like air to me、 and I remember having moments of unease when I couldn’t meet up with them。 Even if I don’t meet them for two、 three days、 the loneliness that wells up in me is akin to one month’s worth。 Of course, when we meet, we interact normally、 but it’s a strange sensation.

―― The contrast between family and lovers is amusing .(laughs)

The trifling acts of the members make my heart skip a beat、 and there are moments that make me think, 『How cute』 about each member。 In particularly、 ever since Maasa-chan (Sudo Maasa) cut her hair short、 since she’s become boyish, so there are times when I think that she’s like a romantic partner (laughs).

―― You joined as the youngest in the beginning、 were you under the impression that the other members were like ”older sisters”?

That’s right。 I have siblings、 and at home I definitely have to be a reliable older sister、 but when I went for work, it felt like 『There are many older sisters around』。 And so, even now I’m still pretty pampered (laughs).

―― Now that all the members are now adults、 can you describe your view of the future for Berryz Kobo after 5、 10 years?

This year, through our 『Naruchika』 live tour, we’ve been going around to lilve houses at various places、 but on my blog there are a lot of comments on the line of 『Please make sure to come to our home town!』、 so I’d like to make our way to the places we haven’t been before、 and if we can, I’d like to have gone around all 47 prefectures。

Also、 I’d like us to have one more performance at Saitama Super Arena。 Previously、 we set the record as youngest performers there (Held on the 1st of April 2007、 they established the record amongst independent artiste performances with 「An average age of 13.8」)、 not immediately、 but I’d like to go back there in the future.

―― Finally、 as you continue to progress from now on、 would you like Berryz Kobo to continue on for 10 more years?

By that time all of the members will be in their 30s, and our individual circumstances may have changed、 but if we’re able to, I’d love to continue on.

―― You’ll certainly look forward to 「cha cha SING」 after 10 years.(laughs)

Don’t you know it? (laughs)  I’d be a bit worried about my body、 but since it’d be amazing if I could do, I think I’d continue with it.

―― In the midst of how busy you are today、 we’d like to thank you very much for spending your precious time with us。


In the midst of the changes from childhood to adulthood、 Sugaya talked about her relationships with the members、 and how the way she performed had changed。 Indeed, getting to that critical juncture of “10 years” in anything、 isn’t a simple achievement。 For  Berryz Kobo、 who are pushing forward as idols, and for Sugaya Risako、 what sort of changes will they achieve from now on? Through their music and their live performances、 let’s continue observing that process。


Berryz Kobo’s Shimizu Saki talks about the impactful title of the new song and Hello! Pro’s next leader

With its impactful title, Berryz Kobo’s single 『Futsuu、 Idol 10-Nen yatterannai desho!?』 is now on sale。

What are the members’ thoughts on this musical work? Let us hear what Captain Shimizu Saki has to say。


― Please tell us your thoughts about your new songs 『Ai ha Itsumo Kimi no Naka ni / Futsuu、 Idol 10-Nen yaterannai desho!?』。 Firstly、 on 『Ai ha Itsumo Kimi no Naka ni』、 it’s turned out to be a majestic song。

You could say it’s militaristic… The song is cool、 and the first time I heard it、  I thought that it sounded like something out of a musical。 Even though it mentions 「Saa、 warae」 (So, smile)、 I don’t think that there’s anyone who’d smile just like that (laughs)。 I think we’re singing about something amazing。 The lyrics are packed with the word 「Ai」 (Love) 、 and I think that it’s a new song that Berryz Kobo hasn’t done before。

― Which part of it feels new?

The song itself does、 and the members are now adults who can contemplate the meaning of the lyrics while singing it、 it’s a song that we can sing since we’ve been doing it for 10 years。

― On the topic of 『Futsuu、 Idol 10-Nen yatterannai desho!?』、 could you tell us your thoughts when you first saw the title?

All of us were around when they distributed the lyrics、 and it felt like everyone immediately went 「Eh?」 and continued in silence、 it gave us that much of a shock。

― The lyrics have provocative words, like 「Make a business card and you’re instantly an idol」。 For this song、 I feel like it’s a song that can be sung because Berryz Kobo have been idols for 10 years。

You don’t need to put us on such a high pedestal though (laughs)、 but I think it’s got a very Berryz Kobo feel that can’t be expressed by other groups。 Taking a look at the lyrics、 there are parts that make us go 「Yup, it was just like that」。 I can really sympathise when it goes  「There are times when I’ve just cried into the night~」。 As a crybaby、 I was always crying。 Tsunku♂-san put those parts in the lyrics、 which really went straight to the heart。

― The lyrics 「Mama’s criticims were harsh」 also left an impression、 was Shimizu-san’s mother the same?

My parents never said much、 but when Sudo Maasa-chan’s mother watched us LIVE, she mentioned that  「It would be better if you went more like that at this point」。

― For 『Futsuu、 Idol 10-Nen yatterannai desho!?』  、honestly、 it seems like it doesn’t give a good impression at the beginning、 but did it grow on you while you were singing it?

The fans have said that、「The lyrics really touched our heart」、 so it’s become a precious song。

― Shimizu-san、 since you’ve been an idol for 10 years、 what is your reason for doing it?

The members of Berryz Kobo often display our inner selves、 so we’ve been doing things just as we are、 and I guess we ended up doing it for 10 years。 We honestly never thought that we’d continue for this long、 and before we noticed it, all of us were over 20… We’d become adults。

― It definitely isn’t like continuing a part-time job? (reference to lyrics)

That’s right、 it isn’t (laughs)。 During our school days, all of us wanted to participate in club activities or part-time jobs、 but I guess we didn’t want to since it would make us look like we were taking things too lightly、 doing two things at the same time。

― By the way Shimizu-san、 you look considerably different from the cover of the new single。

You see、 I cut my hair by 40cm! Without discussing anything with the staff、 I was like 「I’ll just cut it」 and I had it cut (laughs)。

― You know、 having your hairstyle be completely different on the cover compared to the day of release、that isn’t like an idol。

I had it cut without getting any permission! I was mulling over whether or not to have it cut、 but I cut it in the end!

― That kind of freedom、 it might be the reason why you’ve been doing this for 10 years。

That could be it (laughs)。

― After this、as Berryz Kobo has been around for 10 years、 will you continue on for 20 years、 30 years?

That’s right… I think I’d like for us to continue。 I think we’d like to continue as long there as fans who continue to support us。

― Have there been good or bad experiences throughout these 10 years?

If I wasn’t a member of Berryz、 I wouldn’t have the ability to bring people together、 so I wouldn’t be able to bring together people as a captain。 So、 it was good to spend these 10 years as captain。 For bad experiences、 there really aren’t any in particular…。

― Talking about being the captain、 Morning Musume。14′s Michishige Sayumi will be graduating from Hello! Pro。 I’ve heard voices giving support to Shimizu-san as the next Hello! Pro leader。

Is that so(laughs)。Once Michishige-san steps down、 I’ll be the oldest person in Hello!。 At this point in time、 I don’t particularly feel like 「I wanna do it!」、 but since BeriKyuu (Berryz Kobo、 ℃-ute) are the onee-san groups、 we have to be more reliable。 Our senior have taught us how great Hello! is、 so I’ve been thinking that I want to pass that down to the juniors。

― Presently、 within Shimizu-san’s self、 do you feel like you want to do it?

If the situation becomes one where someone from Morning Musume。 would be selected to do it… then I’d do it。 I have my pride as a senior, but if it were Maimi from ℃-ute、 Maimi’s in the same generation as I am and she’s reliable。

― Indeed、 after Michishige graduates from Morning Musume。14, they’ll be the youngest group。

That’s right。

― By the way、 what is the duty of the Hello! Pro leader?

There’s nothing really in particular (laughs)、 there’s things like giving words to boost everyone’s spirits before a Hello! Pro LIVE、 or to answer whenever something turns up… That’s the Hello! Pro leader。

― Boosting their spirits、 you do that to everyone?

Since it’s the leader’s saying it、 everyone gets motivated。

― So、 you do want to do it!

That’s right (laughs)、since this summer’s Hello! Pro concert will be Michishige-san’s last、 I’d like to keep a sharp eye on Michishige-san。 Since it’s precious, the time that Michishige-san is around。

― By the way Shimizu-san, what are you excited about in your private life?

Fashion。 I see clothes、 I buy them…。

― Have you done anything as part of TV Tokyo’s 「The Girls Live」 fashion segment (Where they coordinate clothes for all the members of Hello! Pro、 as well as groups outside Hello! Pro)?

I coordinated something up for S/mileage! I was fun、 but since I’ve never seen the S/mileage members’ personal clothes、 I had no idea about their preferences…。 Since all the girls in S/mileage have good figures、 going with white trousers looked stylish、 matched up with cute, pastel tops。

― I think that the fans that watch that show are all interested in the  「glue gun」。

The glue gun (laughs)。 Since the best way to put decorations on clothes is with a glue gun、 everyone always uses it。 Although I don’t know much about the details of the glue gun (laughs)、 it’s really easy to use。  You have to be careful since it gets hot。Why we use it all the time、 I really have no idea、 I guess the staff-san like it (laughs)。

― And、 you’ll be having a Budokan performance this year as well。

Nothing’s been decided yet、 but I’m glad that we’ll be standing on-stage there again。 It’s just that、 the hurdles have been raised higher than last year。 ℃-ute will be doing theirs the day before、so I’d like to pull off something more fascinating than ℃-ute。

― Is there any song in particular you want to get heard?

That’d be 『Succhaka Mecchaka~』! It’s a fun song that’s sure to fire people up、 so I definitely want people to listen to it! I teared up at last year’s Budokan、 but since I always want to end with a smile、 I want this year’s to end with such a fun song!


Hello!Pro Kenshuusei Recital 2014~Public Ability Diagnostic Test~

It’s a little rough, but these are my, Tsunku♂, ability diagnostic results.
I don’t want these comments to be depressing, I want the parts that compel you to grow and move forward to reach you.
First of all, this isn’t about forcing someone to do anything,
be it with music or just the act of standing on stage.
It has to be “I want to do it,” “I want to be on stage,” because the current Kenshuusei like it.
Because if they like it, they should be able to keep on doing it,
so I want them to keep going for themselves and not because someone told them to.
Also, I’m writing things that I want each member of the Kenshuusei to know as well as anyone trying to be a singer, so I don’t want you to think, “Oh, this isn’t my field, this has nothing to do with me,”
I guess I want you to take it all in for consideration.
I do think that if you can get something from this, you’ll see quite a difference in 6 months.

Kaga Kaede/ “SHALL WE LOVE?” (Gomattou’s song): Sense of rhythm is good. Has vocal quality. Probably superior among the Kenshuusei.
Amateurs can be kind of good at singing but even those who are “good singers”
often tend to breathe in too much air when it’s important and crack.
She should take in as little air as possible into her lungs before singing.
If her voice cracking this time is due to
her being “the top batter,” her abilities still have a ways to go after this.
There were times in the past when this girl’s singing and rhythm weren’t matching,
so I thought that she should also practice keeping the count while during a song.
The song she chose this time didn’t match her.
I think number one for Kaga is practice, first and foremost, and assessing different situations.

Yamaki Risa/”Onna to otoko no lullaby game” (Morning Musume’s song): It’s been no time since she started training, but in these past couple of months I think she’s really settled in. She has composure. She doesn’t have an idol face, but it is on the contrary a very Hello!Pro type of face.
The melody of this song goes up and down but even so she managed to sing it without missing the pitch changes.
Judging from this song alone she didn’t know the dance, but her intuition isn’t bad.
If it were a Japanese pop song from a long time ago then she’d be able to sing it like a natural but I want her to feel the rhythm more and more, double,
of current songs so that she can sing the emotions found in current JPOP.
Her image is just bright and excellent, she doesn’t give a simple idol~ vibe,
so I want her to create a new “somethingness” as her personality that hasn’t been in Hello!Pro before. She’s no Fukumura but if she can bring the “Yamaki” character into existence then she’ll be victorious.

Taguchi Natsumi/ “100kai no KISS” (Matsuura Aya’s song): She can sing while reliably keeping the rhythm. And at the time Matsuura couldn’t do that. She’s speedy with her pitch changes and the “sharpness” of her notes, which is good.
She has an individual vibrato. She can jump and sing naturally in songs where she jumps a little (boost in the division of shuffle songs)
so I’m definitely looking forward to seeing her after this. But still, in terms of age, when she suddenly wants to stop her arm movements or the length of the song she can’t stop.
I want to build up her smaller muscle movements. Young as she may be, the women’s table tennis players that played so hard, Hirano and Itou were both 13.
The fact is that girls like that still fight and refuse to accept defeat from adults so it is possible to win against them in life,
so I think that anyone who wants to become a singer shouldn’t let “young” become an excuse. You have to do your best!

Yokogawa Yumei/”Bagel ni Ham & Cheese” (℃-ute’s song): She missed notes, her rhythm was all over the place, but in this performance on this day I think she handled it far more naturally that she would have 6 months ago in the audition. I guess that means that she has present-day idol-ness.
In MCs, during the audition she would look like she wasn’t following the questions a lot of the time,
but this time she read the atmosphere, and I think she was able to do that naturally, too.
She has a good feel for the tempo in terms of character.
However, a place in Hello!Pro isn’t just about seeking “present-day,”
so I want her to build up the musical aspects, with her energy being a plus and of course her intelligence.

Inoue Hikaru/”Otona na no yo!” (Berryz Koubou’s song): Fully loaded with the feeling of how hard she was trying. She was good at being lively, she interpreted the dance in an individualistic way, and she has a lot of good qualities. This girl also inhales too much so no matter what too much goes into the mic, and suddenly her voice will be out and such.
The hold of the mic is very important, if the mic is stable then the voice that you hear in the speakers is stable. I think she has strength, so I want her performance experiences to increase and to make her vocal quality stable.
Returning to the story, I feel that she has a very high level of potential in physical ability,
so I want her to dance more and more as she is and get more dance strength.
She has the ability to stand among the top of the current Kenshuusei.
With her smile and her responses to the MC I don’t think she’ll become disagreeable even if she gets jealous of the others.

Makino Maria/”Happy Summer Wedding” (Morning Musume’s song): She’s the type who seems to have the ability to be self-produced.
When she was little I don’t doubt she was praised a lot with, “You’re such a capable girl~”
She’s about to slide into adulthood, reaching puberty as a child-actor type hitting her head.
I think she’s right about there now. The day of Yoshizawa said it well, but depending on how she throws in the final “idiot” factor, it will change how she makes female fans. She’s equipped with the necessary rhythm and singing ability of a pro, so something to pay attention to is whether she reconstructs herself to become her total self.
The point is that it’s important to not settle for less in the end.
I think the things she’s been praised for up until now are different from the things that are going to be demanded from her,
so getting stage experience and remembering things like that is important.
There’s a high possibility that her growth will stop if she prepares too much in advance. I think she has entered a period where the people around her will leave her as she is.

Fujii Rio/”Tabidachi no haru ga kita” (S/mileage’s song): She has a good way of breaking things down. This level of energy will be essential. Nevertheless, that’s not to say that her singing or rhythm is broken.
During the audition and right afterward she didn’t seem like she had calmed down, so I was worried, but I think she’s matured a little. She has been able to relax.
Well, speaking of which, I don’t think that the energy level she had originally has dropped to zero,
so it has become the overseeing of natural growth.
Her singing rhythm isn’t bad, but I want her dancing rhythm to get a little better.
The “na~” part of ”Ookiku fukurandana~” and other areas where the notes are elongated are evidence
that her singing rhythm suddenly deteriorates. She doesn’t bring the rhythm into her body,
so when she draws out the “naaa” it turns into “going in intervals (a phrase we use),” and the song falls apart. However, this song suits her.

Niinuma Kisora/”Daisuki 100manten” (Morning Musume Fukumura Mizuki and Ishida Ayumi’s song): Including when she makes a fool of herself being in the center,
she’s invincible. She can reliably change pitch, in terms of singing. However, in the chorus of this song
the range is really wide, so it feels like she chose a difficult song.
She definitely fits the image of the song so it’s not a bad choice.
She dropped the rhythm on the “to” of “Higaeri deeto~,” but ultimately she puts out rhythm like it’s as natural as breathing when she’s ending notes. I think she’s doing this on intuition, too. It would be good for her to remember how very important it is in pop to cut the notes like that.

Tanabe Nanami/”Bagel ni Ham & Cheese” (℃-ute’s song)” An outstanding sense of stability. She’s really developed in giving a real feeling of security when you leave something with her.  When she came to us as a Hello!Pro Egg, she was really feeble some no matter what she did it felt like, “Huh? What are you trying to do!?” but coming this far she has gotten some power.
Still, her song choice this time was well within her own level of ability so it didn’t have any excitement, and although I was happy to see her face and her hairstyle, her bangs were completely open and maybe it didn’t quite fit today’s Tanabe performing.
One reason for that might be because she was coming out of the prize-winning spot. Well, I wasn’t there to read the atmosphere of the venue so I can’t say anything. She has ability, so I want her train herself in getting the rhythm without focusing on it and bringing out her personality in MCs.

Ogawa Rena/”Sakura Mankai” (Morning Musume Sakuragumi’s song): Her song choice was good. Her haircut was fresh. Of course she wasn’t great at the song, but I think that the overall balance was good.
Her physique has matured a little, and I’m glad she hasn’t been dragging along the image she’s had up until now.
So, conversely, here is where I want to seriously forge her singing.
The things I noticed most were rhythm, length of the notes, going up and down while not maintaining the pitch on long tones. These are the things I want to work on. She’s restricted to listening well to good singers, memorizing things, and mimicking them.

Mikame Kana/”Samidare bijo ga samidareru” (Juice=Juice’s song): I think she’s facing forward and studying Hello!Pro well in her own way, and I think she did well in energetic facial expressions. I’m glad that it seemed like she had been listening to a lot of Hello!Pro.
This is an intense song so singing it is going to be rough no matter what, so at least for times like this, I want to make her mic hold better. The thing I noticed most was the rhythm getting turned inside out.
She’s not at home with the word 16-beat, so it’s possible she had no idea that she was mixing up the inner and outer rhythms…is what I ended up thinking.
The two sides of rhythm are fundamental, so she should practice getting the rhythm down consistently at home every day and if she does I think we’ll be able to see results in 6 months.

Hamaura Ayano/”Yakimochi wo kudasai!” (Berryz Koubou’s song): Her ability coming in is satisfactory. Her expressiveness is also satisfactory. She’s warmed up, in a good way. Her song choice felt like, “You went that way?!” and it was expected of it.
I don’t think she’ll be able to do the “I’m a widdle girl” face forever, so I wonder
if she understood that, too. I felt her at ease. Her bangs looked good, too.
However, she was unstable going from the falsetto back to her regular range,
and with the song choice this time I can’t judge the smaller details,
but she has a lot of “face” in the song. I thought if she didn’t increase her number of expressions, she might get stuck in her own head.

Kishimoto Yumeno/”REAL LOVE” (Berryz Koubou Sugaya Risako’s song): She threw herself into an impressive song. Is that okay?! Can you sing that!?
I thought, but I want to give her fairly high marks.
Her vibrato stays within the rhythm, she tightened her voice in the pianissimo
and in normal range, too, she was stable. It was a bit of a shame that her pitch went up when she drew out the notes, but if she gets more experience in that I doubt it will be a problem.
After this I want to get her to extend down this path. I want her to listen to a lot of Western music and such by herself,
and I want her to develop a funky sort of position that isn’t like Hello!Pro, in a good way.

Ichioka Reina/”Jishin motte, yume wo motte, tobidatsukara” (Morning Musume Takahashi Ai’s song): She chose a hard song. At first listen it’s an 8-beat song, but in reality a lot of the rhythm in it requires a 16-beat.
Considering that, she sang it with stability.
Before the chorus, the “ii” part “shinjitete hoshii~no”」was where she completely lost the rhythm, it was a waste.
Also while I was happy to see the performance aspect of her getting the crowd going by waving her arm, that “arm”
didn’t have the muscles properly built up, and she couldn’t stop it sharply and it lost the effect.
I want her to do her best and not forget to practice building up those little details in the rhythm every day.

Haga Akane/”Nanchatte Renai” (Morning Musume’s song): Skill is required to sing a song in minor. It’s especially difficult to sing songs about pain and heartbreak. It might also be said that it’s tiring to keep up a sad face while singing such sad lyrics.
Her mic hold was good and she took a challenge with the rapping, I think she tried her best in a few different ways.
During the song, her expressions never changed and that was a shame.
Her smile after she finished was sublime, but she got so caught up
in the image of the song that she looked scared and that was also a shame.
Still, what I’m pointing out is fairly advanced, so I don’t think she’ll be able to interact with it immediately.
And that is why song choice is also important.
Please focus on your pitch and rhythm as foundations, in any case.

Danbara Ruru/”Memory seishun no hikari” (Morning Musume’s song): I might have said this on Twitter, too, but what makes her so good is how phenomenal her face is when she’s singing.
Like how Asada Mao or Arakawa Shizuka shine the most beautifully on the ice
this girl has to have the same knack for singing.
Classically trained singers take the “wa~” of “shiranakatta~wa~” into a crescendo,
going beyond the rhythm of most people.
In pop you definitely can’t drop the rhythm, so when singing that “wa” and the extended notes, you have to maintain the rhythm while clearly denoting
where the note ends.
The “neee” of “yonde yo neee” in my mind should be ended in half the time, but I heard her draw it out.
In the same vein she has the muscles to push her arms out and sharply do poses,
but she has no rhythm between notes,
so it runs out.
And, I’ve embellished on this before, but when you’re 10 you sing with a fair amount of reason but that can’t be seen later on. You can only sing with passion now.

Inaba Manaka/”Suki-chan” (S/mileage’s song): She’s the number 1 sharpest dancer in the Kenshuusei.
It’s like she’s been moving like that ever since she was little, I felt the power of her motions.
So even when the dance is intense, without letting the song get to her, her mic hold is good.
In a different way than Danbara, she’s a pro, a girl I want to have on stage as a normal thing.
She can do MCs well, she accurately answered the questions Maki-sensei threw at her,
so in terms of age I can see her as ready ammunition.
I want her to keep breaking out in an Inaba sort of way without getting nervous.

Funaki Musubu/”DESTINY LOVE” (High-King’s song): I think she took this as a challenge. Her dancing still needs work, but I think she could be pretty sharp. I could feel her rhythm as she walked down the stairs.
There were a lot of times when she went out of tune, and there were times when the rhythm got forced,
but losing the rhythm in this case is like when a 4 year old or something sings
and they don’t care about the background performance and just sing.
Or, another thing, I could feel the 16-beat rhythm, but that also
got forced by going to the front rather than focusing on the background things.
She is of course the youngest. If you can just get the rhythm down like this
the current missed notes and voice changes will end and she’ll get more stable,
which means she can get better pitch control. Let’s keep putting in effort.

Sasaki Rikako/”Kiseki no kaori dance.” (Matsuura Aya’s song): She’s been studying staging in different ways, I think she did her best in her own way.
She has strength in expressions and in self-producing. They aren’t odd products of child acting
she has some good stuff.
She’s been tied up with the word “child” up until now, and I’m happy to say that her
“energetic” was “energetic,” but after this,
how will she go forward with “energetic,” that’s going to be the main issue.
She needs to hold the mic in such a way that she could sing ballads as well and she needs to
understand where to cut off the length of her notes.

Nomura Minami/”My Days for You” (Mano Erina’s song): She did very well in the song choice and the outfit choice. She’s an necessary character for the current Hello!Pro.
It’s not that she has power enough to break through with singing and dancing,
but she’s still growing, and even though this song actually has a difficult melody to follow,
she handled it flawlessly, and she had a factor to her that made me think
that that in and of itself is strength.
She was asked, “Are you that serious?” but I want her to turn the tables on that “serious” and build up her character.

Yoshihashi Kurumi/”Naichau Kamo” (Morning Musume’s song): She’s gotten stronger. She’s has some pretty good dancing and expressions.
There was a moment when she went off-key, but when the chorus kicked in she was fine.
She lost the rhythm on the “do~” of “Timing miteta kedo~” and that was a waste.
She’ll improve more and more if she can explain any song she hears in the world, not just those in settings like this, and go “Oh, this place, if it were me I’d sing it with this rhythm.”
If she can understand in her head how to choreograph the melody, without explaining the particulars of the dance or the song, as well as assess her stage, she’ll grow quickly.

Ooura Hirona/”Suppin to namida” (Goto Maki’s song): She made a difficult song choice. She’s the type to naturally have a minute vibrato and hold long tones, but it doesn’t sound bad, so let’s keep practicing singing. She gave the “n” part of “Nandakara airarenai” some undulations as much as she could, and while it wasn’t a 100-point performance, she sang in a way that can’t be done if one doesn’t understand how the rhythm changes, so I was shocked, “Oh!”
Her expressions when she sings are probably her own invention. She sang as if she was doing a musical, which means a couple different things.
Just as Yoshizawa and Makoto pointed out, I thought she had the disposition for acting and the stage.

Murota Mizuki/”Memory seishun no hikari” (Morning Musume’s song): She has matured for her age. Her outfit and makeup were very cool, excellent.
Her body line has matured as well, and I could sense how much she’s grown all-around.
She might have been putting on an act of childishness with the bow.
Although it was a good focal point like in a painting that catches the eye…
I wrote this on Twitter, too, but she inhaled too much and got high-pitched.
She’s prone to going high-pitched. There’s a lot of this in good amateurs.
When I watch videos or something of myself as an amateur I do it a lot, too.
She’s the type that feels good when she’s singing, but doesn’t realize that she’s missing notes.
She studied songs and bringing the rhythm into the body in Hello!Pro, in a very good way.
That moment made me feel glad the Kenshuusei system was there.
However, the “to~” in “aishita hito~” for example, you might think you’ve got the rhythm in it
but it doesn’t come across in the song, so it would be best to develop a vibrato.

Wada Sakurako/”Boogie Train ’03″ (Fujimoto Miki’s song): The costume reveal at the beginning of the performance was good. It made me think that winning the prize last year was fuel for her to do better.
She’s gotten strong in dancing and singing, and her voice projects well.
Above all else her expressions got better. I’m glad I got to meet the version upgrade Wada, who I wouldn’t have thought was the same girl as last year.
I feel her development as her responses to the MC were also completely different than they were before.
I’m very grateful that I can see this kind of growth coming from Hello!Pro.
Speaking of which, her dancing and singing can still likely go further, so without thinking about it too hard, she needs to start to love the songs and do lots of imitations. As much as possible.

Yamagishi Riko/”Aitai aitai aitai na” (℃-ute’s song): Changing her hair makes her whole image change. In a good way.
Her singing and mic hold are stable, it came across very well.
When she missed notes I could hear her missing them trying her hardest,
so that’s fine. Being able to hear the voice is an important topic for a singer,
so first, place the mic where you can get your voice heard. This is number 1.
Her outfit and body were fit, and it might have left a very good impression.
I think she has a necessary personality for the current Hello!Pro.
She isn’t just a fool character but she can also do MCs consistently,
so she’s grown much more than I thought she would.
However, I noticed that she did the same hand choreography during the chorus over and over again.
The original performers might have done so, but when they dance you can’t tell, even when they do the same motions their expressions and posture are different, you might notice. That’s vital study.

Tanaka Karen/”dearest.” (Matsuura Aya’s song): This was a pretty difficult song from Matsuura. She chose it because she wanted a challenge. Of course she’s going to lose against Matsuura who is good at singing, but I appreciate her for wiping away the original image she had with it.
Spirit like this girl has to take a complete challenge is important.
Her voice got turned inside out, her long tones were unstable,
but there are lots of people who sing ballads, but I was able to listen without object or feeling intimated like “Listen to me song~” which I valued most highly.
It’s because she simply liked the song, and she was able to feel how many songs she had sang up to this point. When you’re young it’s all about what song should I sing, but I felt that what song will I like is more important.



【Interview】「Nico Nico Chou Kaigi is a battlefield」 ℃-ute’s thoughts on tackling Nico Chou Live 「Chou Ongakusai 2014」

With their performance at the 14th 「Japan Expo」 in Paris, France in 2013、 and moreover the success of their first independent performance at the Nippon Budokan in their 8th year since their formation、 it was a year where the popular 5 person idol group ℃-ute made great strides。On the 26th of April、 ℃-ute performed at Makuhari Messe in Chiba、 as part of the 「Nico Nico Chou Kaigi 3」’s 「Chou Ongakusai 2014」、 sending the fans gathered at the venue into a wild fervour。

Before their live performance this time around、 we asked the girls about their thoughts about 「Nico Nico Chou Kaigi 3」。


「Nico Nico Chou Kaigi」 is a place for “battle”!

―― You’ve performed at every Nico Nico Chou Kaigi since it first started、 so with it being your 3rd time, how enthusiastic do you feel about this year’s event?

Yajima: It’s the 3rd time、 but all sorts of artistes perform at the Nico Nico Chou Kaigi、 so there aren’t just fans of ℃-ute gathered here、which fires us up, 「It’s a battle!」。

Suzuki:Getting to do an appearance on-stage at this festival、 I think that there’ll be lots of people who’ll get to know of ℃-ute。 I think that many of the artistes that perform on Nico Nico Chou Kaigi have anime song roots、 and normally、 we get a lot of chances to interact with people who love idols、 so getting to interact with people who like anime and having them know of us、 it makes me happy。

Nakajima: With all the live performances and the booths at Nico Nico Chou Kaigi、 I really think that all sorts of people will be in attendance。 However、 it makes me glad that ℃-ute gets to appear as part of it、 and we’d like to learn even more about anime。

Okai: The set list this time around contains ℃-ute’s most exciting songs、 and it’s nothing but songs we’ve prepared for the battle。 Within the set list、 we’ve prepared a song entitled「Kanashiki Heaven」、 and we readied it feeling like 「Wouldn’t this make an awesome anime theme song?」。 Anyway、 I’d like this song to reach their ears、 and I’ll work hard to make them think that 「I’d like to try this song in an anime!」。

Hagiwara: At the handshake event we had just before this、 there were people who said 「I saw ℃-ute at the previous Nico Nico Chou Kaigi、 and became a fan!」。 It made me really glad、 and even those who aren’t here can watch ℃-ute through the Nico Live stream、 so a whole swath of people will get to know about us。 Because of that, ℃-ute has to do our best with our performance。

――  It looks like the「Nico Nico Kaigi」 is a battlefield for all of you。

Okai; That’s right。  Since all sorts of comments get written on Nico Nico Douga! That really makes you nervous (laughs)。

Everyone: That’s right!

Hagiwara: You’ve got to pull off everything properly (laughs)。 We have to pick the words we say carefully for the MC as well。

Okai: At the previous 「Nico Nico Chou Kaigi 2」 live performance our voices failed us、 and at the time comments of 「Ah、 they failed」started flying about (laughs)。 On the stage this time around there are 2 huge monitors set up for both sites、 so you’ll be able to see the comments for yourselves on the monitors above the stage while we’re performing、 and since we can see it in real time while we’re singing、 it’s even more nerve-wracking。

Hagiwara: I don’t want to take a look at those、 when we’re there。 In both a good and bad way! (laughs)

Wanting to challenge anime music

―― From what you mentioned before、 do you have some thoughts about wanting to perform a song for anime?

Okai: We do! Anime theme songs are really lovely。 Often、 we’ve entertained the idea of including our songs。 Something like…… This song would be perfect for a sad scene (laughs)。  ℃-ute often talks about such things。

Hagiwara: We often watched anime when we were small。

Nakajima: The other day、 when everyone went out for a meal、 we talked our memories of popular anime when we were children。 Like 「Ojamajo Doremi」。

Suzuki:Currently、 Sailor Moon goods have come into fashion、 and I’m really glad that the works from our era are gradually being revived。

―― Thank you very much。 Finally please tell us about the biggest highlight of your stage performance、 the song in your set list that you feel strongest about。

Yajima: I’ve heard that based on the ℃-ute videos that are watched on Nico Nico Douga、「Dance de Bakoon!」 is definitely extremely popular。 That’s at the end this time around、 so make sure to listen to it、 and it would be great if we could make it a blast together、 so we’re counting on your cheers of support。

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Morning Musume。’14 Concerning the graduation of Michishige Sayumi

Good day everyone、 this is Tsunku♂。
Currently I’m pacing myself with work while recuperating。
Well then、 without delay、 at today’s Morning Musume。’14 concert  that will be held at Shunan-shi Bunka Kaikan in Yamaguchi prefecture
It will be announced by the person herself、
That 6th generation member and current leader 「Michishige Sayumi」
Will be graduating at the end of the 2014 autumn tour。

She has been part of Morning Musume。’s history for 「4118 days」(Until the present, 29th April 2014)、
Making her the person who’s spent the longest time as part of the group。
And、 as a leader and as a member, she has witnessed an unprecedented record of 「5 consecutive first appearance 1st place singles」。

She’s a valuable 6th generation member who has experienced both the times of their heyday and the times they were idling。
From there we had a V-shaped turnaround and she became leader、and she’s had an active career in all sorts of ways。

As for the group、 of course the 9th gen and beyond are mostly still young、
So there’s more than a tiny bit of anxiety。 And、 for the new members that will be joining soon
There are a lot of things that I definitely want her to instruct them on。
However、 even before she had switched from using her gag comment 「『Right! I’m cute as usual today!』、
She said that she’d like to graduate when she becomes cute even in reality。
And in her own kind of aesthetic「I’d like to graduate 『now』 when the group is pumped up。」。

I personally really like that rock-like way of thinking、
And in truth, we’ve been discussing what’s to come after that for close to 2 years。
As a result、 in the midst of breaking all sorts of records、
We thought the best time for Michishige to graduate would be this year、
So it was decided that the graduation would be in autumn。

She has her own intentions、 and she didn’t want the members to only find out suddenly when she makes the announcement on the concert stage、
She wanted to talk with the members directly before the official announcement、and she informed them last night
And、 that she’d like to dispatch it to all of the fans from her hometown of Yamaguchi prefecture、
So she’ll be announcing it in today’s live performance。

It isn’t like there is plenty of time until her graduation、
But it’s not like it’ll be soon either。

Finishing up at Morning Musume。 and leaving behind a legend beyond the legends that have been made up to now、
Up until her graduation、 the extent of which all of you will support her graduation、
We’ll be begging for your kindness!

For those who’d like to try to become a member of Morning Musume。’14 under that Michishige-leader、
We’re currently recruiting members! You can still make it in time!
Please make sure to participate! We’ll be waiting!

29th April 2014
Morning Musume。’14 Producer

・Michishige Sayumi Comments by her are here

・「Morning Musume。’14 <Golden> Audition!」 site is here


An announcement concerning Morning Musume。’14′s Michishige Sayumi

Thank you very much for always giving your support to Morning Musume。’14。

Today、 at the concert held at Shunan-shi Bunka Kaikan in Yamaguchi prefecture、
Leader Michishige Sayumi announced that、 at the closing of this year’s autumn tour、
She will be graduating from Morning Musume。’14、 as well as Hello! Project。

Michishige made her CD début in 2003′s 「Shabondama」as a 6th generation member 、
She became the 8th leader in 2012、 bringing Morning Musume。forward。
The number of days she’s been part of Morning Musume。has exceeded 4100 days、the longest in their history、
Amongst her many contributions to the group、 attaining 5 consecutive 1st places on the Oricon Single Chart during her tenure as a member、 it set a new historical record for Morning Musume。

We have had countless, repeated discussions、 and respecting her wishes、 we have come to this conclusion。

There is still time until her graduation、so we are begging for your kindness from now on to continue giving your support
To Morning Musume。’14、 as well as Michishige Sayumi。

29th April 2014
Up Front Promotion
Representative Director
Oohama Minoru

I、 Michishige Sayumi、
At the closing day of this year’s 2014 Morning Musume。’14 autumn tour、 will be graduating from Morning Musume。

When I became leader about two years ago、 I said that「I’d like to give back to Morning Musume。」。

Within that、 although it wasn’t by my own strength alone、 we got 5 consecutive single 1st places、
I went through all sorts of activities、 and little by little、 little by little、 I felt that I was able to give back。

So、 I discussed it with Tsunku♂-san and people from the office、 and the timing for my graduation was set for this year’s autumn tour。

However、 since there’s still time、 there’s lots and lots of things I want to tell my juniors、
And things that I want to show them。
I’d like to create a lot of memories with all of you fans as well。

And、 the real 「giving back」 will start from now。
I’d like to finish up at Morning Musume。 with a super super super good feeling {Renai Revolution 21 reference} and graduate、
And I’d like to pass the baton to the next generation。

I’m begging for your kindness until the autumn。

29th April 2014
Morning Musume。’14 Leader
Michishige Sayumi

Good day everyone、 this is Tsunku♂。
Currently I’m pacing myself with work while recuperating。
Well then、 without delay、 at today’s Morning Musume。’14 concert  that was held at Shunan-shi Bunka Kaikan in Yamaguchi prefecture
Announced by the person herself、6th generation member and current leader 「Michishige Sayumi」
Will be graduating at the end of the 2014 autumn tour。
She has been part of Morning Musume。’s history for 「4118 days」(Until the present, 29th April 2014)、making her the person who’s spent the longest time as part of the group。
And、 as a leader and as a member, she has witnessed an unprecedented record of 「5 consecutive first appearance 1st place singles」。

She’s a valuable 6th generation member who has experienced both the times of their heyday and the times they were idling。
From there we had a V-shaped turnaround and she became leader、and she’s had an active career in all sorts of ways。

As for the group、 of course the 9th gen and beyond are mostly still young、
So there’s more than a tiny bit of anxiety。 And、 for the new members that will be joining soon
There are a lot of things that I definitely want her to instruct them on。
However、 even before she had switched from using her gag comment 「『Right! I’m cute as usual today!』、 she said that she’d like to graduate when she becomes cute even in reality。
And in her own kind of aesthetic「I’d like to graduate 『now』 when the group is pumped up。」。

I personally really like that rock-like way of thinking、and in truth, we’ve been discussing what’s to come after that for close to 2 years。
As a result、 in the midst of breaking all sorts of records、 we thought the best time for Michishige to graduate would be this year、 so it was decided that the graduation would be in autumn。

She has her own intentions、 and she didn’t want the members to only find out suddenly when she makes the announcement on the concert stage、
She wanted to talk with the members directly before the official announcement、and she informed them last night、
She’d like to dispatch it to all of the fans from her hometown of Yamaguchi prefecture、so she’ll be announcing it in today’s live performance。

It isn’t like there is plenty of time until her graduation、
But it’s not like it’ll be soon either。

Finishing up at Morning Musume。 and leaving behind a legend beyond the legends that have been made up to now、
Up until her graduation、 the extent of which all of you will support her graduation、
We’ll be begging for your kindness!

For those who’d like to try to become a member of Morning Musume。’14 under that Michishige-leader、
We’re currently recruiting members! You can still make it in time!
Please make sure to participate! We’ll be waiting!

29th April 2014
Morning Musume。’14 Producer

My gratitude! Morning Musume。’14 5th consecutive 1st place single

Everyone、 my thanks to you!

I’m sure there are people who are already aware of this、as it’s been announced
But Morning Musume。’14′s single 「Toki wo Koe Sora wo Koe/Password is 0」<br> [sic] was able to capture the 1st place with its first appearance。→

Everyone、 I really thank you very much。

I’m currently undergoing medical treatment for my illness、
So the chances where I’m unable to give guidance to the members has increased、
But to that extent, the awareness of the members is high、 and they’re facing all sorts of challenges while facing forward
I believe that this is the result of that。

If you think about it, from a position where there hadn’t been new members for a while, the 9th generation were admitted、
Up until the 11th generation’s Oda Sakura、 while talking about the 10 names presently under Michishige-leader
I believe that these girls are blessed (Fuku Musume)。

Since, while a 1st place naturally requires ability, if timing and luck don’t come together
It still can’t be achieved。

Amidst that、 with 5 works in a row
I think that you could say that, these girls possess luck。

It might be possible to get lucky once or twice、 but I think that even more
It’s combined with something that calls forth a sort of energy。

It’s not about which member has the strength、
Coming out with those exact results while in this age where it feels like new and old are shifting、
I think that any of the members possess that fortune。

And thus, I’m thinking of them as「Fuku Musume」 (lit. Blessing/Fortune daughters)。

At any rate、 mere records won’t leave any mark within the heart、
So along with these records、 I want them to continue from now on
With performances that leave something in one’s heart。

Of course, I don’t want to lose to the energy of those girls
I’ve got to compose music、 and produce plays。

For your kind support from now on too、 I beg for your kindness!

Thank you very much!

By the way、 currently、 Morning Musume。 is also currently accepting applications for new members!
Everyone、 please participate!Details are here→!


Morning Musume。 ’14 “Toki wo Koe Sora wo Koe / Password is 0″ Interview

Morning Musume。 ’14 “Toki wo Koe Sora wo Koe / Password is 0″ Interview


Ishida Ayumi took decisive action in Morning Musume’s first solo interview. With members exploding
with individuality along with Morning Musume’s reviving popularity, she’s gone on without her inner spirit being discovered. An originality which she’s finally found. She doesn’t give up in anything. Just like then, she’s stayed that competitive girl. Please be sure to read.

“When Tsunku♂san returns he’ll say, ‘You’ve all come a long way’”

photo1[1]–Currently your country-wide tour “Morning Musume ’14 Concert Tour Spring ~Evolution~” is in session,so in what way are you approaching it this time?

Ishida Ayumi: With this being “Evolution”, it has a meaning of progression, and so it was like
Tsunku♂san saying “You’ve all come a long way”.

–Like, not being content with the status quo, right.

Ishida: But now, since we couldn’t see Tsunku♂san at the venue due to his treatment, he’s making surethis concert is going well through video and hasn’t been able to see us first-hand. Because of that,in order for Tsunku♂san to say, “You’ve all come a long way. You’ve evolved,” when he returns……the 10 members are working hard.

–Morning Musume has been returning with vigorous intensity since last year, but what do you thinkand feel about it?

Ishida: We’ve suddenly started being told by people around us things like, “You’ve been making yoursecond break-out”, and although that makes me incredibly happy, there’s honestly part of me which also thinks, “Why is that?” We’ve become able to feel like new fans are increasing suddenly, as well as
female fans, and within ourselves we don’t precisely understand why that is. But recently we’ve been
doing songs with a cool style, and especially begun doing formation dances. I think those plans and
ideas of Tsunku♂san’s are popular in the current environment.

–But with the members thinking, “I wonder why we’ve been having a revival?” part of it is the
activities you’ve been doing, right?

Ishida: That’s true. I feel that way. But thinking like that is because there are ways where we’re not
quite there yet in our abilities. Since I joined saying, “Dance is my specialty”, although I have
confidence in my dancing, when I hear, “Well, how about singing?” it’s something I can’t say “I’m good
at”. And so, although the abilities of each of us aren’t good enough yet, and that makes us think, “Why is everyone following us so closely like this?” I feel like because they’re following us, we need to keep improving our abilities.

–Your skills haven’t been keeping up with society’s assessment. Therefore you also have some

Ishida: We have confusion and such too, but since acquiring 4 straight #1 rankings on Oricon is
because of all the fans’ support, I feel grateful to them all for that.

–What did you feel the moment you made the great achievement of a 4th consecutive Oricon #1?

Ishida: Speaking honestly, even being told that it’s the first time in the history of Morning Musume,
it doesn’t really sink in with just those words since as far as number of CDs sold, there were more at
the time of “LOVE Machine”. And so, though I’m happy to get 4 straight Oricon #1s in this age, it’s
like, we’re not there yet. Though it’s not all about numbers, I want to become able to confidently say
“We’re #1!” after improving our skills more.

–You’re so modest. Well, what does Ishida-san think herself about what kind of group Morning Musume
’14 is now?

Ishida: Now, Michishige Sayumi (Leader)-san has been active for over 10 years and is 24 years old. But
our youngest Kudou Haruka-chan is 14, and our newest member Oda Sakura-chan has been in the group for
a year and a half. If I think that way, though there’s such an incredibly huge gap from my senpai,
I’m also becoming a senpai. For us, our biggest idol rival is the old Morning Musume. I want the new
Morning Musume to surpass the Morning Musume from that time.

photo2[1]–It’s the overarching theme of Morning Musume since that time, isn’t it.

Ishida: Also, in the dressing room everyone’s like “waa~ kyaa~”, and although that’s incredibly fun……speaking honestly, there are times when it’s just noisy too. But when the live starts we put on our cool faces and do the cool performances, so I wonder if that gap isn’t Morning Musume ’14′s most attractive point. Though we’re close like a family, we sometimes are conscious of being rivals, and so with all our strength aim to do cool performances. Myself, I think that’s something attractive.

–Well, within that current Morning Musume ’14, what kind of position do you think the 10th generation
(Iikubo Haruna / Ishida Ayumi / Sato Masaki / Kudou Haruka) holds?

Ishida: Since the 10th gen who joined were the “Energetic group” in the audition, the 10th gen really
are the most energetic. Sato Masaki-chan especially starts just doing funny things without
thinking about what’s going on around her, and it gives me an awful lot of energy when I’m down
myself. They also talk to me without thinking about it even if there are shocks which make me a bit
sad. They also make me think too that, “Well, it’s really all right!” That kind of energy we don’t give just to the fans but to the group as well. Also, there’s 1 year between when us and the 9th gen
members (Fukumura Mizuki / Ikuta Erina / Sayashi Riho / Suzuki Kanon) joined, and we’re close in age.
So at first our inter-generational sense of rivalry was strong, and we did competitions and such.

–Previously, we heard lots of things from Tanaka Reina-san (lol).

Ishida: But recently Michishige Sayumi-san has been acting as the leader for us, and the 9th and 10th
gens are below her, but since we won’t be continuing to face that and will need to properly create a
senpai/kouhai wall, we’ll continue talking to break through that. What made us able to do that is 11th
gen Oda Sakura-chan joining, making us feel like, “We have to teach her!” We’ve made a good change in direction with the relationship of the 9th and 10th gens toward Oda-chan.

–Well, what kind of presence do you think Ishida Ayumi has in the current Morning Musume ’14?

Ishida: Mm~m……I’m not really one who understands myself well. But when I joined Morning Musume our
first single “Pyoko Pyoko Ultra” was an incredibly energetic and cutesy song, and since then such
cutesy singles have gone away, and we’ve changed over to a really cool and danceable direction.

–Since “Ren’ai Hunter”, right.

Ishida: I told Tsunku♂san, “I’m good at dancing. I won’t lose to anyone in dancing,” and actually,
in our recent singles I’ve been dancing in a pair with Sayashi Riho-san, so I wonder if they’ve
started giving us dance scenes like that since I joined.

–What do you think has changed about you from when you first joined until now?

Ishida: What’s changed the most is my character. At first I was competitive and always acted tough,
and I was told by those around me as well, “You really shine” (lol). But recently the walls I’d
created without knowing have been breaking down, and I think you’ve become able to see the natural
Ishida. To say it clearly, my “suberi (fail) character” has taken hold, though I don’t know why.

–Saying “My suberi character has taken hold, though I don’t know why” is exactly the pattern, right?

Ishida: Ahahaha!

–Not having a state of self-awareness.

Ishida: That’s right, the character has come out without me even realizing it (lol). Moreover, the one
who noticed it was Leader Michishige-san. Though I don’t remember what the occasion was, she’d often
pick on me and of course followed me. Also, the one who gave the name “Ishida Time” to those
moments when I’d say something dull and everyone would just stare was Michishige-san. I’ve
changed thanks to Leader.

“I always think in my heart that ‘I don’t want to lose’. To any of the members.”

–You are grateful (lol). But Ishida-san, in the MC on opening day of this tour you talked about
something like, “Though there are lots of things i’m worried about, I feel better thanks to all of
you”. What kind of things are you most worried about now?

Ishida: Recently, like I said before too, since I don’t even understand myself well, I get to
thinking, “Is this good enough?”…… Doing work like this there are lots of times I do
questionnaires, with things like, “What is a recent hobby of yours?” Since I’m a person without
hobbies, I’m bad at things like that too. Since when I start writing about myself nothing
comes to mind like that… I get to thinking things like, “Why have all my fans come to like me?” But when I see everyone who supports me at concerts, I think that there doesn’t have to be a special reason. It’s not necessary to have a reason to like someone. So it’s like that, at the same time.

–So frankly, you’re worried about what your position is in a group like Morning Musume which has
gathered this much of a following, and have uneasy thoughts like, “Am I an important member in the
group?” Is that the case with Ishida-san?

Ishida: Since I’m able to do the dancing which I love at concerts, that’s not something I’m uneasy
about, but I get worried when appearing on variety or such. For example, Ikuta Erina-san and Suzuki
Kanon-san are easy to understand characters you can pick on……

–There are quite a few characters like that, huh. It’s like, that’s the “Current Musume.”

Ishida: That’s right (lol). But I think as an idol, it’s most important to be easy to pick on like that.Though I’m also known among the fans as the “suberi character”, if someone doesn’t know me and doesn’t know what kind of girl I am, they can’t pick on me and say things like that. Therefore as for what kind of position would be good for me, I’m still unsure about it.

–Listening to you talk today, the thing Ishida Ayumi is most concerned about is “individuality” huh.

Ishida: I am concerned with individuality. Speaking honestly, while it’s good that I joined the group
saying I’m good at dancing, Sayashi-san’s also good at dancing. Talking about a suberi character, since Ikuta-san is also one, it’s like they’re pretty much covered (lol).

photo3[1]–Like, you can’t pick out something that’s “just you”?

Ishida: I can’t.

–And there are things you’re unconfident about too?

Ishida: There are.

–In the current Morning Musume ’14 there’s an eruption of the respective individuality of the members, right? In the 10th gen also Maa-chan (Sato Masaki) and Kuduu (Kudou Haruka) jump right out to the front. But since Ishida-san has a bit of a big sister position, you have a calming effect of
watching over those around you, and you think that you really want to go to the front more. Is that the truth?

Ishida: Of course I want to go to the front, and of course I want to talk when I appear on variety
shows, but…… I get to thinking that it’s really hard. As for not being able to settle on a character for myself, since there are lots of different things I can say, I can do it. But if I go in lots of different directions, I wind up thinking, “What kind of person is this in the end?” Mm~m……it’s hard. But, what should I say. Mm~m………..

–You’re searching for that now, right.

Ishida: That’s right.

–When Ishida-san joined you were burning with the desire of, “I’ll defeat Sayashi Riho!” and “I won’t lose to anyone in dance”, right? But after a period of time you started thinking, “Sayashi-san’s presence is really huge. Though of course there are times I think ‘I don’t want to lose’, my dancing is no match for hers”, and so you started shifting to a focus more on overall performance. What do you think of that as a turning point for you?

Ishida: ………With Tanaka Reina-san graduating, and it got to be where we’d be performing as the 10
of us, though a center-like or ace-like person is vital for an idol group, I was like, “That’s not
me”. Though of course I aspire to be the center, it’s like……. what should I say. I think I won’t
be heading toward being Leader or anything either. I think I’ll be in the position of like a subleader
who supports the leader. Since more than paying attention to those around me, I think I’m good at
listening to what people have to say. And so, for example, though I wouldn’t be supporting someone
who’s like the ace, and I won’t be leading people along from the center, I’ll be supporting that
person who’s leading us along…… like, pulling along?

–I understand what you’re trying to say. Something supporting your existence. Formerly when Tanaka
Reina-san was there as a senpai, you got fired up like, “I won’t lose”. But when there’s someone for
you to get motivated like, “I’ll defeat ○○○○!” isn’t there, it’s like you’ve lost your compass. Is that close to how you feel?

Ishida: That’s right. When I’m watching our concert videos and such, when there are parts where I
think, not limited to Sayashi-san, “This really is so cool”, I start wanting to imitate it, and when
someone else is praised for dancing or something, I always think, “I want that too……”. Though I
haven’t expressed it, I always think in my heart that I also want to be praised.

–If you aim for the “Supporting… pulling along” existence you mentioned before, it’ll be like the
role Ishida Ayumi should achieve is to be the “Best #2 member”, but what I can sense from the
frustration you just talked about now is a desire to become more. Like the idea that you don’t want to
lose to anyone.

Ishida: I wonder, right? Since the fans are supporting me, and there are people who say to me, “Become
the center, okay,” and I also think, “It’d probably feel so great if I could dance in the center”,
when there are moments I stand in the center during all the movement we do during concerts, it makes me happy that fans go like, “Wow~!” But…… if I’m told something like “You’re the absolute ace”, I feel like it’d be a bit painful. That’s the kind of thing I feel.

–Individually speaking, I love seeing Ishida-san and Sayashi-san dancing together. The more I can
feel Ishida-san’s “I won’t lose!” spirit, the stronger the feeling becomes. Though I think that’s an
incredibly strong highlight for Ishida-san as well, what do you think?

Ishida: From the fans as well there are those who say, “I like it when the two of you are dancing,” or
occasionally “Ishida definitely danced better,” and that makes me incredibly happy. So when I’m able
to dance together with Sayashi-san, though I say, “Sayashi-san is really great at it”, in my heart I
think “I won’t lose either”, and so I always think that when you can’t see it at practices, I want to
be told, “You’re doing better than Sayashi-san”.

–Because of that, I have a request. I want Ishida-san to always keep on touting, “I’ll defeat
Sayashi Riho”. The Ishida Ayumi everyone loves…… or rather the most sparkling Ishida Ayumi, is not
the calm, mature Ishida Ayumi, but the always competitive, reckless Ishida Ayumi. Don’t you think that

Ishida: Hmm. I’ve also been told over time by the fans and the members around me that “You’ve lost
your sparkle”, but that’s something which just hasn’t been expressed, hasn’t come to the surface, and
I always think in my heart that “I don’t want to lose”, to any of the members…… I’m not good at
showing that side of myself.

–Like you haven’t been able to say something like that in front of the members?

Ishida: Yes. Since that’s true, though I’m a person who’s bad at sharing my worries, in my heart I’m
always thinking, “I don’t want to lose” and “I want to do something more”. So if all the fans start
thinking things like, “You’ve lost your sparkle” or “I wonder if she’s given up being the center”, I
don’t want you to worry about that. That’s not the case.

–I think that the key to Morning Musume’s continuing breakout is Ishida Ayumi’s awakening. The
manifestation of Ishida-san’s feeling of spirit that you don’t want to lose to anyone. Wouldn’t that
have a direct connection to Morning Musume’s leveling up?

Ishida: Ok. Um… thank you. I’ve been praised by people around me for my dancing, and have felt happy
from that, but at the same time I really hate it that I’m thought of as like, “the girl who can only
dance”. It’s like, even though Morning Musume has to deliver it through singing, what is it with me
only dancing? And so, recently I’ve been thinking that what I want to work especially hard on is my
singing. Also, something that none of the other current members can do but that I can, is rap.

“So that the Morning Musume 10 years from now will think of us as rivals”

photo4[1]–So you have something, don’t you? Something that’s just yours.

Ishida: In recent coupling songs and such I’ve often been allowed to be in charge of the rap, and
since I was incredibly happy that I was chosen since I have a sense of rhythm from my dance, with the
rap being put into Morning Musume CDs and along with that people telling me “You’re good at it”,
that’s something I don’t want to lose to anyone at and be the one to do it from now on.

–Thinking of rap in Morning Musume, OG Gaki-san (Niigaki Risa) comes to mind, so you can learn from
her rapping too, can’t you?

Ishida: I do learn from it! Movements during the rap and such. Though it’s best to move prettily when
singing normally, since for rap it’s more intense and more masculine movements are necessary, I’ve
been studying that part of it. Though I’m good at dancing to choreography, I’m incredibly bad at free dancing. I’m bad at thinking it up myself. At times like that I try imitating Niigaki-san and
such. Niigaki-san is so incredibly cool at it. That masculine feel. But where it’s clean it’s very

–What kind of advice do you get most from Tsunku♂san?

Ishida: He watched the video from our current tour, and when I sent him a mail like, “We’re finally at opening
day. Though I’m nervous, I’ll do my best,” there’s one of Niigaki-san’s rap parts which I’ve gotten,
and he replied with something about that like, “You’ve become able to do it pretty well”. Since it was
before going on stage, it really gave me confidence that he said something like that to me.

–I’ll definitely go to see that.

Ishida: I’ll be waiting (lol). Also, he usually gives me advice about singing more often than dancing.
Though I don’t know if my lack of confidence in singing gets conveyed.

–Since if Ishida-san gained more confidence in her singing, it would make Morning Musume songs even
more colorful, that’s probably when those expectations will materialize. Do you have a strong desire
to live up to Tsunku♂san’s expectations?

Ishida: I do! When I joined Morning Musume he told me that I stood out in singing and dancing above
the rest, but even though he said that, since I didn’t have confidence in my singing, I’ve felt guilty about it. He also said something to me like, “What about your entertainer nature?” but
since now I’ve become a “suberi character”, it’s like, “Is that direction okay?” (lol)

–It’ll be a splendid art if you settle into the suberi role (lol). But in Ishida-san’s case, isn’t it
best for you to refine your entertainer nature through your performance? Since there are quite a few
comedians already.

Ishida: That’s true. So I always think “I’ll work hard to not fail in my performance”.

–Do you feel like you could shine brighter than you have up until now?

Ishida: I wonder? But a certain staff-san told me something like, “You’ve changed somehow during this
tour, haven’t you?” Also, since my dance teacher said something more specific like, “What’s lacking in
Ishida is femininity”, I want to work hard at that in this tour.

–How do you work on your femininity in performance, I wonder?

Ishida: Probably expressions and movements and such. Since I’ve always learned nothing but dances with
hard movements like cheer dancing and hiphop, I’m proud of my sharpness, but not so great with supple
movements. Also, I tend to use expressions in patterns, or rather, it looks like I use this face here,
and that face for this other time, so since I’ve been told to draw that out and open up more, “Show us
a new Ishida”, I want to always be conscious of that.

–But Ishida’s expressions, compared to when you debuted……

Ishida: I’ve been told that too (lol). “You’d been dancing with an incredibly stiff smile in
the past. But recently you’ve been having fun, right?” When I say, “Yes,” they tell me, “It really

–That performance by Ishida-san is also in Morning Musume ’14′s new single we’ve been awaiting, “Toki
wo Koe, Sora wo Koe”. From the intro it jumps out as best of the year, and it gave me tremors inside. What kind of impression does Ishida-san have, listening to it?

Ishida: I think it’s a really incredible song. Before we did the recording, Tsunku♂san’s voice was
there temporarily, and Tsunku♂san’s singing was the best. Honestly, to the extent I want to hear
the version Tsunku♂san sings more than ours (lol) it was that incredibly beautiful. Listening to that
I really felt like crying. And so, we practiced a lot so that we might be able to approach
Tsunku♂san’s power of expression. Since it’s again a medium tempo song which we haven’t had in
recent Morning Musume, I think the fans will feel it’s refreshing as well, and that it’s a song where
you’ll be able to get to know a new side of Morning Musume from the singing and dancing.

–What part of it made Ishida-san feel like crying?

Ishida: Though it was Tsunku♂san’s singing voice, it was like a perfect whisper, which was so
beautiful it made me think that I want to listen to it always. Also, the part in the lyrics of,
“Kuyashikute Naitatte ii kara” (it’s okay to cry when you’re frustrated) I really love. For some reason I feel like it fits me well, and I’ve often been told by my mother, “It’s okay to cry if you want to”. But I haven’t obediently gotten used to it, and was like, “It’s all right”. But now, doing activities like these……what should I say. Words like these really resonate for me.

–Are there lots of activities you do within Morning Musume which are actually frustrating and make you cry?

Ishida: Mm~m……not physically speaking, but when I get busy with activities there are times when it’s tired me out mentally and emotionally. At times like that, though I don’t know why, tears start to come.

–Also from this single, “Password is 0″ is like an evolution from “What is LOVE?”, and is a number which gives an intense impact. Do you think there aren’t any other idols now who put out such cool dance music?

Ishida: I don’t think there are any other idols. “Password is 0″ is also an incredibly brisk song, and while jumping to make the “0″s, we sing with our mics too. At lives. While watching the video of us dancing this song, we’ve even said to ourselves “that’s so awesome” (lol). And so although it’s really a physical battle at concerts, we want to make clean “0″s since in the formation dance this time, if you look from above, we’ve become able to make it look like a “☆”. Since if we’re out of alignment even a little on that, if our arm reaches are at just a slightly wrong angle, you wouldn’t be able to see it, the formation dance level has evolved even more, and I think it’s something awesome.

–If you could get 5 straight #1s with this, that’d be really cool huh.

Ishida: It would be. Since we of course want to aim for it, I want to somehow be able to do it with the 10 of us now. I’ll be happy if we can improve on our Morning Musume record of 4 straight #1s. I also want to make it so that the Morning Musume 10 years from now will think of us as rivals, that “We want to surpass that time”.

And that Kouhaku appearance you’ve been waiting for. Would it be perfect if that was decided?

Ishida: We unfortunately couldn’t appear last year, and that was an incredibly frustrating time, but thinking about it now, it makes me have an even stronger desire to improve, and I want to look ahead. Since though during 2013 we got 3 straight #1s, there are still places where our abilities aren’t there yet. Though the fans are telling us, “Morning Musume is so cool”, looking at the bigger picture, I wonder how we’re thought of out of all the other idol groups? Since we don’t have complete confidence in regard to that, it’s certainly like we just weren’t there yet.

That’s a calm analysis.

Ishida: But, though I don’t know when it’ll be, it’s a place I want to keep aiming toward without giving up.