11 comments on “Hello! Project COMPLETE SINGLE BOOK 20th Anniversary Edition Roundtables: Yajima Maimi × Wada Ayaka

  1. Thank you for translating this for us Henkka. As a serious °C-ute fan, I really miss them performing together. Reading interviews like this keeps me connected.

    Much obliged, Pard’ner.

  2. Thanks for translating!

    Lol Ayacho saying what we’re all thinking about how H!P tries to be completely unified and perfect now 😅

  3. “Compared to times in the past, I feel like the individual personalities of its members don’t stand out as much anymore.”
    YES! It’s been so hard to stay engaged the past few years because their personalities have slowly started to fade from the public eye. Probably started around the time that Hello Pro! Time ended.

  4. As always, these interviews are amazing. Thank you for bringing them to us!

    In this case, I love seeing the contrast between the two. I’m not sure if Maimi ever went to college, while Dawa’s, like, on track for a phd. The latter really is an intellectual, and seeing how that influences their leadership styles is really cool. Especially since, at the same time, Dawa seems to be a little more passive about her leadership, or narrowing her focus to Angerme. Being an intellectual is also probably why Dawa wasn’t ready to be a H!P Kid, since she was mentally psyching herself out, whereas Maimi was just raring to go.

    • And also as always, the tidbits surrounding the staff are gold. It seems that the currently lineup is going to have the best of both worlds, having experienced both Tsunku’s exacting instruction and others’ allowance of more self-interpretation. Other idol groups only have the latter, and I feel that not having an initial strict guide can equally lead to them not thinking about it when they go in to record. So we’ll see how the new post-Tsunku members will do. Golden Age H!P could equally push back on Tsunku’s interpretation because they came in with their own styles already (Ayaya, MKB, T&C, Yasuda, etc.), but you lack that in the new gens. Like, Oda Sakura is emulating her seniors as hard as she possibly can, but that doesn’t mean she could ever sing R&B really properly, because she doesn’t have that extra outside context.

      But despite being post-Tsunku, we’ve still got Taisei and Makoto around, so it’ll be interesting to see what SharanQ H!P looks like, and then what, eventually, post-SharanQ H!P will be like, if they last that long. Will they become generic after all, or does UFA as a whole have a music culture that will show through?

    • To my knowledge, Maimi graduated from high school anx did not go on to university. Of C-ute’s final lineup, only Airi continued her education after high school. Of the 12 kids who were around 10+ years, you also have Momochi and Yurina who both are college graduates (at least I know for sure Momo is, not positive about Yurina, but she was attending at some point). So that’s three of twelve. I suppose you could potentially add in Tokunaga Chinami and Hagiwara Mai to the mix as people who continued her education after leaving H!P. I’m not sure exactly what kind of programs they were/are in though. Learning a second language does not necessarily accompany a degree. I believe Mai said on Instagram that she was still studying English after returning from New Zealand where she seemed to be rooming with Aika (or at least hanging out with her a lot).

      When Maimi graduated high school, a Hello!Project member attending university whole still being a member was unheard of. It was actually Momoko, who was in the same academic year as Maimi, who was the first to attempt and successfully do both at the same time (I think Konno had already graduated before she returned to H!P, but I might be wrong. And she did graduate to attend). And i remember reading that Momoko had her doubts if it were even possible, and ended up being strongly encouraged by her parents to give university a try since she really was interested in pursuing more education.

      Ayaka is the first Hello!Project Member to go to graduate school though while being a member. I’m not sure what exactly she is doing. She’s likely at least working towards her Master’s at the moment. Not sure if her ambitions include a PhD, but I could definitely see her going for that, especially if she decides to become a curator later on like she has talked about. Plus, she loves what she is studying and that is an important drive.

      A majority of Hello!Project members don’t go to university. If they decide they want to work in the entertainment industry, they probably don’t see as much of a need as they already have their foot in the door and are working towards that career path. Airi said recently that she attended both high school and university just so she could get more of a sense of what the lives and experiences of her peers were to make herself more relatable as a performer (or something similar). What’s interesting to me is that Airi included high school in that distinction. Most Japanese youth continue on to high school even if it is not required. The only Hello!Project Member I can think of who never attended high school at all is Tsuji Nozomi. I believe she’s made comments that hint that she regrets the decision somewhat, but Tsuji’s done well for herself. After all, level of education does not equate success.

      • IIRC Kono came back to H!P to join Ongaku Gatas after one year because she was bored with school. She did complete her degree but then quit H!P again to got to announcing school.

        IIRC Tanaka Reina went to high school but dropped out.

        • Thanks for all of this information, DG and resop2!

          It seems like it was because of the Idol Dark Ages (that Berikyuu/Twilight Era time before 48G brought on the Idol Sengoku Jidai) that idols became less likely to drop out of high school, and the prospect of maybe even college student idols became a possibility. I only know of one 48G that was a college graduate as an idol (and I don’t think she did graduate school, either), but she auditioned with the degree.

          Yeah, Dawa seems to be really living the dream life, mostly doing things that she loves and not having to choose between them. There’s gossip that UFA pushed her to graduate just to continue the unspoken “none over 25” rule, or she may have stayed even longer, because she was handling the balance.

  5. What a wonderful read as always. Thank you for this translation. I really miss Cute.

    I knew Ayaka had participated in the Kids audition, but I did not know how close she came to passing. I really cannot picture her in Berryz or Cute. So, I think the path she forged was what was best for her. As the leader of her group, she’s grown so much and has had a journey that I find inspirational. I really admire girls like Ayaka (and the Kids members and Sayumi among others) who pushed through for so long even though it was extremely difficult at times.

    Both Maimi and Ayaka have really grown into fantastic young women. I also think reading about behind the scenes stuff is always a treat.

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