14 comments on “Morning Musume 20th Anniversary Official Book Interviews: Tsuji Nozomi

  1. Tsuji was really underrated. She was the only one who didn’t get placed in a sub-unit when she debuted. She was more popular than Aibon when they debuted and so when the staff put her in Aoiro 7 to replace Ichii that was enough for wota to be happy with.

    By the time Minimoni debuted Aibon was more popular and had begun to develop her character (which was a far cry from the 12 year old who wore jewelry and said her favorite brands were LV and Chanel in her audition) while Tsuji still seemed wet behind the ears. What was amazing was that when Yuko was graduating, MM being as popular as they were got a big TV special on FujiTV to commemorate Yuko – it ended up being all about Tsuji. Tsuji was still very childish and the infamous FujiTV producer Kikuchi Shin basically dedicated an hour to doing whatever Tsuji wanted. That was her big break and it seemed she became more comfortable on TV after working with all these professionals by herself.

    She was also underrated as a singer. Her lines in songs like Koko Iruzee!, Shabondama and Minihams no Kekkon Song where she has to project still blow me away.

    https://youtu.be/g-T9nSGfdMI?t=130
    https://youtu.be/Ql3wgQ1siVI?t=117

    • My favorite is her big bridge solo in CRAZY ABOUT YOU. She also did these hardcore ab crunches in the dance for that, too.

  2. Thanks for this one, Tsuji is among my top 10 all time favorite idols. Its good to hear how much she truly loves Aibon and just how much they’ve influenced each others lives. That reunion performance they had earlier this year was one of the best things I’ve ever seen, even made me cry a bit just from seeing them on stage together again. Tsuji was quietly one of the more well balanced idols, she wasn’t really bad at anything. Her vocal and dancing ability grew tremendously over time, she was already great with variety, and had great stage presence. Her story is one of the biggest “What If’s” in Jpop history, What If Kago never got fired, how much of an impact would W have had on the idol world.

    PS its at times like these where i wished time machines existed. I would pay any amount of money to see an interaction between Middle School aged Tsuji/Kago vs Middle School aged Maa-chan

  3. She is the member, in MM history, whose improvements impressed me the most during her tenure. Tsunku really has a magical sense in seeing what the finished product might look like, in its original state.

  4. “I know they all have personality, so they should show it off more. As long as you don’t cause trouble to others like we did, you don’t need to behave perfectly. You’re young, so use that and let yourself go a little more. Keep putting yourself out there more and more!”

    thank god an OG is saying this. i think the current members are too hung up on looking polite and well mannered on television that it makes them seem stiff and boring. they are already really disciplined in their performance, people already know this! they can let loose when they’re not on stage.

    • What modern Japanese media seems to lack are shows like the ones which existed at the same time MM was becoming big in their music world. Utaban doesn’t exist, the 99 hosted shows don’t exist, and finally, Hello!Morning and Haromoni don’t exist. These were the arenas where the Golden and part of the Platinum generations could really shine (anyone remember the slide game? The Air Enterer? The Bakajo tests and Field Trips? Or how about the Science Restaurant, or all of the bus stop skits? NOTHING like any of those things exists now.) There’s simply no way for the current members to “let loose” because there are no venues in which they can do so, and perhaps also because modern Japanese media does not seem to value the idea of idols-in-variety anymore.

      Think of current AKBINGO! Now think of AKBINGO when AKBINGO had just started. AKBINGO now is a talk show, more or less, and is simply not as entertaining as the original AKBINGO, whose format more or less forced (in a good way) the first five generations of AKB girls to stand out. That’s one of the reasons why it is now impossible to really name or know any of the 48G girls. As pretty as they are, a pretty girl talking is, well, a pretty girl talking… and unless you’re borderline obsessive, that approach to introducing the public to an idol’s stage character gets boring after a while. MM suffers from this same problem too–talk shows are more rigid and reinforce the senpai/kouhai dynamic by design, which stifles spontaneity. Add to this the fact that most talk show hosts (except, perhaps, Sanma) ask one-dimensional, “safe” questions and it’s hard to imagine how any of the current Musume can really “let loose”.

      Sadly, we’re long past the age where Ogawa-the-Fishmonger shattered Nakazawa-the-Police-Officer’s composure in the middle of a skit. More is the pity, as venues like that (pure, almost spontaneous variety) were the most effective ways of making the individuality of each Musume stand out most.

      TL;DR: You’re completely right, but sadly, I don’t think there’s a way for MM to “let loose” anymore.

      • sure there’s a lack of music variety, but 9-11ki have had lots of chances (hey!hey!NEO, black variety, shabekuri007, the one off variety specials they get invited on) but they don’t stand out. on their last hey!hey!NEO appearance alongside DA PUMP all they talked about was their formation dances. downtown who is usually quite funny didn’t know how to follow along with that. BiSH had a much better talk session with downtown and they even knocked their appearance on shabekuri007 in february out of the park – they were #1 trending.

        the members say fuku-chan and eripon are funny backstage and do a lot of funny impressions of comedians but don’t show them on camera because they don’t want to be known for that. sakura’s book interview says MM should be about politeness and manners and that unity is more important than pushing their individuality. yokoyan and harunan’s interviews seemed to disagree with that though and they both said they wanted MM to push their individuality like tsuji is saying here.

        • I have to agree. The other H!P groups have the same problem, too. They’re smooth talkers on variety, and that’s boring.

          The only show where the hosts actually sparred with them was Full Chorus, with Becky, and that just ended. CG stood out there, as did Rikako in Angerme. And, of course, in MM you had Maa and Maria. Maria’s doing it in a more calculated way now, but in the early days, she would also be one of the few inadvertently finding the punchlines, such as with the 12th gen dokkiri, or here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8yZYi5P8nw

          No one ever changed the channel because something made them laugh too much. Even if comedy isn’t the usual mode for a particular show, the members shouldn’t be afraid of making antics happen, because the editors won’t be able to resist including that footage in the broadcast.

  5. Morning Musume would not be where they are without Tsuji and Aibon….. Without Tsuji, Aibon would not be who she is, Without Aibon, Tsuji would not be who she is……. .Tsunku is truly a genius, his ability to spot talent (among everything else that he has shown incredible talents in) is really remarkable……And I commend Tsuji for remaining true to Aibon……they really are soulmates……many others would have abandoned their friend in times of trouble……. May Aibon and Tsuji (and W) live forever! I want to thank them all for providing such great music, television and just plain great entertainment for us to experience……..I really miss seeing them onstage…..

  6. It’s sad that Aibon didn’t get interviewed… I do get it but it’s still sad. I want to hear her part of the story, her POV about things back then. And besides, they interviewed Marippe, why not Aibon? Or maybe she doesn’t want to. Although that doesn’t really suit her. Oh well, at least we have Tsuji. Thank you for mentioning Aibon a lot, Tsuji-chan. You’re a true friend.

  7. Nono is my favorite of the 4th gen, thrilling interview. Kago is close second. Sure their younger selves were a bit much (I was properly enternained about their antics tho) but damn that character development, good for her. Now that she’s a youtuber she found another aspect in life she enjoys doing. I do like how back then dancing and singing choreographies were more loose compared to today’s formation dancing but maybe that can evolve too, that’s Momusume for you.

    Maybe mundane to mention this but I like how she was addicted to morning curry, that’s a dope song, too.

  8. Tsuji was the one that got me interested in MM after seeing her on a variety show. i didn’t know at the time what she or anyone else was saying but she was entertaining and everyone laughed at her responses.
    She is still one of my favorites of all the gens along with Kamei and Kudo.
    I can’t think of anyone that went through more of a transformation than she did during her tenure. Talent, looks and personality wise she became a true idol from the gangly shy junior high school girl.
    I’m so glad she is in a great place in her life and will always hope for her happiness and success.

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