Part Twelve: “The Pinnacle of Desire: Unashamed Love”
Writers Yuzuki Asako and Asai Ryo
profile the lyrics of Hello! Project songs!
Song #1: Morning Musume ’17 – “Jealousy Jealousy”
Asai: Stuff happened and we took a break from the last issue our column was supposed to be featured on. People taking breaks — it just happens to be all the rage in H!P right now, too!
Yuzuki: And lots of stuff happened within H!P itself during our break.
Asai: I wish I could genuinely congratulate myself for the restart of our column… but truth be told, I’m actually a bit worried as to whether or not we’ll be able to go on…
Yuzuki: Back when Sayashi quit, and then later when Zukki quit, we were similarly saying “we don’t know if we can do this anymore…” But then they’d come out with something like “Watashi no Nanni mo Wakacchanai” or “Utakata Saturday Night!” and that’d get us back on our feet, but…
Asai: There’s lots of things going on within H!P right now, and while we of course hope that it all works out well for them, it kind of feels at times like we’re being seriously tested… tested to see whether we can remain as excited about H!P as before. And ultimately, the biggest change — even though it’s not something that’s only just started recently — is the decrease in the number of Tsunku♂ songs. It’s only obvious that the organization would keep introducing more and more creators, and sure, something like Tsuno’s “Utakata Saturday Night!” was great. But still…
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Retweeted by Fukuda Maro:
“I seriously want each and every otaku who lectures idols to read this like a thousand times… 😢”
— くま林 (@kumakumarinko01) 2019/1/20
Don’t Lecture Idols
Mofuku-chan: Don’t lecture them. “I liked that one thing you did yesterday, but that other thing wasn’t so good.” There’s seriously nothing good about saying stuff like that to idols!
Yoshida Go: If it’s not positive in nature, then just don’t say it.
Mofuku-chan: When you praise them for the things they did right, that’s what’s going to allow them to grow. As a producer, I’m the person who will do all that scolding for you. So please do not lecture them.
Yoshida: It’s such a commonplace thing, too. I mean, the wota who think, “I’m the only person who dares to scold her for the things she did wrong.“
Mofuku-chan: “The condition of your voice wasn’t too great yesterday.” That kind of stuff. They say it with this self-satisfied look on their faces. Seriously, just stop it! The idols will absolutely hate you if you say stuff like that. And that’s a promise. If they did something wrong, then guess what: they already know!
Yoshida: Or stuff like, “hey, the condition of your skin is kind of bad today, isn’t it?” (laughs)
Mofuku-chan: They already know that!
Yoshida: “Having a bad hair day?” or whatever. Just don’t say it.
Mofuku-chan: It’s the role of people like me to tell them that. So, again, you the fans shouldn’t be saying that stuff to them. It hurts them so much. You wouldn’t believe how deeply it can hurt a girl who’s going through puberty when you tell them stuff like that. It’s as if you were breaking a huge glass into a million pieces. Please handle them with absolute care. Because they’re flowers. Treat them as princesses. Tell them how beautiful they are… how cute they are… how lovely they are. Always give them those kind words so that one day they will bloom. Just… take it easy. Do not lecture them.
Yoshida: Our only job as fans is to give them that support; to love them.
Mofuku-chan: I really do think so. All those harsh comments and all the stuff that’s kind of difficult to phrase well, let me be the one to tell them all of that in your stead. Backstage. Leave it all to me. I’m sure even the stuff that I tell them hurts them. It must make them have all kinds of thoughts. But I’m going to try to tell them the best I can. So please: you just do the praising.
Yoshida: Well said. (laughs)
Mofuku-chan: There’s stuff that’s difficult even for me to say to them. I can’t always just praise them every time. But you can — at handshake events or whatever. That’s really what I hope the fans would all do.
January 19, 1985 — Kanagawa
2000/04/16 ~ 2005/05/07
Ishikawa: I used to be very shy and reserved and I hated being the center of attention. But when I joined Morning Musume, my personality changed completely.
— It’s true that there was this “gloominess” about you in the early days.
Ishikawa: I was about to graduate from junior high school, so timing-wise it felt right to commemorate that by applying for the auditions. I had decided that it was going to be my first and only audition — if I didn’t make it, I was going to just enjoy my normal high school life. I was of course a big fan of Morning Musume, but never in a million years did I think I would myself end up singing and dancing in public, not to mention doing comedy sketches on variety TV and stuff.
— So you didn’t feel confident about passing the audition?
Ishikawa: Not at all. I really wasn’t thinking about it that deeply though. Early Morning Musume songs and choreographies were so mature, but with “LOVE Machine” the style suddenly changed and they started doing more dance music that everyone could have fun and dance along to. Basically I just thought, “maybe even I could do that.”
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She has a good personality.
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February 22, 2001 — Saitama
Yokoyama: I first became aware of the group’s existence with Morning Musume 14’s “wake-up prank.” Because I only discovered them so late, I might not know as much about the group as the other members. Nevertheless, I sincerely felt that this was where I wanted to be and I personally applied for the auditions on my own, and thus I’m determined to do my best as a member of Morning Musume.
The Pressure of the Legendary 6th Generation
— It was announced in the lyrics of the Morning Musume ’17 version of “Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari” that you are the “second generation Reina,” being the successor of the name.
Yokoyama: I have never once met Tsunku♂. I’ve never been able to meet him in-person, and I’ve never gotten the opportunity of being taught anything by him. So being suddenly named the “second generation Reina” in the lyrics of “Kashimashi,” considering I hadn’t even met Tanaka Reina at the time and especially considering how she is one of the true legends of Morning Musume… it was a huge source of pressure for me.
— Was it something you became more conscious of once you were literally named the “second generation”?
Yokoyama: If anything, I felt that I shouldn’t just try to copy my predecessor. Tanaka was known for her crisp, powerful voice, which is something I don’t have. Instead, I consciously try to sing in a cute voice. But setting aside me being the “second generation” Reina, I’m just trying to be the version of me that suits me the best.
October 7, 1999 — Shizuoka
Nonaka: When I joined the group, I got to read a message from Tsunku♂. It said: “please become the bridge between Morning Musume and the overseas.” I believe that is the reason for me now being in Morning Musume.
The Global Representative
Broadcasting to the World
— Previous members in Morning Musume’s 20-year history include Junjun and Linlin, the two exchange students from China. However, you’re the first member who is also a “returnee” to Japan, and you have been appointed the role of the group’s “global representative.”
Nonaka: Morning Musume performs concerts overseas as well, and I believe that whenever we do, that’s when I have to step in. First of all, it’s important for us to communicate with the overseas fans and accurately convey to them what it is we want to say. If I can’t do that properly, then there was no meaning behind me joining the group.
— You were very busy at the group’s 2016 events in Houston, USA.
Nonaka: It was my first time visiting America after moving back to Japan at the age of 10, so I was glad about that and I had a lot of fun. I did interpreting for the members during handshake events, and I could communicate directly with the reporters when we did press interviews. I was proud that I could make use of my ability.
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Changing subjects: I’ve blogged about this before, but I’m quite often asked for directions by foreigners. I have no clue why they ask me of all people… Anyway, the other day when another foreigner asked me for directions, after I’d finished telling them they said: “You’re so beautiful. Thank you!” (laughs)
And before that, the person sitting next to me on the train said “excuse me.” They were speaking to me in English, but I managed to understand that they were asking me how many more stops it was until a certain station. After I told them, they told me “beautiful people” while pointing at the words on my bag. (laughs) They were talking about my bag.
While I can’t speak English, it’s still fun talking with people from abroad!
As for me, if I’m ever lost and I want to ask someone for directions, I always ask someone who’s looking up, not down. I’ll take care not to look down as I walk, too!
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This is just her bragging!
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He was hitting on you!
November 11, 1989 — Fukuoka
2003/01/19 ~ 2013/05/21
Tanaka: “Oh, you’re that girl from last time!” It gave me so much courage when Tsunku♂ said those words to me.
— It’s a well-known story: you first took part in the 5th generation auditions while misrepresenting your age.
Tanaka: I completely ignored the age limit and applied, thinking only about how I wanted to be in Morning Musume. If only I’d gotten into the group at that time, I could’ve stood on-stage with Goto Maki. That’s the one thing I never got to accomplish as a member of Morning Musume.
— So you were aiming for this path because of your admiration for Goto Maki. From what I understand, however, you were quite the “bad girl” back in your hometown.
Tanaka: I didn’t even know what that was supposed to mean. Although I did attend my junior high entrance ceremony with my hair dyed blond… But still, my hometown was very peaceful. My teachers were helpful and my parents raised me very well. I was rather well-respected, you know.