The Recording Directors:
Hashimoto Shin (overall direction)
Taisei (ANGERME & Juice=Juice)
Yamao Masato (Country Girls, Kobushi Factory & Tsubaki Factory)
Kamata Koji (Tsunku♂ songs & Morning Musume ’18)
— “Taiki Bansei” was the first single for S/mileage after the group was renamed to ANGERME, making it a big milestone song for them. Did you already feel confident about the song during its production stage?
Hashimoto: Not only was it their first song after being renamed, it was also the first non-Tsunku♂-produced song we were putting out there.
Nakajima Takui’s original (Nakajima’s ska beat-based version of the song was completed earlier, making ANGERME’s version a cover even though it was released before the Nakajima version) was very powerful, and so our focus was to get the H!P version to sound as funky as possible. We ended up giving it one extra chorus, too, compared to Nakajima’s version. We got the arranger, Suzuki Shunsuke, to tweak the arrangement multiple times and it was recorded using as much live instrumentation as possible. We wanted to make it sound as lively as we could. Not having any solo lines in the song aside from the bridge was also another experiment.
Still, we were very worried if the would accept the song or not. Hearing the audience getting fired-up during the song’s first performance at the Hello!Con was such a relief to us… Having nothing to lose, we also submitted it as our entry for the ending song of “Mecha-Mecha Iketeru!” The fact that it was actually chosen was all thanks to the song’s power. So to us it’s a very a memorable song in many ways.
The latest interview based on a questionnaire
submitted to Tsunku♂ in March 2018!
Asai Ryo, Tsurugi Mikito, Naka G,
Yuzuki Asako, Yasuda Kenichi & Yoshida Go
— Please tell us: in all honesty, how do you feel now about having left your position as the overall producer of Hello! Project?
Tsunku♂: Right. Well, I worry about the members in many ways. For example, I worry about them reaching their limit as singers, mentally speaking… That kind of thing. For better or worse, my producing method was… I would talk to them as someone who had also stood on the live stage. I’d talk to them about what I’d learned from having performed both at the tiny clubs as well as places like the Budokan or the Domes. I’d talk to them about both my failures as well as my successes. Sometimes I could be a bit strict with them when explaining their responsibilities as professionals, whereas other times I would deal with the problem simply by joking about it. I realize that it’s a different time and there are no right or wrong answers…
But yes, I would talk to them about those kinds of thing. I do at times worry if they’re having fun or not. I’m always praying for the happiness of my beloved disciples.
Part Eight: “Sukiyaki × Conveyor Belt Sushi = Preparedness to Live”
Writers Yuzuki Asako and Asai Ryo
profile the lyrics of Hello! Project songs!
Song #1: Morning Musume – “Sukiyaki”
Henkka: Seeing as there doesn’t seem to be an English translation of the lyrics to this song online, let me give you a summary.
“Sukiyaki” is a simple, heartwarming lyric about a girl who is bringing her boyfriend over to meet her family for the first time. It depicts the picture-perfect family as they wait for the boyfriend to arrive. Mom’s busy preparing for dinner — sukiyaki — in the kitchen, the little sister’s running out to buy ingredients that Mom forgot to buy, Dad nervously pretends to look busy reading the newspaper, and the boyfriend misses his train due to absentmindedly worrying if everything will go smoothly. Meanwhile, the protagonist is trying to figure out if her boyfriend would be mad if she was to chicken out and introduce him to her family as merely a “good friend” of hers.
When the boyfriend finally arrives, the whole family immediately takes a liking to him. Despite the dad’s earlier feigned disinterest, he takes a lead in excitedly running their little house party. The boyfriend quickly wins over the mom as well, by eating not two, not three, but four bowls of their dinner. The song ends with the protagonist thinking about how she loves her boyfriend and how reliable he is, while contemplating on how sukiyaki actually represents the “heart of Japan.”
Foolish women are a big favorite of men!
In this chapter, I will be talking about something of a different nuance than what you might typically take “stupid woman” to mean. In the Osaka dialect, calling someone “stupid” is usually done in good spirit, and what it really means in this case is “man, this girl’s a fun one” or “what an adorable girl this one is.” Thus, “stupid woman” is by no means meant as an insult. If anything, considering how essential the owarai culture is to Osakan people, calling someone a “fool” might actually be a word of praise.
… Now that we’ve gotten the excuses out of the way, let me reveal some of the stupidity of the members of Morning Musume.
In Morning Musume, every member has displayed her share of foolishness. Pretty much every member will every now and then come on stage during a concert while wearing their skirt the wrong way, or with their fly hanging open. It’s become something so commonplace that now the members, the staff, not even the fans are surprised when it happens. But the point where it really gets funny is seeing how their foolishness manifests itself beyond that, depending on their personalities.
This woman may just be the one who gets the last laugh…
Just like there’s the expression “every household needs one!,” there’s also “every classroom needs a person like this” or “every mixer party needs someone like this.” This expression is used to describe people who fill some necessary role in any gathering of people. To borrow that expression: I believe Morning Musume’s Yasuda Kei is the type of person you’d ought to have in your school club, or in each department of your company. Similarly, she’s an indispensable part of Morning Musume.
What Yasuda does is toughen up the atmosphere in the group — Yasuda is one of the members with true strength, so her simply being there is enough for others around her to go “oh man, we’ll have to do our best, too.” As a result, she ends up improving the quality of the group as a whole.
There are several reasons for Yasuda making everyone else feel like they’re in trouble unless they give it their all, but I suppose the first and foremost reason would be her great singing. At her audition she told us she loved singing so much she couldn’t help but want to become a singer, and she had by then quit school and was working part-time at McDonald’s. To tell you the truth, my initial thought was “come on, be honest: you only quit school because you hate studying.” But she truly meant what she had said, and indeed: her singing was good.
When you find a guy you like, check his clinginess level first!
We’ve all seen a scene like this on some TV drama. There’s a couple who are on a date.
“Yujiiiii! Buy me an ice cream!”
“Okay. Wait here.“
The guy goes and buys some ice cream. They then have it together as they walk past shop windows with the girl going “look, how cute are those clothes?!” That scene. The super flirty, head-over-heels couple fawning on one another, not a care in the world for anyone who might see them.
Let’s be honest: people admire that kind of thing.
That includes me: if I was going out with some fresh, short-haired girl, I bet it would be so much fun going on dates like that. Even just imagining it makes my heart race. She would cling onto my arm… and in my mind she would be a bit of a smaller girl, so when I would poke fun at her for something she would laugh all cutesy-like. “He he he.“
But I could never be able to have a date like that. Why? Because I fundamentally have a dark personality. The few times in my life that I have been with girls like that, they were all cutesy and charged-up when I first met them, but as they kept being around me they would gradually turn less and less so. I guess darkness is contagious.
Earlier today, I received the following question in response to my previous post.
In regards to the dating comment, maybe I’m misunderstanding, but it seemed to me more or less like Tsunku didn’t personally care whether or not the girls dated… […] I wonder if Tsunku agrees with the no dating rule for idols? Has he ever said so?
The short answer is: no, I don’t remember Tsunku♂ ever specifically stating anywhere whether he is or is not a fan of the no-dating rule. (I could very well be wrong on this subject, however. If so, please do let me know in the comments.)
But here’s a longer, more speculative answer.
In this serialization, Base Ball Bear member Koide Yusuke
talks to his guests about idol music. In this final edition,
as per his strong request, we welcome a Japanese music industry legend!
Please enjoy this almost entirely uncut, one-and-a-half hour discussion of theirs.
Koide: I’ve been doing this serialization for around five years now, and ever since it first started I always hoped that for the final edition I could have you as my guest. Not only are you the person who made me get deeply hooked on idol music, I also greatly respect you as a songwriter, lyricist, and producer. I’d like to take this opportunity today to ask you about all kinds of things.
Tsunku♂: Let’s do this!
Koide: Next year, Morning Musume will be celebrating its 20th anniversary. That also means it has been 20 years since you first started doing producing work.
Tsunku♂: It might actually be closer to 21, if you count the auditions.
Koide: I once read somewhere that when the whole Morning Musume project started, the way you first envisioned it was that on New Year’s Eve of the year they released “Morning Coffee,” they would appear on Kouhaku Uta Gassen and break up right then and there, in spectacular fashion.