February 15, 1999 — Osaka 2014/09/30 ~ 2018/06/20
Ogata: 20 years of history — I really do think that’s incredible. It’s because my parents’ generation knows about Morning Musume’s history and their achievements that they gave me permission to go to Tokyo and take part in their auditions. The group’s history is what allowed me to even take on that challenge in the first place.
— So your parents were forced to say, “well, if it’s Morning Musume…” Did it make you think about the greatness of your seniors?
Ogata: They used to be only these people on the TV screen for me… like, just these “amazing people.” So then when I first met them in real life, it had such a big impact on me that I couldn’t even talk. They’re all so kind. It felt different from meeting Sayashi Riho, who is someone I also admired. The original members especially, it really felt like I was meeting these hugely influential superstars. It made me want to brag to everyone I knew about having met them.
— You also got to collaborate with them, didn’t you?
Ogata: That made me feel like I was only a fan again. Honestly, when I look at the CD covers, it doesn’t even make sense to me that I’m pictured there with them. Half of me feels glad about it, while half of me is just confused.
Tanaka: Me and Non-chan (Tsuji Nozomi) were in the group together for half a year, but it felt much longer than that because we were always together. We’d hang out in private, too. She took me to all kinds of places, and she’d be talking to me about all this stuff and I was pretending like I knew what she was talking about — I was only a child, like 14 years old or something. We even went on a cabbage diet together… No, wait. We were like, “let’s make our chests bigger!” We’d heard that if you eat lots of cabbage, you’ll get huge boobs!
Tanaka: So whenever they had it in catering, the two of us would pile up mountains of cabbage on our plates and eat it all. I just now remembered us doing that.
Ogata: Me and Iikubo Haruna-san have tried that, too. (laughs)
Tanaka: (laughs) But it’s not like it has any effect though, right?
Ogata: No. You often hear that the big three are soy milk, cabbage, and chicken…
Tanaka: Yeah, I’ve heard that. But I’ve already given up.
Ogata: I’d like to see Ishida-san acting in the role of a housewife.
Ishida: Ahaha. Why’s that?
Ogata: My dad is always saying, “if I was to marry someone from Morning Musume, it’d be Ishida-san.” I often talk to him about how good you are at cooking, about how kind you are and stuff, so now he’s going “yeah, at the end of the day, Ishida-san would be the perfect wife.” And he’s never even met you! (laughs) So that’s the reason I’d like to see you in the role of a housewife.
— Your father sure is funny.
Ogata: His oshi is (fellow 12th gen member) Haga, but he still thinks Ishida-san would make for the better wife. I think mom might be a bit angry if she reads this article… (laughs)