Note: See here before reading.
The appeal of girls is something immeasurable.
That much is clearer to me now than ever, having been given the opportunity of producing the music of groups like Morning Musume and Taiyou to Ciscomoon. But while I do love women, I’m not a “women’s producer,” nor am I a “women’s critic.” It’s simply that, through my work in the field of music, I happened to become an overall producer of these girls. In the process, I’ve given them advice not only on music, but other, more insignificant things as well. And just like that, they’ve began to shine more as women, too.
Watching them undergo that change, I couldn’t help saying a word or two about the “hidden charms” of girls. That’s why I’m writing this book.
Let me begin by stating this.
There are only a handful of true “geniuses” in the world. 99% of everyone, me included, are “average” people. It doesn’t matter how hard you try: you’re not going to become a genius. But every person out there surely has their good sides. Everything depends on the effort you put in. There are geniuses out there who simply don’t do anything with their skill; geniuses who don’t even realize they have a skill. With enough effort, I believe anyone could surpass people like that.
If someone who has known me for some years saw how I look today, they might think “Tsunku’s become so normal.” And no wonder: during Sharan Q’s most active period, I had blond hair, crazy hairstyles, thinly shaved eyebrows, and I was always wearing pink lipstick or something. Back then, I wanted everyone to notice our band. I’d try anything — the craziest, most eye-catching styles I could think of. Because while we may have debuted, that didn’t mean anyone yet knew who Sharan Q was. We could’ve written insanely good songs and no one would’ve even heard them. What would’ve been the point in that?
So I made myself look flashy simply because I wanted people to pay attention to us. If I was a musical genius, it may not have been necessary for me to have to do that. But I knew I was no genius, so I had to think hard about what I could do to become popular. The conclusion I came to was the aforementioned costumes and the pointed makeup.
Ever since I was a child, I always had an attitude of “I can do anything if I just try.” But with everything I did try, I was always only halfway decent. I soon realized that, compared to all the manga superheroes who were smart, looked cool, and came from perfect households, I was pretty much just a loser. But when I did, I also came to realize the fun that could be found in figuring things out. Thinking. Just putting in the effort. From the day I first came to that realization, I began to focus on how I should produce myself — how I could present myself in a cool way.
I’d think about what I needed to do to get just one more piece of chocolate from girls on Valentine’s Day. I was planning for it probably a year in advance. Looking back, it was silly. But it was so much fun to work towards this goal of receiving chocolate. Planning for it, doing things to improve my chances, and then actually seeing the concrete results of my effort: the number of chocolates I received.
I realize that I’m no genius, and so I continue to be fond of other people who put in the effort to better themselves. I’m drawn to girls like that. To me, it’s been one of the most crucial things I’ve looked for when choosing the members of Morning Musume and Taiyou to Ciscomoon. Rather than going for girls with the good looks, the singing, the figures — girls who are just slightly above average in all areas — I want girls who have at least one thing that really sticks out about them. If only they have that, and if I sense from them the attitude that they believe they can make it by making use of that one thing about them, I don’t think anything of it if their singing at the audition is a little lacking, or if they’re a bit chubby or whatever.
The point is: how do you find that good in yourself, and how do you make the most of it? “I’m not a genius — it’s useless for me to even try.” Don’t think that way. Find what’s good about yourself and self-produce that thing, and even if the people around you think of you as strange at first, eventually they will come to think of it as your charm. The thing that’s different about you compared to other people — even if it is something you might at first perceive to be a negative — is what makes you you. Cherish it, because that’s what gives you your individuality.
And to all the guys reading: I hope you all can be big enough as men to accept the things that are different about the girls around you. While I’m no genius, that is the kind of man that I, too, try to be. That’s what this book is about. I don’t think anything would make me happier than someone reading this book and discovering the previously hidden good in themselves.
Do I see Aibon on the cover?
Nope. This book was published 2-3 years before Kago Ai joined Morning Musume.
Incorrect. Kago joined in 2000, the year this book was published.
But, to your credit: the first edition of this book came out in January 2000 (pre-Kago). The version I’m translating, however, is the “definitive edition” from October of the same year. This was after 4th gen had joined.
And Kago is actually pictured on the bottom left (just next to Tsuji)
This is like finding an old, subbed Utaban that you didn’t know existed! :D
Thank you so much. I see books about H!P every now and then but never come to purchase them because I don’t know enough Japanese. Your translations make me reconsider buying them!
Thanks mate. I don’t remember now if it was someone here on the comments or on Facebook or on Twitter, but someone said they’d buy the original book that I was translating at the time, just because of how they enjoyed reading my translations of it. That really made my day. This book seems to be long out-of-print so you might need to buy it second-hand if you really want it, but even so: your comment made me very happy.
Thank you for reading.