CHEERZ, the app for cheering on your favorite idols, isn’t just limited to Japanese, and is available in English and Chinese (Traditional), as well as French, and is used by idol fans around the world. As part of a campaign, every month at TGU, we interview CHEERZ’s monthly ranked top three girls.

This month’s guests are Ruriko from Tokyo Cheer2 Party, Misuzu Momoi from Nazotoki RPG Idol Last Question, and Nozomi Manaka from petit pas. This time we’ll be asking them about Japanese “kawaii” (cute) culture, which is well-\known not only within Japan, but abroad. It’s a pretty big topic, possibly making things a little complicated (laugh), but we’d like to ask all three girls about “kawaii” culture that goes beyond just idols, and about current “kawaii” culture. Be sure to check out all the goodies we have in store to give you CHEERZ, including our regular monthly corner where idols are the ones taking the photos.

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– To start off with, please introduce yourself.

Misuzu: I’m Missuu, the heroine of Nazutoki RPG Idol no Last Question, or Misuzu Momoi

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– What kind of group is Nazotoki RPG Idol  Last Question?

Misuzu: We do real, puzzle-solving escape events, but since we’re working as official idols, we’re idols who solve puzzles and sing, plus as idols we do fun things like level up like in an RPGs, go on adventures with fans, or I guess you could say we’re and RPG concept idol group!

– So I would guess many of your fans enjoy solving puzzles, right?

Misuzu: That’s right. Or more like, many of our fans are more RPG and puzzle-solving game fans than idol fans! But when it comes to concerts, they go “ja ja” and “oi oi” for us. (laugh)

– I must say, you seem completely calm…

Misuzu: Well, I’m the oldest and the leader, and they’ve given me center position. Mainly it’s more like getting everyone together and leading them. I’m the only one in the group that has experience working at a company… Or rather, during the day I’m there working. I began working there as an accountant after graduating high school. But now I can’t be there on a regular basis (laugh), so I work there when I have time as a kind of secretary. I show up for work in the morning and then leave in the evening to go to the concert venue. Then I go to work the next day, like that. Because of that experience, part of my role is also to organize our team.

– Wow… You seem to have an amazingly normal life. I’m not great with money, so please help me out!

Misuzu: Sure, you can ask me anything. (laugh)

– All right! (laugh) How about you, Ruriko?

Ruriko: Okay. I’m Ruriko Dokou from Tokyo Cheer2 Party. My color is light green. It’s nice to meet you!

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– What kind of group is Tokyo Cheer2 Party?

Ruriko: Tokyo Cheer2 Party is a unit for supporting everyone doing their best, and we cheer cheer everyone on! (laugh)

– So do you have many tired fans? (laugh)

Ruriko: Well (laugh), they’re more like people who are feeling a little down after finishing work. (laugh) On weekday nights we invite people who have just gotten off of work to come and we perform lives, and so we encourage them like, “You can still keep going! It’ll be fine! Have a good deay at work tomorrow!” and so on. (laugh)

– What’s your role in the group?

Ruriko: I love kappa (mythical water imps), but if I go around chanting “I love kappa! I love kappa!” people think I’m a little different…(laugh) I also love comedy. There’s another girl in our group that likes it, too, and it’s like I’m her pupil, or something kind of like that. (laugh)
– I see, thank you. Okay, and Nozomi?

Nozomi: I’m Nozomi Manaka from petit pas. Nice to meet you.

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– And what about petit pas?

Nozomi: Our songs aren’t very idol-like, and have more of a rock kind of sound… Come to think of it we haven’t ever really introduced our group before… (laugh) Right now we’re taking a break from petit pas’s music, and we started another band called Central 2nd Sick, where Suzu Himata makes up the movements and Kokoro Shinozaki writes the lyrics. I don’t do anything at all. (laugh) I think maybe a lot of our lyrics mention suffering. (laugh) Suzu has been doing dance for a long time, so she does the movements to all of the songs.

– That’s cool that everyone in the group is doing their own part. What are your fans like?

Nozomi; Everyone is young… and full of energy! (laugh)

– Thank you for your answers. Since Tokyo Girls’ Update is geared towards overseas readers, we’ve done interviews about Japanese food, art, and culture before, but this time we’d like to touch on “kawaii” (cuteness), which is a large theme. (laugh) I think those into idols are definitely familiar with the term, and at Japanese events overseas there’s always some kind of booth or stag called Kawaii-something (Cute-something). Lately you can also hear people saying “yumekawaii” (cute and dreamlike) and the like. Is it something you were aware of?

Ruriko: No, I hadn’t heard that before!

Misuzu: I have. It’s trendy now. Like things that look soft. Or are pink or purple.

Nozomi: Yes, yes I have.

Yume Kawaii images from our Yume Kawaii article from the past here

– Recently there’s been a lot of questions (especially from men) about the world of “kawaii”. Like, “What’s yumekawaii?” (laugh) So I thought I’d ask those involved in “kawaii” culture.

Nozomi: I think our group is pretty far off from that.

– Really? What about “cute suffering”?

Nozomi: I don’t “suffer” at all! (laugh) I am not “mental health”! (laugh) Our costumes are black, but they’re rock-style, and so I think we’re pretty distanced from that.

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– I see. Well in that case, what comes to mind when you hear “yumekawaii”?

Misuzu and Nozomi: Ichigo Rina Hamu-chan



– Naturally.

Misuzu: And of course, BPM15Q, too.

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BPM15Q

Nozomi: There’s also the YUME CAWAII FESTIVAL.

Misuzu: It’s hard to define “yumekawaii” (dreamy and cute) exactly. I guess you could, um, say it’s a part of “kawaii” culture. There’s “blue-letter fashion” (original, Harajuku-style fashion you can see in magazines like Zipper and CUTiE) like Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, and there’s also people into “yumekawaii” fashion, like of like that? This may be my own interpretation, but I’ve always thought people into “blue-letter fashion” had a strong sense of individuality. The same goes for “yumekawaii” fashion, but it has more of a softer, pastel kind of parallel (?!) to it, kind of. When I first saw it, I remember thinking, “Oh, it looks like another individual fashion style has come along.” (laugh)

– But why “yume” (dreamy)? What do you think the “yume” part is?

Misuzu: It feels dreamy. Like maybe you’re inside a dream? (laugh)


– Do you ever think, “Hey I’d like to try ‘yumekawaii’ fashion out!” or anything like that? From the way you appear now I wouldn’t say any of you are yumekawaii-style

Misuzu: Looking at it is cute, but like… I definitely don’t think I’d want to. (laugh)

Nozomi: Actually I was more into that style in high school, but not anymore. It’s embarrassing… (laugh)

– But you don’t think you’d like to give it a real try?

Nozomi: I’ve already done it once, and it’s like… That was enough.

– Oh, so you’ve done it before!

Nozomi: That’s right. But omg, it’s so embarrassing! (laugh) I even wore a t-shirt with the kanji for “gloomy” written on it. What was I thinking…? (laugh) I feel really embarrassed about it now.


– Does “yumekawaii” have that “mental health” aspect to it?

Nozomi: I think it does a little.

Misuzu: Like recently with Yandol.

Nozomi: Is that so. It seems like they’d break up…

– Don’t worry, they haven’t broken up or anything!

– But either way, there’s a lot of different kinds of “cute” out there. Like “yumekawaii”, “yamikawaii” (cute suffering), or “kimokawaii” (creepy-cute), “gurokawaii” (scary-cute), “erokawaii” (sexy-cute), and “pochakawaii” (chubby-cute). It’s like anything can be cute! (laugh) So I’d like to ask, if you had your own “something-cute” catchphrase, what would it be? (laugh)

Nozomi: Oh, I don’t know… I think it’d be a reach to call me cute… (laugh)

Misuzu: Yeah, that’s would be going too far. (laugh) I agree. (laugh)

– You think? But aren’t all idols cute?! (sob)

Misuzu: You’re right, idols are cute.

– Are you saying that you’re somehow different? (laugh) Have a little more confidence! (laugh)

Misuzu: We might be the “no-confidence” group. (laugh)

– Okay, I get it. But what about if you didn’t have to choose between one or the other? (laugh)

Misuzu: I have a babyface, so I’ve never looked my age, so when I finally turned 18 it was like “Thank god!” (laugh) Because I work at a company, maybe “otonakawaii” (mature-cute)? But even then, I always get carded when I buy alcohol. (laugh) But since I work as an accountant, I want to be like “I’m totally an adult!” (laugh)


– I don’t think it would be out of place to say you’re “otonakawaii”. How about you, Ruriko?

Ruriko: Recently a lot of people have been calling me silly or foolish. Both fans and the other members. Well, to be honest, I’m not all that smart. (laugh) So maybe “bakakawaii” (dumb-cute)? (laugh)


– Why do you think so?

Ruriko: Like even when I hear what people say, I don’t understand them. (laugh) I get right and left mixed up! I don’t understand the way smart people talk at all. So let me go with “bakakawaii”, please! (laugh)

Nozomi: I feel like calling myself cute is really out of place… So can I call myself “busakawaii” (ugly-cute)? If you combine “ugly” and “cute”, it’s like the two negate each other, right? So like that.


– You guys really don’t have any confidence, do you? (laugh) Lately there are many girls who say they like cute girls, don’t you think? So did you want to become idols because you liked them, or something like that?

Nozomi: Oh, that would be me.

Misuzu: That pretty much describes me more or less, too.

– Could you describe exactly what you felt? I think usually girls are jealous creatures. (or maybe this is just a bad part of my personality…)

Misuzu: Well, of course if there were (cute) girls like that in my class, I would probably feel a little envious. (laugh) But I don’t feel that way about idols, because it’s like they’re from another dimension. It’s like looking at creatures from a completely different world.

Nozomi: I also went to a lot of idol concerts. I really liked Kokoro Shinozaki from petit pas. When I went to a concert, a manager told me, “You should go and audition.” And it’s like all of a sudden, now I’m here. (laugh)

Misuzu: Wow, that’s amazing! How did you feel when you became a member?

Nozomi: At first I was really reluctant. I had no idea what to do, and I only e-mailed them five minutes before the audition deadline. I’ve finally gotten used to it, but at first I was really nervous talking to Kokoro.

Misuzu: Getting into the group of the person you admire… Wow!

Ruriko: For me, I wasn’t really interested in idols at first. Quite the opposite, my sister was the one that was always saying she wanted to be an idol. She was thinking about applying, but the deadline was approaching fast, so my mom was like, “Well why don’t you apply instead?” and so I applied. Then I passed the audition and started working as an idol. After seeing so many idols after that, I started liking cute girls, and I really like Hinata Kashiwagi from Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku!

Nozomi: I was really into Ebisu Chuu at one time, too.

Misuzu: Part of me was a pretty big idol wota (otaku) back then. The first concert I went to was for Momoiro Clover Z, and then I got into it from there. I got into working as an idol because of an open Idol Yokocho audition. Then I started watching a lot of idols and wanting to see them in person. Lately I really like Dempagumi.inc! When I watch them, it makes me feel energetic, like, “I can still keep going!”

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– All of your stories were really interesting. So what did you do after you started thinking, “This idol is so cute!”?

Nozomi: I would go and meet her. I’d be really pumped and line up for goods, look and Twitter, and be like “She’s so cute”… Like that. There aren’t many girls that go to concerts, but I went pretty often. I’d think, “I want to see her! I want to really see her!” I’d want to see her with my own eyes…

– This is my final question about “cuteness”! Please tell me something you think is cute recently. People are okay, too!

Misuzu: If we’re talking about people, lately I think Pinky (Ayane Fujisaki) from Dempagumi.inc is sooo cute! I tend to like the youngest member of any group. (laugh) I got into the group because of Eitaso (Eimi Naruse). I thought she was really energetic!! But then watching them I started thinking about how cute Pinky is! The way Pinky looks on their newest single, “Ashita Chikyuu ga Konagona ni Natte mo” is just too cute. If you look at her photos from before, it’s like she just keeps getting cuter and cuter… I want to become her sempai and fuss over her. (laugh)

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Pinky

Pinky

Ruriko: It would have to be Hinata Kashiwagi from Ebisu Chuugako. I recently joined their fanclub and her fanclub-only photos are really cute. I save them and use them as the background on my cellphone. Her writing-style on her blog is really cute, too. And the way she uses emoticons. She’s just cute in every way. Her face when she smiles and the twinkle in her eyes! It’s amazing. My phone is so full of pictures of Hinata on my camera rool that I ran out of space! So I deleted all the selfies of myself I had on there.

Hinata Kashiwagi

Hinata Kashiwagi


Nozomi: Right now I’m doing miss iD, and there’s a girl I know from there. One time I met her at an event. I’ve been thinking about how adorably cute she is. Her name is Toko Yanagi. She doesn’t selfies or anything like that on her Twitter. But I think that’s like totally great. She doesn’t post her face at all. Yet she was chosen as a finalist…. I don’t completely understand it but it’s amazing. We never spoke to each other, but she’s just so cute. She’s got short-cut hair and I heard she’s good at karate.

– So you’ve only met her once?

Nozomi: That’s right. Just once.

–  But despite that you keep thinking about her. Did you tell her how you feel?

Nozomi: Sometimes I reply to her on Twitter. But she doesn’t use many emoticons or anything in her reply. Though that’s okay.

– It sounds like an elementary school crush! Now for our monthly corner. Since this is an interview for CHEERZ, could you tell us something that “CHEERZ you up!”?

Ruriko: I post on my blog every day, and getting comments from fans cheers me up. I’m really negative. So when I’m feeling down and I get comments saying things like, “Ruriko-chan, smile and do your best!” it makes me feel like. “I can still keep going!”

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Misuzu: Chocolate for me. I eat it every day. But um, I have a chocolate allergy.

Everyone: What?!?! (laugh)

Misuzu: When I eat it I get dermatitis, but if I don’t I get stressed and I’ve lost little patches of hair over it before. (laugh) It’s like between dermatitis and going bald, I’d rather have dermatitis! (laugh) I really love it. Mainly Dars, but stuff like Ghana, too. I eat one box a day. I’ve even eaten three in one day before. I kind of don’t think I’d survive without chocolate.

I also like MOTHER 2. I’ve been really addicted to it recently. I like the feeling of eventually becoming the main character, and I’ve played it about 10 times already. The story is pretty much the same, but when I play it’s fun discovering new things (like oh, this means this). It cheers me up.


– How about you Nozomi?

Nozomi: Maybe… food? When I’m hungry… It’s not good at all…

– I get what you mean. What do you like to eat?

Nozomi: Umm…. Soba.

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Soba she had in Nagano

– Oh! I saw a picture of soba as your Twitter page cover pic! (laugh)

Nozomi: But I haven’t been to so many soba shops. Not many at all. So I started thinking maybe I like soba as a fashion. (laugh) When I make it at home myself, it’s not good at all… I just went to Nagano, and the soba I ate there was delicious. I don’t know why it tasted so different, but it was really good.

And finally, it’s time for our CHEERZ pair photo-taking corner! I think all of you great at taking your own selfies, but this time you’ve taken CHEERZ pictures of each other instead.

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(Photographer) Ruriko → (Model) Nozomi

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(Photographer) Nozomi → (Model) Misuzu

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(Photographer) Misuzu → (Model) Ruriko

 

Related Links
CHEERZ: https://cheerz.cz/
Last Question: http://lab-question.jp/
Tokyo Cheer2 Party: http://tokyocheerparty.com/
petit pas!: http://petitpas.mave-ricks.com/

Read more CHEERZ interviews
vol.1 : Motoko Nakane (STARMARIE), Hikari Takiguchi (drop), and Kokoro Shinozaki (petit pas!)
http://tokyogirlsupdate.com/featured/cheerz-interview-vol1.html
vol.2 : Hikari Takiguchi (drop), Narumi Katase (notall), and Yuna Sakamoto (FES☆TIVE)
http://tokyogirlsupdate.com/featured/cheerz-interview-vol2.html
vol.3 : Mashilo Suzukawa (Stand-Up! Hearts), Honami Yokoi (FES☆TIVE), and Reina Tasaki (notall)
http://tokyogirlsupdate.com/featured/cheerz-interview-vol3.html
Vol.4 : Yuuyu Arata (Stand-Up! Hearts),Shiori Mizuhara ( Aoyama☆Saint Hacha Mecha High School),and Kira Osaki (Shibuya DOMINION)
http://tokyogirlsupdate.com/featured/cheerz-interview-vol4.html
Vol.5 : Mai Kotone, Sheena(CLEAR’S),and Karin Ochi(Stand-Up! Hearts)
http://tokyogirlsupdate.com/featured/cheerz-interview-vol5.html

Photos by Nathan Gey

Author
Ayaya
Ayaya

Been working in girls’ fashion magazines for a long time and am now the chief editor of Tokyo Girls’ Update. I have more expertise in Japanese teen fashion than anyone else (probably)! I’m a huge fan of the Revolutionary Girl Utena and Bakemonogatari animes.

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