Japanese record label Nippon Columbia which was founded in 1910 has produced a great number of hit tunes. It launched their first idol specialty music label “Label The Garden”. The first audition was given in 2015 and the winners have started their career appearing in the Tokyo Idol Festival 2016 and others events.

Following the first generation members activities, the second audition was held in 2016 and the select four winners were chosen. For the first generation members, the second generation members are cute juniors but also they can be threat. The group has just started their activity and Tokyo Girls Update sat down with new members to ask how they are feeling every day.

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From left to right : Riko Tachibana, Ruu Asahina, Miho Katagiri, and Kana Itabashi / (左より)橘莉子、朝比奈るう、片桐みほ、板橋加奈


– Today, we are welcoming new members who passed the audition last year and would like to ask them about the last summer’s audition and the current group activities. So first of all, please tell us why you took the audition and what made you want to be idol.

Katagiri: I was a big fan of “Morning Musume。” and “Hello! Project”. They always cheered me up. I took the idle audition because I wanted to cheer someone up like them.

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– Have you been a fan of “Hello! Project” since you were a small girl?

Katagiri: I liked them when I was very small. And I became a fan again when I was in junior high. I loved “Minimoni” very much. When I was the third year in junior high, I had a chance to see “Morning Musume。”in live and they gave me the power to get through my high school examination.

Asahina: Since I was in a nursery school, I’ve always liked to stand out and appear in public. So I’ve always wanted to do something like that in the future. And I became a fan of AKB48 when I was in the 5th grade and I thought like “Oh, idles are cool!” But I started playing volleyball at around the same time. So I wanted to be an idle but I just played only volleyball and never even tried audition (laugh).

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Tachibana: It was my first audition. Actually, I had been scouted before the audition. I had no interest in the show business. I‘d been reading novels. I am a girl who wants to be a screenwriter rather than being an idol so I’ve always written novels and I even received a prize.

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– Did you win a prize for your novel?

Tachibana: Yes, once. I won the prize for a mystery novel. It wasn’t that big prize though. There was a contest for students and my teacher encouraged me to write for it. You know, I was kind of a gloomy girl (laugh).

Tachibana: I practiced Kendo for about 10 years because I wanted to be a police officer. When I went to see my sister’s event, I was asked to audition. So I became interested in the show business.

Tachibana: I thought about my future a lot. I was curious about trying something new. But I am not the girl who really loves idles. Being an idol is not really my aspiration. Rather, I want to be someone who is adored by people. There is no precedent so far, so I want to be an Idol who can write scripts.

Itabashi: Actually, I pulled out the first audition. But I followed LTG Twitter and saw their lessons and activities and I thought LTG is really cool. So I decided to try the addition again.

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– Didn’t you think about trying another group?

Itabashi: Yeah, I thought about that. But LTG was the one for me.

– And you passed it. Were you originally interested in idols?

Itabashi: Yeah. I became interested in idols when I was in junior high. And I went to see a fashion show when I was a high school student and saw Cheeky Parade and GEM’s live performances there. I thought like “They are dancing! It’s really cool!” Also, I saw Doll☆Ellements at the show and their standing positions were even so beautiful. So I thought I would be that beautiful if I became an idol myself. I’ve always liked to make people laugh and smile. That’s why I became interested in being an idol.

– Ok, now I understand how you guys became the members. Were you nervous at the time of the result announcement?

Katagiri: After the announcement of three members, the SHOWROOM’s stream ended. So I thought I didn’t pass it. But thanks to Kuro-chan’s big support, I was able to pass it.

– I know Kuro-chan was rooting for you, even crying (laugh).

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Katagiri: Of course I was really happy that I was chosen thanks to Kuro-chan’s big support. And I was very surprised to see him crying on the screen. But it was like an additional acceptance, right? I know I was once rejected. It was kind of mortifying. I was told by my fans like, “you were lucky because Kuro-chan supported you”. And I felt like I passed the audition not because of my own ability but only because of the luck. I was so upset about it with myself. From now on, I want LTG to think that their choice was correct.

– Well, I think it is rare to announce the result on the phone. Where were you at that time?

Tachibana: I was at home in the living room with Nao. She was saying like “LOL if you don’t pass it” (laugh).

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Asahina: I thought I wouldn’t pass it. My sister always told me that I couldn’t make it. So when I got a phone call, I was like,” eh, what!” Then I rushed to my room and said “hello” and I heard the producer’s voice over the phone. You know it was like “What is it all about? (laugh).It must be a dream”. I got goose bumps when I got a call, and of course I was very happy.

– So how are the lessons? Are they different from what you have expected?

Asahina: Well, I thought we would take lessons every day. So I was kind of surprised that there aren’t that many lessons.

Tachinaba: Yeah, almost self training. Practice at home.

– I guess it’s because you were rarely in Tokyo, right?

Tachibana: Yeah, so we practiced everything in two days. That was kind of surprising to me.

– Compared to the time when you were an idol before, did you find any difference?

Tachibana: Well, I wasn’t good at dancing and singing when I was an idle before. So I was like “Gee, how am I going to survive”. People said that I should be able to manage that because I was once an idol. But it kind of sacred me that people would find out that I can’t do very well (laugh).

– And now people found out that (laugh).

Tachibana: Exactly! (Laugh). I was told, “You can’t sing and dance at all!” It’s like OMG so I practice singing and dancing in private with Nao. I haven’t showcased it yet though.

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– You mean you have started living by yourselves in Tokyo, right? How is it?

Katagiri: It was much easier than I expected. I thought it would be kind of challenging. But actually, I really enjoy living by myself. And also, I thought girls groups would be kind of harsh on each other. But everyone was so kind and sweet. So I was like “Oh, really?” You know (laugh). I was really happy about it.

– I heard that Clef Leaf members often have pajama parties.

Itabashi: Yeah, quite often. Most of the members moved up to Tokyo, so we are all together even on off days. You know, we just had a chocolate fondue party yesterday.

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– How about seeDream members?

Tachibana: Well, Nao is still a junior high school student so she can’t stay up that late. We want to have pajama parties together when Nao is grown up. seeDream members are always their natural selves so I’m exposed this and that. I feel more relaxed when I am with them.

– I can tell the four of them are very carefree. Don’t you sometimes quarrel with members?

Asahina: Yeah, but we go like, even if we have a fight, the four of us should talk each other so that we can set things straight. Actually, it’s not really a fight but kind of a small misunderstanding. So we are like, “Do you mean bla bla bla? No, I mean blab la bla”, you know, something like that. That’s how we became as one, showing up each other and discussing everything frankly, rather than just being chummy with each other.

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– How about the singing part split of seeDream original song?

Tachibana: I guess it was split equally. Since the new formation started, Kaizuka-san has assigned the solo part. But we decide the formation by ourselves. We make an arrangement , of course freely, that everyone sings in the center at least one time.

– Oh, so you arrange the formation by yourselves. Is there a dance leader in you?

Tachibana: Nope. We think about it all together. Saying like,” Isn’t this much easier? Don’t’ you think so?” Something like that (laugh).

– Clef Leaf has had a release event for the major debut, right? How was it?

Itabashi: I have just passed the audition and I already started the activity. I had never been on the stage and I didn’t even know how to use the microphone…. I don’t know, I was so moved. There was a little bit of a distance between the first generation members but we could open up to each other soon. The atmosphere was very warm and easy. I was really happy that we came together for the major debut.

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– Now, seeDream members, what do you think about Clef Leaf? I mean, I know you wish them luck. But I’m just wondering how you are feeling that you weren’t chosen for the members.

Katagiri: I hadn’t moved up to Tokyo yet at that time so I really think nothing about it. I know Clef Leaf is doing really well, you know, they placed 19th on the Oricon Weekly Ranking chart. So I think we seeDream should follow them.

Tachibana: Well, I felt a little bit different because I have my sister Nao with me. I think my skills weren’t enough to be chosen. So I was rather desperate to improve my skills while Clef Leaf ‘s debut. My sister Nao was missed two times at the general election and she was the only one among the first generation members. It really bothered me so I intensively took care of her (laugh).

– Is there something you’d like to try challenging in the future as seeDream, LTG or as an individual?

Asahina: I want to try a radio program as seeDream.

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– I see, please tell me what kind of program and what you want to talk about.

Asahina: Well, I just want to TALK. I love voice actors and I’ve been listening to their radio programs. So I’m yarning for having my own program.

Tachibana: My ultimate goal is an idol who can write scripts. I have had acting opportunities, and I think I can write script through the eyes of actors if I have acted. If I want to write animation script, it will be easier if I have voice actor’s experience. And as for the variety program script, if I appear on TV, I can make the flow more clear. So I want to try radio, animation, dramas and plays and everything. I want to make use of every experience to achieve my ultimate goal (laugh). And eventually, I will write an LTG drama whose starring role is Nao.

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Katagiri: To be honest, I have my hands full with dancing and singing now so I really can’t look ahead. But I want to make a major debut. Also, I’m not really good at talking, and Tachibana sisters are good at adlibbing, so I want to improve my talking skills.

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– So far, I believe you have taken singing, dancing and talking lessons. Are you confident enough now?

Katagiri: I have never taken them yet (laugh). In November, when I took a lesson with seeDream members, I was terrible. So I hope I got any better now.

– Do you have any goals as a group?

Itabashi : I want to appear on the regular broadcast programs.

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– What kind of program are you interested in?

Itabashi: I personally want to appear in variety programs. As a group, I’d like to be in the music program, like Music Station.

– By the way, have you guys been abroad?

Tachibana: I went to Guam in November, 2016 on my school trip.

– Are there any countries you’d like to visit?

Asahina: I want to go to UK because I love Harry Potter.

– How about as seeDream or idols, where would you like to try having concerts?

Itabashi: There are several countries. I personally want to go to France because I want to take a picture of me having French bread in front of the Eiffel Tower (laugh).And also I want to visit China because I’m in charge of Chinese in the group.

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Katagiri: Well… I just want to get out of Japan (laugh). Oh, I want to go to New Zeeland. A friend of mine at my old school bought me a souvenir from New Zeeland and she said she had a good time there.

– Ok now please give your messages to readers overseas.

Tachibana: Hello I’m Riko Tachibana. I will give the performance even you guys can enjoy so please come to see us at our special benefit events. And I’d be happy if you recommend me the good food in your place. Thank you.

Katagiri: I’ve never been to your countries yet, but I will definitely go see you guys so please wait for me.

Itabashi: I’ll be big enough as LTG and go overseas to teach an alphabet course for you. So please wait for it!

Asahina: I want you to get to know us more because LTG members including seeDream are all unique and interesting!

Translated by Hideko

Gallery (photo by Kenji Harada)

Gallery (photo by Nami Akiba)

Related links
Label The Garden official site : http://columbia.jp/labelthegarden/
Clef Leaf official site : http://columbia.jp/clefleaf/
seeDream official site : http://columbia.jp/seedream/
Flower Notes official site : http://columbia.jp/flowernotes/

Author
TokyoGirls'Update
TokyoGirls'Update

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