In May of 2010 S/mileage made their major label debut with their single “Yumemiru Fifteen”. Then in October of 2011, S/mileage sub-members Kana Nakanishi, Akari Takeuchi, Rina Katsuta, and Meimi Tamura became official members of the group, and S/mileage had their massively successful first solo concert at the Nippon Budokan. In December of 2014, with the arrival of three new members, Maho Aikawa, Rikako Sasaki, and Mizuki Murota, the group changed their name to ANGERME. During their November 29, 2015 performance at the Nippon Budokan, first generation member Kanon Fukuda graduated, new member, Moe Kamikokuryo, joining the group on November 11th.

Although Meimi Tamura has plans to graduate at their next Nippon Budokan performance on May 30th, ANGERME will release their fourth single “Tsugitsugi Zokuzoku”/”Itoshima Distance”/”Koi nara Tokku ni Hajimatteru” on April 27th. Since this will be their last single with all nine members, Tokyo Girls’ Update sat down with all of them to ask them about the music video shoot for “Tsugitsugi Zokuzoku”.

Contributor Wanted!!

Contributor Wanted!!


 

Ayaka Wada/和田彩花さん

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-About your latest release, it’s been decided that each of you will be in charge of one song, so I’d like to ask you about “Tsugitsugi Zokuzoku”.

Ayaka: Sure. “Tsugitsugi Zokuzoku” is a fast track, and feels very upbeat, but it has a rap part, too. Up until we’ve had a kind of rock feel to our music, and this song has a different sort of intensity and strength compared to that, but the lyrics are really good. As far as the best part goes, I think that since ANGERME is a group with repeat graduations and additions, I’d say that the lyrics really go along with that. With this single it’ll be the first with Moe-chan, and Meimi-chan will be graduating, so this song includes both a graduation and an addition. My favorite words of the song are… Well, maybe Mei Mei (Meimi) already talked about it.

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– That’s right, surprisingly it was the same part.

Ayaka: I really like that part of the lyrics, but I also like the part that goes “Itte oide, zoku zoku sasete yare” (“Go on now, give em’ a thrill”) like that, and I think you can really say that line’s for Mei Mei, who’s graduating, but also for Kamiko (Moe), you know? She’s coming from a normal life and all, so I think “come and go, give em’ a thrill” for her is kind of like cheering her on, in a sense. The title, “Tsugitsugi Zokuzoku”, carries this image of repeating more and more with each thing that follows. Since now is the season where people are starting new lives, I think it’s something many people can listen to and enjoy.

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– Yes, you’ve got quite a bit going on. Thank you. What should people focus on when they watch the MV?

Ayaka: Well for one, there’s a lot of dancing. I think this song’s dance is a pretty distinctive one, so I hope everyone watches it. Also, this was the first time for us to break off into groups of three and dance separately like that. Instead of a formation, we’re dancing between bars of light.

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– The stage feels really different.

Ayaka: It does. And I think for the girls rapping, it’s done in a cool, free style. I didn’t rap, though.

– The girls leading the rap said it was a lot of fun.

Ayaka: Not only was it cool, I also think ANGERME’s bright and lively energy came through as well.

– Thank you for giving us your opinion on the new song. Now I’d like to ask you about your tour, which will be your second following the first tour you did titled Hyakka Ryoran. Has there been anything that’s changed for this tour?

Ayaka: This time I think things are new with Kamiko (Moe) joining and Kanon no longer with us, and with nine members the group’s form has already changed, but more than just graduation and adding members, I consider it as ANGERME being reborn anew, or like we’re still in the process of establishing what form the group takes. This is the only tour we’ll be doing as the nine of us, so for that reason we’d like whatever shape we take be a complete one.

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– I heard the other members say that with Kanon’s absence, the formation and position of the group has changed quite a bit.

Ayaka: That’s right. The way we split singing parts has completely changed, too. Before where one part would have been given to me, it’s now taken by other members (laugh).

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– I see, so now it’s like the nine of you are piecing things together. Since the group became ANGERME you’ve always charted at number two on the Oricon charts with your previous releases, but are you trying to aim for number one this time?

Ayaka: I think we should, first and foremost because we’ve never been number one before. I’d like to reach number one while Mei Mei (Meimi) is still a part of the group, but personally it’d make me happier to have many more people listen to our music and tell lots of people about us.

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– Thank you for your thoughts. Since Meimi will be graduating during this tour, I’ve been asking all of the members for a few words to send her off, and would like to ask you to share a message to her with us.

Ayaka: Let’s see… Mei Mei is the closest friend I have. Of course she’s part of the second generation and there are other second generation girls, too, but our relationship is different. So a part of me is really sad that she’s leaving. Also, she would always say, “I want to send you off at your graduation.” I’ve always known it was her dream to pursue musicals, but because I had planned on being in ANGERME for a long time, I jokingly said, “You don’t have to think about it right now,” although that seemed to have only driven her to make up her mind. (laugh) Because I said the words so casually, I really regretted them when I heard that she would be graduating… But I’m glad she felt she was able to trust me, and that she decided on what she really wants. So I hope everyone will send her off with a smile.

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– I appreciate that. This might be shifting the topic to you a little bit, but recently you published a book called “Bijutsu de Meguru Nihon Saihakken” (Re-Discovering Japan Through Art), and it became a number-one best seller on Amazon’s oriental art category.

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The cover of “Bijitsu de Meguru Nihon Saihakken”

Ayaka: It did, thank you!

– Congratulations! Among the work that appears in your book, I wanted to ask if you had any Japanese art recommendations to introduce to people overseas.

Ayaka: I would have to say ukiyo-e (woodblock prints). This time I mainly wrote about this style, and I think it must be very popular with people overseas. There’s an ukiyo-e museum in Harajuku, and on weekdays when I would go to gather material, there would always be lots of visitors from overseas there. Even though there were hardly any Japanese people there, the museum was always busy. It’s the Ota Memorial Museum of Art, which is located towards the back of Harajuku’s La Foret.


– I had no idea there was a ukiyo-e museum there.

Ayaka: There is! Each time it was crowded with visitors from overseas, and they seemed to be really enjoying themselves as they discussed the works there, so that was a great discovery for me. My book includes a lot of discoveries like that from places I went to while I was writing it.

– Japanese people don’t look at art and discuss it much, do they?

Ayaka: You’re right, which is why I definitely want them to see ukiyo-e for themselves. But actually you can see a lot of ukiyo-e overseas, or more like, many museums overseas have ukiyo-e art collections. There are a lot of people that have ukiyo-e art. A lot of the ukiyo-e exhibits I went to in Japan were actually put on by museums from abroad.

– I see. Is there a particular piece you like?

Ayaka: My favorite artist is Harunobu Suzuki, although his work is the epitome of Japanese-ness. I especially like his piece Secchu Aiaigasa (Sharing an Umbrella in the Snow), with a couple sharing an umbrella in the snow, even though it represents much of the style’s irregularities.

– With ukiyo-e? Wow!

Ayaka: You can’t really see the white of the kimono print and the banks of snow; in fact it’s almost invisible, but you’re not likely to notice these things because you’re too busy paying attention to the whole picture, which I think is amazing, and also that it’s really when you study the finer details of ukiyo-e art, so I definitely would like people overseas to enjoy it.

– It might be connected in some way to ANGERME’s dancing, as far as attention to detail goes.

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Ayaka : Yes, please watch us very closely.

– Thank you for that information; I really learned something. Finally, I’d like to ask you to give a message to your fans overseas.

Ayaka: When we go to Kyushu and other places like that, there are quite a lot of fans from overseas there in Fukuoka. That’s because it’s closer than Tokyo. (laugh) That made me really happy. Many people were wearing the t-shirts I’d designed. They wrote their names in Japanese for us. This was from when we were S/mileage, but there Thai fans who had written “Thai S/mileage Family” in katakana.

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Ayaka: There were quite a few fans who would make something and come, and also come to our handshake events, which I was really happy to see, but even though other Hello!Project groups have gone overseas, our group hasn’t been gone yet. I keep thinking about how I want to meet everyone. So I’d like to do my best so that we have a chance to go someday. In the meantime I hope you’ll wait for us and listen to our music and watch our music videos. We’ll do our best!

Related links
ANGERME official site : http://www.helloproject.com/angerme/
Ayaka Wada official blog : http://ameblo.jp/angerme-ayakawada

Photos by Mime Soga
Translated by Jamie Koide

Author
itaru9Z
itaru9Z

I am the Chief Idol Officer of Tokyo Girls Update, known as "Hiroro Ojisan" who loves Maachan. I produce the MV, art works, promotions, and tie-in campaign of idol groups such as "Team Syachihoko" and "Negicco". Please contact me if you know any "hanare-me" (wide-set eyed) idols.

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