Idol Philosophy Series : Close Up With Megu from Negicco Supported by Tokyo Idol Project!
Idol Philosophy is the special projects to consider the ideal idol from several aspects. In this time, Negicco,the representative of local idol today, appears in this project. It took 11 years that the single “Hikari no Spur” won the 5th prize of Oricon Weekly Charts since their forming in 2003. However, Negicco has not always been in well-endowed environment. What is their philosophy that supports them? We did an interview with Megu.
-Megu, please tell us what you think an idol is.
Megu: I really like idols, I think there’s something about them that just makes you adore them, they have something I don’t have, and I respect them. Akari Hayami (who left Momoiro Clover in 2011) was really astonishing, she wasn’t really idol-like but she was pretty and cute, and seeing her give it everything she had, I became addicted to idols.
-What do you think about Akari Hayami leaving Momoiro Clover?
Megu: It was a big shock, but she had a strong will, so I thought “I want to support her”. Even now, if someone asks me who I support the most from Momokuro, the only answer I have is Akarin (Akari Hayami), and for Momoiro Clover Z I am a fan of everyone equally. For me, sweating a lot was something that bothered me. But Momokuro is always working there hardest covered in sweat and they still looked cool, and because they made my dislike of sweat into something cool, I really respect them.
-Who was the first idol you looked up to?
Megu: There are still so many I have to follow the path of, but definitely Akarin and Kanako (Kanako Momota from Momoiro Clover Z). On the footage for TIF (TOKYO IDOL FESTIVAL 2010) Kanako really gave it her all and was so cool, her spirit really came across. At the time, Negicco was 3 negative members, and being in a place away from home we would sometimes get weak, so seeing them work so hard was an eye-opener.
-After forming in 2003 and continuing Negicco for 12 years, what kind of idol group do you think Negicco is?
Megu: For the “Yawahadanegi” (a famous green onion variant from Negicco’s hometown of Niigata) campaign, we were together as a limited one-month unit, and Connie-san helped with musical composition. But we had no general producer and had to come up with the dances from scratch. For that first month until we signed with T-Palette Records, we made and ran the group by ourselves.
-There are a lot of people that empathize with Negicco’s 12 year story. Your reunion with Perfume on Music Japan was a hot topic. What do you think about the way you have enjoyed things, and the way you have come into terms with things?
Megu: Because we have a long story, people watch us, people like us, and people support us. Perfume’s reason to start was also musical composition, and hearing their stories of hardship, we really wanted to support them. And with our appearance in Music Japan, we’ve been happy that more people have been coming to our tours.
-Negicco has overcome countless hardships until now. Out all of the hardships, what was the biggest one?
Megu: We turn all the hard times into things we can laugh about, which makes us actually more happy, so that when we look back we think “maybe it was a good thing we had those hardships!”…. so actually not that many? I’m actually a pretty happy person (laughs).
-But you had just been saying how negative you guys were (laughs).
Megu: Well, being around other active idols you kind of feel like dying, it’s kind of like that a lot (laughs). You get even more down about what you can’t do, and it kind of makes you want to disappear (laughs). Idols are seen as cute and there’s something there you want to support, right? Sometimes I think, “there are also people out there supporting me” (laughs). But calming down and doing live performances, I really am grateful for all the fans. Recently I have stopped saying negative things.
-What made you change?
Megu: This is recent. When we were making “Triple! WONDERLAND” (single from 2014) I wasn’t feeling very good, we weren’t aiming for the Oricon chart or had any real objective. Even if I was able to provide the right feel for every life performance, I was ashamed that the feelings of “fun” and the thought of “I’m going to do my best!” were thinning out, but I still couldn’t change course and I was worried. But, after that, we decided to aim for Oricon top 10 with our single “Sunshine Nihonkai” (single from 2014) and I wanted to give it my best shot. I was told if this didn’t sell well, it would be the end of Negicco, and I really felt bad about saying “I want to quit” when things had become a little tough. Having people say “it’s over” was a huge eye-opener, and I thought, “I want to get into Oricon top 10 no matter what!”. I realized how much I wanted to continue Negicco.
-“Sunshine Nihonkai” was really close at 11th place, but did your motivation improve?
Megu: It helped boost my confidence and it was extremely fun, and I also thought “there are so many people supporting Negicco”. So even though it was hard, our new goal was to definitely get into Oricon’s Best 10 ranking. Last year I went from having no goal, to having a goal that led to a whole year that pushed us forward.
-What is the thing that has made you the happiest until now?
Megu: That would have to be reuniting with Perfume. We were happy to work with people we really admired. Even though I really looked up to them and like them, I thought we would never have the chance to meet, but then they got to know Negicco. My dream came true when we got to talk at the Maison du Ruan café in Hiroshima.
-How have you been able to balance your framework as “Niigata’s Negicco”, along with being active in Tokyo?
Megu: With just Niigata and Tokyo, I felt like Negicco hadn’t expanded at all. But with our tour this year, we had a lot of new people come, and had people from Kyushu and Shikoku said they had been waiting for us to tour there. It was basically a full-house.
-You keep up with your blog and make posts about fashion, make-up, and your nails. Who do you want to notice these posts?
Megu: I really like Yumemi Nemu-chan from Dempagumi.inc, so I went to places she shopped. I thought “I would really like more girls to like me”, and because I’m in the position to be able to post things, I’ve been writing….it’s embarrassing (laughs).
-Do you get responses from girls?
Megu: At first I was embarrassed, but I was grateful when there were so many responses that said “I’m glad you write about that”, and “I bought the same outfit”, and so I want to continue to do what I can. Including the me that is supporting Nemu-chan.
-What do you like about Yumemi Nemu-san?
Megu: She has an ability to make things happen and she’s also really good at working as her own producer, so she’s cool. And she’s cute. We have the ability to post about things besides Negicco, and I thought I want to continue doing that, and I have always liked taking pictures, so I started Instagram.
-What is the idol image the members of Negicco are aiming for from now on?
Megu: We want to be able to sing in downtown Niigata and at festivals, where families can bring their kids, and we also want to perform on big stages. We want to become a familiar face. I want to be told that we feel like we’re a part of the family, that our faces make the expression, “would you like some manjuu treats?” (laughs). We want to be idols that are very approachable.
Interview & Text：Akimasa Munekata / Photo：ayaka horiuch
Translated by Tanoshii Emily
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