Thursday, 8 May 2014

Berryz Kobo's au Book Pass original photo book 'Girls Messing Around'

{This interview was from around March, when the au campaign was in full swing. By now, Berryz Kobo has won the competition, and reaped the reward. 

For S/mileage's interview for this project, check out this post on Lurkette's blog.}

For the right to appear on a special broadcast of JOLF's 「All Night Nippon」, the 5 groups in Hello! Project are competing with all their strength, through the electronic photo book project 「au 『Book Pass』 Presents HELLO!PROJECT Original Photo Book Produce Battle! ~The overall champion will get to appear on an All Night Nippon Special!?~」。 Celebrating the 10th anniversary of their debut on the 3rd of March, Berryz Kobo's theme is 「Girls Messing Around」、 and they've produced an original photo book, with their photos outlining a story riddled with them fooling around with all their might。 Why the choice of  「Girls Messing Around」 as a theme? Let us listen to the girls speak to their heart's content on the topic of their expectations。

「What is something that can only be done by Berryz Kobo?」

── So the theme for this au「Book Pass」 electronic photo book is 「Girls Messing Around」?
Tsugunaga Momoko Berryz Kobo thought that the other groups would be fighting it out with an orthodox idol mindset、 and we'd be at a disadvantage in that battle。 We wouldn't be able to capture votes that way!Yet our desire for the 1st place is way stronger! And for that, we needed to come up with one or two schemes。 Then we got this idea, 「Let's all just mess around to the fullest、 like, don't we have those sea bream costumes!」。
── Having taken a quick glance、 those scenes with the sea bream costumes did have the greatest impact。
Tokunaga Chinami Since the snow had just fallen、 we went out as sea breams and tried sleeping on top of the snow。 Thinking about 「What's something that can only be done by Berryz Kobo?」、 it's nothing but messing around with everything we've got。

Shimizu Saki That is Berryz Kobo。 I enjoyed myself too。
Sudo Maasa It felt like something that was done from the bottom of our hearts。

Tsugunaga Despite having done it in between rehearsals for our live performance、 it feels like an achievement greater than what we got done at the rehearsals。
── Those sea bream costumes were used in a previous tour, weren't they? How many years has it been since you've last worn them?
Shimizu It's been about 5 years。
Tokunaga Even though it felt awesome to wear them、 it was difficult to move。 I think we did quite well to have worn them in a live performance。
── And you kept them in storage。
Tokunaga Though some of them are unaccounted for。 Maybe they were sold off(laughs)。

A request: 「I definitely want a nurse uniform to be worn」

── You've set up a plot for this photo book, haven't you?
Tsugunaga That's right! It was well put together、 by Saki-chan。
Shimizu Since we wore those sea bream costumes、 it was like anything we put on would be OK、 so all of the other members did all sorts of cosplay, and then we made up the story。 First up, you see Maasa and Momochi (Tsugunaga) going out together、 and watching those 2 from the shadows is Kumai (Yurina) -chan。 But Maasa was attracted to Kumai-chan upon noticing her、 and the story ends with Momochi all alone。 And、 Tokunaga and I fully enjoyed ourselves as sea breams。
Tokunaga We absolutely enjoyed ourselves。
Tsugunaga As a side dish。
All present Ahahaha(laughter)。

Tsugunaga For the greatest impact、 we built up expectations with Risako and Miyabi going for pretty orthodox cosplay。 Next we had Tokunaga Chinami acting as a sea bream being kept fresh on ice、 and after that, in the midst of a love triangle, we wove in (Natsuyaki's) sexy policewoman and (Sugaya's) nurse as a side dish、 and with the sea bream added as another side dish、 that's more or less how the story developed。
Sugaya Risako We also had a request from our manager-san 「I definitely want a nurse uniform to be worn」。 There were points where if felt a bit embarrassing、 but as we went along taking photos, I gradually got on the boat。 From there, Tsugunaga-director told me to try holding a toothpick in my mouth。
Kumai Yurina It gives a bit of a personality-appearance gap。
Sugaya We enjoyed ourselves。
Tsugunaga However、 policewoman Miyabi was done entirely by herself。
Natusyaki Miyabi Since it's for a lot of guys as well, there wasn't anything that would make their hearts race。  So I used a telephone pole to perform something like a pole dance (laughs)。 In order to show off my sexiness, I did my best twisting myself around it。

Sudou My hair's cut pretty drastically, so I had no choice but to play the male part, and I volunteered myself、 but it was fun to be flanked by two girls (laughs)。 But in the end, I chose the beauty(Kumai)。
Tsugunaga So you're saying that I'm not a beauty!(laughs)
Sudou Rather than the self-styled cutie…… I prefer the beauty。
Kumai I tried to act as if it was something out of a shoujo manga love triangle、 but it was difficult to watch quietly from the shadows。 In the original script, my role was reversed (with Tsugunaga)。 But when we started, Chinami mentioned that 「It would be better to have it the other way around」。
Tokunaga Well、 one wouldn't get charmed by Momochi!
Tsugunaga How rude!(laughs)
Tokunaga But I think the outcome of that casting came out well。

At any rate, we want to get the 1st place!

── Did passers-by stare at you in the process of the photo shoot?
Natsuyaki Since we walked around town normally while in cosplay、 there were people who looked at us, asking with their eyes,「What's up with these people?」 。
── And you just kept your calm?
All present Well。
Tsugunaga That's how much we want the 1st place! Even if those around us think of us as weirdos、 walking around in short sleeves on a snowy day、 we'll do it for the sake of the 1st place! Honestly、 it's rare for us to be this spirited。 Therefore…… Please! Somehow!
── Even if you ask me to……(laughs)。

Tsugunaga I'm putting a vote in myself。
All present Ahahaha(laughter)。
── By the way, who was the very first person who messed around in Berryz Kobo?
Sugaya Momochi(Tsugunaga), I guess。 When she wanted to have a snowball fight、 Momochi invited me with a 「Hey Ricchan、 let's go!」。
Tsugunaga This is something that I've understood recently! If I invite the members all in one go, the mood just goes 「Eh?」、 but after 10 years I've learnt that the trick is to pin you guys down one by one。 First I get the agreement from the people for whom it's easy to elicit an okay。 Miyabi will decline、 but she's the type that'll join in once she sees everyone else having accepted and gone out to play。
Kumai We had a sort of snowball fight recently、 but when we got there, the snowballs had already been prepared。 What's more, Momochi had made the security staff-sans make them。
Tokunaga Amazing。 She's on a different level、 our Momochi(laughs)。
Tsugunaga Wait a sec、 you're making me sound bad!The security staff-sans are also part of  “Team Momochi”。 It wasn't because I asked for it、 but when I was grumbling like usual and throwing snowballs around noisily, the security staff-sans were all,「We'll help you out」 and made them。
All present Ahahaha(laughter)。
Kumai In the end, all of the security people joined in the snowball fight、 it was fun。
── My image of Sudo-san is that you wouldn't join in 、 wouldn't you take a step back and just watch?
Sudou Ah、 but recently I'm joining in and playing together。 Although it was previously mentioned that backstage, I'm the one who tells people, 「Calm down」、 recently I've had mixed thoughts when something looks like fun。

Displaying the conduct befitting a senpai

── Well then、 let's move on to the topic of live performances。 Firstly, I think I'd like to ask about stories from the 「Hello! Project 2014 WINTER」(Below, Hello! Con) held from the beginning of the year。

Tokunaga This Hello! Con wasn't just held at Tokyo、 Nagoya、 and Osaka this time around、 but we also went around to Sapporo、 Sendai、and Hirsohima; I thought that it was a good chance to let people know about Berryz Kobo

Natsuyaki It was amazing how our kouhai were brimming with youthful enthusiasm、so it would be great if Berryz Kobo could display some adult charm。 Momochi aside(laughs)。
── Were there any particular songs that left a memory in this Hello! Con?
Sugaya I got to sing Melon Kinenbi-san's 「Nikutai ha Shoujiki na EROS」 as part of a shuffle unit。 As the title suggests, the song has this sexy image、 so I was really embarrassed the first time we put it on show、 but when I met with all of the former Melon Kinenbi members, I was told, 「We'd like you to sing it in a slightly sexy, Risako-like way, 、 without being embarrassed」、 so I was able to do it without being bashful。

Kumai I got to sing Morning Musume。 Sakuragumi's 「Sakura Mankai」。 Up to now, all of the units I've been in have included a senpai or someone who's older than me、 but this time I was the oldest, so I was concious of the fact that I had to do it properly。

── Do you get the impression that you're shouldering the entirety of the Hello! Con

Shimizu Within the entirety of Hello! Project, I'm second in seniority after Morning Musume。'14's Michishige (Sayumi)-san。 Therefore, I'm really feeling that sense of responsibility。 I've often been told that 「The kouhai are brought up looking at the backs of their senpai」。 For me、 looking out for people isn't a strong point of mine、 so I've got to bear in mind that I should display conduct befitting of a senpai。

── 「Berryz Kobo Debut 10-Shuunen Kinen Concert Tour ー2014 Spring ~Real Berryz Kobo~」 also started on the 1st of March。

Tokunaga The tour title mentions our 10th anniversary、 and it also includes that the “Real Berryz Kobo” will be on display, wanting to show how we are now。 The set list lets you compare the past and the present, and I think the contents will make you experience the extent of how much we've grown up and developed。

Sugaya is excited and Natsuyaki is bound

── In February, your single 「Otona na no yo! / 1-oku 3-zenman Sou Diet Oukoku」 went on sale。
Tsugunaga In 「Otona na no yo!」、 our Shimizu's solo part is super cool!
Shimizu Everyone's got their own strong point、 but since dancing is my forte, while I get to dance in the centre every time, it feels like a duty。While, in my mind, I love dancing、 it would be good if all of us could generally memorise the moves……and what are you laughing about?
Tsugunaga Well、 I think it'd be amazing if everyone would dance those complicated solo dances at a venue。 They're pretty high in quality (laughs)。
Tokunaga Ah、 I'm seeing it in my mind!(laughs)
Shimizu It isn't complicated、the moves for the hook。
Natsuyaki If we were able to perform those solo dances、 I'd definitely want to be on the stage (laughs)。 Also,  the title of「1-oku 3-zenman Sou Diet Oukoku」 has the word diet in it, so at that stage I thought 「Tsunku♂-san, how direct!」、 but it's a song that can't be sung by anyone besides Berryz Kobo。

Tsugunaga Doesn't the title contain such a comical and interesting phrase?
 But our Sugaya and Natsuyaki were singing it with smug faces。Honestly, I might laugh about it、 but of course both our aces are stunning!
Sugaya Wait a second、 stop jumping over the hurdle! (laughs) It's quickly become like some sort of grand opera、 but during the recording, the director-san was like 「Don't be embarrassed、 I want it to feel like Sugaya is excited and Natsuyaki is bound」。 But I was a bit embarrassed though。
Natusyaki At first, we were told that it was a playful song, so we sang it like that、 but then we got told off 「You can stop messing around now」 (laughs)。 However, I tried singing while keeping in mind 「I can't do anything but sing it stylishly」、 and it ended up like how it is。

Having continued for 10 years, the strength of our bonds won't lose to any other group

── Well then、 with Berryz Kobo celebrating your 10th anniversary since your début, is there anything you'd like to bring attention to?
Natsuyaki Generally speaking, I want people to come and watch our live performances。 I want to convey the fun everyone has。 It isn't like it's a nexus of power、 but I think that everyone who comes to a live receives some energy and brings it back with them。 As Berryz Kobo has a smattering of personalities、 there'll definitely be someone you'll dig。
Sudo I want people to watch me mess around with everything I've got。 Since it's often said that the fun of us messing around beats any group (laughs)。
Sugaya Be it comical songs, sexy songs, or cute songs、Berryz Kobo can sing them and dance them、 so I want people to notice that。

 I think it's amazing to continue on for 10 years。 In addition, the members have been here from the early days。 If you come to like the Berryz Kobo of the present、you can enjoy it as it's no different from the Berryz Kobo of the past。 Since these 7 people were here from the get-go。 I think that one of our charms is that、if you try to go back through our history and take a look at our albums, you can enjoy looking at how we grew。
Kumai Also, Berryz Kobo likes eating。 We ate 20 people's worth of bulgogi when we went to Korea。 Even if we've gone through 10 years, I want our appetite to stay as healthy as it is。
── So, you want people to watch your live performances while thinking 「Those people、 they eat tons!」(laughs)。
Tsugunaga And that is why we have the 「Diet Oukoku」 (laughs)。
Tokunaga Isn't the gap between our appearance and personalities greater than other groups? We may look stylish、 but our stories are clamorous。Since we've come to 10 years, that gap is becoming apparent。
Shimizu Berryz Kobo walks its own path。 But the feelings of the 7 of us come together as 1、 and despite our abundance of personalities, having continued for 10 years, I think that the strength of our bonds won't lose to any group、I'd like us to enjoy not being influenced by our surroundings, in a Berryz Kobo-like way。


If you're looking for more, Lurkette has S/mileage's interview on her blog! Check it out here!


  1. Thank you for this translation! It was an interesting and funny interview, as expected from Berryz!

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.