Saturday, 25 July 2015

Morning Musume。'14 “Ace” Sayashi Riho first independent interview (Excerpts)

{Note: This interview came out early October 2014, over a month before Sayumi's graduation.}
Morning Musume。'14 "Ace" Sayashi Riho First Independent Interview
Morning Musume。'14 "Ace" Sayashi Riho First Independent Interview

This rehearsal that you're having in this studio today, is it for 【Morning Musume。'14 concert tour autumn  GIVE ME MORE LOVE ~ Michishige Sayumi Sotsugyou Kinen Special ~”】?(※ This interview was done before the aforementioned tour started)

Sayashi Riho: That's right。 I've danced the best I ever have at this rehearsal。 It's the best I've ever done, both in terms of time and movements。

What do you think would be the best-case outcome for this tour?

Sayashi Riho: I think that in many ways, this tour marks a turning point…… Recently、I've been really burning with this desire to raise the level of our performances。 I'm already a senior、 and a lot of people will watch videos of our performances and try to follow our moves。 Up to now, I've been performing while thinking that 「I have to learn more」、 but now I completely enjoy myself while doing it。 With this tour、 I've honestly got worries about the future…… But although 26th November will be the final day、 for some of the people who are attending the opening day  or the performances in between、 this will be the last performance where they'll be able to see Morning Musume。 with Michishige-san in it、 so I'd like us to always come out in fully perfect form。

That drive to improve your performing ability。 I think that's what we call 'the switch being flipped'、 but was there anything that led to it?

Sayashi Riho: I can't point out a particular moment where I can say 'That's it!'、 I think it was something I picked up watching all sorts of people performing。 And so it might not be related to Michishige-san、 I'd just occasionally watch someone's concert video and start thinking 「It'd be interesting if I could do this!」. It lights a fire in me when I notice things like that(laughs)。

Every time I've met with you, Sayashi-san, I got this impression that you 「shone」、 but today you seem the most dazzling that you've ever been。

Sayashi Riho: Thank you very much (laughs)!


This tour is for the graduation of Michishige Sayumi、 but to Sayashi-san, what sort of person is she?
Sayashi Riho: Michishige-san is…………I think she's a person who puts in a lot of effort。 It amazes me, thinking that such a person exists, someone who puts in everything she's got into whatever she does。 I've thought about a lot about parts of me where I'd like to be 「Like Michishige-san」、 day in and day out, and even when I've gone home, I run through all sorts of simulations concerning work、 but I can't pull it off、 I make slip-ups。 But Michishige-san can pull it off, from 1~10。 Through that extent of hard work, she changed herself。

Since Michishige-san didn't have this image of “perfection” before she became leader。

Sayashi Riho: I've heard stories about the Michishige-san of the past、 like she would get told off for skipping practice (laughs)。 But when we look at her now, Michishige-san doesn't seem like that kind of person、 not at all。 So I think she was just the same as us when she started out in Morning Musume。、 but now she's our role model、 we've really learnt a lot from her、 and Michishige-san's presence focuses our minds every day。 When we make a small mistake and see Michishige-san doing it properly、 it makes us think that 「We've got to buck up」。 Always。

Before Michishige-san became leader、 she had a soft spot for the newly joined Sayashi-san, loving you just like a pet、 but is she completely changed from that time?

Sayashi Riho: That is so。 Up until she became leader, when we worked together, her image wasn't like it is now、Michishige-san had this strong image of being all cutesy when you saw her on television。 So I was honestly surprised when Michishige-san became leader。 But looking at her now, she's really cool、 she truly is the best。

How is your relationship with Michishige-san now?

Sayashi Riho: It's nothing like the past、 not at all。 I don't feel like she's doting on me like before。 So it makes me wonder if I'm no longer needed。 But on the contrary, it's something I'm thankful for、 and I guess Michishige-san was aware of it as well。 Of course, I too did change with a 'pop!' when I went through a growth spurt though。

 The expectations were so high、 there no longer was time to spoil you。

Sayashi Riho: After Michishige-san's graduation, the 9th generation will become the topmost members、 so that might be the case。

 You've spent several years with Michishige Sayumi、 what conduct of hers has left the biggest impression?

Sayashi Riho: Michishige-san is always aware about the fans、 and she often tells us that just because we've stepped on stage and done our work countless times、 it doesn't mean that the fans have seen everything、 so we should treasure it each and every time。 When the tour starts, we shouldn't apply the finishing touches at the final day of the tour、 they should have been applied from the very day the tour opened。 Since it's the very start, there are songs our bodies can't get into、 and she'd call us and talk to us、 but that's because she's thinking that the fans come first。 That's the biggest impression I have。


 Is there anything you'd like to accomplish by the time that leader graduates?

Sayashi Riho: My character is one who forgets things、 or oversleeps though……

 And that's the character you'll stick to until the very end?

Sayashi Riho: It isn't character、 it isn't! But a lot of the time, the flow ends up going 「Because it's Sayashi, I guessー」 (laughs)。 It's just that I kind of hate that。 I don't mean to make mistakes、 it's really vexing。 In particular, it's been nothing but minor slip-ups recently、 but I get so frustrated that it makes me want to cry。 When I overslept in the past, I thought that 「It can't be helped」 sometimes (laughs)。 Though I happen to have this image of being diligent、 I'm not diligent at all! Personality-wise, I'm not diligent、 not at all!

 But that's something that you'd like to change now。

Sayashi Riho: That's right。 Also、 that beautiful impression Michishige-san has presently。 That sparkling impression、 that would probably catch even the eyes those who don't know about her。 I'd like to be able to give out that impression。 For the time being, I'd like to forge myself and get into that form (laughs)。 I'd like to become a bit more aware of it。

--Well then、 now let's get to know Sayashi Riho。 Sayashi-san, you've given numerous interviews before、 but this is your first time doing one alone。 There is Ishida Ayumi's independent interview (English translation here)、 and after the end of the Lilium press conference, Sayashi-san directly mentioned to us 「I want to have an interview by myself too!×2」, so now it's materialised。 Do you remember?
Sayashi Riho: I remember!

What made you think 「I want to have an interview by myself too!」?

Sayashi Riho: Ummm…… It really feels like the fans always have high expectations from Billboard Japan's articles。 In that aspect, it was enviable to receive an interview by yourself (laughs)。 And so、 I wonder why? Maybe it might be a bit of competitiveness、 but if you could say it's got such a 「reputation」…… I also wanted to talk by myself a little……。 That's the main reason。

Laughs)。 Presently、 what are your own thoughts about the presence Sayashi Riho has in Morning Musume。'14?

Sayashi Riho: I still…… I don't know if I'm putting the words together correctly、 there's this image that I'm in the middle of being promoted。 It doesn't feel like I've achieved a sense of security yet、 at present。 It's not like I've got an established position、 I'm in the middle of being promoted。

 It seems that Sayashi-san has long been referred to as the 「ace」 in some quarters、 but how aware of it are you?

Sayashi Riho:………… Outside, I'm increasingly being told 「Because you're the ace」、 but none of my relatives have told me 「You're the ace」。

Abe Natsumi、 Goto Maki、 Takahashi Ai、 Tanaka Reina…… Morning Musume。 has had various aces、 but do you strongly feel that you want to be like those seniors?

Sayashi Riho: That's right。 I studied from the seniors、 and when I tried dancing, I got a lot of comments on the line of 「It resembles Aichan」 or it resembles so-and-so-san、 that made me really happy。 But、 when we came out with the new single 『TIKI BUN/ Shabadabadoo~/ Mikaeri Bijin』 in October、 and when I read Tsunku♂-san's liner notes, he wrote things about me like 「A type that Morning Musume。 hasn't had so far」 and 「A new type within the world of entertainment」、 and I thought 「Ah、 this makes me happy too!」。 Like 「I'm not similar to anyone but I'm bringing myself out?」。

Your originality is intense。

Sayashi Riho: I'm happy to be told that I resemble this or that person、 it makes me feel comfortable。 For me、 when there's someone I'm a little interested in、 I really want to mimic that person。 However、 I gradually get exhausted doing that……。 But due to Tsunku♂-san wrote 「A type that we haven't had so far」, my feelings have changed into 「It'll be all right to do it in my own way!」。

By the way, you mention that 「You wanted to mimic them」、 but who are the seniors that particularly had an influence on you?

Sayashi Riho: For me, that would be Takahashi-san。 Also、 Goto-san。 Honestly speaking、 I do things like check their blogs every day (laughs)。 To the extent that I'd like to spend my time living the same lifestyle、 that's how much I look up to them and would like to mimic them。 Well, even now, I still haven't fixed that habit!

But now you've got an eye on originality、 what sort of ace is the kind of ace that Sayashi Riho wants to become?

Sayashi Riho: Nowadays, I often get to stand at the front、 but at this year's spring tour, Ishida Ayumi-chan was the centre for 「HOW DO YOU LIKE JAPAN?~Nihon ha donna Kanji dekka?~」。 Watching that, our manager-san said that 「The substitute Sayashi looks good too」。 So、 I think I'd like to become a person who carries myself、 no matter where I am。 Currently I think that there are a lot of things where it's a little biased、 but no matter how the set-up is from now on, whoever the member who's getting the highlight、 I definitely want to draw people's eyes。 Being centre or standing in front doesn't mean that you'll be attracting attention、 and I want to become someone who can fascinate wherever I am。

That might be what a true ace is。

Sayashi Riho: I think that a lot of people are seeing our current Morning Musume。 set-up for the first time、 but say we were to switch centres、 and I were to be situated at the sides、 I'd like to be able to make people who are just taking a glance think 「Ah、 isn't this girl the ace?」。

In all honesty、 if you were to ask anyone about the faces they know in Morning Musume。、 currently it would be Michishige Sayumi、 and there must be all sorts of concerns after she graduates、 but how about it?

Sayashi Riho: We're really worried。 It's unimaginable…… We really do rely on Michishige-san for all sorts of things、 and we're still stuck to that even after she announced her graduation。

Don't you feel like 「It's my era next!」 with the graduation of a stand-out senior?

Sayashi Riho: I don't (laughs)。 I've been asked as a joke 「When Michishige-san's no longer around、 go you think that it'll be your era?」、 but I honestly don't。 I don't feel it to that extent。 Although perhaps having those sort of thoughts would be all right……。 Besides Michishige-san, I feel like the 9 of us don't hold proper roles for ourselves……That's what I've thought at times。


Watching the recent Morning Musume。、 I'm reminded of Amuro Namie。 Since I think that Morning Musume。 might be the sole idol group who has the potential to compete with artistes like Amuro Namie。 I'd like to watch a two-artiste concert with Amuro Namie and Morning Musume。 someday (laughs)。

Sayashi Riho: Whoaー!  That's scary (laughs)。 Since Amuro Namie-san's just too amazing。 Could we do it someday?

But in order for listeners beyond idol fans to come to like Morning Musume。、 you can't lose to athletic pop stars who sing and dance。 Simply said, you have to fight out of the idol scene。 Like, isn't that sort of awareness important? Sayashi-san, what do you think?

Sayashi Riho: I really do think that。 I want all sorts of people to say 「Morning Musume。 is cool」。 For me, 「I want to join Morning Musume。!」 happened since I thought 「How cool!」、 and I think that's linked in to things like my current performance。 Even though I look up to Amuro Namie-san!、  but isn't it a position that's within reach (laughs)、 and I'd like to end up where even when such people see us, it might make them think slightly 「How cool」。


We'd like to start wrapping up、 but Morning Musume。 are equipping yourselves with all sorts of armaments。 What sort of group would you like to become after Michishige Sayumi's graduation、 or where would you like to head towards?

Sayashi Riho: Hmーm………………… Even more…… I'd like to become even sharper。 We think about performing with intensity、 but there are a few parts where we have to soften up、 so I'd like us to polish and sharpen ourselves。 In a sense、 I'd like us to mature。 It's not that Sato Masaki-chan will suddenly 「Attain greatness」。 I'd like us to become even sharper。 For people who are seeing us for the first time、 for people who don't know our individual names、 I think it's necessary to have a sharpness so that when they see us, they'll be hit with the thought 「Amazing!」。

Well then、 how would you like Sayashi Riho herself to turn out?

Sayashi Riho: Now I often get compared to other H!P members or idols、 but I'd like Sayashi Riho to be a genre unto herself、 established as her own form、 standing in a different arena。 I'd like to break through。 Because I think that Michishige-san is someone who managed to do that。 It might take time、 and perhaps I won't even get there、 but that's my goal。

1 comment:

  1. Just wanted to thank you for posting this. Always like to hear frank discussions and revelations by my favorite idols.