Appearing from Juice=Juice, H!P's youngest group, we have Miyamoto Karin, the person from the born-in-'98 group who has spent the longest time in H!P, and even as we boast about Uemura Akari's exemplary beauty and proportions, it's permeated by the contrast that's created through her airhead character. In contrast to Miyamoto who carries around grave worries, Uemura comes out into the open with her day-by-day innocence. So let's have this contrasting pair unveil stories of the '98 group that we haven't heard about!
Does it weigh in your mind that there's someone in the same group who is also in the same grade?
Uemura: I'm reminded that we were born in the same generation whenever we talk about school.
Miyamoto: As we were concentrating on Juice=Juice activities last year, we didn't really talk about school.
Uemura: When I joined the H!P Kenshuusei, I respected Karin-chan as a dai-senpai, so it was difficult to get close to her. She was so level-headed that I didn't even think about her being the same age as me.
Miyamoto: When Uemuu joined, we talked about how a lovely girl had joined us, a calm Osakan beauty. But now, I know that she's quite the airhead who'll immediately give out hugs, so my impression of her has changed (laughs).
And when did you close the distance with the difficult-to-get-close-to Miyamoto-san?
Uemura: After quite some time had passed since Juice=Juice's formation. From when we first formed, I thought about how we'd become friends, but I know that I'm the type of person who makes aggressive moves, little by little, and I enjoy hugging people (laughs). Using that, I just went ahead. I've always been bad at talking with people whom I'm meeting for the first time, I'm the shy type.
Miyamoto: Rather than saying I'm shy, it's more that I'm the type of person that builds a wall between myself and others.
Uemura: Karin-chan, you did build a wall around you.
Miyamoto: At first, I was the fastest to speak out to anyone, but that was just at the start. Then I closed my heart, and while I wanted to get close, I was stumbling around for companions.
Uemura: Recently, I realised that Karin-chan had built a wall around her, but she wouldn't honestly say what she felt. It's like she'd feel out how the other person felt first, and then she'd aim to follow along with that person.
Miyamoto: I guess so. Now, I'm slamming into the wall of trying to figure out what my true feelings are. Like when we were small, we'd just say outright what our true feelings were, right? Little by little, I became unable to do that, and started thinking about how people would see me. I'd like to fix that, but I'm quite the worrywart.
It's become a therapeutic, grave discussion, hasn't it (laughs)?
Uemura: Karin-chan is someone with a personality that I've never met before.
Miyamoto: I'd like to get better at maintaining communication.
Although looking back at the impression we had when you first formed, Uemura seemed more the type to build walls around her.
Uemura: There might be some truth to that. I was at the same desk with Sato Masaki-chan at the Morning Musume。 auditions, and I had the impression that she was a quiet girl. However, a few months after she had joined Morning Musume。, I heard lots of legends about her, and it surprised me that she was that kind of girl. So when I got used to all of Juice=Juice and our environment, I was able to let myself out little by little. It's just that there's a lot of things that people tease me about, since I've been letting my true self show so much recently.
There was a corner in the Nama Tamago Show! where they teased Uemura-san, wasn't there? The 2 of you will be senior high school students in April, but do you have any goals or anything in particular that you want to do?
Uemura: Study properly! Last year was filled with new experiences for us, so we were always busy, and I was unable to balance that with school. So I'd like this year to be a year where I'll work hard at studying, which I'm admittedly not great at.
Miyamoto: I'd like to overcome maths, my weak point. And I'd like to do some research for biology! Also, I'd like to be able to read written music, and my goal in the future is to become a someone who can compose and write lyrics for music.
The two of you have serious goals, don't you? Do you have anything else besides studies?
Uemura: The other day, our vocal teacher told us, 'You're becoming senior high school students, so you've got to firm up even more,' so I'd like to firm up. Our teacher talked about ℃-ute-san, who used to have a childish cuteness in the past, but now they've become such mature, beautiful, wonderful ladies. But our teacher said that it's difficult to suddenly change like that, and asked us to please become beautiful women from within. Deep, isn't it~?
Miyamoto: I'm bad at keeping things tidy and in order, so I'd like to be able to keep things sorted. The motto of Niigaki (Risa)-san whom I respect is 'If you open it, close it', so if I take things out I should put them away, and if I open something, I'll close it. Also, I'd like to search for myself. I wonder where my true self is.
Isn't that the sort of thing where even a lifelong search might not reveal an answer (laughs)? Miyamoto-san's words from just now have been so deep that you wouldn't think that they came from the mouth of a newly minted senior high school student. For a change of mood, let's talk about the born-in-'98 group! Is there anyone in the '98 group whom you think of as a rival?
Uemura: More than as a rival, I've got to catch up to the stage that Karin-chan is at. We got a later start than the others, so if I could raise my level of performance, wouldn't the level of Juice=Juice as a whole go up?
Miyamoto: Uemuu recently got praised with a 'You've gotten a lot better, haven't you?' from our dance teacher, and I also think that your sense of rhythm is amazing.
Uemura: It's because I was so horrible at first. I was flapping around so much during the dances that I got asked 'Do you even have any muscles?' at the time.
Rinapu~ joined close to the same time as me,
So she's a friend with whom I can talk about all sorts of things
From work to what I'm worrying about
Sayashi-san resembles my cousin
I felt an outburst of affinity with her, ever since the 9ki auditions
Miyamoto-san, do you have a rival?
Miyamoto: Whenever I get asked who my rival is, I always say that it's Oda Sakura-san, who's born in '99 but is in the same academic year as me. She has this amazing strength when it comes to singing, dancing, and as an individual, so I'd like to make those my own. We've lived this life for the same number of years, so that means that her level isn't unattainable. And so, I keep an eye on her.
Uemura: There's a triangular relationship between Oda-san, Karin-chan, and myself (laughs).
Well then, I'd like to ask you to talk about those in the born-in-'98 group one by one. Let's start from Sayashi-san.
Uemura: I went through the Morning Musume。9ki auditions, but got knocked out midway through. I was in the audition footage in 'Bijou Gaku', but as I watched it, I thought 'Sayashi-san's so cool!' And Sayashi-san resembled my cousin, so I felt an outburst of affinity with her (laughs). And, wanting to study up until I could dance like Sayashi-san, I stopped with the classical ballet that I had been learning up to then, and learned about dance for a bit. And then I joined the H!P Kenshuusei, where I could watch Sayashi-san at the Hello! Project concerts. While she's the same academic age as myself, she's a reliable person that I admire.
Miyamoto: I watched 'Bijou Gaku' as well, but she was so good at singing and dancing that, as a Kenshuusei, I felt like I didn't want to lose to her. Sayashi-san had this amazing drive to her, like 'I am Sayashi Riho!' I wish I had that sort of power.
Uemura: Last year, I received a bag from Sayashi-san as a birthday present. That's when I noticed that I'd never given Sayashi-san a birthday present. So I think I'd like to give her twice as many presents on her next birthday, and I'm thinking about all sorts of things.
Continuing on, from the same generation, Morning Musume。´14's Suzuki-san.
Miyamoto: The day when we got to sing solo at the Hello! Project concerts happened to fall on the same day for the both of us. And then, she expressly came to say to me 'Let's do our best today!'. It left me with the impression that she's a really gentle girl. She's really good when it comes to talking as well, so I'd like to learn that from her.
Uemura: Ponytails and green outfits suit Suzuki-san. Which reminds me, in the born-in-'98 group, 3 of us are green: Suzuki-san, Tamura-san, and myself.
Indeed! What a coincidence.
Miyamoto: I love Takarazuka, and Tamura-san loves Takarazuka too, so the 2 of us get pretty excited.
Because Takarazuka is celebrating their 100th year anniversary this year?
Miyamoto: That's right~. They'll be doing the Oscar version of the Rose of Versailles in May, so the 2 of us have been talking about it. We want to go and watch it, but I wonder if we'll be able to?
Uemura: I got to sing 'Osaka Koi no Uta' at a Hello! Project concert, and I talked about it with Tamura-san, who had sung it before. What left an impression on me was that she said 'I have sung it before. It's difficult, but good luck'. And I her sharp, stimulating dancing is something I find attractive.
Also from S/mileage is Katsuta-san, who also hails from the H!P Eggs. So she's been an associate of Miyamoto-san for a long time, hasn't she?
Miyamoto: Rinapu~ joined close to the same time that I did, so we're friends. I've had less opportunities to talk with her once she entered S/mileage, but we've been talking again recently. She's a friend with whom I can talk about all sorts of things, from work to what I'm worrying about.
Uemura: Rina-chan and I call one another 'Naa' and 'Rii'. And one day, I found this cute bag. I felt like I had seen it somewhere before, but I couldn't remember where, and just went and bought it. Then just after that, I met Naa, who had the same bag in a different colour. I apologised, 'I'm sorry for the overlap', but she said to me, 'Isn't it cute how we match?' Ever since then, I've thought that Naa was adorable. We exchanged contact addresses, and little-by-little we started to have conversations.
While the born-in-'98 group might not assemble again, how about you form your own group?
Miyamoto: I guess the leader would be Sayashi-san? But all of us have really unique characteristics, so it would be tough if we were at odds on who'd be in the centre position. Probably, after spending a week together, we'd be tired out. But if you include time spent as part of the Eggs, I'm the person with the longest history in H!P. It's scary that I'm the person who's been here the longest amongst this group of members......