Shimizu Saki X Tokunaga Chinami
[First things first: Hello Project World has actually done a full translation of this interview. I feel that my meagre notes miss out on the extent of just how sidelined these two girls felt, so I highly recommend you check that out.
That said, here are my notes, for completion's sake. After all, gotta catch 'em all.]
Just as there are people who are showered by the spotlight, there will also be people supporting them from the shadows. When it comes to the both of you, there have been a lot of times where you've been expected to play the supportive role.
Shimizu: After the joy of being picked for 'ZYX', I went to a sideline position in Berryz Kobo. In a stroke, I tasted sorrow.
Shimizu: In our case, we'd generally be given solo singing parts in the second verse a lot of the time, but we'd end up not performing our solo lines on TV since we don't sing the second verse on music programmes. That's not the fault of TV stations, as the singing parts are allocated with the balance of the whole song in mind. I just went on and performed as I thought that nothing could be done about it. But as it went on happening, I thought that something was fishy. Was it okay for me to always be in a supporting role? Those thoughts built up and up, and the final point was at that rerecording of 'Otakebi Boy~'
How did you come to terms with your feelings, where circumstances didn't change despite working hard?
Shimizu: Just like Chinami, I thought that the most important thing was to enjoy myself. Being at the sidelines has its own merits, and there are people who don't suit being at the sidelines. If I were to be at the sidelines, then I should take joy from that position. Even if my hard work doesn't bear results, the fans would watch me. They'd tell me 'I was constantly watching you' or 'I'll watch you no matter where you go', which is plenty enough joy for me. And I recognised that I wasn't just stuck in this situation by myself, so I should do my best with what I've got. As there are people under the same circumstances, we'd work hard together.
Is there anything that you'd like to try out now?
Tokunaga: I'd like to study English. We went to Seattle for work last year, and since I hope that we'll be able to have lots more work overseas, I'd like to get in touch with people of the world and let many people know about us. No one in Berryz Kobo speaks English, so I'd like to become fluent.
Shimizu: Chinami's open personality makes her well-liked by foreigners.
Tokunaga: That's right (laughs). Even when we went to Hawaii, lots of people talked to me.
Tokunaga: In the past, I'd compare myself to others. Like 'How come it's fine if that girl does or doesn't do something, but not for me?' I've actually had disputes over that two to three times, that it got to the point that I'd message our managers in the middle of the night, telling them that I'd quit (laughs). One of the sources of those disputes was the question of whether we'd wear outfits that would bare our tummies. I was told that as we were in a group, we needed to balance those who bared theirs and those who didn't, but I was questioning why I always had to bare mine (laughs).
And how was that resolved?
Tokunaga: Now we've all grown up, so we don't really bare our tummies, so there are less opportunities for that, but I'd also like to stop having these weird hangups over things. Like, if it's something I can do, then it should be fine.