Yajima Maimi X Suzuki Airi
The two of them have come out with numerous solo photobooks.
Suzuki with her producer's perspective, and Yajima who's still trying to get a grip on things.
That relationship between the two of them comes to light.
Five books from Yajima-san, and eight from Suzuki-san. Given your ages, it suggests a fairly frequent run of publications, so we would like to have a discussion focused on photobooks. Firstly, your very first photobooks came out at roughly the same time.
Yajima: They were about a month apart. Airi's had a shot of her in front of sakura blossoms for the front cover.
Suzuki: That photobook was taken roughly just after my primary school graduation ceremony, and I was so slim. I was nothing but skin and bones (laughs). Maimi-chan, yours was before you entered your first year of senior high, and you were really cute. Like you would just be drinking juice, and yet you looked so cute! (laughs). I wanted it, so my mum bought it for me.
Yajima: No way (blushes). Airi, you're really good at expressing yourself, and whatever the look on your face, it's always at its best. Your idol-like winking face is really cute, and you can also pull off sad faces, where you look like an abandoned dog. It makes me want to pick you up and take care of you. I find it fascinating.
Do both of you get themes for when the photos are being taken?
Yajima: From the very start, I've always been bad at being shot in photos, I'd get too aware of my photo being taken that the shots would end up looking really unphotogenic. But themes are relaxing, and recently I've felt that the variation in my facial expressions is lacking. When I mentioned it to my manager, that manager suggested that I try acting it out. So now I think that I'll use that as my theme.
Suzuki: That's good. For me, ever since I entered my first year of senior high, I've been given a story for the shooting of the photobook. It was a change from how things had been up to then, where I'd get instructions like 'Laugh', 'Be sad', 'Try eating something'. But as there was a story, I would go through the shooting as the girl in that story, so we'd get shots of all sorts of natural expressions.
Yajima: That's true. When I look at your photos, I can really tell how you're acting. Like what's happening, or based on how you look, you'd just said something like this. It's amazing how it's possible to read the situation or the background through your expressions.
I hope that Maimi-chan's photo shoots will be as innocent as possible! by Airi
After having found that system, have the photo shoots themselves become more enjoyable?
Suzuki: The stories I got were really detailed and realistic, like 'She's a girl who lives in this sort of place, her father is this kind of person'. Or it'll mention that I'm in a position where I'll have to stretch out to hang the laundry (laughs). Hearing these sort of detailed set-ups, I'm able to compare it with my daily life. It's more fun, and in a sense, it gives meaning to the shoot. So when it's done, I feel like there's some meaning to it. Thus, I recommend it!
Yajima: I thought that at one period of time, your photos had really changed.
Maimi acknowledges Airi's ability as a producer!?
Suzuki: And recently, the staff members have been saying that I've really matured. I've been doing things the way that I always have, so it scares me that I've become mature without myself noticing. Since I have completely no idea what changed, it seems to have burst out from my normal activities. That's my hidden, recent theme (laughs).
Just like in this discussion, have you had any discussions about photobooks?
Yajima: We have. Like when I have no idea what to do, I generally ask Airi. I get all sorts of advice from discussions with her, like suggestions of what I should do.
And her advice is accurate?
Yajima: Yeah. When I try out her advice, there are differences, so I see what the point is. For example, when I discussed with Airi about wrinkles appearing between my eyebrows, she suggested that I practice smiling while holding a finger at the gap between my eyebrows. Even with my bangs, she suggested that I try parting them slightly differently. When I gave it a try, despite making the same expression on my face, things really looked completely different, so I was impressed with Airi, as always.
Suzuki: I had this really strong hangup when I was small. People often said that my younger brother was cuter, so I hardly ever got called cute by other people. As a girl, I really hated that, so I tried lots of things out, like how to present myself. And that's why I'm so knowledgeable about it (laughs).
Yajima: It's not just that, you really have a perceptive view on lots of things. Even if I cut my bangs by just a little, you'll immediately notice, your perception is amazing.
Suzuki: I guess I do notice changes in people. But I don't consciously watch people though.
Yajima: You know, you'd be a great producer.
You'll become a renowned producer in the future (laughs). If you were to produce a photobook for Maimi-chan, what would you like to do?
Suzuki: I think that mature shots of Maimi-chan would probably turn out beautiful, but if I were to do it, I'd try as much as possible to not do that. Instead, I'd like to capture your innocent charm, like having you play with your own dogs, or eating lots. While I like the Maimi-chan who's captured in photos, there are lots of times when I wish that I could see her being a normal girl. I also really think about whether there would be some way to capture certain things in a photograph, like your natural airheadedness that only appears when you're talking.
Yajima: In my case, if I was the producer, I'm sure that I'd like to get photos of an Airi being her natural self. We'd have you going on a volunteer mission or something, where you'd be dressed casually, like in a white T-shirt and trousers, teaching kids while being drenched in sweat. I'd like to build up photos of how you are naturally, as if we were shooting a documentary.
Suzuki: Ah, and I'd also like to make sure that there are shots of Maimi-chan from the back! Maimi-chan, from behind, you look like a model. Even from long ago, when I saw your back, I found it to be pretty (laughs). Your butt is small, and it's perky! So I think that tight-fitting trousers really suit you. And I'd like to also put you in a slightly loose T-shirt, and have you walk along the streets.
The two of them are like sisters
They're both in the boke position?
Yajima: We have. Wherever we go, people say that we look like sisters. Even at concerts, while we don't look completely the same even when seen from afar, we've been told that people can't tell us apart.
Suzuki: Yeah. In the past, I was told that I resembled Nacky (Nakajima Saki) though.
When I have no idea what to do, I consult Airi (laughs) by Maimi
Airi-chan, I guess it's because you've grown up?
Suzuki: Is that it! I've grown up. And here I was wondering what it was (laughs).
Yajima: But you know, even from way back, we've always had the same air to us. An atmosphere...
Suzuki: A warm and soft atmosphere.
Yajima: When it's just the two of us doing an event, the mood really becomes like that. Warm and soft, and somehow excited.
Suzuki: There's no one to tsukkomi us, so it ends up with the two of us just playing the fools.
With the two of you like that, I suppose you've never had extreme fights over differing opinions? Like you discuss how things would be improved.
Yajima: We've never butted heads. We'll ask one another what we'd do if something were to happen.
Suzuki: Yup, we might be talking about something serious, but we'd just exchange opinions normally.
Yajima: For ℃-ute as a whole, we often do those sorts of exchanges of opinions.
Suzuki: In the past, there'd be problems if someone highlighted something, but recently our relationship has been peachy. Like when we're dancing, and someone brings up that we should try harder to make sure that we're matched up, the others give a 'roger' in reply, and things move along with the mood still being good.
Yajima: Everyone's grown up. But when we were in the H!P Kids, I wouldn't have thought that I'd be such good friends with Airi like how I am now. In the past, we were both aloof with one another.
Suzuki: No matter how you put it, I was reticent, and I gave out an air that I was difficult to talk to. I was really shy back then.
Yajima: Same with me. Yup, so even back then, we were two peas in a pod (laughs).
10 years in the future, how will your relationship be like?
Suzuki: My mother has a really close friend that she's continued to be friends with ever since university. They're always together, and it's possible that she might be closer with that friend than my father. With Maimi-chan, I talk about work and my private worries as well, so it would be nice if she were to become someone whose presence is just like my mother's best friend.
Yajima: I'd also like to consult you, and rely on your advice when I worry about things. I'm positive that you'd give exactly the right advice.
From the eyes of a producer, eh?
Yajima: That's right. Like 'How 'bout you do it this way?'
Suzuki: That's Tsunku♂-san's style of inflection, isn't it (laughs).
Yajima: Ahaha, that's true (laughs).