H!P's biggest mysteries
We dig into Kobushi Factory's '8 mysteries'!!
One can't help but say that Kobushi Factory's mysteries are some of H!P's biggest mysteries.
This time around, we attack them directly about eight of these mysteries.
This time around, we attack them directly about eight of these mysteries.
Ultimately, what sort of answers will they respond with...
Mystery number one
Why are all of you always so loud!?
Taguchi: Hmm... You're immediately going for the group's biggest mystery. (laughs)
Hamaura: But honestly, what's the real reason?
When you're on tour or doing promotional activities, you're always together with the members, aren't you? Don't you run out of things to talk about?
Taguchi: Now that you mention it, what do we normally talk about......?
Hamaura: We generally start by reporting what happened during the day.
Isn't that what little kids do at home, reporting to their mothers what happened during the day?
Hamaura: Well there is that. (laughs) Which reminds me, we often talk of family as well. Actually, we get to hear lots of stories, like why someone got into a fight with their mum in the morning. Those are pretty funny.
Taguchi: Family stories are a staple.
Hamaura: For example, Ogawa Rena-chan's mother has the same personality as Ogawa Rena-chan.
It must get pretty crazy in the Ogawa household!
Ogawa: Maybe I'm in my rebellious phase, but whenever my parents say something, I always talk back. Then I get a really intense scolding. But at night, they'll throw me a 'Ganbarenako again today!'
Taguchi: It's weird to use say things like 'throw' when referring to your parents. (bitter laugh) But Rena definitely loves her mother. That's the reason why they often clash. She'll say things like 'I really hate you! You don't understand anything!' Immediately after that, with a wheedling voice, she'll call her, 'Mama~? I'm coming back home now, ok~♥'.
Hamaura: The funny thing is that when we talk about our families, we'll act it out.
Act it out? In what sense?
Hamaura: Everyone gets a role, like 'father', 'mother', 'myself'. We have fun acting out not just the Ogawa household, but the funny Taguchi household as well.
There are rumours that Hamachan is the boss-in-the-shadows. Is that true!?
Hirose: It's true! She's guilty!
Taguchi: You're calling her 'guilty'? (bitter laugh) She's not a suspect...
For the fans who have been watching her since her H!P Kenshuusei days, it's hard to imagine the sight of Hamaura-san mercilessly taking control.
Hamaura: Is that so? Near the end of my tenure as a Kenshuusei, I was relatively quite in charge. And it was simply due to me being more senior in years.
Taguchi: That's true, they might have a slightly different image of her if they've watched her since she was in primary school. Since she was really small. But we've grown.
Hamaura: They generally know what I'll nag about. It's when they just up and change the choreography of their own accord, doing the moves differently from what our sensei taught us!
The nuance of the dance is forced to change because they insert their own adjustments to the moves?
Taguchi: Nothing so presumptuous. For example, as Kenshuusei, we got to dance 'Piriri to Yukou!' on the same stage as Berryz Kobo-san. At the time, even though the correct move was to spin our arms right, everyone except me spun their arms left. I'd even reminded them before the rehearsals. I'd told them to spin their arms right at that point. That's when I got angry.
Hirose: You really blew your top then~. What's more, everyone was telling you to correct yourself since you were the odd one out. Even though you were the only one who was correct. (laughs) She then reminded us that she had already mentioned that we should spin our arms right earlier, before the rehearsals. Then Hamachan gathered us all up for a huge lecture. Just as the song title means 'Let's spice things up!', things got spicy backstage. (laughs)
Taguchi: When it comes to performing, Hamachan is the most serious. Even when she says that we've got to stir things up, she always wraps things up perfectly. On the other hand, Fujii Rio-chan and I will check whether we're doing the right thing by looking at Hamachan.
Hirose: It's not that she's got a good memory, it's that she's got a serious personality. She doesn't remember the moves just by happenstance. But girls like Taguchi Natsumi-chan are able to grasp the general movement, but when they get to the studio, they'll panic and ask for help. That's a common situation. (laughs)
Poor thing. There's no need to name names. (laughs)
Hamaura: No, it's the truth. She promised me in the past. That once we became Kobushi Factory, she would stop that. So from then onwards, I stopped teaching her.
That sounds like something a drill sergeant would say. (laughs)
Taguchi: Did you hear that? Hamachan, you're a real Spartan. (laughs)
How did Kobushi develop your singing!?
Your extremely intense, low vocals are a major weapon of the group. But that way of singing wasn't something that was acquired during your Kenshuusei era, was it?
Hamaura: That's true. I think that it came from us practising individually.
Taguchi & Ogawa: ......Pft! (*suddenly bursting out into laughter for some reason*)
Hamaura: To be more accurate, everyone practised, except these two who are giggling. (laughs)
Taguchi: That's wrong! Please hear me out! It's true that Kobushi Factory have a lot of cool songs. So for me, I really work hard at putting in a lot of spirit during the recordings! Videos of the recordings are uploaded to YouTube, so please watch those!
Hamaura: Those recordings have already become a form of art. (laughs)
Taguchi: I sing all-out, to the point that it looks like I'm pulling funny faces just before singing, right? But even though I put in so much spirit, when I hear the completed product, I'm like 'Eh~?' (laughs)
Ogawa: There's also the matter of vocal quality. Some things can't be helped!
Hirose: Taguchi Natsumi-chan, Ogawa Rena-chan, and also Fujii Rio-chan...... These three possess cute voices. When all of us are shouting, it's difficult on the ears. It sounds like all of us are growling. (laughs) Having sweet voices added in the midst of that adds some spice. I like the balance of our voices.
Ogawa: Well, that's our leader for you! Wrapping things up nicely!
What is the 'TaguRena' relationship really like?
We received a tip off: there are rumours that Taguchi-san and Ogawa-san have a 'business partnership'.
Ogawa: That's not the case! We're really friends! The other day, we even went shopping at a cheap and cute general store, and I found these amazing socks. Three pairs for 1000 yen. Drawn on them was an orange cartoon character, with its eyebrows raised. The moment I saw it, Tagucchi flashed in my mind, and I immediately bought it. (laughs) I gave it to her as a present.
Hamaura: The resemblance was uncanny. (laughs)
Taguchi: Putting aside the matter of her choice, I was just happy to get a present. So I immediately blogged about it. And the comments were filled with people saying that it was a perfect match!...... It gave me a slight shock to realise that my eyebrows were like that. (laughs)
Taguchi-san, frankly speaking, what do you think of Ogawa-san?
Taguchi: She's an idiot. But at the same time, she's cute.
Ogawa: Ufufu...... I think that I'm cute too. But no one tells me that, so I've got to send out the signals myself. It feels good to hear another member say that I'm cute!
Taguchi: I don't think it's a good idea for someone to bring up their own cuteness though......
Mystery number 5
Ogawa Rena isn't acting out a character, she's naturally an airhead!?
Hamaura: She's not an airhead though, is she?
Taguchi: No, she isn't. She says that she is, but I'd expect that someone who actually is an airhead wouldn't be aware of it. It's probably since Rena is an idiot, which makes people say that she's an airhead, and it stuck in her mind.
Hirose: In the first place, do you even know what 'airhead' means?
Ogawa: It's being clumsy, right? Doing things like falling over.
Hirose: Hmm~ That's not exactly wrong...... I'd give you 70 marks.
By the way, do you study in the dressing room?
Hirose: Depends on the person. I don't. Since I can't concentrate if I'm not at home.
Taguchi: Since Inoue Rei-chan's in her 3rd year of middle school, she's recently been studying in the dressing room and while we're on the move, preparing for exams.
Ogawa: I also feel like Nomura Minami-chan often reads her textbooks as well~.
Taguchi: It seems that she likes Japanese. The other day, she was reading a textbook aloud in the corridor. I was surprised.
There actually is a member that's more stupid than Ogawa Rena?
Hirose: (*After an awkward moment of silence*)...... N, no! There isn't!
Taguchi: Take some time to think about it! As if anyone could be more of an idiot than Rena!
May I ask why your eyes are all darting about? Furthermore, why are you casting subtle glances at Hamaura-san?
Ogawa: ......We actually have an official YouTube programme, 'Haro!Sute', uploaded weekly on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. We did a quiz on the show. Kobushi Factory and Tsubaki Factory members were mixed together. We were testing sideways thinking.
Taguchi: Not 'sideways thinking', it was 'lateral thinking'! Every single thing you say is so idiotic!
Ogawa: Hirose Ayaka-chan scored the highest on that quiz. How many points was it again?
Hirose: About 18 points out of 20.
Ogawa: Well, that's just what everyone would expect. While I just got 4 points! But I think that was within everyone's expectations as well.
The fans love you for being an idiot, so in a sense, you were living up to expectations.
Hirose: When Ogawa Rena-chan's marks were announced, we still didn't know Hamaura Ayano-chan's score. Hamachan was having a good laugh at her expense. Like 'Ahaha! What an idiot~!' But then the cat was let out of the bag: she herself had scored the very same 4 points. (laughs) She froze up in an instant.
Like a boomerang that came back to hit her. (laughs)
Hirose: And as a finishing blow, Ogawa Rena-chan made a statement towards Hamaura Ayano-chan. 'The heck, we're at the same level'. (laughs)
Hamaura: The questions on that day weren't my cup of tea! They weren't general knowledge questions, they tested creativity. They needed more wits than knowledge......
Taguchi: That's true. But if some numerical questions had come out, you'd have gotten better marks, right?
Hamaura: Well, maths is my weakest subject though. (laughs bitterly) On the other hand, if I had to pick the subject I'm strongest at... Home economics?
Taguchi: See, the questions were the problem! There should have been several question on home economics among those 20 questions!
Taguchi-san, why are you covering up for Hamaura-san so much?
Taguchi: It's the bonds we have as contemporaries, as we've been together since way back. No matter how much she may nag at me when it comes to my performances, we've got to have each other's backs when it comes to important things. (laughs)
What's your honest opinion of Tsubaki Factory?
In February next year, Tsubaki Factory will finally be making their major debut. It might mark the beginning of a legendary long-lasting rivalry, 'the 2nd BeriKyuu'.
Hirose: For me, I've had a long association with Tsubaki Factory's subleader Ogata Risa-chan, from way back. When I heard that they would be making their major debut, I was honestly happy. Risa-chan and I love Hello! Project, and we took the Morning Musume。 auditions together. We used to talk a lot about joining H!P someday.
Ogawa: When it comes to Tsubaki Factory, we don't see them as rivals. But we're both groups with 'Factory' appended to our names, so we often get mistaken for the other. Like at where photos are placed. our group names will get switched. To get our photos wrong, cut us some slack......
Taguchi: 'Slack'. (bitter laugh)
Ogawa: I'd like to work hard in order to be better known, so that people will be able to match our faces to our names.
Taguchi: The increase in Tsubaki Factory's numbers has bumped up their intensity, hasn't it? When the day comes when they bring out even more of their 'mature charm', I think things'll get crazy. We can't fight them on that front. Putting it simply, being the new group, they'll draw all the attention, so if we don't turn up the intensity, we'll lose.
Mystery number 8
Why are the 8 members of Kobushi so cute!?
Hirose: Eh~!? I'm not cute though~!
Taguchi: Well, shouldn't you ask Ogawa-san, who's definitely confident about her cuteness?
Ogawa: What I often feel is that the Kobushi-gumi (the general term for their fans) are really nice. Even on days when my face is slightly off from peak form, they'll praise my cuteness. A person becomes cute if they keep on being told that they're cute, don't they? With that having actually happened, aren't I really cute?
Hirose: You're really singing your own praises. (laughs)
Ogawa: So I think that a big part of our cuteness comes from the power of the words of the Kobushi-gumi.
Hamaura: But it's true. The reason we're here truly is because of the fans. We'll do our best, with everything we've got, in order not to disgrace the Kobushi-gumi!
Finally, how about sharing some secret stories about the members who aren't here?
Taguchi: Previously, I'd gotten into a stormy mood in the middle of a shooting...... I didn't want to meet the others, and I was doing some weeding at a place that was some ways away. And then, from a car that was parked nearby, the window opened to reveal someone in sunglasses making smug faces, funny faces. It was Fujii Rio-chan. She called out to me, acting like some sort of hot guy, going 'It's fine, how about you come back?' The sight of her was just so silly that I completely forgot about my ill mood. Rio-chan's kindness has often been a lifesaver to me.
Ogawa: Nomura Minami-chan's handwriting is pretty, and she's well known for her smarts, even amongst the fans. But recently, she's been standing out by making the occasional strange remark. The idiot role is well covered by me, so I'd like to warn her to not step into my territory!
Hirose: Wada Sakurako-chan is a healing-type, but she's unexpected daring. In the middle of a concert MC, out of the blue, she hit my shoulders, grinning and laughing as she toyed with ideas...... I can't read her actions. (laughs)
Hamaura: It seems that Inoue Rei-chan has cured her shyness. It's good, but then the opposite problem has cropped up: she makes too much noise. (laughs) When we're on the move, she'll start singing in a loud voice when everyone's sleeping. It's such a nuisance! And recently she's been pulling funny faces in the middle of MCs. To all you fans, keep an eye out for that facet of ReiRei as well.