So that's how things started?
Kudo: I knew that there were many more members who were better at singing and dancing than I was. It'd take ages for me to overcome their skill. However, I don't have the time to spare. I had to get myself to the best possible condition in a short amount of time and become someone who stands out, and link it back even more with my work. Thinking about it, I've got nothing else but my looks. I resolved to be the person who would draw people's eyes whenever they took a glance at us.
Kudo: While I said that I'd be a visual member, I don't know how to retract that statement. (laughs) So I'm like, what should I do here? I couldn't turn it to a gag, people would say that I was halfheartedly asserting myself...... Actually, staff members have suggested to me that it'd be better to quit saying that. I was told that it was hard to make a comeback when I said it, since I was so serious. Or that unlike Ikuta (Erina), it couldn't be turned into a gag. Ikuta-san herself has commented that it's more of a joke when she says it compared to when I say it. Actually, it's more amusing for the audience when it's her.
However, wasn't your presence in the group gradually diminishing?
Kudo: And that's why I wasn't establishing a character or pulling a joke, the only thing I could do was seriously focus on improving my looks. When I said that I would lead in looks, I said it with the belief that words have power. Having put it into words, I now had the responsibility of staying true to my words.
Kudo: No, no, I didn't know the meaning of the word 'fear' back then. (laughs) I didn't give a single thought to being funny, or being concise. I'd just let out what I wanted to say right there and then without sparing a thought about anything else.
While you say that you didn't have a character, didn't you have this intense, big-mouthed persona?
Kudo: I don't show any symptoms of that. (sarcastic laugh)
You've continued to put in your efforts in acting in plays and the such.
Kudo: I enjoy acting. Someday, I'd like to be in more than just plays. I'd like to be on video like in dramas or movies, and try to appeal to people besides Hello! Project fans as well. If I get a single chance to do so, I'd like to use that to move on to the next one. Ideally, I'd like to work hard at acting, and people who'd watch me would ask, 'Who's that girl?' And from that, they'd develop an interest in the present-day Morning Musume。 It would be nice if I could do with my acting what Michishige-san did with her hard work on the variety circuit.
Kudo-san, haven't you run the rounds plenty enough on the variety circuit? You gave Degawa Tetsurou-san a kick, and poured oden broth on him.
Kudo: It was because I was in that phase that I could do things like that back then. (laughs) If you told me to do the same thing right now, I definitely wouldn't be able to pull it off!
Well, how about when you cried during a game of musical chairs?
Kudo: That was because I was intent on it! If that happened again right now, I think I'd cry in very much the same way. (laughs) At the time, they had fully told us that the victor would get to appear on a special show. So I was dead set on giving it my all to claim victory. And yet, I was irrationally made to lose in the early rounds... We were working so seriously, and yet they were messing around! I let out tears of frustration.
In the future, what sort of member would you like to become?
Kudo: I don't think that I'm the same type as Michishige-san or Sayashi (Riho)-san, someone who'll leave their mark on the group.
That's not the case!
Kudo: No, no! When Michishige-san and Sayashi-san graduated, the world wondered whether Morning Musume。 would be fine after that. But in my case, I don't think that's going to happen. With things like singing or dancing, it's not like I do anything that stands out. If I perhaps were to announce my graduation right now, I expect that it probably wouldn't be big news.
What are you talking about! It'd be reported at the top of Yahoo! and LINE!
Kudo: Is that so...... However, that also depends on how hard I work. Right now, i still haven't thought about graduating, but I'd like to grow to become a member with a sense of presence, so that when I eventually graduate someday, people will think that Kudo was essential to the group.