We tackle Juice=Juice, an idol group under Hello! Project. They've just released their latest single 'Jidanda Dance / Feel! Kanjiru yo' on the 26th of April! We'll be having a close-up look at Juice=Juice!
- Last year, you completed your 225-show tour, and your first Budokan performance was also a great success. The other day, you announced that you'd have an overseas tour. Could you please tell us about your future goals?
Miyamoto Karin: When I checked out the videos of our Budokan performance, I found so many things that were lacking. Our facial expressions, singing, dancing, everything was still lacking. So I want to focus on improving those first. We can always go higher with our singing and dancing, so we have to keep up honing our performances.
Takagi Sayuki: I had vocal cord nodules, and immediately underwent surgery the day after we had finished our Budokan performance. I think that I have to study how to bring out my voice, and I'm currently in the midst of tackling it as through discussions with our vocal coach.
Miyazaki Yuka: I'm also focusing on voice training! our vocal coach told me 'I'll fix you up this year!' And I told him that I'd like to do so too. I immediately went and reviewed everything with my coach, from my vocalisation and whatever else. But I had no place to test things out, and I was unable to sing when we were rehearsing for our livehouse tour from February. By changing things, I wasn't able to sing well even when I wanted to. I ended up being at my very worst. I had no idea what to do, so I consulted my coach and we thought together about how to deal with it. That's when singing started becoming fun again!
Takagi: I've always intended to go for voice training, but there are a lot of things that I don't really understand. I'm glad to be praised for for my good singing. But I'll be thinking lots and lots about how to get better, starting from my vocalisation. Partly since there are parts of me that I personally have yet to acknowledge. It'd be great if I could enjoy singing because of that. It's tough though. (laughs)
Uemura Akari: I'd like to increase my repertoire of facial expressions. There are times when I feel a bit spent in the middle of concerts, so I'd like to be careful about how I appear on-screen. I'm not good at playing for the camera, and when the cameras turn to me in the middle of a concert, I'll be watching the audience, not the camera.
Kanazawa Tomoko: I'm fascinated by feminine seductiveness. So my goal for the year is to refine my sexiness and seductiveness. We've always thought that we'd be a group where each and every member puts forward their own forte. So I thought about what I'd use as a weapon. I haven't found anything so far, and I'm feeling the pressure to work hard at everything.
Miyamoto: Also, I'd like to cherish the feelings and passion I experience at every concert. I think that it's important to to enchant the audience with our passion at times when they can only watch Juice=Juice. We might face language barriers when we go abroad, but the excitement and heat of concerts is something that's common all over the world!
Kanazawa: For overseas artistes and actresses, even if you don't understand what they're saying, you can feel it through their eyes and gestures when you watch dramas, movies, or music videos. So I'll build up my femininity so that I can make overseas fans feel that way too.
- With the breaking up of your senpai ℃-ute on the 12th of June, you'll become the oldest group in Hello! Project. Has that changed how you feel about your position?
Miyazaki: On Hello! Sute (Hello! Project's official YouTube channel), you can see ℃-ute's Suzuki Airi-san saying that she wanted us to inherit their mature nature. It made me happy to think that she had been watching us in that way.
Kanazawa: I'm filled with sadness, since I entered this world since I admired ℃-ute. ℃-ute-san can pull off cute, cool, and even sexy. They also go all-out when they perform, so there's pressure on us as we inherit the mantle of the oldest group. But with our current new songs, we get to sing melodies that we've never tried before. So we can't just stick to our own image and preconceived notions, and hopefully it'll broaden our activities.
Uemura: When we hold Hello! Project concerts at Nakano Sunplaza, the senpai groups get their own waiting room. So far, we'd only been given partitioned-off areas in a large space.But ℃-ute-san weren't in attendance at this year's winter concerts, and we got a room to ourselves for the first time. We were like 'Ah? Isn't this too early for us?' It kind of puts the pressure on us, to realise that we're at that position. But we can't just think that things are happening too quickly, we've got to do our best.
Miyamoto: Starting from ℃-ute-san, we've learnt a lot by watching the examples set by various senpai. But it's not like they come to tell us directly how we should do things, we learn by watching them go all-out during performances and rehearsals. And we definitely have to work hard to improve ourselves so that the kouhai will be impressed when they watch us as well!
Takagi: Yup. We have to take responsibility with our performances and even the way we conduct ourselves normally, so that people can't just say that the only thing that's gone up is our age. I'd like each and every one of us to raise our levels, so that people will hold Juice=Juice in high regard. We can't depend on our freshness any longer.
Miyazaki: We've also got songs like Jidanda Dance, so we'd like to try out all sorts of things, and do our best as the group with the highest average age. We want to seek a maturity of our own.
- By the way, ANGERME have brought up the overthrowing of Morning Musume。, revealing a heated(!?) rivalry happening in Hello! Project. So, Juice=Juice, what do you think?
Miyamoto: Rather than obsessing over winning or losing, we'd like to polish up our performances. We get to do a lot of live performances, and the most important thing is to cherish each and every performance. What's more, since we get to sing all sorts of songs, we think about how to express the song, how to dance it, how to sing it. Hopefully that'll make more people have a high assessment of our performances.
- Please tell us if there's anything you find cute about another member!
Miyamoto: Takagi Sayuki-chan hates it when you touch her ears.
Takagi: Is that cute? (laughs)
Miyamoto: Isn't that annoyance adorable? It's fun to annoy her, so I end up naturally wanting to touch her ears. Just bringing my hands close to her ears makes her draw back!
Takagi: I've never been good with the presence of ears, and even the word 'ear'... But I've grown used to it since our vocal coach puts his fingers in my ears. I'm less resistant compared to before, I guess? I'm already fine with looking at them.
Uemura: Well, I'll talk about Tomoko (Kanazawa)! Tomoko has three younger sisters, and she's been using a vivid pink bag that she got from her sisters on White Day. She'd been using a different bag up to then, but the day after she got that bag, she started using it, saying 'I got it from my sisters, you know?' That was cute.
Miyazaki: Karin-chan (Miyamoto) has recently been bringing out something like a 'Black-hearted Miyamoto Karin' persona on-stage. But in the end, she'll say something like 'Well, but I love all of you though'. The fact that she can't keep up that wicked façade until the very end is adorable, maybe because it's just so tsundere.
Miyamoto: It's embarrassing. I want to be tsun, but I start thinking that I'm overdoing it, and I start loosening up. If I talk about what I'm thinking, I start to waver. (laughs) So I think that I'll always go on loving myself! That's the only thing that I don't want to waver on!!
Miyazaki: We veered off-course again. I'm sorry. (laughs)
Kanazawa: Yuka-chan (Miyazaki) is a scaredy cat. If there's a dark corridor when we're at a live house, she'll ask someone to accompany her through it. And then I got an idea to spook her, so I ran and hid as I was accompanying her. And when she gets really scared, she lets out a huge voice. It's cute. At the time, someone else who wasn't related heard her voice and came to help her out, which ended up getting problematic.
Miyazaki: They came to find out what was wrong. I had to apologise to them, telling them that I was really sorry, that there wasn't anything!
Kanazawa: It was so awkward that I kept myself hidden all the time....
Miyazaki: She hid and didn't come out.
All: You're the worst, aren't you?
Miyazaki: I was apologising, like 'I'm sorry, it's fine!' Once I had made some distance, Tomoko quietly appeared. I was like 'Tomoko!' I was so mad.
Kanazawa: You reacted in such a huge way, it was worthy of a prank.
Uemura: I know what you mean! Also, she hates it when she hears the sound of balloons being rubbed!
Kanazawa: She occasionally starts crying if she sees balloons.
Miyazaki: I've got it a bit more under control recently!
Miyamoto: It's cute how Uemura Akari-chan switches to Kansai-ben when she calls her mother or her hometown friends on the phone! It's also really cute when she talks in a mix of Kansai-ben just after she's done with her call. And, she also calls her mother 'Maa', that's cute too!
- Takagi-san, anything?
Takagi: Let's see. Well, everyone's cute!