Morning Musume 16

モーニング娘。 ’16 Interview – February 27, 2016
Interviewer: Sherrily, Photographer: BigFreaky

Hello! Project’s flagship group made their first appearance as the ’16 version at Houston’s Anime Masturi convention which ran from February 26 – 28, 2016. Fans and attendees were treated to a Q&A panel, autograph sessions and their first performance as モーニング娘。 ’16 in 2016.

Selective Hearing had the opportunity to sit down with モーニング娘。 ’16 at Anime Matsuri to chat about their continued appearances on American soil, the evolution of their performances, anime, cosplay, food, omiyage and Texas.


With the frequent J-melo appearances and this being your 2nd time (aside from the 12th generation members) to perform in the US, do you feel like you’re starting to get a hang of the fan interaction differences when overseas?

Fukumura: When I come overseas, lots of people will warmly greet me with a “Hi!!!” and it feels really fun. I feel like I’ve had more of that kind of communication this time, so it doesn’t feel scary!

Ishida: As for me, when the fans are speaking, I feel like I’ve begun to grasp the vocabulary. So when I catch some words here and there, I think I start to get an idea of what they’re talking about. I can’t really reply with much other than those few words but, it seems that just using those words, the people I’m talking with will have a “I got it!” type of reaction, so I’m really really happy that I’m able to hold more of a conversation since last time.

Kudo: I’m really conscious of how bad my English is, and I tend to shrink back when we come overseas. But I feel like I’ve finally been able to reply bit by bit, and that’s due to coming overseas multiple times.

Oda: For me, I’ve finally begun to know how and when to give responses. For example, when in a conversation to nod my head. I think that’s a huge improvement for me!








On the other hand, is there anything that still surprises or puzzles you in regards to foreign fans?

Ogata: It’s my first time to come overseas, and my first time to interact with foreign fans like this but they’re very high spirited and they’ll dance to Morning Musume。’16 songs, and I’m very happy to see that.

Iikubo: In the streets, sometimes we’ll run into the fans. For example at a crossroad, and they’ll see us from across the street and get really excited, but when the light turns green and we pass each other, they’ll get quiet and just kind of nod respectfully at us. That gap is so huge!

Ishida: (laugh) I wonder if they just get embarrassed when we get close or something!!

Suzuki: For me, it’s not limited to just the fans, but people walking in the streets will have expressions totally different from people walking around in Japan. People in Japan always look like they’re in a hurry, are running around, and almost always wear a serious expression. But people in America, a lot of them seem to look really happy even though nothing in particular is really going on. When the members took a walk together, we got greeted with a lot of “Hi”s and smiles from strangers, and I think that’s a really wonderful feeling.




飯窪:町でファンの方に会ったんですよ、ホテルの前で。横断歩道で会ったんですけど 、向こうファンの方がいて‘あ!モーニング娘だ!’で飛び跳ねていたんですけど、青信号になって交差する時に‘…’っていう感じ、静かになってて。そのギャップがすごい激しいなって!




It’s common for Americans to associate Texas with food! What kind of food have you been looking forward to before you came here?

Ikuta: Texas steak! In Japan’s Fukuoka, there’s a restaurant that has Texas steak that’s really good, but I bet the real thing here is different! Yesterday, we had meat but the tenderness and quality of it were definitely something you can savor only by eating it local! Also, I like really flavorful food, so America’s food is really good to me!

Kudo: I really like to eat, and America’s food portions are really big, right? Even for a single meal, the portion was so big, that I was really happy!

Nonaka: It’s my first time in Texas, but I used to live in Alabama, which was also in the South, so the food is somewhat similar. In Japan, you can’t find this kind of Southern food, so I was really looking forward to that when I came.

Did you have anything really good yet?

Oda: When we went to eat yesterday, and we sat down at the table, the first thing that happened was that chips immediately got placed on the table! The sauce for that was really good!

Ah, salsa!

Oda: Yeah! In Japan, you never get that kind of thing right off the bat. And on top of that, it tasted really good!




工藤:私は食べることがすごい好きなのでアメリカの食べ物の量 が多いじゃないですか。一回の食事の量が多くて本当に嬉しいなってすごく思いました!







For the 12th generation, this will be your first performance overseas! How were the events so far compared to what you expected?

Ogata: I didn’t know so many overseas fans would come here to see us so I’m really looking forward to the concert. And it’s not only people from America, but there are people speaking Spanish too!

Makino: During our events, sometimes we’ll closely pass by where the fans are seated, and they’ll scream out “Maria-sama!” to me. And it’s not in the regular English way, but they’ll call me Maria-sama in a Japanese way, and they’ll wear our goods and have pink cyalumes. It makes me really happy. Like, even more than I imagined, it makes me really really happy! And I know some people have really been waiting for us and it makes me so happy that I almost feel like tears will come out!

Haga: I’m really happy that the fans here have our official penlights and wear our T-shirts, but the “KYAAAA” and ways they scream are so different from Japan!

The pitch is higher, isn’t it?

Haga: It is!! (laugh)

Nonaka: I’ve really been looking forward to performing in America, and during the opening ceremonies, people will tell me “welcome home!” or “welcome back, Miki!”, and it’’’ give me a really warm feeling! I was honestly a little worried at first, about if I’d be able to properly converse in English when I came here, or if I could properly get hyped up. There were a lot of things I was worried about. But I’ve been able to really enjoy it so far, so I’m really happy about that!








野中:アメリカで今日ライブするのですごく楽しみししているですけど最初のオープニングセレモニーで皆んな‘お帰り’とか‘welcome back, Miki!’って言ってるくれて本当に暖かくて、気持ちもほっこりしました!実はちょっと不安だったんですよ、アメリカに来て‘ちゃんと英語話せるかな’とか‘そのノリにいい感じに付いていけるのかな’って、不安が沢山あっんですけど、楽しめてるので良かったなって思います!

Is there anything you plan to buy for souvenirs? For example, golf balls maybe?

Ikuta: Yes!!

Iikubo: Wait!!! Golf balls?? (laugh) Do you listen to Young Town?

I do.

Iikubo: I’ll definitely buy more golf balls for Sanma-san! (laugh)

Ikuta: I just finished watching Armageddon, so I want to buy a lot of space food and other stuff at NASA. My dad has asked me for a NASA model rocket too, so I want to buy a lot of stuff like that. Armageddon’s effect on me is pretty amazing!

Oda: My friends have asked for the really big size packages of snacks they have at supermarkets here, like “please buy me those huge bags of potato chips!”. So I’ll try to buy those for them!

Makino: For me, I used to often come to America for vacation a lot, and there’s a kind of chips in a yellow bag (Lay’s) that I love! It’s so salty and your hands and mouth just get so salty, and I love salt! So I bought two of those bags, and I’m going to eat it with my mom and dad! My dad also asked me for beef jerky, and my mom asked me for cookies, and chocolates, and Starbucks coffee, so I want to buy all those! Also I love space so I want to get space food and stuff for my schoolmates, and tell them I bought stuff for them at NASA!

Nonaka: In Japan, there’s not many types of cereal. When we went to an American supermarket, there were sooooo many types of cereal! For me, it’s like…wonderland. So I bought cereal there and I plan to eat it with my family!

Haga: Recently, along with Ogata Haruna-chan, I’ve been interested in space stuff and the mysteries about it. Like… “is there no wall in space?”, and things like that. I have a lot of questions about that kind of stuff, so I want to go to NASA, and get something that can answer those questions!

Ogata: I have a wan–doggu?–inu? I have a dog, and I bought an American doggie chew toy for him!

Ishida: I bought coconut oil. Japan sells it too but…since it’s made in this country, the price here is a lot lower! So I bought that because it’s so much cheaper!

Kudo: I really like Star Wars, and last time in Hawaii, I bought a Darth Vader suitcase, but it’s starting to get pretty banged up, and it’s about time I bought a new one. So when I was still in Japan, I was looking for one online. There was an R2D2 suitcase, but it was a bit expensive, so I hesitated. But over here, it was half the price so when I found it, I immediately bought it!!

お土産を買う予定はありますか? 例えば…ゴルフボールとか?








野中:日本だとシリアルの種類がすごく少ないですよ。アメリカのスーパーに行ったんですけど、ザーーとアメリカのシリアルがあって。私から見てはもう…wonderland. そこでシリアルゲットしたので家族と一緒に食べたいと思います!






Last time in New York, I asked about what you wanted to challenge in concerts next, and the answer was “acrobatics”! Little did I know that you guys would actually start doing that shortly after at the Winter Hello Project concerts!! Are there any other new things you would like to try? How about singing-focused things, like an acapella or acoustic corner?

Members: Ooooooohhh!

Ikuta: Fukumura Mizuki and I, as well as some of the ℃-ute and Juice=Juice members have made a band club before, but it seems that it kind of naturally faded away. We still have the guitar and drum sticks though, so we’re always ready to get back to practice!

Oh really?

Ikuta: Yeah…well…maybe not play it right away, but I have it so I can practice anytime! It’d be nice if we got a chance to try it again. I’ll work hard to make it play properly!

Oda: Last time, it was something that focused on using your body, so this time something like a capella or voice percussion would be…

-Ogata Haruna starts beat boxing quietly-

Oda: Well, this girl can’t do it though!! Not by just by going bun-tsuku bun-tsuku! (laugh) But yeah, I want to try a challenge that uses your voice.










I know there’s a fair amount of members who love 2D things (anime/manga). It must have been exciting to be the main guest at an anime convention! Have there been any cosplays that have caught your attention this weekend?

Fukumura: There’s an anime I like called School-Live!, and I saw someone dressed up as a character in it named Kurumi! It made me think that I want to try that cosplay myself!

Suzuki: I really love Gintama, and even in Japan, lots of people cosplay as characters from it, so I’ve seen it a lot. But here I’ve seen girls cosplay as some of the guys, and I thought it was really cool that they’d do it regardless of the gender of the character!

Iikubo: Ah…which one should I talk about??? Dragon ball…One Piece…Attack on Titan…(laugh) this is pretty much heaven to me!!! And on top of that, everyone is so pretty, so I feel like the quality of these cosplays are even higher than those in Japan!

Kudo: I really like Love Live, so I’ve wanted to see if I could communicate with any Love Live cosplayers, but so far, I’ve only seen one. And I’m sure there’s plenty, but… the one I saw was a character named Minami Kotori, but she’s not the one I like most. So I hope to see Niko’s cosplay by the end of this event!

Oda: I really love anime, but also I really like Nico Nico Douga, so things like Hatsune Miku, and Meiko, and Kaito, and Gumi!! I saw a loottttt of Vocaloid characters in one place and I thought “Ah, they even exist in the 3D world!!”. The quality level was also really high!

Makino: I saw someone cosplaying as Mario from Mario Brothers, and I’ve played that game on the DS since I was little. Also, I’m Maria, so I thought I want to do a Mario cosplay too!

Fukumura: We want to do some cosplays too…

What would you like to cosplay as?

Sato: -raises hand super fast- Yes!! I want to cosplay as Maleficent! Regular people will have red lips or peach lips or orange lips, so I really want to try using purple or black lipstick! And I’ve never worn an outfit like that before, with the black nails and the strong eyeliner on the eyes! I really want to do it all the way and go as far as I can with it!

Ikuta: I’ve seen pictures online of Princess Mononoke’s San, and even by comparing our photos, I myself feel like I kind of look like her! I think that’s the character I personally look like the most, so I want to be able to cosplay as her. Plus her hair is short too! I also want to have a tiger next to me…

Ishida: Tiger??????

Ikuta: I meant Japanese wolf!!! I want to walk around with one! (laugh)

Makino: I really like princesses so–

Iikubo: You just said you wanted to cosplay as Mario though!!!

Ishida: In that case, the rest of us will cosplay as princesses and you can be Mario!!

(members laugh)

Makino: No no no!! I want to be a princess too!! Ever since I was small–

Ikuta: You do like to flatter everyone!

Makino: Nn!!!! Ever since I was small, I would go to Disney a lot and I would wear Snow White’s dress. Well, I have all of them, like Alice’s dress, and Cinderella’s dress too. I used to wear those when I went to Disney in America, but now that I’ve grown up, I can’t really wear it except on Halloween. But I want to wear those dresses like I used to and go to Disney or Anime Matsuri!

Personally, here’s one I would like to see: Sato-san and Kudo-san’s Kagamine Rin and Ren!

Members: Oooooohh!!!

Oda: RinRen!!!!!!!

Ikuta: I wanna see that too!

Oda: That might be really good!!

Suzuki: Aah, my heart just fluttered from thinking about it!




























With the 13th generation auditions going on, is there a certain type of girl you’d like to join? For example, if you were to base her off of a 2D character, who would you choose?

Oda: It’s a girl I really love, but a character named Sonohara Anri in Durarara!! That girl is really soft and cute, and knows all her weak spots. I just personally really like her! She’s the kind that knows all her weak points but doesn’t notice her positive ones, and even though her figure is really nice, she’ll worry if she’s gained weight or something like that. Really, I just personally want to look at her and feel soothed, but I’d like to meet a girl like that!!

Ishida: I want a girl who’s like one of the Pretty Cure girls! Like, I want a cute girl to join too, but also a girl who holds her dreams and hopes dear to her. PreCure and us as idols are kind of similar, in that in order to protect everyone’s smiles, we sing and dance for them. So I think it’d be fitting if a sparkly PreCure-like girl joined. It’d help to make Morning Musume。’16 more vibrant!

Sato: I want a girl who’s like Cinderella. A girl who holds her heart importantly, and believes that her happiness will be coming. Like…Cinderella won’t say all her problems out loud, but organize her feelings instead. She keeps holding onto the hope of happiness coming, so I hope a 13th gen girl will come into MM who will have a strong enough heart not to bend to Morning Musume。’16’s drive. Like…her personal resolve won’t lose to even the group’s resolve. Like Cinderella, who has a strong sense of herself. For example, she’d be like Iikubo Haruna-chan–

Iikubo: ????

Sato: Or like…a mixture of Iikubo Haruna and Fukumura-san. She’ll be like Cinderella and…yeah.

Fukumura: Shugo Chara’s Amu-chan. She doesn’t have any confidence in herself but when she transforms, she becomes really powerful. So for a girl who will join Morning Musume。’16, even though she might have hard times during rehearsals and all, when she wears the outfit and stands on stage, she’ll really shine in front of everyone with a wonderful smile.

Ogata: Well, it’s not a serious answer, but I want a girl like Doraemon who can do anything! For transportation, we can just use the Anywhere Door instead of travelling by car! A girl who could do anything would be great!

Makino: I really like Kirarin☆Revolution so a girl like Tsukishima Kirari would be great! Even right when she joins, she’ll go to the center, and so it’ll spur us to work even harder. And even more important than that, is being a girl who’s bright and cheerful not only on stage, but all the time!





佐藤:シンデレラみたいな、心を持って、私には絶対幸せが来るっていうのをシンデレラをずっと思い続けて。 シンデレラは不幸のことを言葉に出すんじゃなくてちゃんと心で整理をして、本当に幸せが来るって思い続けてる子だったので13期にはモーニング娘。に入っても自分の心をモーニング娘。に負けないぐらいの心を持ってる子に入って来て欲しいです。自分がしっかり持ってるって…似ているといえば飯窪春菜ちゃんとか…


佐藤:あ、飯窪春菜ちゃんと譜久村さん足して二 になった感じですかね。





Lastly, this is not a question, but a word of thanks from your overseas fans. Thank you for coming to the US to perform for us again. Not only is it great to see you live in our home country, but it’s also the only times when the US fans can get together and meet each other again. Every time you guys come, the entire weekend turns into an unforgettable experience. So thank you very much for that.




We would like to thank UP-FRONT PROMOTION and ANIME MATSURI for this interview opportunity.


  • geddoe316 March 9, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    awesome interview…and whoa whoa..photographer bigfreaky? as in the bigfreaky i saw on years ago?