On October 5, 2014, Hello! Project’s flagship group, Morning Musume。’14, performed at the Best Buy Theater in New York. This was their second appearance in the United States (the first being Anime Expo 2009 in Los Angeles) and their first headlining concert in the U.S.
Selective Hearing had the opportunity to talk to Morning Musume。’14 the day after their concert to discuss their thoughts on the show, New York and their plans.
SH: First, how did last night’s concert compare to what you expected?
Michishige: We had an overwhelming welcome from the New York fans, and we could feel they’ve been waiting for us all along. It made us very happy.
SH: Kudo-san, with your busy autumn tour schedule, how did it feel to leave right after Budokan to come to New York?
Kudo: To be able to do 2 days of concert in the highly respected Budokan and then one in the center of world entertainment, New York, is something we’re extremely thankful for and happy about. Because of that, we don’t feel it’s particularly tiring or taxing.
SH: Ikuta-san, other than the solo concert, what did you most enjoy during your trip to New York? Also, did you get any new hats or Spiderman gear?
Ikuta: We went to see the Blue Man show! As Morning Musume。, it’s really important to show our expression as performers and challenge ourselves with different things, so it was a great learning experience.
And while I didn’t get any Spiderman gear, I saw someone like him at Times Square. Too bad it was just someone in the costume, though. I want to meet the real Spiderman, Peter Parker. And I didn’t get a new hat yet.
SH: Suzuki-san, what do you think of your popularity overseas?
Suzuki: Even before I joined Morning Musume。, I watched them perform in many different countries and knew they were also popular overseas, but to experience it myself makes me incredibly happy. I want to perform in even more places later!
SH: That question was meant for you specifically since you were very popular at last night’s concert. How do you feel about that?
Suzuki: Oh, me? Well, I normally hear from overseas fans that they’re supporting me. But to experience it up close and feel that love in person makes me even happier! I want to continue spreading my smile to the world!
SH: Sato-san, where would you want to go overseas if given the chance to go overseas again?
Sato: I want to go to the country Santa lives in, Finland! I want Santa to come to the concert too! [She said this with a completely straight face.]
SH: Fukumura-san, what are your thoughts on your upcoming single, and which of the three songs is your favourite?
Fukumura: This is a triple A-side, so there’s a lot of variety. My favourite song is Michishige-san’s solo, “Shabadabadoo,” jam-packed with cuteness!
SH: Oda-san, your new album will be released soon. What songs should the fans look forward to or anticipate?
Oda: A lot of our singles are aggressive and cool, but there are also a lot of cute and softer songs, so you’ll get to see a different side of Morning Musume。
SH: Ishida-san, is there any other genre or sound you want to try for future releases? How about new dance styles?
Ishida: By no means are we good at English, but I’d like to do a full song in English to better deliver our feelings to overseas fans. As for dance, I’d like to try something involving acrobatics, a new style that other idols won’t be able to do.
SH: Iikubo-san, what do you think the 12th gen will bring to Morning Musume? Were you surprised by another 4-member generation?
Iikubo: Well, the youngest is 12 years old, so our age range will be well spread out, and they’ll add youthfulness to the group. The new members also have a lot of skills, like a girl who is fluent in English, so we’ll be more equipped to go global.
SH: Michishige-san, as you head towards graduation, what moment or memory over your time in Morning Musume。 will stand out the most for you?
Michishige: Of course, the New York concert from yesterday will be unforgettable, as my strongest memories are in Morning Musume。 will always be the concerts. But out of all of them, the ones that are the most memorable are the ones in my hometown of Yamaguchi. I’m always overjoyed when everyone starts doing the Sayumin call, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget those memories.
SH: Sayashi-san, what do you look forward to in the future as Morning Musume。’15, and what do you anticipate as the new trials you will face?
Sayashi: First of all, formation dance is our focus. So new and current members will have their positions changed since the number of members has changed. We want to work hard to make those changes as smoothly as possible.
Furthermore, even though they just joined, I want to up our teamwork. So that even after she graduates, Michishige-san will be able to say that ’15 is cool!
SH: These outfits made specifically for the New York concert are really cute! What do the members think about it?
Michishige: Yes, these are the New York versions! Our new single, Tiki Bun’s outfit, was modified especially for this concert!
SH: One more question for Michishige-san: Regarding the pink glow sticks at the concert yesterday, did you know about it beforehand from the Internet?
Michishige: I didn’t know at all! I had no clue, so it surprised me. At first, during the encore, the call started as an encore but gradually changed into a Sayumi call. Then seeing all the pink glow sticks made me happy, and I could feel all the love.
SH: Last but not least, do you have any parting words for your American fans?
Iikubo: America is a huge country, and even though we came to New York this time, some people have come from all around the states, even from the completely other side, California, to see us. We’d like to work so that we can visit and perform in other places in the country too.
Ikuta: I love New York, and I’ve longed to visit it all along. I want to work hard so we can meet even more people in the future.
Kudo: Not only people from New York, but I want to meet people from all sorts of different countries. I’m not good at English, but I’ll work hard on communicating with people from different places!
Ishida: Yesterday, many fans told me my dance is “amazing.” That made me happy, so next time we come, I want to be powered up more so that everyone will feel stronger about that.
Michishige: I’ll be graduating soon, but I’m really happy to be able to come to New York with these 10 members. We could only come here because many people had been waiting for us, so I’m thankful.
Sayashi: We want to be able to do concerts in more countries. But even in Japan, we want to work hard to deliver our message through song and dance to people in other places.
Fukumura: For this concert, many people in the audience sang along to Japanese lyrics. It made me happy, so I want us to deliver our best even when working in Japan.
Oda: Tsunku-san, our producer, told us to study the rhythm of people in New York. Everyone was so hyped up during the concert; I think we were able to learn a lot from it! We want to come again.
Sato: The concert we held yesterday with these ten members, for the first and last time, was really fun. So even for the next 10 years, 30 years, however long, please do not forget that moment with us!
Suzuki: I love seeing people’s smiles, so seeing everyone in New York smiling made me energetic! We’d love to do another concert in New York to give out and receive more smiles.
We would like to give a very big thank you to UP-FRONT PROMOTION and Morning Musume。’14 for this interview.