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 future plans.
SH: To start off with, how did the concert last night compare to how you were expecting?
Michishige: We had an overwhelming welcome from the New York fans, and we really could feel that they’ve really 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 really feel that it’s particularly tiring or taxing.
SH: Ikuta-san, other than the solo concert, what did you most enjoy during your trip in 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 to challenge ourselves with different things, so it turned out to be a really great learning experience for us.
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 really 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 that they were also popular overseas, but to experience it myself makes me incredibly happy. I want to perform in even more places later!
SH: Actually, that question was meant for you specifically, since you were very popular at the concert last night. 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, if given the chance to go overseas again, where would you want to go?
Sato: The country I want to go to is 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 favorite?
Fukumura: This is a triple A-Side so there’s a lot of variety in there. My favorite song is Michishige-san’s solo, “Shabadabadoo”, which is 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 type of genre or sound you would like 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 that involves acrobatics, a new type of style that other idols definitely won’t be able to do.
SH: Iikubo-san, what do you think the 12th gen will bring to Morning Musume。,and 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 definitely 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 to me, as my strongest memories 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 members and current members will have their positions changed since the number of members has changed. We want to work hard so those changes will go as smoothly as possible.
Furthermore, even though they just joined, I really want to up our teamwork. So that even after she graduates, Michishige-san will be able to say that ’15 is really cool!
SH: About these outfits made specifically for the New York concert, they’re really cute! What do the members think about it?
Michishige: Yes, these are the New York versions! It’s our new single, Tiki Bun’s outfit, modified especially for this concert!
SH: One more question for Michishige-san: In regards to the pink glow sticks at the concert yesterday, did you already know about it beforehand from the Internet?
Michishige: I didn’t know at all! I really had no clue so it really surprised me. At first during the encore, the call started out as encore but then gradually changing into a Sayumi call. Then seeing all the pink glow sticks, it made me really happy and I could really feel all the love.
SH: And last but not least, do you have any parting words for your American fans?
Iikubo: America is a really huge country and even though we came to New York this time, there are people who 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 really 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. Personally, I’m not good at English, but in order to communicate with people from different places, I’ll work hard on it!
Ishida: Yesterday, many fans told me that my dance is “amazing”. That made me really happy, so next time we come I want to be powered up even more so that everyone will feel even stronger about that.
Michishige: I’ll be graduating really soon, but I’m really happy to be able to come to New York with these 10 members. We were only able to come here because there are many people who have been waiting for us, so I’m really really thankful.
Sayashi: We definitely want to be able to do concerts in more countries. But even while we’re in Japan, we want to work hard so that we can deliver our message through song and dance to people in other places.
Fukumura: For this concert, there were many people in the audience who were singing along to the lyrics in Japanese. It made me really happy, so even when we’re working in Japan, I want us to deliver our best.
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 really think we were able to learn a lot from it! We definitely 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, that really made me energetic! In order to give out and receive smiles more, we’d love to do another concert in New York.
We would like to give a very big thank you to UP-FRONT PROMOTION and Morning Musume。’14 for this interview. Be sure to check out their new triple A-side single Tiki Bun/ ShabadabaDoo/ Mikaeri Bijin which will be released on October 15, 2014.
Tiki Bun/Shabadabadoo/Mikaeri Bijin (Regular Edition A)
Tiki Bun/Shabadabadoo/Mikaeri Bijin (Regular Edition B)
Tiki Bun/Shabadabadoo/Mikaeri Bijin (Limited Edition A)
Tiki Bun/Shabadabadoo/Mikaeri Bijin (Limited Edition B)
Tiki Bun/Shabadabadoo/Mikaeri Bijin (Limited Edition C)
Tiki Bun/Shabadabadoo/Mikaeri Bijin (Limited Edition D)
Morning Musume。’14’s Official Sites