Kamen Joshi (Masked Girls) is a Japanese idol group based in the Akihabara district of Tokyo. They wear masks to conceal their faces while giving over-the-top, extreme stage performances accented by amazing props, costumes, stage diving and headbanging.
With over 1000 performances per year, Kamen Joshi has brought landmark achievements to the idol world:
- 3.6 million Facebook followers (highest number in the idol genre)
- First independent female artist to achieve number 1 on the Oricon singles chart
- Performances at Saitama Super Arena and Budokan
- Official Ambassador of Tourism for Akihabara
- Japan Ministry of Justice Ambassador for Public Relations
Spawned from performers who were rejected by other agencies, Kamen Joshi includes four separate groups with their own distinct images and sounds – Alice Juban (horror), Steam Girls (steampunk), Armor Girls (medieval) and Easter Girls (ska).
In an era where and idol’s identity is synonymous with her looks, the girls of Kamen Joshi rebel against the rules of the entertainment world to establish a new generation of idols. They are rising up with the support of their fans to find revenge in success. Without perfect performances or relying on “kawaii” looks, Kamen Joshi breaks boundaries with hardcore, high-energy performances and wild, unpredictable staging.
Moa Tsukino is a member of Kamen Joshi and their sub unit Armor Girls. Outside of her idol activities she performs as a voice actress lending her talents to several video games and anime series such as Clione no Akari, To Be Hero, Net High and Sengoku Shura SOUL.
With Kamen Joshi becoming the official ambassadors for Akihabara Tourism it was also revealed that Moa will also perform the character voice for the Akiba Mitsuba, the Akihabara hospitality character.
Selective Hearing had the opportunity to chat with Moa about her time in Kamen Joshi, her voice acting work and her role as an Akihabara Tourism ambassador.
Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us. Please take a moment to introduce yourself to the readers of Selective Hearing.
Moa: Hello friends! I’m Moa Tsukino of Kamen Joshi! Kamen Joshi is formed by 4 idol units, and I belong to Armor Girls. I’m a voice actor, and I play bass guitar. I’m also a black belt in karate, and I’ve been writing articles for the JK Fan Karate magazine for over a year. I also have a Moa Channel on YouTube where I show my cosplay and talk about makeup techniques and perform cool lines from my favorite anime characters. Lately, my favorite character is Shimakaze of Kantai Collection.
What do you love most about being a member of Kamen Joshi?
Moa: The live performances are the best! It’s so “Kimochi Ii!” when Kamen Joshi and the fans all become one or when I see a new fan coming to our theater and their eyes are sparkling with joy.
Kamen Joshi performs daily at the P.A.R.M.S. theater in Akihabara. There are many overseas idol fans that have never experienced a Kamen Joshi show. Please describe what a performance at the theater is like.
Moa: The way I see it, it’s like we experience a total energy exchange with the audience. It’s a special, extraordinary moment together. In our music videos, we have a certain image wearing our masks, but we get to take our masks off at the theater while we sing, so everyone gets to express different emotions in the performance. We really push ourslves to give an unforgettable performance and the fans are right there with us, chanting, singing, laughing and smiling. Come to our theater and forget who you are in your ordinary life and enjoy the atmosphere with us!
What is your favorite Kamen Joshi song? Are there any songs or videos you would recommend to those who are new to Kamen Joshi?
Moa: I really like our song “HALALA”. This was the campaign song for a game named “Sengoku Shura Soul”, and this game was my first-ever voice acting role. Compared to other Kamen Joshi songs, this one uses more traditional Japanese instruments and represents Japanese culture, so it has a lot of personal meaning for me.
Kamen Joshi “HALALA” (full audio track)
What countries have you performed at outside of Japan? Which country or countries would you like to visit in the future?
Moa: I’ve performed overseas in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Many people came to see our show, and some were holding a banner with our names! It really surprised me, and now they’re visiting our theater in Akihabara. Next, I hope we can travel to the U.S. and Europe! Hope we will have a chance to meet you all!
You were recently named as the voice actress for the Akihabara Tourism hospitality character Akitsu Mitsuba. What are your thoughts on this opportunity?
Moa: I was overwhelmed to be chosen to do her voice! Her character is everywhere in Akihabara and they have digital signs that speak, so every time I pass in front of the sign, I hear my voice! I’m proud to speak for her, and it makes me proud — I think of where I started and how far I came, and it pushes me to do even more in the future.
What are your plans to build your career in voice acting in anime or video games? Tell us about your dreams and goals.
Moa: I’m taking voice training with a professional voice coach. Since I started performing as a member of Kamen Joshi, I didn’t have time to go to a school to learn voice acting, I really just taught myself. I was checking everything on internet and repeating the lines from professional voice actors. I love anisong, so I used to go to karaoke and practice songs where the character speaks in the middle of the song. It was really just me doing everything I could think of to get closer to that world.
So right now I’m just so grateful for any opportunity I have to learn more and become better. I feel like I’m an underground idol from Akihabara trying my best to become something. If I make any mistake, that means I’m done in this industry. Just like idols, there are so many voice actors these days! There is always someone who can fill in your position. When I did my first TV animation, the director came early for me to give me a private lesson, and Tomokazu Sugita (Gintoki of Gintama) taught me to how to hold the script professionally or where to stand when you speak to the mic.
I love this voice actor’s world because there are so many things I can learn and absorb from my senpai! My goal is to become part of something like Powerpuff Girls and have my own anime TV program. A Kamen Joshi anime would be amazing!
Moa Tsukino Voice Acting Documentary
What activities will you be taking part in as an Akihabara ambassador?
Moa: Kamen Joshi produces a special “Kamen Joshi Map of Akihabara”. It’s an actual physical map that visitors can pick up that introduces fun places and good restaurants in the Akihabara area. Akihabara is not just about otaku, electronics, or idols — Akihabara has a lot of good decent restaurants, things I really enjoy like ramen, curry rice… and all kinds of fun cafes with different themes. I really enjoy introducing people to all the fun sides of Akihabara.
What music and/or artists (other than Kamen Joshi) are you currently listening to?
Moa: Avenged Sevenfold! A7X songs are always my favorite to listen to when I need to get my energy up! I love their melodies, they’re really clear and catchy and I feel the same vibe with Kamen Joshi’s songs.
Moa Tsukino on bass guitar
Lastly, do you have any closing thoughts for your overseas fans?
Moa: My international friends, thank you for reading my interview! Please come to our theater and check out our social media and videos so we can stay connected to you!
Moa Tsukino Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tsukinomoa
Moa Tsukino Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/moa__tsukino
KAMEN JOSHI Homepage (English): http://www.alice-project.biz/kamenjoshi/en
KAMEN JOSHI Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kamenjoshi
KAMEN JOSHI Twitter: https://twitter.com/J_Kawaii_Girls
KAMEN JOSHI Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kamenjoshi
We would like to thank RESONANCE Media and Alice Project for the interview opportunity.