The world of Japanese pop is filled with idol groups and one of the biggest is Morning Musume。'18. The idol troop was founded in 1997 and has released more than sixty singles. The group rotates its members as they periodically “graduate” from the group and an audition process is used to replace them. The idol of Honey’s Anime, the one, and only Honey-chan, had the chance to talk with the idol group as they prepare for their concert in New York City as part of Anisong World Matsuri at Anime NYC.
Interview with Morning Musume。'18 for Anisong World Matsuri (Fukumura)
Fukumura-san, what is it like leading such an amazingly talented group of girls like Morning Musume。'18?
That is a very honorable thing for me. I have been working as a leader for about 4 years since I inherited the sash from Sayumi Michishige. Spending days with the members made me love Morning Musume。'18 and the members so much more. It’s not just fun every day as there are also many things that are difficult. I overcame these difficulties with Morning Musume。'18’s members, and it’s worth it for me when we overcome difficulties together to see what lies ahead in our future.
Please continue to support Morning Musume。'18!
Interview with Morning Musume。'18 for Anisong World Matsuri (Ikuta)
What do you think can be attributed to the longevity and popularity of Morning Musume。'18?
I think that the feeling of love from both the members of Morning Musume。'18 and our fans is what contributes to our longevity and popularity. For example, even if there are some fans who say "I only like this member", there are many who say “I like all the members of Morning Musume。'18”!
And…I also think because sometimes new members join or a member graduates, it's easy to find a new member to support and show love.
Interview with Morning Musume。'18 for Anisong World Matsuri (Sato, Nonaka)
Are you excited about your upcoming concert in New York City?
Yes! I will try hard to not get separated from anyone or get lost, and arrive safely!
I lived in Illinois and Alabama in the U.S. from when I was 2 to when I was 10 years old. For me, America is like another hometown. It is like a dream to be able to perform at such a special place! Meeting with American fans, communicating in English…I look forward to all! Of course, I am a bit nervous, but I am sure that the fun I will have there will help me overcome my nerves!
Interview with Morning Musume。'18 for Anisong World Matsuri (Iikubo, Kaga)
Were any of you inspired by an anime idol to sing and dance on stage?
For idol characters, I have been influenced by Kujo Ten-kun of "IDOLiSH7". Because he is so professional as an idol, I have often been inspired by his behavior. Also, my trademark pose has been influenced by manga too. Specifically, I often pose like JoJo’s stand from "JoJo's Bizarre Adventure" during performances.
"Love Live!" is one of my favorite anime, and helped my love for idols grow stronger. I also learned how to be more conscientious about life as an idol from the app game "IDOLiSH7". Of course, I was always sharply aware of what I need to do when it comes to my work, but when Kujo Ten-kun said, “a promise is a concert ticket”, it made me feel the same because we are in the same line of work. To this day, it remains in my heart.
Interview with Morning Musume。'18 for Anisong World Matsuri (Oda)
What artist, Japanese or international, do you look up to?
I very much respect Morning Musume。'18’s seniors! I have been in “Perfume’s” fan club ever since I was in elementary school! At the time, techno pop was still fresh and I was hooked on it. I respect them because of the friendly air they have, their cuteness, and how they work hard for their dreams.
For overseas artists, I like Pentatonix. I was really surprised when I saw a video of theirs for the first time!I respect them on many levels due to their ability to produce a techno atmosphere while singing acapella. Their live singing sounds just as good as their recorded tracks and each and every member is very good at singing!
Interview with Morning Musume。'18 for Anisong World Matsuri (Haga, Yokoyama)
What is it like to live the life of an idol?
I was already a fan of Morning Musume。'18 when I was 3 years old. For me, Morning Musume。'18 is like my life. So, I need Morning Musume。'18 in my life, and I also want to leave a solid mark on the history of Morning Musume。'18 itself!
It’s like I’m “living in a dream”.
I love Morning Musume。'18 very much. I admired them and wanted to be an idol all my life.
Now, as a member of Morning Musume。'18, it’s like I’m dreaming, and I am so happy I could just pinch myself. Of course, when I was a fan supporting them, I never dreamed that I could become a member, so I am truly happy to be able to be a member now.
Interview with Morning Musume。'18 for Anisong World Matsuri (Ishida, Makino)
Honey-chan: Is it difficult to learn all that choreography?
It is difficult to understand the meaning behind the choreography of our instructor. Dance is an important expression to help convey the song more deeply, so every single movement has meaning to it thought out by our instructor. For example, in “Are you Happy?” the Masai jump expresses the ups and downs of a girl in love by showing emotions such as uncertainty, happiness, and anger. They are expressed by deliberately being off-beat. In the bridge of “TIKI BUN”, the reason why we wrap our arms around each other, is to portray the image of a soccer team’s circle. Our instructor told us that the secret behind the choreography for “What is LOVE?”, was a praying mantis. I think this was for us to express the speed of the song like the sharpness of a praying mantis.
It’s not just about displaying a dance that we have memorized, but rather, it is about telling the song through a dance we have put our hearts into. This is what allows us to overcome the barrier of words. I would be beyond happy if that message could be conveyed to the world.
I can remember the choreography, but it is very difficult to dance cool like our instructor does..
Interview with Morning Musume。'18 for Anisong World Matsuri (Morito)
Morito-san, You auditioned for Morning Musume。'18 in 2017 but were not selected and became a member of Country Girls instead. How did you feel when you were told that you would become a member?
First, I immediately thought of something I’m often told which is, “you never know what will happen in your life.” I was so surprised because I never thought that I would join Morning Musume。'18. I love Morning Musume。'18, and that’s the reason why I went to the audition. I was very happy that a part of my dream came true. This is my first time to have two positions (in that I am a member of both Morning Musume and Country Girls), so I do feel some anxiety and pressure.
We at Honey’s Anime along want to extend our warmest thanks to the talented idols of Morning Musume。'18. We know Honey-chan will be working on her own version of their latest single “Are you happy?” in a karaoke parlor soon. Honey’s Anime is eager to see the girls perform at Anisong World Matsuri at Anime NYC. We wish them the best as they perform as members of the Morning Musume。'18 and after their graduations.
I’m a journalist, writer, photographer, video producer, social media manager and above all a storyteller. I’m located on the east coast of the United States but travel the world with the love of my life. I’ve been a nerd since birth with a love of history and science. I fell in love with anime, watching ROBOTECH and Venus Wars in the 80s when our only source was secondhand VHS dubs. A crazy new thing called the internet changed that, giving me access to new and amazing anime every day. I love to write for work and pleasure. I’m living the dream of every kid, getting paid to watch anime and loving every subtitled line.