I liked this interview Ori-Suta put online – Momo.
Q: Kanjani8 have tried a variety of music genres, but to get here the group went through a number of transitions musically. First there was your enka era. Your debut song “浪花いろは節 (Naniwa Iroha Bushi)” stood out with its mix of enka and rap. Were you worried at all at the time?
Murakami: I wasn’t. I was willing to sing anything if it meant we’d make our debut. The only thing I remember was being happy.
Shibutani: Me too. It was enka, but I thought that song could cut it. No one else had made a song like that, and I thought we could use that to our advantage.
Interview with Kis-My-Ft2’s Taisuke Fujigaya in Yomiuri Shimbun, published on July 30.
It must have been a long wait, but the 25-year-old Kis-My-Ft2 group member is in the middle of playing his first lead in a drama series. He was a late bloomer for a Johnny’s talent, but that has not changed his attitude.
“I always wanted to try a lead role. How different is it. There’s so much I want to learn,” Fujigaya said.
Fujigaya’s character in Beginners! wants become a police officer because his father was one. The Johnny’s talent said he brings things about his own relationship with his father into his character.
“My parents have done so much for me. My dad’s a quiet person, but when I was going through a tough time thinking about my future, he was there for me. I was so happy when he came to my concert.”
Q&A with questions sent in by fans:
Q: How do you remember you lines?
A: When I’m at home, usually in the bath. I’ll imagine the scene and take my time going over lines.
Q: What kind of character would you like to try?
A: Something like 10 episodes of the love story from the first episode. I want to try so many characters.
Q: What job would you be doing if you weren’t doing this one?
A: I love kids so I might’ve become a kindergarten teacher or a worker at Disneyland.
Q: What’s the best thing a fan has told you?
A: Things like, “you gave me support”, or, “you gave me motivation”. Knowing that what we do makes someone happy makes me happy too.
Interview with Kanjani8’s Ryuhei Maruyama in Yomiuri Shimbun, published on July 23.
He does not stand out at work, and none of the ladies go for him. He has low self-esteem and gets stomach cramps when he gets too nervous. Tanishi is a typical worthless man character, the complete opposite to a Johnny’s talent. But the pop star who plays Tanishi says there is a bit of the Tanishi inside of him.
He says he cannot get used to being under pressure. There are even times where he has forgotten his lines during stage musical performances and has played the wrong music during concerts. But it is these experiences the Johnny’s talent is channeling into his portrayal of Tanishi.
“Tanishi admits to his mistakes, and moves forward. The way he struggles is something I can relate to. He has more power than you’d expect. When I’m acting him I overdo his expressions, so when he runs, I run with everything I have.”
With one regular Kanjani8 TV series, and his first lead role in a drama series, things seem to be getting better for Maruyama, but according to the talent that is not good enough.
“There’s no point in ‘you’re becoming popular’, it’s more important to keep that popularity constant. You have to work as hard as you can, even if you lose sometimes. It’s about aiming higher.”
Facing harsh reality with his head up high, it almost makes you want to give him an extra push as you watch him confront another wall in life.
Q: If you weren’t in showbiz, what do you think you would be doing right now?
A: My parents are Japanese drum makers so I’d probably be making drums. But I’ve been doing this job since I was 13 and there’s nothing that could substitute for it. I’ll do my best to avoid getting fired.
Q: What is something you always carry with you?
A: This silver ring I bought at the end of last year. Sometimes I’ll look at it and think, “right, let’s do this”. It’s my lucky charm.
Q: What do you want to do this summer?
A: Go on a family vacation. And have a party with this drama’s team. I want to drink and have a good time acting like an idiot.
Q: What’s your favourite manga?
A: Lately I’ve gotten into reading Inio Asano’s “おやすみプンプン (Oyasumi Pun-pun)”. The drawings are funny, but they have a lot of character.
“Boys on the Run” is on every Friday night on TV Asahi.