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.
A best album, more concert dates added to their tour, and an Eightrangers comeback, Kanjani8 fans were treated to a lot during the group’s concert in Tokyo on September 16, reports Nikkan Sports.
One of the bigger announcements from the group was extra concerts had been added to their tour, including concerts at Tokyo Dome on November 10 and 11, and concerts at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome on December 30, 31, and January 1. It means the total number fans expected to attend Kanjani8 concerts and events this year will top 880,000, a number worthy of a national pop star group.
“Eight years ago we weren’t able to fill a hall with even 1000 fans. But now I do believe that what we did wasn’t a mistake,” Ryo Nishikido said.
“We’ve been making the number 8 our things so I’m so happy,” Yu Yokoyama said.
Kanjani8 also announced their Best Album “8EST” will be released on October 17.
The group had been performing their first outdoors stadium concert at the Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo since September 15. This tour, the group revived their Eightrangers performance for the first time in two years, and even made it something bigger with stunts like dropping down 25 metres using ropes.
“Performing in natural light was kind of embarrassing,” Subaru Shibutani said.
Finally, to finish off the surprises, the group and the 55,000 fans in the stadium celebrated Shota Yasuda’s 28th birthday.
Rumour has it Johnny’s is not happy about Leo Akanishi uploading a photo of him hanging out with Kanjani8’s Ryo Nishikido and ex-Johnny’s talent Hironori Kusano, reports Johnny’s Watcher.
Gekiura! Geino Japan reports the Twitter photo uploaded on September 4 shows Leo with his friends, two of who look very much like Nishikido and Kusano.
“I’ve heard that the executives at Johnny’s are really mad, and that they’ve asked Akanishi to tell his brother to delete the photo. But Nishikido’s photo is still on the internet because Leo thinks he doesn’t have to delete it if it’s on his own personal account. With his movie in trouble, a shotgun wedding, and this, Jin Akanishi’s Johnny’s career might be over now,” one popstar magazine editor said.
Johnny’s have a strict rule against publishing any unofficial photos of their talents. But it has been reported the photo might have been uploaded deliberately to help ex-NEWS member and former Johnny’s talent Kusano. A few days ago, Kusano had launched his website, and he also belongs to an agency set up by people with connections to Akanishi. It could be possible the photo was a publicity stunt.
But either way, it is very possible Jin Akanishi will get punished in some way. Even if the agency does not fire him, is it too much to say Akanishi might start thinking about leaving the agency himself?
“Eightranger” started in cinemas in Japan over the weekend, and Kanjani8 appeared for the premiere in Tokyo dressed in yukata.
“To make it easier, each of our obi-belts are the same colour as our own image colour,” Subaru Shibutani said.
But then the group traveled to Osaka on the same day to take part in their hometown’s premiere of the movie in the evening, this time dressed in their Eightranger costumes. It has been reported it is the first time all seven members had been in Osaka to promote the movie. Ryuhei Maruyama was not scheduled to appear in the Osaka event, but managed to at the last minute.
It has been reported fans in Umeda, Osaka were screaming and crying.
The movie is based on a concert performance the group have been doing for a number of years.
“I feel so happy knowing that we’ve been able to make Eightranger into something that we could give to all of you,” Shingo Murakami said.
The group itself celebrates eight years together this year, after starting as a Johnny’s group filled with members from the Kansai region, who have now gained popularity both as a group and as soloists.
“I’m really happy to be here to celebrate the first day of our movie, a movie about Osaka’s Eightrangers, which will now be shown across the country,” Ryo Nishikido said.
The group’s co-star, 62-year-old Hiroshi Tachi, also wears an Eightranger suit in the movie, and Yu Yokoyama had said he looks very cool.
“I hope I can wear that outfit when I’m Tachi-san’s age,” he said.
By the way, it is only a wig. But the makeup team did such a good job, Maruyama had said it looks just as real.
“When I looked at myself in the mirror, it was unlike anything I’d ever seen!!”
It has been reported episode 4 of the talent’s drama shows Maruyama’s character in a showdown with his main competition, and in order to show how serious he is, he dons a Robert-De-Niro-in-the-1976-movie-Taxi-Driver mohican hairdo.
“I’m happy I got to do this. Because of the job I do, I’m not able to change my hairstyle this radically, and I’m not the type that tries out really different hairstyles either. I really like this look,” Maruyama said.
Fans too, can expect to be surprised too.
“All the staff were surprised so I think everyone watching the drama will be in for a shock too,” he said.
Episode 4 of “Boys On The Run” goes on air on August 3.
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.
Kanjani8 members Shingo Murakami and Tadayoshi Okura helped out a how-to-stay-safe class for families on July 15, reports Sankei News.
It has been reported Hiroshima police department had invited the two to teach local children about how to stay safe during their summer holidays while also promoting their upcoming film “Eight Ranger”. After 2000 fans and families gathered to the event in Fuchu town, they cheered on Murakami and Okura, who came out in their Eight Ranger costumes.
The two picked out give lucky schoolchildren from the crowd, and they played a series of quizzes designed to teach children things like shouting out when they felt threatened, or not to follow strangers. It has been reported the two Johnny’s talents asked all of the parents in the crowd to look after their children over the holidays, and to go see their Eight Ranger movie together.
It has been reported the event had been organized by film company Toho, local shopping centre Aeon Mall, and local police.