Interview: The Future of Kawaii Construction Sites Discussed by ASOBISYSTEM & kajikawa Construction’s Company Presidents

15.May.2019 | BUSINESS

kajikawa Construction CO.,LTD was established in Hekinan, Aichi 114 years ago, and throughout its long history it has sought to break down existing conventions and innovate within the industry. Last year, the company began its collaboration with ASOBISYSTEM. For instance, kajikawa built and set up a photo booth at MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FESTIVAL 2018 while ASOBISYSTEM worked on the design of kajikawa’s company logo and company brochure. This year, both companies are set to strengthen their partnership as they announce a large-scale construction project centred around kawaii (cute) designs. I spoke to Yusuke Nakagawa (President, ASOBISYSTEM CO., LTD) and Mitsuhiro Kajikawa (President, kajikawa Construction CO.,LTD) about their thoughts and shared values on the project.

 


 

 

――I would first like to begin by asking for a brief summary of your respective companies and what led to this collaboration.

 

Mitsuhiro Kajikawa: We are a construction business operating in Aichi Prefecture’s city of Hekinan. The company was founded in 1905 when it was first called Kajikawa Zousensho. In 1959 we began work in the construction industry when Typhoon Vera struck the Tokai region in an effort to help with reconstruction. In recent years, we have worked on many designs for earthquake resistance. One thing in particular is the “Implant Levee” which integrates with the earth. We get many orders to construct infrastructure that ensures structures hold steadfast against earthquakes and tsunamis.

 

Yusuke Nakagawa: How many employees do you have?

 

Kajikawa: As of now, 96. Around the time I became Company President there were around 50 but since then it has nearly doubled. Of course I still hold Aichi Prefecture near and dear to my heart as it is our roots, but I also have a desire to offer our services to many other places. Right now we are active up and down Japan, from Hokkaido to Kyushu.

 

Nakagawa: Besides the main office do you have branch offices outside of Hekinan?

 

Kajikawa: We have a branch in Takadanobaba in Tokyo. We’re also making preparations for Osaka Expo [2025], so to ensure that we can build infrastructure in the Kansai region we also opened an office in Osaka in March of this year. Infrastructure development is absolutely essential to winning influence with people. Even in Tokyo, the roads and other facilities are wearing out. We do of course reconstruct things, but I also think it’s also important to carry out earthquake resistance with what we already have to ensure their longevity.

 

 

Nakagawa: Our company started out as an event organiser, but our focus gradually became acting as management for people. We have grown even further from that now; the various number of people and things we produce is increasing. This puts us in a position where we are very different from the rest, so I was very surprised at first when I saw a request had come from kajikawa Construction.

 

Kajikawa: I had heard about ASOBISYSTEM by chance through agencies, but I knew you [managed] many famous names including Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. My image of you was also that you are a central figure in creating “Kawaii” which is a representative culture of Harajuku. Though I look like this, I’ve actually always loved kawaii things since I was young. But I can’t show that when it comes to things work-related. Getting the opportunity to do this and use the word “kawaii” feels very liberating for me [laughs].

 

Brochure

 

――You started collaborating with each other last year. It began with ASOBISYSTEM designing kajikawa Construction’s company logo and company brochure. It has received quite the revamp, hasn’t it?

 

Nakagawa: I spoke with President Kajikawa and wondered whether he knew that the word “Kawaii” doesn’t apply solely to things like fashion. We too don’t take “Kawaii” as something superficial, we treat the concept closer to what it actually is. The essence of “Kawaii” is something that brings a smile to and brightens people then and there. I feel that President Kajikawa understands that concept and that’s why he sent us an offer. So I want to invest in our “Kawaii” and and return the favour with a lasting relationship.

 

Kajikawa: When I took a look at the design of the company brochure I was surprised to see two of my favourite elements in there. The first were my favourite colours, pink and and green. The second was the use of traditional Japanese patterns. You took those traditional patterns and made them into a more contemporary pop design. You were kind enough to put all of my wishes in there, so much so that I was left wondering if we’d had a conversation about it beforehand.

 

Nakagawa: I was happy that you liked it and admired that you accepted the design. The construction industry is a world I’m unfamiliar with, so I was worried what kind of reply I would get. Your openness to upturn the conventions of the industry and make it into something tangible I felt was wonderful.

 

Logo

 

――Your company logo has changed too.

 

Kajikawa: We are enthusiastically using all the new things we are incorporating. The design will be a hit with younger people. I believe we are breaking out of our old shell and taking new steps forward. It’s a trigger that’s making me feel we are a company to have great expectations for in the future.

 

Nakagawa: When you look at the construction industry from the outside, your perception of it ends up being just what you imagine it to be. But by simply changing the logo and the brochure that perception can change. I believe the role of a simple brochure can add more value. It is really difficult to realise that adding value is important and then to put money into it. President Kajikawa is a symbol of looking forward.

 

Kajikawa: The main mission of the construction industry is to adhere to and build what the government office has planned which means we are unable to suggest anything ourselves. It’s for that reason we are receiving help from ASOBISYSTEM, because I want to add our own unique values. By no means are we able to do it on our own. Our ideas end up coagulating and we can’t move on from there. I am grateful to ASOBISYSTEM for giving us a good incentive and for making us feel that we are able to do something if we strive to make that effort.

MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FESTIVAL 2018 Photo Booth

 

――You worked together to set up a photo booth at MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FES 2018. This was designed by ASOBISYSTEM with design checks by President Kajikawa.

 

Kajikawa: I was very interested in it because the word “Kawaii” is used in designs all around the world. It has a strong message, doesn’t it? It felt unpredictable at first, but when I saw so many people standing in front of the panel taking photos it made me realise that leaving it up to top class designers can influence people.

 

Nakagawa: We were particular about the colour combinations, weren’t we? You are particular about colours. I’m the same. We also endeavoured to make the design something that conveys the strength of kajikawa Construction as a construction business.

 

――Your collaboration together is set to continue throughout the year. It seems you are pressing forward with your large-scale “Kawaii” construction project.

 

Kajikawa: In order to raise the added value of our company, it’s necessary that we change the way all of our employees think. It’s important to that we have them fully understand what we are doing with ASOBISYSTEM. The best way to do that is to show them a finished product. So our next step will be to forward the project by changing the design of our construction sites. For example, making cones, poles and fences pink. We will show them something they can see with their own eyes.

 

Nakagawa: There are construction sites even in Shibuya that have character designs on them. They are becoming photo spots [for people]. It’s important to appeal to your employees too, but the effect of purely adding value to your construction sites feels promising.

 

Kajikawa: It’s promising that our construction sites will become photo spots. Another one of our objectives is to make working people feel happy and make them feel like what they’re doing is worth it. Construction sites are isolated places. Them being dangerous is a real reason for that. Though people aren’t actually allowed to enter, by making the design “kawaii”  we can remove that unwelcoming feeling locals have for [construction sites], and that’s wonderful. Business meetings have only just begun but I hope for it to come to fruition by next year.

 

 

Nakagawa: Are you also thinking of expanding overseas?

 

Kajikawa: I’m thinking within the next 1-2 years.

 

Nakagawa: I’m really looking forward to seeing “Kawaii” exported overseas from a new angle. I believe it will catch the attention of a lot of people and have a notable synergistic effect. We’re also working on creating key visuals and a film.

 

Kajikawa: We are aiming for a pop world where coloured poles are characters that move. I get excited just picturing it. I can’t wait for the day when we make it public.

 

 

――I’m sure you would agree that when it comes to business, contribution to society is an important aspect. Will your “kawaii” construction sites have societal contributions too?

 

Kajikawa: It has only just begun so I can only speculate, but the construction industry has a big mission to service infrastructure for the benefit of people’s lives. Plus, if we set forth to add value to “kawaii” elements, something which appeals to people, I think we can contribute a little to this brutal world. We are constantly in charge of 40-50 construction sites in Japan at any given time, so by giving them a “kawaii” outlook, don’t you think it might calm things down a bit?

 

 

Kajikawa: For example, if pink-dyed construction sites appeared in Japan and around the world, it’s bound to make a lot of people smile. That’s the symbol of Japanese technological strength and culture. It might eventually bolster the presence of Japan throughout the rest of the world. Plus, if people are taking kawaii photos, then they are going to seek out construction sites. A day like that may come, and working at a construction site might become a status. There are many pieces of dreams in the collaboration between kajikawa Construction and ASOBISYSTEM. Our unique tag team which defies industry may shake things up in a unique way.

 

Interview & Text: Fumihiko Suzuki

Photographer: Haruka Yamamoto

Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

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    DIOR ADDICT 524 DIORETTE

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    -Suzuka Chinzei

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    Amane Tsukiashi

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    -Suzuka Chinzei

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    -Mana Manaka

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    -Amane Tsukiashi

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  • Interview Series Vol.3: What Does ‘Kawaii’ Mean to You?

    14.November.2022 | FASHION / FEATURES

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    Q. Why did you first come to Japan?

    “In 2013, I moved to Japan with my family because Beijing’s air pollution had become really bad. It’s already been nine years!”

     

    Zhu Zhu when she first came to Japan

     

    Q. When you first arrived in Japan, what surprised you?

    “When I first came to Japan, what really surprised me was the wide use of the word ‘kawaii.’ It’s so interesting that literally anything can be called kawaii. Sure, it makes sense to call girls, animals, or clothes cute, but in Japan, people call things cute that people in other countries would never refer to in that way. I mean, I think calling things ‘cute’ when you mean ‘good’ is something really commonplace here. (laugh)” 

     

    Q. Tell us what you find the most Kawaii in Japan!

    “There are so many cute things in Japan, but I think that the sweets take the cake. I was surprised by how small they are unlike in other countries. And there are so many kinds! Cakes, baked goods, wagashi, they’re all so incredibly kawaii!”

     

    Q. How did your encounter with Kawaii culture in Japan change you?

    “Since I first came into contact with the Japanese version of kawaii, I think my style has become softer. When I was overseas, I typically just worse really simple outfits and makeup, but now, I’m always conscious of looking girly and cute.”

     

    Q.In Japan, what are you interested in right now? Where do you want to visit in the future?

    “I recently read an article about Yufuin Floral Village, which is England-inspired. It looks so cute and I really want to go!”

     

    Q. Do you have anything to say to our readers who want to visit Japan in the future?

    “Japan is such an interesting country, where so many cultures blend and evolve. No matter how many times you visit, you can always find something new. Please visit!”

     

    Zhu Zhu Profile

    An influencer from China with 2 million followers on Weibo. Nicknamed “Big Cousin” on social media, she has been a favorite of many Japanese brands for years. Since moving to Japan, Zhu Zhu has actively shared fashion, beauty, travel, and food posts on social media. In addition to appearing on TV and in magazines, she has collaborated with a number of major Japanese apparel and cosmetics companies. 

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    We sat down with the seven members of FRUITS ZIPPER to hear about their best memories from Thailand!

     

     

    -How did you feel about your first overseas trip to Thailand?

     

    Noel Hayase

    “It was our first time performing in Thailand. Not many people knew who we were and we were far away from home, but people welcomed us with open arms. So many people came to watch us, and I was happy to see the audience dancing along to the songs!”

     

    Yui Sakurai

    “When I became an idol two years ago, Thai fans really supported me. Back then, I told them I’d love to come to see them, but I never got the chance.


    I’m happy that I was about to finally achieve that goal, or my dream, I guess, of going to Thailand to meet all of those fans. There were so many more people waiting for me than I could have imagined, and even though we couldn’t communicate very well with the language barrier, we could easily communicate through music. I was so happy.”

     

    Karen Matsumoto

    “So many non-Japanese fans came out to support us! Even though they didn’t speak Japanese, they did their best to tell us they were rooting for us, and that they loved us. I was so happy, I can’t wait to go back!”

     

    Mana Manaka

    “This was my first visit to Thailand, and part of me felt a little uneasy since everything felt so different when compared to live shows in Japan. I was allowed to take pictures and to really use my voice, and the stage configuration was really confusing. But everyone in Thailand was super welcoming and kind, and I was so happy to see them trying to learn Japanese. They’d listen to me talk and nod, looking me in the eyes, even if they didn’t understand what I was saying. It was a wonderful trip that reminded me how excited I am to travel abroad. I hope I can see everyone in Thailand again, thank you so much!”

     

    Luna Nakagawa

    “Even though I’ve been an idol for a while, this was my first trip overseas. Going to Thailand had always been a dream of mine, but at the same time, I was nervous. I didn’t know what kind of fans I’d find there, or if there would be any fans at all. But the Thai people were so unbelievably kind.


    During our performance, a girl held up a board that said ‘Lunapi’ and waved a purple penlight. She shouted that she was looking so forward to meeting me, and it made me so happy.

    We started to share information with the Thai people after our performance was decided, but it seemed that they had known about us before that. I felt that so many people had been excited about coming to see us, and now I just want to go to Thailand again to see everyone a second time. Kob kun kaa!

     

    Amane Tsukiashi

    “This was the first time I had visited Thailand, and I thought it was so beautiful. Seeing ICONSIAM was unbelievable–the biggest building I’d ever seen! I was so happy to see the fans, and so many told me that they had been waiting to meet us. Thank you so much.”

     

    Suzuka Chinzei

    “Before going to Thailand, I wondered how many local people knew about FRUITS ZIPPER and how many would actually come to see us. When we actually took the stage on the first day, there were so many Thai people, and Japanese people too! Since I was able to use my voice to the fullest in Thailand, I was thrilled when the audience could sing along with the ‘Ne, ne, ne’ part in Watashino Ichiban Kawaiitokoro! This live show was so unique to Thailand, and it felt so much freer than live shows are in Japan right now with all the restrictions. Since there was a language barrier, I wanted to put all of my feelings and emotions into my performance. I felt like I could communicate with the audience with my eyes, and those three days of performances were so unforgettable. We’ll be back and we’ll be even stronger, so wait for us until then! Kob kun kaa!

     

    FRUITS ZIPPER is on course to become a smash hit not only in Japan, but around the world.

     

  • Interview: Shakuhachi Player Yoshimi Tsujimoto Discusses Her Craft and the Upcoming Concert at Kumano-Nachi Taisha

    20.October.2022 | MUSIC / SPOT

    Each year, an incredible event is held at Kumano-Nachi Taisha, a Shinto shrine and World Heritage Site located in the Kii Mountain Range of Wakayama Prefecture.

     

    To kick off the ‘diamond celebration,’ a special concert will mark the 1,250th anniversary of the birth of Kobo Daishi, the Japanese Buddhist monk who founded the Shingon school of Buddhism. Yoshimi Tsujimoto, a shakuhachi player from Hashimoto, will perform in the concert scheduled to begin on October 22 at 13:30. 

     

    Moshi Moshi Nippon sat down with Yoshimi Tsujimoto to discuss her music and, most importantly, her interest in sharing the sound of the shakuhachi with the world.

     

     

    −How did you become interested in the shakuhachi? 

    My father loved the shakuhachi, and because of that, I grew up surrounded by the sound of it. That’s how it all began!

     

    −What attracts you to playing the shakuhachi?

    I love the timbre of the shakuhachi. 

    Those who play the shakuhachi often say that a single note has the power to bring someone to enlightenment. 

    Curiously, individual differences in tone are more easily discernible with the shakuhachi than with other instruments. That means that a person can express themselves in more unique ways.

     

     −You’ve performed in many different countries. Do you get different reactions to the shakuhachi in other countries when compared to Japanese audiences?

    I have a vivid memory of a time I performed a classical shakuhachi piece solo. This particular type of classical music is called ‘wabi-sabi,’ and it isn’t very loud or lively. 

    In Japan, when I finish a performance, people usually clap. But when I performed in South America, as soon as the piece concluded, there was a standing ovation with people shouting “Bravo!” That would never happen in Japan, and it left such a lasting impression on me.

     

    −Are there any countries that have left a lasting impression on you, or that you would like to visit in the future?

    I have good memories of every country I’ve visited, but I think that Cuba left the biggest impression. I just made me think about how incredible music can be.

    I’d love to visit Bulgaria, Morocco, Armenia, Uganda…it’s tough, because I want to visit every country I haven’t been to yet. (laughs)

     

    −You’re from Hashimoto City, near Mount Koya. How did you feel when you heard that this concert would be held so close to your hometown?

    What I felt was pure joy.

    Personally, I’ve always loved Mount Koya, and I went there many times as a child. It’s such a pleasure to be able to perform there.

     

    −Tell us some of your favorite memories involving Mount Koya.

    I go to Mount Koya at least three or four times a year. It’s not a particular memory per se, but every time I go, I love to eat vegetarian food, explore, and buy wheat buns and sesame tofu as gifts to take home.

     

    −Are there any local foods or places that you’d recommend?

    The fruit is delicious in Wakayama, and my hometown is famous for persimmons.They are so yummy, and I just want everyone to try them!

    Mount Koya and Kumano Kodo are both World Heritage sites, and they are both absolutely breathtaking. Other than those, I’d recommend Adventure World! It has adorable pandas roaming around freely and the most wonderful dolphin shows. Everyone from around the country should visit!

     

    −Finally, do you have a message for Moshi Moshi Nippon readers?

    Japan is filled with incredible places and culture. The shakuhachi, a beloved traditional Japanese instrument, is one piece of that culture.

    I want audiences around the world to hear the sound of the shakuhachi and to make it more familiar. If you have a chance to hear it, I hope you will.

    Be sure to follow Yoshimi Tsujimoto’s activities going forward as she shares the beauty and culture of shakuhachi with the world.

  • Interview: What Type of ‘Kawaii’ Did This Popular Foreign Influencer Find in Japan?

    03.October.2022 | FASHION / FEATURES

    Kawaii is marshmallow-flavored medicine for the soul.”

     

    Moshi Moshi Nippon is dedicated to sharing Japanese pop culture with audiences around the world, and today, we’re featuring a foreign influencer living and working in Japan! This time, we interviewed Etsuna, a popular influencer from China, discussing how Yume Kawaii fashion brings her comfort and the many types of ‘kawaii’ she’s found during her time in Japan. 

     

    Q. What brought you to Japan?

    “After graduating with a major in animation, I was working at a university in Shanghai as a teacher, but I decided to enroll in Tama Art University’s graduate program to study for my master’s degree. That’s when I came to Japan, and I’ve been here for 15 years!”

     

    Q. When you first came to Japan, what surprised you? Was anything different than what you had imagined? 

    “Everyone wore such bold makeup, and that really surprised me! When I first came to Japan 15 years ago, I think the gyaru trend was still big, and a lot of girls had that strong Harajuku style and big personalities. Heavy eye makeup and blush was the big thing. I thought everyone was getting ready to film for a TV show.” 

     

    Q. What do you think of when you heard the word ‘kawaii’ in Japan?

    “MOSHI MOSHI ROOMS, character cafes, and Yume Kawaii fashion…they are all so unique and so adorable! Those things are what I think of when I hear the word ‘kawaii.’”

     

    Q. Did finding Japanese kawaii culture change you in any way?

    “Before I experienced kawaii culture, I was a teacher, so I wore a lot of black, white, and gray every day. But after encountering kawaii style for the first time, I started experimenting with different kawaii subcultures, like the Mori Girl trend back in the mid-2000s. Eventually, I fell in love with Yume Kawaii (Dreamy Kawaii) fashion, which is filled with pastels and a fantasy-like aesthetic. I’ve been dressing in that particular style for about ten years now. To me, kawaii is like marshmallow-flavored medicine for the soul. It’s very healing.” 

     

    Q. When it comes to Japan, what interests you now? Where would you like to visit in the future?

    “Today, it feels like Japanese fashion is becoming more and more simple, and the Harajuku kawaii trend is starting to disappear. Is that because people don’t like standing out in that over-the-top way? Do they feel embarrassed if they dress differently than most people? I’ve met a lot of people who love Yume Kawaii fashion, but they might not have the courage to wear it themselves. That’s why I’m currently researching how to bring Yume Kawaii to AR. If I can bring it to the virtual world in a way that blends with the real world, I can create a brand-new experience for everyone. Using mobile AR technology, people will be able to transform their everyday clothes into something with more Yume Kawaii style!”

     

    Etsuna’s Original Yume Kawaii AR Filter

     

    Q. Please give a few words to those living abroad who are interested in visiting Japan!

    If you really want to experience Japanese kawaii culture, stay at MOSHI MOSHI ROOMS in Harajuku! There are so many fashionable people in Tokyo too, and if you hang out near Harajuku Laforet on the weekend, you’ll see people taking plenty of pictures. Come have a special trip to Japan and surround yourself with all things kawaii! Have fun!” 

  • Attack on Titan Anime Creators Discuss the Series in New YouTube Interview

    07.March.2022 | ANIME&GAME

    In a new interview posted to YouTube, Yuichiro Hayashi, the director of Attack on Titan The Final Season, and Yusuke Tannawa, the CG Producer and Screen Designer for the show, are discussing the series’ incredible success. Both creators also chat about the struggles they’ve faced during production, their relationship with the original manga creator Hajime Isayama, and much more. 

     

    Attack on Titan The Final Season Part 2 – Yuichiro Hayashi (Director) × Yusuke Tannawa (CG Producer, Screen Design) Special Interview

     

    Attack on Titan Final Season Part 2 is currently airing on NHK General each Sunday at 24:05. It is also available to stream on dTV, d Anime Store, GYAO!, Netflix, TELASA, Hikari TV, and Amazon Prime Video.

     

    ©諫山創・講談社/「進撃の巨人」The Final Season製作委員会

  • Girl Group NiziU Named Brand Ambassadors for Visée, Introduce Limited-Edition Eyeshadows

    10.September.2021 | FASHION / MUSIC

    Cosmetics brand KOSE has announced that popular girl group NiziU will act as brand ambassadors for a new collection of Visée eyeshadow, Glossy Rich Eyes N.

     

    Visée Glossy Rich Eyes N  – Available in 8 shades + 2 limited edition shades

     

     

    Photo Shoot

     

    「Visée AVANT」Limited Edition Seasonal Visual with MAYUKA&NINA

     

    The theme for this year’s campaign was ‘Find the Color Just for You.’ By trying all possible shades, even those which seem out of the consumers comfort zone, they will absolutely find the perfect color. For this photo shoot, NiziU applied makeup inspired by their respective member colors, showing off their individuality.

     

    A special web movie and visual for Glossy Eyes Rich N featuring the NiziU girls is available on the special product website and through the official social media channels. The eyeshadows will be available at drugstores and other retailers, as well as online, beginning September 16. Members Mayuka and Nina will also appear in limited season ads for Visée AVANT.

     

    An original movie featuring all members is also available to view on the official TikTok brand account and the Glossy Rich Eyes N special product website.

     

    Interview with NiziU

     

    Q1. Visée has partnered with a number of women before, each symbolizing the current era. What are your thoughts on being chosen as brand ambassadors for Visée now?

    Mako: I’m turning 20 this year, and I’ve really wanted to show a different side of myself now that I won’t be a teenager anymore. I was so happy when I was chosen for this project, since it gave me the perfect chance to do just that!

    Maya: We’re so incredibly honored to be chosen as ambassadors for Visée! I use their products regularly, but there are so many different colors of product available. I think this will inspire people to make use of colors they may not use often, and to try new things!

     

    Q2. How did you feel after shooting wrapped?

     

    Ayaka: It felt like something totally different than what NiziU has tackled in the past. I typically wear more cutesy makeup, but this time I tried to show something more mature. It was refreshing. It was a blast getting close-up shots taken of my eye makeup!



    Q3. The theme for this year’s campaign is ‘Find the Color Just for You.’ It calls on people to find a color that best matches their personality. After the first ad shoot, what were your impressions of your fellow members’ new makeup looks?


    Riku: Maya was the one getting her pictures taken first, and she looked so gorgeous that Ayaka and I couldn’t stop staring at her! Honestly, we were staring at her so much that when she finally looked over at us, she did that typical Maya smile, and it was like we fell in love with her. (laugh)



    Q4. This year’s visuals are impressive, with the NiziU members showing off very different expressions than usual. Is there anything you refer to or try to do personally, to find new facial expressions?


    Mayuka: It can be really difficult, but I find it useful to look at photos of some of the more senior members and practice copying their expressions.

     


    Q5. Again, this year’s theme is ‘Find the Color Just for You.’ Each of the nine members of NiziU have their own distinct personalities, so with that in mind, what do you think makes you stand out as an individual?

     

    Rima: For me, it’s my different worldview. It allows me to converse in a very unique way, and to really adjust how I carry myself depending on the location. My member color is red, which also has many meanings: it can be powerful, or mature, or energetic, or mischievous. I’m like a chameleon. I hold many different personalities that I can switch to at the drop of a hat.

     


    Q6. As a member of NiziU, you’ve had many different and unique experiences. Have you found any unexpected sides of yourself during your time as a member?

     

    Rio: I used to think I was one of the cool girls, but during this photo shoot, I was given a makeup look and outfit that was more cutesy. That’s a side of myself I haven’t explored, and this is something that happens frequently during the many events and challenges we take on as a unit.



    Q7. During the makeup shooting sessions, we were able to see very different sides of the NiziU members. Is there anything new you’ve learned about the other members recently?

     

    Miihi: Compared to how we all were when we all joined, everyone is really starting to show their true selves! We’ve so close, there’s nothing that we don’t know about each other at this point!



    Q8. The Glossy Rich Eyes N products that you used this time come in a wide variety of colors, making it possible for anyone to meet their perfect shade. Speaking of ‘meetings,’ what do the members of NiziU want to meet more than anything right now?

     

    Nina: I want to meet with WithU (the name for NiziU fans). We haven’t been able to meet them face to face yet, and I hope we’re able to soon.

  • Macaroni Enpitsu’s New Song ‘Tomason’ Features in Bourbon Chocolate Brownie’s Animated Commercial

    20.April.2021 | ANIME&GAME / FOOD

    Bourbon’s five-episode audiobook no doubt created for its Noukou Choco Brownie snack was released as an animated TV commercial last week. The video features Japanese pop rock band Macaroni Enpitsu’s new song Tomason which was written for the commercial.

    The audiobook no doubt becomes a TV commercial

    The no doubt audiobook was written by the popular Japanese author Yoru Sumino who is perhaps best known for writing I Want to Eat Your Pancreas. It tells the story of two boys who are in high school. They aren’t part of an afterschool club, and they don’t have part time jobs. They come to realise that this time will be what they look back on when they grow up. The characters were designed by Itsuka, an illustrator popular online.

     

    The commercial features the song Tomason by Macaroni Enpitsu.

     

    “no doubt” Animated TV Commercial

     

    “no doubt” Recording Behind The Scenes

     

    Japanese voice actors Hiro Shimono (Attack on TitanDemon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba) and Yuki Kaji (Attack on TitanMy Hero Academia) voiced the characters in the commercial. Below is an interview with both of them on the commercial, part of which we have translated.

     

    Hiro Shimono x Yuki Kaji Interview

     

    A snippet of the interview, translated 

    Q1: How did your performances go? Tell me about your shoot.

    Hiro Shimono: “The commercial portrays two boys who are neither adults nor children, so going through puberty I suppose. Their dialogue is elaborate, it was super interesting.”

     

    Yuki Kaji: “Right up to wrapping up, the entire shoot was a lot of fun, including the intervals during our breaks.”

     

    Q2: You both play the roles of high school boys. Tell me about a time from your youths.

    Yuki Kaji: “One memory I have from school being young, which is like something out of a painting, was my time a the theatre club. You need real physical strength when it comes to acting, so before dress rehearsal, I’d run around the school building. That’s a memory that’s stuck with me. I’d change into my jersey, and go die– I mean, run to the nearby river embankment too. Being reminded of that now it’s too much like a youth film or something, it’s making me laugh <laughs>. “

     

    Hiro Shimono: “I have a story from my youth too. It was on the day of the Culture Festival [at school]. After the festival finished, I was on my way home with some people, and there was a park with a water fountain in it. I said, ‘Well, it’s already raining, so why the hell not!’ Of course it wasn’t the thing to do, but we jumped into the water fountain and splashed about. That’s what being young is all about, right!?”

     

    Q3: What’s your favourite Noukou Choco Brownie flavour, the regular or the rich milk?

    Hiro Shimono: “Noukou Choco Brownie.”*

    *Translator’s Note: Implying all of them

     

    Yuki Kaji: “Me too! <laughs>”

     

    Q4: Please give a message to fans.

    Yuki Kaji: “I was lucky to have the opportunity to performance Yoru Sumino’s novel no doubt. I’m over the moon about it. The script was of course wonderful, and me and Shimono have known each other for a long time, so I think that comes across in the video with a pleasant atmosphere. The commercial is a youthful drama about two high school boys, and it’s linked to the bittersweetness of Noukou Choco Brownie. Be sure to tuck into one yourself while you listen to the story.”

     

    Hiro Shimono: “[The commercial’s characters] Igarashi and Imai have a great conversation, and getting to do it with Kaji was a lot of fun. It made me think we’ve always had that kind of vibe with each other. Noukou Choco Brownie is the keyword, so please be sure to check out the audiobook to see how it plays its part.”

     

    no doubt Synopsis

    One day, high schooler Imai skips school by feigning illness. He is at home in his room, when all of a sudden another boy from his class, Igarashi, comes to visit him. He has the handouts to give to Imai from class, but the high school they go to doesn’t have that custom where a classmate has to give handouts to someone who’s off ill. And the two of them aren’t that class where Igarashi would suddenly pop to see Imai like that. Imai finds it suspicious. Igarashi is interested in the clay work Imai has in his room. Both of them have some free time, so begin to make a town together out of clay.

  • Interview: Ohashi Trio Discusses His ‘Milk and Sugar’ Duet Music Video With Mone Kamishiraishi

    18.February.2021 | MUSIC

    Ohashi Trio released a music video on his YouTube channel on Tuesday (February 16) for Milk and Sugar duet with Mone Kamishiraishi. The song is taken from his upcoming new album NEW WORLD which is set to drop on March 3, 2021.

    Ohashi Trio – “Milk and Sugar duet with Mone Kamishiraishi” Official Music Video

    Ohashi Trio – “NEW WORLD”

    Ohashi Trio and Mone Kamishiraishi in the recording booth

    The music video features the actual footage of Ohashi and Kamishiraishi recording their respective vocal sections for the duet. We get to see the two artists’ faces in a more relaxed and natural environment. It’s also layered with cute animated illustrations and artwork which express the content of the lyrics. The song is a refreshing, up-tempo number that captures the beauty of both singers’ voices. It’s also available to listen to right now worldwide on all major music streaming and download services.

     

    Stream & Download Here

     

    An official interview with Ohashi Trio and Mone Kamishiraishi was also released where they talk about Kamishiraishi’s involvement on the song, both of their thoughts about it, and more. It’s a must-read for fans, and MMN Has translated it into English for our readers.

     

    Ohashi Trio and Mone Kamishiraishi Interview

    “I’d go as far as to say that breaking something down can lead to great things” (Ohashi)

     

    ──I had the opportunity to peek into your recording session not long ago, it seemed like a very positive, harmonious atmosphere.

     

    Ohashi: Because she’s great <looks towards Kamishiraishi>. I’m usually not like this.

     

    Kamishiraishi: <Laughs>

     

    ──I interviewed you last year where the two of you were talking about performing together, and here we are already. Could you talk again about what originally led you to working together?

     

    Ohashi: “My first time being involved with Mone was on her album ‘note.’”

     

    Kamishiraishi: “I was already a huge fan of his, so I thought, I’ll give it a shot, and asked him to come on board.”

     

    Ohashi: “You make it sound like you never stood a chance <laughs>. I wrote the song ‘Little Birds’ [for the album], and at the recording session, she was really kind and said, ‘I’m a huge fan.’ I remember thinking how great of a singer she was. After that, I thought about what we could do together if I invited her on my own album. Since it was the actual writing of a song that I did for her, I made sure to respect her style, but I was inviting her to my side, so I’d go as far to say that I decided to break all of that down. I thought by doing that, it could lead to great things. So I sent her the offer. She was super busy with shooting a drama series and other stuff but she was kind enough to make time each day.”

     

     Kamishiraishi: “Not at all. It was very kind of you.”

     

    I thought, “Aw yeah, a challenge!” (Kamishiraishi)

     

    ──So things were broken down this time, Kamishiraishi.

     

    Kamishiraishi: That’s what happened <laughs>. When I heard the instrumental, I thought, “Aw yeah, a challenge!” It had a kind of melody that I’d never had the chance to sing over before, same with its overall feel. It felt like a step up, like I was discovering a new way of singing, which really excited me, so I really sang my heart out prior to the recording.”

     

    Ohashi: “You were so involved, you prepared so much despite being so busy. You’re great. Hard-working.”

     

    Kamishiraishi: “I’m a fan, so when you release a new song, I memorise it straight away. This felt like the same thing. LIke I’m the first to hear it and learn it. So it didn’t feel like work needing to learn it, but when I first heard it, I thought, ‘He’s been kind enough to drawn attention to my new parts.’”

     

     Ohashi: “It makes me happy hearing that.”

     

    “I don’t think I’ve seen someone like this girl before” (Ohashi)

     

    ──What do you like about Kamishiraishi’s voice, Ohashi?

     

    Kamishiraishi: “Thank you for asking that <said quietly to the interviewer>.”

     

    Ohashi: “<laughs> I thought, this character is someone who puts 100% of herself into the songs she sings. And that image I had held true when I met her, plus she has real talent. Her songs are great. I thought, I don’t think I’ve seen someone like this girl before.”

     

    Kamishiraishi: “Wow… <speechless>

     

    Ohashi: “It was the same during ‘Little Birds.’ She’s so busy, and yet I really got from her that she’s going all out to put her all into it. She was so quick to respond to the request too. She has real physical strength as a vocalist. There are people out there whose songs are good, but rarely do I meet someone who can adapt as well.”

     

    Kamishiraishi: “You’re too kind. I don’t really have things said like this about me while having the opportunity to sing, so I’ll lap up everything that’s said here today and take it home with me. It will be engraved in my heart.”

     

     Oashi: “No, no, I should be saything lots of wrong things anyway.”

     

    “You won’t find someone like Ohashi out there even if you looked” (Kamishiraishi)

     

    ──What do you like about Ohashi’s music, Kamishiraishi?

     

    Kamishiraishi: “First of all, I love his voice. I really like his melodies and how the instruments sound in his music too. You won’t find someone like Ohashi out there even if you looked for them.”

     

    Ohashi: “Wow, that makes me happy.”

     

    Kamishiraishi: “He has a warmth, sense of style, and coolness about him that you won’t find in other people. I get the feeling that you’ll find all of those things in every one of his albums, and I love that about him. He invited me to one of his shows recently. It was the first time seeing him live, and, well, he was just super cool! The show title said “Ohashi Trio Live,” but every single one of the band members there felt like one of the main cast. There were too many amazing things to see and point out, but unfortunately I don’t have enough eyes for them all <laughs>. I wanted cameras to be recording each one of their parts! It made me realise how amazing music is. It was testament to the fact that your ears can forever be happy as long as you’re listening.”

     

    ──What a great comment!

     

    Ohashi: “You’ve conveyed everything I’ve always thought I wanted to have. I’m super happy.”

     

    Interview/Original Text: Hiroshi Takaoka

    English Translation: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

     

    Be sure to check out the music video for Ohashi Trio and Mone Kamishiraishi’s duet on Milk to Sugar (“Milk and Sugar”).

  • Interview: NiziU Discuss Their Favourite Moments in Life For Coca-Cola Japan’s New Commercial

    06.January.2021 | FOOD / MUSIC

    Coca-Cola Japan launched a new campaign and commercial on Monday (January 4) titled “Kono Shunkan ga, Watashi,” which roughly translates to “This Moment is Me.”

    2020 saw tremendous changes in the lives of people around the world as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and those changes continue to this day. Coca-Cola Japan’s new campaign aims to spread positivity with a mindset that says enjoy yourself to the fullest is the right way to go precisely because things have changed. It’s a campaign for loving those moments spent with friends and family in whatever way possible.

     

    The new commercial posted alongside the campaign’s launch features the members of the Japanese girl group NiziU singing and dancing to the tune of their new song Take a picture. The commercial shoot took place over the course of two days, and it’s reported that the set had a bright and positive atmosphere as NiziU greeted staff with smiles, vim, and vigour. On the first day they shot the dance and rooftop scenes, while the second day took them to the house studio. There’s also a scene of the group giving MAYUKA’s a surprise birthday celebration her birthday had fallen on the day before.

    Coca-Cola Japan has released limited-edition NiziU bottles as part of the collaboration which feature a QR code on them. When scanned, you can access the campaign website to sign up to win access to a special Coca-Cola x NiziU online event, a NiziU-original QUO card worth ¥1,000, and points for the LINE app. A total of 200,000 lucky winners will be chosen. There are 10 bottle designs to look out for.

    Additionally, a special 35-meter long ad poster is being displayed for a limited time at Shinjuku Station connecting to the East and West exits.

     

    NiziU Interview

    ―Your names are written on the limited-edition NiziU Coca-Cola bottles. How do you feel about them lining the shelves in stores?

     

    MAKO:
    I am super happy that our names get to go on the Coca-Cola labels! I hope lots of people see them and are filled with positive vibes.

     

    RIKU:
    It doesn’t feel real to me yet either that our names are featuring on Coca-Cola products. When they hit the stores I kind of want to go searching for my own name <laughs>.

     

    RIMA:
    There’s a QR code on the bottles when might land you something if you scan it with your phone, so be on the lookout and try finding my bottle.

     

    ―When do you find yourselves wanting to drink Coca-Cola?

    RIO:
    I’m personally a huge foodie, so I like to drink it together with people when everyone’s eating their favourite food.

     

    MAYA:
    I definitely find myself wanting some when I need a kick of positivity or need some energy.

     

    ―Please give your thoughts on the commercial shoot.

    MAYUKA:
    When went on the rooftop with everyone, and when we were practicing the dances, we were drinking Coca-Cola. I feel the shoot had a completely different air to it than our usual practice. Everyone said “Cheers!” [with their drinks] on the roof. It was a lot of fun.

     

    AYAKA:
    It was hard to convey the appeal of Coca-Cola [during the shoot], so we thought to convey its delicious taste how we would convey the appeal of [NiziU]. We showed ourselves really enjoying its delicious taste.

     

    NINA:
    The shoot for this commercial was so much fun, there’s so many great bits in it! It looks so tasty watching everyone gulp down their drinks. It was a great time, I like everyone’s facial expressions in it. Be sure to check it out.

     

    ―Give us each of your thoughts on the “This Moment is Me” campaign and how it relates to yourselves.

    MAKO:
    I feel the most me thing is when I’m writing in my diary. I write in it at the end of every day, it’s my favourite moment.

     

    RIKU:
    When I’m eating something. I feel only happiness when eating; I forget all the bad things and can concentrate just by eating something tasty. It’s a moment I can be myself.

     

    RIMA:
    I really love steady and straightforward work, like puzzles, so when I’m concentrating on one thing I really get in the zone, to the point where I can’t hear people even if they call my name. I think that kind of moment is most me.

     

    RIO:
    For me, it’s when I’m dancing. It’s something I’ve done since I was little, so I think working hard and practicing to improve in that is my most me moment.

     

    MAYA:
    The moment which is most me is when I’m cooking. I find it so much fun and love seeing people enjoy the food I cook for them.

     

    MAYUKA:
    It would be when I’m playing with my cat. I have two cats at home and can be my true self when playing with them.

     

    AYAKA:
    When I’m video calling my mom. We talk about the silliest things and laugh, and that’s when I feel most like myself. I love those moments the most.

     

    NINA:
    The moments I love the most are when I’m drawing. I don’t have to think about anything when I’m drawing and can relax, so they’re definitely my favourite.

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