FRUITS ZIPPER, a new idol group from ASOBISYSTEM, has a simple concept: “From Harajuku to the World.” Ready to transmit what they call ‘NEW KAWAII’ from Harajuku, an area known for fashion and individuality, to their soon-to-be global fanbase, the group consists of seven members: Amane Tsukiashi, Suzuka Chinzei, Yui Sakurai, Luna Nakagawa, Mana Manaka, Karen Matsumoto, and Noel Hayase.
Three members of FRUITS ZIPPER sat down with us for an interview.
“Could you introduce yourself?”
“Hi, everyone! I’m the youngest member of FRUITS ZIPPER, Noel Hayase, and I’m 18 years old. I’m half-German and half-Japanese, but I attended an international school, so I’m pretty good at languages. I speak Japanese, English, German, and a little French! I like to play games, watch videos, and just hang out with friends, but I also love dancing and moving my body. I also like to work with technology, and edit my own videos and songs.”
“Everyone reading this on Moshi Moshi Nippon, it’s nice to meet you!
My name is Suzuka Chinzei, but you can call me Osuzu!
I spend about ⅓ of my waking hours thinking about food, especially gyoza 🥟and fried tofu. I’d prefer my gyoza with a thin skin and filled with veggies. I’m a big fan of pairing alcohol with my food too!
I grew up in Nishinomiya in Hyogo Prefecture. Fans of the anime series The Melancholy of
Haruhi Suzumiya will be familiar with the town–I used to do the dance from that show all the
time. I’ve loved dancing since I was a kid. My mom told me that once when I was young, I
started dancing to the song Kawaii Kakurenbo, but I was crying because I didn’t WANT to dance–I just couldn’t help it. I guess I just want to dance on a cellular level.
I started appearing on NHK Educational TV’s Tensai Terebi-kun MAX when I was in 5th grade.
Since then, I’ve started appearing on different variety shows, and I’m currently working on
Nyanchuu! Uchuu! Housou Chu-! and German for Travel.
“Nice to meet everyone!
I’m Mana Manaka–nicknamed Manafy–and my member color in FRUITS ZIPPER is light blue!
Previously, I worked at KAWAII MONSTER CAFE HARAJUKU, and I did my best to transmit ‘KAWAII’ from Harajuku to the world❤️
This is my first time working as an idol, but I’m going to work hard to embody the idea of ‘KAWAII’ and to create the ‘NEW KAWAII’ that FRUITS ZIPPER has to offer through music, dance, and by sharing Japanese idol culture!”
“A question for Mana–what is KAWAII MONSTER CAFE HARAJUKU?”
“KAWAII MONSTER CAFE HARAJUKU is part-restaurant, part-entertainment venue, part-art installation. It was directed by Sebastian Masuda, the ‘king of kawaii,’ and guests can order really unique and colorful dishes in an amazing space designed to look like the inside of a monster’s belly!”
“Nice to meet you! Here’s a question from readers: why did you decide to become an idol?”
“Since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to be center stage. When I saw an artist performing live, I started to think “wow, I’d love to see what they’re seeing,” so I decided to pursue a career in the music industry. Thanks to some of the connections I’ve made over the years, I’m now able to pursue the idol life! I’m glad that I chose this path because I love being on stage with the other members of FRUITS ZIPPER.”
“I decided I wanted to be an idol a long time ago when I ended my time on Tensai Terebi-kun MAX. Right after, I was photographed in a school uniform for Shueisha’s Aoharu Magazine. The problem was that I was already in my mid-teens at that point. I thought it was too late to become an idol, so I just put those feelings away.
After that, I had so many different opportunities to appear in different plays and variety shows, but there was always this nagging feeling in my chest. It’s hard to describe, but I just felt like something was missing.
During that period of stress and confusion, there was a lot of discussion about my joining ASOBISYSTEM. When I looked at their website, I saw that they were recruiting members for a new idol group. I started freaking out, and my mom–who was standing next to me at the time–
said that I should talk with them about it. I went to the person in charge and asked them about what it would take to be an idol. I realized, in that moment, that I didn’t want to go the rest of my life without trying it out. Now I can say that I made the right decision, I guess. (laugh)
“Harris, the content director of KAWAII MONSTER CAFE and the current manager of FRUITS ZIPPER, contacted me out of the blue and asked if I was interested in idols. When he brought up the subject, I followed my gut. I instantly knew it would be fun, so I decided to just take a leap of faith!”
“Moving on, tell us about what you’ve worked on the hardest up until this point in your life.”
“When I was a student, I tried to balance my studies with my performing arts activities. I had done a little modeling work before I started working as an idol, but once I joined FRUITS ZIPPER I got incredibly busy. My final exams coincided with my prep period and my idol debut! Once I
overcame all of that and successfully graduated, I felt so much stronger. (laugh)
“In my teens, I wanted to find a balance between being ‘normal’ and being ‘special.’
From a young age, I had been working in a space where I was surrounded by adults. I think that made me feel special, compared to my peers.
But living in that world was difficult as well. There were so many things that I felt I was missing out on–things that I felt I couldn’t catch up to.
One day, I was riding the bullet train alone. I lived in Hyogo Prefecture, but I commuted to Tokyo at least three days a week. When I passed by Nagoya, I suddenly got really sick with a fever, and my parents rushed me to the hospital.
I remember wondering how adults dealt with things like that. There were so many days that I would call my mom from Yamagata as a fifth-grader, crying my eyes out.
The world of entertainment is so vastly different from the real world, and I desperately wanted a sense of normalcy. I needed that comfort. I’m not sure what the definition of ‘normal’ is, but I
guess I didn’t want anyone to take away that innocent childishness from me. Looking back, I worked so incredibly hard to protect it.”
“During my time as a poster girl for KAWAII MONSTER CAFE HARAJUKU, I worked hard to create a space that people could enjoy. I wanted everyone to leave satisfied and smiling and I wanted them to come back again. Looking back on those days, every day was so happy and the space was just so welcoming. I don’t think that the KAWAII MONSTER CAFE could have been successful without the team members who worked so hard to create the best possible experience. Every moment was heaven.”
“Thanks for sharing. FRUITS ZIPPER’s concept is “From Harajuku to the World.” If you end up
going abroad, what would you like to do?”
“I’d love to do a special concert in each of the countries I’ve been to. Each concert would be created for each country–we’d wear unique costumes and have unique sets. At the same time, I feel like we can bring Japanese idol culture to the world by staying true to ourselves. I can dream. I want to do something really spectacular!”
“Right now, I’m working on an educational program called German for Travel. I’ve learned so many phrases, so I’d like to try them out in real life–things like ordering a meal and explaining my thoughts about the food to the waiter. I do a cute dance on the show too, so I’d like to do that with the waiter too! I’m still a little too nervous to try it alone, so I’d ask our half-German member Noel Hayase–who speaks 3.5 languages!–to be next to me the whole time.
I’d also like to lay down in the middle of the Sedona desert and see a UFO!”
“I want us to appear in a major festival!
After that, I’d love to represent Japan on the world stage at something like Japan Parade or Japan Expo. I want to spread Japanese idol culture to the world through ‘KAWAII,’ something that’s so universally loved!
Personally, I love musicals and theme parks, so I’m hoping to travel a lot in the future.”
“Last question. What is the most important thing about being an idol to you?”
“Being an idol means always having a goal. It’s more fun and more useful to keep thinking about where I want to go and how I want to be. If I were to take part in idol activities without a goal, I’d lose sight of why I’m doing what I’m doing. I started down this path because I had a goal in mind, and I intend to keep doing so.”
“I think the most important thing is to make everyone happy and to increase the Earth’s
vibrations! Human beings can’t be happy-go-lucky every day–we all have our own problems and negative feelings. But I hope that our music, our videos, and our live performances can support everyone during those difficult times.
I also think that ‘fun’ is something that spreads from person to person. When I’m performing
live, I’m truly enjoying myself from the bottom of my heart. The other members can sense
those honest feelings, and they carry them home to their families, to their friends at school, and maybe to their grandparents who they haven’t seen in a while. That sense of ‘fun’ is contagious–it lets us connect with people. I want everyone to have fun more than anything. Maybe we can make the entire world happy, in time. (laugh)
“FRUITS ZIPPER wants to give everyone strength and happiness through our activities. Above all else, I value always being energetic and positive, and I always want to have fun!”
“Thank you so much for chatting with us. Is there anything you’d like to say before we
“It’s only been a short time since I debuted and I have zero experience as an idol, so there’s a
ton that I don’t know. Even still, I have a dream that I want to achieve and I will do my best to achieve it. Because I want to show everyone my dream, I’ll do my best to make it come true
with energy and a smile. I hope you’ll come along with us and support us as much as you can!”
“FRUITS ZIPPER will keep spreading ‘NEW KAWAII’ around the world in all kinds of ways!
I hope that we can awaken the ‘NEW KAWAII’ that’s been inside of you all along!”
“We’re just getting started, but we’re going full speed ahead! I can’t wait until we can travel and meet fans around the world. Through Japanese idol culture and our ‘NEW KAWAII,’ we hope to
connect the world and bring happiness to everyone we meet!
From Harajuku to the world!!!”