【MMN Interview】Interview with J-POP SUMMIT Performing Artist May’n
“I want to sing songs that will become everybody’s main theme.” May’n began her activity as a singer back in 2004 based on this very desire. Since then, she has gone on to leave her mark on the world stage, having embarked on an Asia tour, a world tour, a tour around all 47 prefectures in Japan, not to mention a solo concert at the world-renowned Nippon Budokan.
Autumn this year marks 13 years since May’n made her debut. Her appearance at J-POP SUMMIT is imminent, as is the release of her new album in October. It will be her first appearance at J-POP SUMMIT in 3 years and her first album in 4 years. Looking back over her career, we spoke with May’n about how she has changed over the years and her outlook for the future.
—Your appearance at J-POP SUMMIT is drawing close, isn’t it?
It’s been 3 years since I’ve performed there, so I want to give it my all like I really have been away for 3 years. Back then it was held outdoors, but this time it’ll be indoors. It also seems like I will have more stage time, so I want to deliver the full package of something much closer to my regular live shows.
—Is there anything that has held a place in your heart these past 3 years?
The last time I was given the opportunity to perform at J-POP SUMMIT. I was on my 10-year anniversary world tour. Experiencing it was like I had reached a plateau, like all of the scary things had disappeared, in a good way… It was as if I had started from the very beginning again.
—So, you’ve gone through changes these past 3 years?
When I reached my 10th year, I started thinking deeply about the kind of image I want perceive for myself as May’n, what kind of figure I want to become for everyone else – those kinds of ideals. But I settled on believing in my own feelings and in my fans to do the things I love. When I look back at photos on stage, I think how happy my face looks (laughs).
—Do you think you have become free in expressing yourself in recent years?
I’ve wanted to be an artist since I was 3 years old, so I think I’ve always been pursuing that ideal. Especially during the time when I did the singing voice for Sheryl Nome, the Galactic Fairy from “Macross Frontier.” I was desperate in trying to become like her.
—From 3 years old!
That’s correct. Thinking about it now, it started back when my teacher praised me at Parent’s Day (laughs). My mother saw that I loved songs and let me go to a concert at 3 years old. From there it was set in stone – I loved songs. Even now, my kindergarten teacher from back then comes to my concerts.
—That’s a wonderful story.
My true self, which my mother and teacher know about, does have its relatively idle moments, but when I look back, I think I might have stifled my true nature until the moment of my 10th anniversary. I’m concentrating on looking after my throat, and it seems taking a break has been a huge turning point for me.
Hard Rock Cafe Releases Limited-Edition Pins of Ueno Zoo’s Panda Xiang Xiang
Hard Rock Cafe Ueno is celebrating the 4th birthday of Ueno Zoo’s giant panda Xiang Xiang with a collection of birthday pins. The limited-edition line-up was released on Thursday.
4th Birthday Pin | 300 Available | ¥2,200
4th Birthday Pin 2 | 500 Available | ¥2,200
The two pin designs are limited in stock, the first featuring Xiang Xiang with her mother and father has 300 available, and the second one has the cute giant panda on an aeroplane branded with her birthday date with 500 available.
Both pins capture Xiang Xiang’s energetic personality and are cute souvenirs to take home after meeting her at Ueno Zoo.
Mr. Fullswing Manga Celebrates 20th Anniversary With Themed Cafe in Ikebukuro
In celebration of Mr. Fullswing‘s 20th anniversary, Animate are collaborating with the manga series to serve up a themed menu at their own Animate Cafe in Ikebukuro from June 23 to July 26. The entire menu including the meals, drinks, and desserts are all inspired by the series, and fans can get their hands on some exclusive merchandise too.
Mr. Fullswing is a baseball manga series written and illustrated by Shinya Suzuki which was serialised in Weekly Shonen Jump from 2001 to 2006. This year marks 20 years since it was first released.
Menu item names have been translated from Japanese.
A peek at the manga-themed menu
Is That Rice? No, It’s Curry | ¥1,000
Rations From Shiba | ¥1,000
Gou’s Secret Batting Form ~Hachiku~ | ¥800
Sei’s Secret Batting Form ~Utsusemi~ | ¥800
Terrible Tatsuragawa’s Glasses | ¥600
A peek at the merch
CoLotta Acrylic Plate Key Rings | 15 Designs | ¥800 Each
Acrylic Character Key Rings | 14 Designs | ¥800 Each
Acrylic Uniform Key Rings | 14 Designs | ¥650 Each
Campaign to win a free photo card
24 photo cards based on the manga volume front covers
Win a birthday bromide photo
For every ¥2,000 spent at the cafe on menu items or merchandise, customers will receive one free photo card. There is also a birthday campaign being held from July 19 where you can win a free birthday bromide for every ¥2,000 spent.
Mr. Fullswing x Animate Cafe
Running: June 23, 2021 – July 26, 2021
Where: Animate Cafe Ikebukuro 2
Event Details: https://cafe.animate.co.jp/event/mrfullswing2106/
Yoshikitty Wins 1st Place in 4 Countries in 2021 Sanrio Character Ranking
Sanrio announced the winners of the 2021 Sanrio Character Ranking last week. While Cinnamoroll came in 1st place overall, Yoshikitty has captured the hearts of fans outside Japan by placing No. 1 in Italy, Germany, France, and Thailand. He ranked 11th overall. The character is inspired by Japanese musician and X Japan member Yoshiki.
Every year, Sanrio also partners with TANITA, an electronics company centred on health, on Sanrio-themed pedometers as part of the Sanrio Character Ranking. For the second year in a row, the Yoshikitty pedometer received the highest number of advance sales. To celebrate this achievement, Yoshikitty was also presented with the TANITA Award.
YOSHIKI met with Yoshikitty in LA during an online event for the announcement to express his gratitude to fans.
LiSA & yama Appear in New Commercial For ZONe Energy Drink
In promotion of their new Ver.2.0.0 energy drink, which hit shelves in Japan last Tuesday, ZONe released a TV commercial featuring Japanese artists LiSA and yama. The new beverage, which is advertised as putting people in the zone of invincibility, contains the highest amount of caffeine put in a ZONe drink yet: 150mg of the stuff, which is sure to keep people buzzing throughout the day. The packaging has also been updated to feature the new ‘ZONe EYE’ which symbolises that you’re in the zone and nothing will stand in your way.
LiSA in the ZONe
Dive into the zone with LiSA who knocks back her drink and immediately takes on the ZONe EYE. She grabs her mic and belts out a hardcore performance, showing off her incredible voice, before winking at the camera.
yama in the ZONe
When yama chugs her can she says the words ‘Into the ZONe’ along with the futuristic-sounding voice. She is surrounded by a whirlpool of the energy drink which flows along to the sound of her gorgeous high-tone vocals. The track itself is titled Ketsuryu (‘Blood Flow’) and was written for this commercial.
・What did you think of the commercial and your appearance?
“For me, it was a live performance. Even I was surprised at the show of power that ZONe has [in the commercial] when it turns on your switch. I enjoyed it like a real live performance, since the part when I switch into that invincible zone was filmed just as I look in the video.”
・Tell us about the song RUNAWAY which features in your commercial.
“The song is about quitting while you’re ahead in life. It’s the start of a new era, heading into that invincible zone to laugh lots, sing, dance, and enjoy everything.”
・Tell us about the song Ketsuryu which features in your commercial
“ESME MORI kindly wrote this song for me. It’s a song that brings up the topic of being bored in life, and feeling lonely, but that you can still find someone special or something you can immerse yourself in to light up your life. It’s about keeping your heart moving even if those things disappear. I hope it encourages people, even if just a little.”
ZONe x LiSa/Yama TVCM
Released: June 8, 2021
ZONe Official Website: https://zone-energy.jp/
X-Girl x Dr. Martens Launch Second Collaboration
16.June.2021 | FASHION
The second collaboration boot models by Dr. Martens and X-GIRL released in Japan on Saturday, serving impactful, stereotype-breaking silhouettes.
Dr. Martens X-GIRL Jadon Max | ¥37,400 (Tax Included)
Dr. Martens X-GIRL Strap Sandals | ¥24,200 (Tax Included)
Freedom to move. Freedom from stereotypes. X-girl has always been interested in creating “real clothing” that allows girls to dress on their own terms. Kim Gordon and Daisy von Furthbrand’s iconic brand made its debut in 1994 on a fashion runway and has since seen support not only from the industry but art and music too. Similarly, Dr. Martens has also enjoyed overwhelming love from artists and activists for over 60 years.
The JADON MAX X-GIRL is built with a Black canvas upper with a leopard-print canvas lining — a flexible material that will move as much as you do. The boots are customisable with black or white laces. Dual branding throughout is finished with a DIY-inspired brushed silver Dr. Martens x X-girl dog tag. The Jadon Max X-girl stands tall on our sky-high Smoke Quad Max sole — for unflinching, unmissable impact.
The STRAP SANDAL X-GIRL’s black velvet upper is contrasted with a Purple X-girl footbed and a leopard-print-lined vamp strap. The sandal’s dual branding is also finished with a brushed silver dog tag. The Strap Sandal X-Girl features our tallest sandal sole yet — the towering Zebrilus Quad, featuring a padded comfort collar around the ankle.
DR.MARTENS x X-GIRL COLLABORATION
Released: June 12, 2021
Available: X-GIRL stores in Japan / Dr. Martens Online (Worldwide) / X-GIRL Online (Worldwide)
Buy at Dr. Martens Online: https://www.drmartens.com/uk/en_gb/collaborations/x-girl
Buy at X-GIRL Online: https://x-girl.com/collections/dr-martens-x-x-girl
Ace Hotel Kyoto Commemorates 1st Anniversary With Yu Nagaba Exhibition
Ace Hotel Kyoto marked its 1st anniversary on June 11 since opening. In celebration of hitting the milestone, the hotel is collaborating with Japanese artist Yu Nagaba by displaying his work at its gallery until June 30. The works displayed are of the sights and people that Nagaba saw and penned in a memo pad while staying at Ace Hotel Kyoto. All of the illustrations were made for this exhibition and so they are being exhibited for the first time. One of the pieces is also being sold at stickers in the hotel’s shop.
Yu Nagaba‘s work
Yu Nagaba | Comment
“After I heard whispers that Ace Hotel was setting up in Kyoto, I hoped I could do something, so I was happy to take part in this project, but I also spent my time wondering what I could draw, and no ideas came to mind. After pondering I went to find inspiration by deciding to stay at Ace Hotel. I drew what came to mind during my time there as I walked the streets of Kyoto and spent time at the hotel. I drew a total of 49 illustrations in my memo pad. I painted six of my favourites on canvas. I hope people can get a feel for my experiences of Kyoto in these pieces.”
Ace Hotel Kyoto x Yu Nagaba
Running: June 7, 2021 – June 30, 2021
Location: Ace Hotel Kyoto (Floor 1F Gallery Space)
Official Website: https://www.acehotel.com/kyoto/
Sanrio Announces Kawaii Musical ‘From Hello Kitty’
Sanrio has announced that their popular cast of characters are set to perform at an attraction-style musical titled From Hello Kitty which will run at the IHI Stage Around Tokyo on from July 26 to September 26.
All of the familiar faces from Sanrio’s character roster, including Hello Kitty, Dear Daniel, Cinnamoroll, Pompompurin, My Melody, and the Little Twin stars—all of whom ranked high on this year’s Sanrio Character Ranking—will make an appearance alongside notable Japanese actors Shota Takasaki, Dai Gotou, and Kodai Miyagi.
The musical is a historical lookback at 60 years of Sanrio and a delivery of their core message: to help everyone in the world get along. A special edition of the ‘Miracle Gift Parade’ held at Sanrio Puroland will also take place with an original story.
The art direction of the stage performance is being done by Sebastian Masuda, the music composed by music producer Hyadain, and the choreography created by Yukio Ueshima who has worked on countless Broadway musicals including a theatrical adaptation of the popular sports manga series The Prince of Tennis.
The musical is taking place at IHI Stage Around Tokyo, a unique theatre with 360-degrees rotating audience seats surrounded by movable huge screens and stages. The audience seats that are placed on a huge circular platform slowly rotates to each stage set as the story moves on, without waiting for set changes. Visitors will also be able to take photos with different Sanrio characters each day.
IHI Stage Around Tokyo is produced by TBS Television, Inc., Imagine Nation B.V., and The John Gore Organization Inc.
Sanrio Kawaii Musical – “From Hello Kitty”
Running: July 26, 2021 – September 26, 2021
*Closed Mondays (or Tuesdays if the Monday falls on a public holiday)
YOASOBI’s ‘Mou Sukoshi Dake’ Ranks Number One On RecoChoku’s May 2021 Award
15.June.2021 | MUSIC
Japanese music streaming site RecoChoku has revealed the top song and album rankings of artists for April 2021 who earn the site’s RecoChoku Award for the month. Taking the number one spot for the monthly single charts is YOASOBI with Mou Sukoshi Dake (‘Just a Little More’) which released on May 10 as the theme song for Fuji TV’s Mezamashi TV.
RecoChoku Award Monthly Music – May 2021
1st Place: “Mou Sukoshi Dake” – YOASOBI (Released May 20, 2021)
2nd Place: “Kaitou” – back number
3rd Place: “Kirari” – Fujii Kaze
4th Place: “Butter” – BTS
5th Place: “Cry Baby” – Official HIGE DANdism
1st Place: “ZZ’s II” – Momoiro Clover Z (Releasing May 17, 2021)
2nd Place: “THE BOOK” – YOASOBI
3rd Place: “Kimi Shika Katan (Special Edition)” – Hinatazaka46
4th Place: “Butter” – BTS
5th Place: “LADYBUG” – LiSA
YOASOBI’s Mou Sukoshi Dake is inspired by the novel Meguru. by Chiharu and first hit the air on March 29 as the main theme for the weekly Japanese news show Mezamashi TV. Excited words of praise flooded social media in Japan when it played on the show. The single’s cover art was created by hmng and captures a scene of a schoolgirl bathed in light. This girl also appears in the novel, giving a peek into its story as well as the feeling of the song itself. Mou Sukoshi Dake has ranked number one two weeks in a row for RecoChoku’s weekly rankings on May 12 and 19 and has now taken the monthly spot.
YOASOBI’s success doesn’t stop there however as it was recently announced that band member ikura is receiving her voice acting role in Studio Chizu’s upcoming anime film Belle which is set for release this July.
Momoiro Clover Z’s compilation album ZZ’s II is set to release on May 17 in celebration of the group’s 13th anniversary. The tracks were re-recorded by the current four members. There are 10 songs in title including Nippon Egao Hyakkei -ZZ ver.-, Saraba Itoshiki Kanashimi-tachi yo which features arrangement and guitar work by Tomoyasu Hotei, and more.
Momoiro Clover Z have been posting videos of songs from the album on their official YouTube channel. The album came in at number one on the daily charts and that has continued in the weekly and monthly charts.
BEAMS Showcase Their Historical Fashion Archive at The National Art Center in Tokyo
BEAMS is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year. At such an important milestone, it’s important to take a look back at where the brand has come from, and so BEAMS is taking part in the Fashion in Japan 1945-2020 exhibition that opened at The National Art Center, Tokyo, last Wednesday. Followers of the Japanese fashion are able to see their early products when they first opened in the late 1970’s to their Shibuya Casual style, known as Shibu-Kaji, from the late 80’s. It’s an historical, nostalgic throwback across their archive. Exclusive merchandise is also being sold featuring the ‘American Life Shop BEAMS’ logo which they branded upon establishing the brand.
A look at just some of the exhibits on display
BEAMS shopping bag from 1977
Shibu-Kaji outfit from late 1980’s
Exhibition-exclusive souvenir merch inspired by vintage BEAMS
This exhibition follows the unique trajectory of Japanese clothing, especially in post-World War Ⅱ Japan, as seen from both sides: that of designers who transmit culture by creating clothes and ideas, and that of users who receive it by wearing the clothes and at times create era-defining grassroots fashion movements. It offers a comprehensive overview that references the predominant media of each era, such as newspapers, magazines, and advertisements.
In the mid to late 1970’s, BEAMS was at the forefront of spreading casual wear to people, stocking some of the country’s most notable brands and designers. BEAMS opened its first store in Harajuku in 1976 where it sold shirts, shoes, and other items. In 1977 they introduced their own shopping bag, and the following year opened up their first BEAMS F selling traditional men’s style clothing. It was around this time that beams released their POPEYE magazine too. All of this and more is explore at the exhibition along with commentary.
A talk event titled “Lifestyle Tips: POPEYE & BEAMS” will also take place on July 3 at the museum.
Fashion in Japan 1945-2020
Running: June 9, 2021 – September 6, 2021
Venue: The National Art Center, Tokyo
Address: 7-22-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 10:00-18:00 (Until 20:00 on Fridays and Saturdays)
*Last entries 30 minutes before closure
*Exhibition content subject to change
Official Website: https://www.nact.jp/english/exhibitions/2020/fij2020/
Title: Lifestyle Tips: POPEYE & BEAMS
Date: July 3, 2021
Venue: The National Art Center, Tokyo
Pompompurin’s 25th Anniversary Celebrated With Limited Edition Dessert at FamilyMart
15.June.2021 | FOOD
Sanrio teamed up with the convenience store chain FamilyMart to commemorate the 25th anniversary of their popular character Pompompurin with a special soufflé and macarons that hit shelves up and down Japan on June 8.
Pompompurin Soufflé Pudding | ¥276 (Before Tax)
Pompompurrin & Cinnamoroll Macarons | ¥350 (Before Tax)
Pom’s Kitchen Campaign
The Japanese pudding-style soufflé is made with smooth and velvety custard and caramel. It’s sold in a cup in three different original designs. Also available as part of the celebration is a set of macarons made to look like Pompompurin as well as Cinnamoroll, another one of Sanrio’s most popular characters. They are wearing cute king and queen crowns respectively.
A campaign is also being held where you can win some special Pompompurin merchandise by posting a photo of a rice dish inspired by Pompompurin on social media. More details can be found on the campaign website below.
Japan’s Virtual Art Museum ‘In ART’ Announces Abstract Painting Solo Exhibition by CBA
15.June.2021 | FASHION
In ART is a Japanese virtual art museum displaying works by a line-up of specially-selected artists. The museum is accessible through VR where users can not only look at art pieces but watch commentaries by the artists as well as shop at the museum store.
In ART has revealed that abstract painter CBA will be the third in a line-up of solo exhibitions. CBA is a graphic designer with over 20 years of experience and is also active as a musician both in Japan and overseas. They changed jobs to become an artist in 2010, and since then, their unique style which breaks language and cultural barriers has garnered them many fans from outside Japan. Most recently, CBA opened a solo exhibition at Franck Muller Boutique in Madrid, Spain. Their work is inherently universal, getting through to people regardless of age, language, or culture, something which is best appreciated when seen for yourself, and is now observable at In ART.
Some of CBA’s works on virtual display
CBA | Comment
-shine on the life- Pray for better life
“The foundation of my work is built on putting together different elements to create something, just like how you would techno music. Colours and shapes elicit emotions and smells. Abstract painting isn’t just playing around experimenting or taking chances—it’s something that’s formed and composed, and I’d love for people to enjoy that aspect when looking at my work. I urge you to enjoy the colours, shapes, and compositions as you would music.”
In ART opened as a service offering people the opportunity to spend time enjoying art, even alone in their own house, as well as serving as a platform to support artists. Its aim is to make art a normal part of of everybody’s lives, and it does this in the form of a virtual museum which uses 3DCG technology. While it is an art museum, you don’t have to pay to enter. You can enjoy artwork at your leisure on your favourite device, and if there’s a piece you want to buy, then you can.
Don’t miss the abstract work of CBA in their virtual solo exhibition.
Attack on Titan’s Survey Corps Relax in Animate’s Merchandise Collection
15.June.2021 | ANIME&GAME
Anime and manga merchandise website ARMA BIANCA has announced a special Attack on Titan fair which includes the release of an original merchandise collection at Animate stores across Japan. The event, titled ‘Attack on Titan ~Survey Corps’ Relax Time~ in Animate,’ will run from August 21 to September 5.
Grab merch pre-sales at the event
Levi Relax Ver. Glitter Pin | AMNIBUS Exclusive
Eren & Levi Relax Ver. Mini Card | Animate Exclusive
Postcards (8 Designs) | Fair Exclusive
Fans of the anime series can get the hands on pre-sales of a bounty of merch as well as exclusive items. Grab your maneuver gear and blast your way to Animate this summer.
©諫山創・講談社／「進撃の巨人」The Final Season製作委員会 ®KODANSHA
Attack on Titan ~Survey Corps’ Relax Time~ in Animate
Japanese Event Title: 進撃の巨人～兵士たちのリラックスタイム～ in アニメイト
Running: August 21, 2021 – September 5, 2021
Location: Animate (Ikebukuro/Takasaki/Sendai/Omiya/Chiba/Utsunomiya/Sapporo/Shibuya/Nagoya/Niigata/Sannomiya/Kyoto/Fukuoka PARCO/Okayama/Hiroshima/Kumamoto/Osaka Nipponbashi/Gifu/Yokohama Vivre/Online)
Official Website: https://amnibus.com/