enjoyable photoshoot

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The translation of HKT48′s Matsuoka Natsumi on Asahi Shinbun Digital’s “AKB48 Yume no Entry Sheet” serialization with her essay entitled “Shiritaishi, Shittehoshi”

(TL: “I want to know you, I want you to know”)


I am a moody person, and the members also tell me that I am easy to understand. My spirit is low in the morning, and when the night comes, it gradually rises. There are also times when I am high spirited after moving around in the concert that I get warned, “so noisy”.

I used to be very shy. I could not converse with the person I met for the first time, and it took a long time until I opened up my heart.

Although I was shy, for some reason, I set my heart on becoming an entertainer since I was a kid. It was an intuition that settled on “entering” instead of a dream such as “wanting to enter” or “wanting to become”. I thought it was easy to reach. My plan was to enter the entertainment world after I graduated the high school, but when I was in the 3rd year of junior high school, there was the audition for HKT48 and my sister encouraged me in a jocular vein, so without telling my mother, I submitted my application and passed the audition.

After I passed the audition, there were lessons everyday, and just about the time I started, the manager told me, “Matsuoka is shy, isn’t she.” It seems that it was obvious. The members of HKT48 made friends with each other since the audition and I was the only one who didn’t.

I did not talk to anyone for about 1 week, and I always spent my time by myself. My surrounding was always bustling. “It seems fun" “I want to talk” “I can’t bring myself to”. There was always Nakanishi Chiyori (Now in AKB48) at the center of the bustling circle, so when I made up my mind to talk to her, “can we eat bento together,” I finally got to enter the circle.

There was a job of handshake event in HKT48. On my first day, I was nervous and my head went blank. I spoke “thank you” “please come again” in honorifics and I was not able to converse at all.

When there were fans who were nervous, both of us would shake hand in silence.

As the matter of fact, when I saw the members, everyone interacted with their fans in friendly manner, and swung their hands as they said, “come again, okay.” To swing the hands of the person you met for the first time, I couldn’t do that, I was surprised by it.

Murashige Anna-chan particularly interacted with them very cheerfully. Since the audition, she has always stood out more than others. We became tensed in the waiting room of the audition like during an exam, but Murashige-chan was the only one who wasn’t, and she spoke by herself, “anyone who thinks she will pass, please raise your hand,” abruptly. Even in the handshake event, she was cheerful like that, and I felt, “so amazing,”

I believe that, in those days, it must have been not enjoyable for the fans who came visiting my lane. I was not able to tell interesting story at all.

I was also poor in MC. At school, I felt at ease talking with my friends I got along with, but as an idol, I had to talk about things that were suited to the strangers. However, I did not know what I should do. On the summer of the following year after our debut, Sasshii (Sashihara Rino) was transferred to HKT48. She told us that our MC was “hopelessly uninteresting.” HKT48 at that time had many members who were poor at talking, so we dealt with it by deciding the contents of the conversation like a scenario prior to the show.

Sasshii taught us, “the current method is not interesting. Decide the contents of the conversation somehow or other, the rest would be better if you insert ad lib.”

Until then, we dealt with the MC as a filler between the songs, and we did not realize its importance. I imagine the fans were bored and felt sleepy.

With Sasshii’s guidance, we built self-awareness to do the MC firmly.

Sasshii gave as an advice, “it’s better if you collect the topic regularly,” and we put it into practice. The dressing room is bustling, material treasure in HKT48. Recently the small children being vigorous is turned into a joke material. The height of 6th grader Imamura Maria-chan is 130 cm. It is like when she puts on Komada Hiroka-chan’s short pants, she can put in both of her legs in one leg part.

The 2nd year junior high school students, (Yabuki) Nako and (Tanaka) Miku has grown a little bit maturer now, but it was tough when they just came in. They loved hide-and-seek and game of tag, so when they asked “let’s play,” at first I would keep them company, but I could not keep with the physical strength of younger members. Sasshii also went “it is hard so stop it.” Although there are also times when the age gap difference becomes a joke material, the small children sooth us. Little by little, we became better in MC.

It was a turning point for me to be settled as the regular personality of the radio show “HKT48 Radio Kikanight!” (KBC Radio) in the spring of 2012. It was the two of us with me and Nakanishi Chiyori-chan. After the first recording, the staffs called us and told us. “The listeners of the radio can only hear your voice. If you don’t speak, they can’t hear anything, so you must speak firmly.” Surely, as there was the announcer, Chiyori and I said nothing but “it is, isn’t it” “yes”. I felt grateful for those words.

Since then, even when it is not my turn to speak, I would give responses with my voice and aim to do the “I’m here” appeal. On the radio, the 4 members, Sakaguchi Riko, Tashima Meru, Tanaka Natsumi, and Yamamoto Mao, appears in turns as semi-regulars.

Sakaguchi Riko is older and reliable, so I feel relief when there is Riko-chan, and we exchange conversation in calm atmosphere.

When it is with Tanaka Natsumi, who is called the Boss of Hakata, she is on rampage, so I take the role of containing her. She loves the local dialects, and runs a dialect submission corner called “Please make my heart tightened with the local dialects.” The frequency of beep sound inserted is high even though it is an idol program. She is fearful but interesting.

Tashima Meru-chan is, at any rate, vigorous, so I get abused. Yamamoto Mao-chan is peculiar. She has a learning corner for the kids who are poor at learning, and always does a quiz. Recently we did an answer-a-question quiz challenge after she said the same word 10 times, but she could not say it 10 times, and it brought laughter when we could not conclude the quiz.

I am not the type who is proactive in talking, but dealing with the other party flexibly and drawing out personality might be my strong point. Once we become close, I want to get to know more about the other party, and I also want the listener to feel like getting to know. I’m doing my best to have a talk that makes the best of a person.

I have also got used to the handshake event nowadays, and I came to be able to interact properly. I am a tsundere so I assume prickly attitude. Each round, I receive the close fans who come visiting with a little bit unkind and cold attitude. “Who are you again?” “Have you forgot?”. When I call their names in the end, they are delighted.

The fans who know me during the debut are surprised, “you have become able to chat, haven’t you.”

This month, I was given the opportunity to publish my first photobook “Tsuishin”. I felt that I love a job where I am photographed. I want to be someone like Kojiharu (Kojima Haruna)-san who can put out mature facial expressions in gravure and/or fashion magazines.

■ From the reporter

Her first photobook “Tsuishin” (Shueisha) was published in September. On the blurb of the book jacket was “I don’t remember giving birth to this kind of child”. Words given by Sashihara Rino. The photobook had a great number of photos in daring swimsuits and photos with sexy facial expression floating. “I am embarrassed and I have yet to hear Sasshi’s impressions from herself.” Having her own photobook lining up at the bookstores, she said, “it feels miraculous.” The photo where she showed a big smile at the classroom is my favorite. “It is a photo taken when the staffs and I laughed as the makeup artist fell suddenly during the photoshoot. The photographer did not laugh and took it.”

She went to the location for the photoshoot in Yamaguchi for 3 days. “The photoshoot was enjoyable, but I felt lonesome without the members,” she said. Her love for HKT, to the point that it made her feel homesick, was conveyed. She likes the activities of daily theater shows and concerts. “I am confident at having the most fun in a live.” She said that she would like to challenge herself to modelling in gravure and/or fashion magazines, and other things such as being actress as well hereafter.

With her “tsundere” character, she may come in contact with the fans in cold manner. She was smiling and calm from the beginning to the end of the interview this time, but I would like to see that side of her as well.


Disclaimer: Please take this translation with a grain of salt. It’s close to 3AM as I’m typing this and I’m sleepy. Thank you for reading.