Matsui Rena “It was tough being an idol”, she reveals the hardships and her dream which led up to her graduation
17 December 2016 06:00 JST
“During my idol days, I had no problems with relationships. We were all very close to each other. However, the number of fans we have didn’t always translate into our position in songs and in the senbatsu selections, so I felt that was tough at times”
These are the words of Matsui Rena (25), a former top idol who after her debut in 2008 as the first generation member of SKE48, proceeded to take on the position of center and was also chosen as one of the senbatsu members of the main branch AKB48. She, whom after her graduation last year has been active as an actress in mainly movies and theatrical plays, spoke of her hardships as an idol and stories behind her graduation.
“When I was 23 years old, I got 5th in the 2014 Senbatsu Sousenkyo, but in the next single I was dropped to around the 15th position. I was aware that they had to push the younger members forward but the votes fans obtain come with the CDs, so it made them feel "We did our best and yet…” and that made me feel very apologetic and I hated that. If that were the case, I would be more happy if they didn’t have to spend so much on Sousenkyo, but instead use it to watch me more in movies and on stage. That was one of the reasons I did not participate in the Sousenkyo in the following year"
Matsui says that she had thought of graduation constantly after she turned 20 years old.
“There are actresses who are at the top of the tier at 17 years old. I had already passed that age by that time so, I knew I had to move out of my nest. To be honest, I was feeling hasty. When I made my decision to graduate, my mother said only one thing ‘Do your best’, and that made me feel relieved about my decision. My mother is someone who would accept me for everything that I am. For example, if I got really angry about something which happened because of my own wrongdoing, my mother would listen to everything I have to say and guide me on the right path, so I feel at ease talking to her about anything. Even now, we contact each other almost everyday”
She says that even after she took flight as an actress, her mother’s presence has become even more prominent.
“After I left SKE48, I was busy preparing for the main character, Okita Souji of "Shin Bakumatsu Junjouden” which went live last summer, among other things. After I finished this stage, I got my first 1 week long holiday after my debut 8 years ago, and I went on a trip to Taiwan which I had wanted to go for a long time. Since I went alone, I realized how grateful it is to have my parents. Even now, when I get sick and ask them to come, my mother would come with my father driving all the way from Toyohashi. They would stay at my place and prepare food for me. My favourite from my mum’s kitchen is her kimpira gobo and braised pumpkin. We have a special recipe, we boil the pumpkin and soak it in lemon and honey. It fuels my body and soul!“
Early next year, she will perform "Shin Bakumatsu Junjoden”, which has made her popular as a versatile actress, in her hometown Toyohashi in January, and in April, the movie in which she stars in as the main actress, “Harahara nanoka” will premier.
“It will be the stage which marks my triumphant return to my hometown, which was my dream since I was a child, so I want my parents to watch it. I have another dream. I bought a home theater for our house. I’m looking forward to seeing my father, who loves to watch movies, watching the movies I’m in on the big screen at home. I would like to watch the movies I’m in together with my parents at home someday so I would like to do my best as an actress in movies now.”