So here it is, this blog’s first translation. As the title says, it is an interview of Imada Yuna, also called Chiyuna, PassCode’s screamer. I left the introductory paragraph untranslated, it doesn’t matter much. Please remember this is originally a commercial interview, by that I mean it is sold in a magazine specialized in interviewing idols. So if you can buy it and you can read japanese, by all means, go get it. It’s worth it.
“Shouting” has been translated to screaming. But it says “shout” for every screaming instance in the original text.
I am not sure what the deal is with Kurohara. The text says she and a staff member 飛んだ, which means, if I’m not mistaking, that they simply went away. But I am not sure if it is “together” that they went away (thus scandaling) — however, given the rest of the text and Yuna’s opinion, it would make sense, so I am leaving it at that. Feel free to correct me or enlighten me in the comments.
Oh and please don’t repost this interview anywhere else. But feel free to link to it!
Today’s the second after your major debut, right? (This interview was conducted on October 27th 2016)
Eh? No, it’s our first day… wait, is it the second?
That’s some degree of confidence here (laugh). So I guess you saw the next question coming, how do you feel about your major debut?
Not surprising (laugh).
Nothing has really changed much, although the people at Universal (attached label) are working harder than I thought for us. But I never expected things to change much.
But your “Miss Unlimited” single is really good! Your screaming parts have increased as well.
It did increase a lot. And this time the lyrics even had some actual meaning, but since they were in english which is something I’m not good at, the whole thing became weirdly difficult. But I think I managed to have a relatively good result in the end.
You started off as completely unexperimented in screaming, but with great efforts you managed to work your way up throughout your lives, right?
I’m still not sure whether I’m properly doing it or not, but it feels like I’m somehow doing okay now.
It seems you passed your own “OK mark” at this recording though, as you validated it yourself.
But I’m not even sure I did as well on this recording as I did on the past ones. I still feel unsatisfied with my current abilities.
Is that because you have now raised your expectations?
Up until now, I simply acted thinking “Just shout!” without taking anything else into account. I’ve however recently come to understand what tones, emphasis were or how high or how low notes could be. That’s why I still don’t think I can put as much power in my voice as I’d like to.
I do think it’s been your best up until now though.
Our composer Hirachi (Hirachi Koji) said the same thing, like how that was my best recording to date. But I think that was just on the spur of the moment as we were editing the song or because I worked hard. I personally think it could still be improved a lot. But, because I think lives are more important, that’s the thing I’m focusing on right now.
It might be a stupid question, but doesn’t your throat hurt from screaming?
It doesn’t seem to hurt, even after repeating the same part again and again during recording.
Has your throat always been that strong or do you have a talent for screaming?
It’s not like someone taught me, so maybe it’s just because I do it unconsciously that I can. Actually I think if someone had taught me I might not have been able to do it.
Hirachi simply told you to “try to shout” out of the blue one day, right?
Yes. But I never thought I’d end up actually having to do it. We’ve used a lot of playback for our first lives, like, for the first couple of months. Despite that I had to grab the mic with both hands, face up, open my mouth and “scream at the top of my lungs no matter what face I could make”, which is something I was failing to do. So every time after our lives I’d feel down and think “that’s not what I wanted to do. I want to quit.”
Is that so?
But Hackers (PassCode’s fans name) would come and tell me it was cool. However as it was all in playback, I couldn’t help myself thinking “there’s nothing cool about it…”. So I progressively started screaming on my own accord.
It’s a good thing you didn’t quit.
It sure is. Really.
Good… Well then, now I’d like to ask about your past life, starting from when you were born.
From when I was born…?
All the questions up until now were just an appetizer.
I thought we were done already…. (laugh)
No way (laugh). First, is “Yuna” your real name?
Having the character “dream” in your name is already one thing (夢), but “Yuna” also sounds a lot like an idol-ish name from a fantasy-like country.
Ooh, yay. I really don’t have this feeling though.
Do you like that idea?
Yes. Makes me think I got given a pretty good name.
Who gave you that name?
What kind of person is your mother?
Hum, my mum is pretty strict about introductions or good manners, but when it comes to studies she was really lax. She let me do whatever I wanted.
And your father?
Dad loved me, so he’d cherish me a lot. And he works really hard too. He apparently never took a day off since he graduated from high school, I think that’s amazing.
And, it seems you also have a 7-year-old little sister named Ai?
Ai is so cute… (laugh)
Not really surprising to say that of a 7-year-old child.
It’s more like my love for her is abnormally high. She’s a third-year junior high school student right now, but if I am to come back home and she’s here I’d immediately be all over her telling her how cute she is and she would answer “I got it, yes yes”.
But lately I haven’t been able to go back home as much because of work so sometimes when I do come back Ai asks me “Do you want us to sleep together?” and I’d be like “Aaah~ She’s so cute” again.
Makes you wonder who’s the older sister (laugh).
I know right. Ai has a stronger “older sister aura” than I do.
How were you as a kid when you were in grade school?
I was always playing with boys, we’d practice doing backflips after classes or play tag. I was pretty lively.
What about female friends?
It felt more fun to play with boys, girls would just group together and sound annoying. I did have a couple of female friends though.
Have you always been shy?
Yes I really think I’ve always been, I’d often find myself just doing nothing, spacing out, because of that.
Like you’d hide in your mother’s shadow outside?
Yes exactly. Since I was bad at talking with other people I’d get embarrassed.
What about your studies? How did you do?
I hated them. My mother would even tell me “just find something you like, and if you become good at that, forget about studying”.
When did you start liking dance?
In my sixth year of grade school. Until then, I hadn’t been doing anything so my mom told “why don’t you give dance a go” — I did and it was fun so I took it up.
And you were your class representative during junior high school.
That’s right. I got bored of school during my second year so I stopped going but since I liked standing out I thought “I want to become the class rep!” and did during my second and third year of junior high.
You became your class rep. without going to school?
I’d wake up at noon, then come all the way in front of the school’s gates during the evening. There I’d gather all of the other members of the “not-going-to-school club” and we would chat.
That’s what we call “youth”.
It was really fun. But I felt like I was missing something, like, there was this feeling inside of me which would makes me think “what am I doing everyday?”.
Did you listen to music?
Not that much. It’s only recently that I’ve started picking up my earphones to listen to music.
What about idols?
I didn’t like them before I was halfway through high school.
But, you were a member of the idol group SO.ON project (SoPro) during high school right?
I auditioned in junior high school and entered a vocational school because I wanted to become a back dancer. But seeing how good people around me were got me down and I stopped going to school again. At that moment, a teacher told me “we’re creating an idol group, why don’t you join?”. I accepted and joined simply because I was free anyway and had nothing better to do.
So you joined without knowing much about idols.
I had this bad image about how idols weren’t doing anything but dancing while smiling foolishly on stage, I hated that (laugh). To top it off, the song we had to practice was AKB48’s “Heavy Rotation” so I couldn’t stop thinking “why do I have to smile while dancing like that, I can’t do it!”. But when I did it in front of everyone, I got told things like “since you’re dancing using your whole body, it reflects your own personality, that’s where the fun is” and it actually started becoming fun. I started to think “being an idol is good”.
For starters, what kind of group is SoPro? How many people or how many units were there?
The members were the school’s students so we were about 80. That’s why each time we had a live, auditions would be held and we’d have a group of “selected members”. We would either become frustrated, happy or filled with rage to become better for the next one every time, which made it very fun. That was the first time I had found something I could get serious about, so I started going to school properly and did my best.
There was also someone who later entered NMB48 right?
That’s right. I also took NMB’s auditions. I got to the last round and took classes in order to train. But during those classes, we had one where a teacher pointed who would pass and who wouldn’t in his eyes. I was supposed to failed. However, I was stupidly full of confidence towards my own skills at that time and told him I didn’t understand the reason I’d fail.
He told me it was because of my dancing habits. “If you’re going to dance in a group, you need to match the others” is what he said, which made me think “why would I have to erase my personality?”.
So I did take this audition and went as far as the last round, but if I had joined NMB, I would’ve had to quit SoPro. But because I enjoyed being in SoPro so much, I didn’t want to. I understood I would have to eventually anyway as I’d graduate from the school, but even then I wanted to continue for the time being and said so during my last interview at NMB’s auditions.
You could’ve made your debut.
Even if I had been accepted I think I would’ve quit right after anyway, so I don’t have any regret. I didn’t feel like making my debut or anything like that, because I’m the kind of person who just does whatever she feels like doing on the moment. SoPro had recognized my dancing personality and it was fun, so I would’ve hated being corrected on every single one of my moves [at NMB].
What did you think of doing after your graduation?
I thought about taking lots of auditions and finding an agency right after graduating. But lots of things happened and I started thinking it would be impossible. That’s when Hirachi called me out.
How did you meet him?
Hirachi was at the same university as my vocational school, and he had written songs for SoPro so he knew me. But because there were so few spectators at the old PassCode’s lives, and that was all I knew from underground idols, I thought it seemed pretty bothersome to become one. But mum told me “Come on come on, you don’t have anything else to do right?”
That’s when you joined together with Kappi (Takashima Kaede) as new members.
Kappi joined a little bit earlier, but because we felt like we joined at the same time (同期生) we were on the same wavelength.
And as you were on the same wavelength, you’d both be like “I want to quit I want to quit” as you’d be on your way back (laugh).
Yes (laugh). As we finished classes together, we took the train together and would go like “it’s tiring”, “I hate this, I want to stop”, “when do we quit?” (laugh).
The genre of songs suddenly changed right after you joined after all. And you even got told to “scream”. If that would’ve been me, I would’ve told them “this is completely different from what I thought it’d be so I’m quitting.”
That’s what I thought as well. But because it had already been a while since I had graduated from high school, I didn’t think I could keep up forever with my habit of “stopping just because I dislike it”. I was a bit conflicted with myself.
So you were unsatisfied with yourself who had not managed to accomplish anything from start to finish up until then?
I truly had been a bad student girl during my junior high school days so it was like “Am I really fine staying this way?…”. But it’s of course also because I had my SoPro experience that I managed to start thinking differently.
But, you joined in February 2014, had your first live in March, got your first Tokyo Live in May, released your first single in September and your first album October. With such a brutal flow of events, it’s not so surprising you would dislike it.
Actually more than that and everything, what I hated the most was screaming. Seriously. (laugh) I just hated screaming.
With that state of mind you couldn’t possibly enjoy doing lives neither, did you?
I couldn’t, at all. There was no “fun”. I was doing those times’ lives with a “blank” in my mind. So I don’t think it reached the audience at all. To top it off, even if people came to see me during the goodies sales, since I was shy and quite unsociable I don’t think it was any fun to be in my lane. I feel sorry for those who did. It was a pretty complex situation… But I hated doing lives.
But even that feeling has changed.
Yes, I learned about the warmth of the Hackers at our very first One Man Live in OSAKA MUSE. I got thoughts like “lives might be fun” or “I want to keep doing this with the four of us” for the first time.
Those thoughts were shared by Yachiin (Minami Nao) and Kappi, right?
That’s right. When the curtains opened, the place was full of people. I got so overwhelmed by the thought that so many people had come to see us, the feeling of “fun” created a bond between the four of us.
However, a year and half later, one of the staff member and Kurohara, who was a member at that time, went away together.
Aaah… Not only that, but it was someone I had quite a lot of trust in, and I wanted to have some in-depth discussions with Yuukyan (Kurohara Yuuri) regarding lives. So as I progressively understood what was going on, I felt like “Aah… And yet I believed in them. I thought they were people.”
Did that make you lose all of your motivation?
No, it was just annoying. Feeling like you can’t do anything about how some people around you might betray you someday. Even If you can’t trust them they’re still around, and even if they say good things it’s actually nothing but lies. It was a terrible situation and I think everyone felt the same way.
Did this incident manage to strengthen your bounds with the others?
No, I was still feeling a bit distant at that time. I would talk about anything with Kappi, but talking with Yachii and Yuukyan was still a bit difficult.
What did you think about Yachii at that time?
I couldn’t get along at all with Yachii at first. There was a lot of distance between us. I didn’t know what I could’ve done to close that distance even a bit, and it was probably the same for her.
You would only talk to her for business-related matters?
No, I don’t think we talked about that neither. That’s why I really didn’t know what to do. We both have a pretty difficult personality. We have a normal relationship now though.
Last summer, Hina (Ogami Hinako) joined the group. But you were quite against it?
Yes. I thought “we’ve always been doing this with the four of us, it shouldn’t change”.
Yet after a while when I finally started to accept it and looked forward performing with five people on stage, that’s when Yuukyan got away. It was a shock. After that, everyone’s bonds started to crumble a bit, we really could’ve done without all that situation.
The addition of Hina could’ve been the cause of the group’s disbandment.
Hum… Before the group would disband it was our mental which would’ve collapsed. It was truly trying, I felt like tears would flow out of my eyes at any time. I was in contact with Kappi all day long and we would cry together. It felt like “let’s give each other advices before we quit”.
Who would’ve thought the situation was that bad. But your feeling towards Hina progressively changed, right?
They did change. Yuukyan disappeared right after we became a five-people group, so we were back at four. And right after that, there were only about two weeks left before our tour. At this moment, since we were back at four, Hina had to remember all of the new choreographies, and she did. Despite having to go to school she frantically learned everything she had to. For me, this was when I accepted her.
Hina isn’t the type of girl who says what she has in mind, she keeps everything for herself. But recently what she’s thinking started showing on her face, so when we were coming back from our lessons I sent her a LINE text. “Did something happen? If there’s anything on your mind you can tell me”. And she did answer. At first she looked like she didn’t think much of us, but I realized she’s actually always thinking a lot about PassCode and working hard which made me think “I’m glad she joined”.
And then, as this year opened, things got hotter and hotter and you made your major debut. Did this summer’s tour manage to reinforce the bonds in the group?
Yes. It probably did. Like, we’re now having discussions. We really feel like we’re doing our lives together now.
Do you even see each other on your off days?
We do. But I sometimes impulsively feel like not talking to anyone, even if I get invited to eat I’ll just be like “nah I’ll pass…”. In the past, if that happened, I would feel like “I should have went” even though I didn’t want to, but now since everyone understands my personality I can just leave it at “Nah not today” and the three of them would simply go together.
It’s a great thing they understand you like that.
That’s the kind of aura I have when I don’t want to talk to anyone, and they all understand that. Yachii is always mindful when talking to me and Hina is really gentle. But Kappi doesn’t care and just talk to me like always anyway (laugh). But that’s what makes things fun too (laugh).
That’s a nice story (laugh). By the way, how are your feelings now when you stand on stage?
Honestly, more more than “fun” it’s still quite “tiresome”. I always think “I’m going to die”. But the reason I keep going nonetheless is because of those little moments of happiness that erase all of the bad feelings I have. A single moment of happiness is enough to erase everything else. That’s the kind of cycle I’m always repeating.
When did you become positive about screaming? When did you start accepting doing so?
When was it? I still wasn’t so confident until a while ago… Before that, it was someone else who was recording the screaming part on the CDs, even though it was me on stage. But I got to have my own voice for the first time on CD with “Never Sleep Again” and that’s when I started to think “I can do it!”. I couldn’t scream outside of lives prior to that, nor did I really know how to do it.
But seeing you live was nothing short of amazing, so to think you had this kind of thoughts in mind.
I seriously hated it at first and did not understand how to make my voice come out, but now I feel like I want to shout during PassCode’s lives. Which is why I’m finally able to enjoy doing them, and am able to give everything I’ve got on stage.
It does feel like PassCode has come together as a 4-people group now.
Yes, that’s true. Our feelings match, like when we get psyched we all do together, or when we’re feeling down everyone does. If something’s annoying we’d just wave each other bye bye and go home, then forget all about it the day after. It’s with all of those little steps that we’re getting closer.
And you can now aim even higher.
I’d like to yes. I don’t have any goal in mind, but today, I’d like to do everything I can for PassCode. When I look myself up on twitter, I see things like “I’m worried about her throat”, but, this is everything I have.
“It’s fine even if I destroy my throat, and I’ll actually give everything I have until I destroy it” is the kind of feeling I bear right now. I want to go as far as we can until either my voice breaks of PassCode disbands.
But, I honestly really would like you to go consult a doctor.
I know, right. I get told that a lot. After this last recording, my throat seemed a bit in a bad condition and I suddenly lost my voice during a live right after. “But… I still want to shout?…” is the only thought that crossed my mind at this moment.. It might sound weird to say so myself, but that’s the only thing I’m truly serious about regarding PassCode.
That’s exactly why you need to do some proper maintenance.
I know… (laugh). I need to take care, yes (laugh).
And that’s it! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. We can learn quite a few things about PassCode through their japanese-sized screamer’s point of view and I personally feel it is very interesting to see the chemistry between the members isn’t working as much as we could think. And that Yuna isn’t even really enjoying what she’s been doing best even to this day. “Miss Shout” is the original article’s title, by the way.