Looks like I’ll be alternating between regular idols and underground idols. A bit of everything for everyone. It’s time for one (of the many) lovely girl of Keyakizaka46, that famous idol group who managed to make it all the way through Kouhaku Utagassen on their first year of existence. Quite a feat.
I love pretty much everyone at Keya46, but Koike has caught my heart with her beauty. The same way Nagasawa did, actually. Anyway, here’s a short interview from a magazine called “BIG ONE GIRLS”, published in December 2016. I found it while wandering on tumblr and thought it might be good translation material. Turns out it doesn’t because Koike is just your regular idol who’s super cute and kind and that’s pretty much it, but hey, it’s still a short read and the photos were beautiful. So much she became my new phone wallpaper.
Koike Minami (小池美波)
How did you feel about the drama “Who killed Tokuyama Daigoro?” that aired this summer?
It had always been my dream to play in a drama someday, so I couldn’t believe it when I first heard this dream would be fulfilled so quickly after joining. But it ended up being an experience nothing like I could’ve ever imagined through my monitor.
Conveying the proper feelings of a scene or the tone of the story isn’t possible simply by acting by the book, yet you have to do as you’re told — but it’s not enough. I’ve come to understand the hardships of acting.
Well then, what are your personal most important events of 2016?
Everything has been memorable, but as expected the drama is the one that left me the biggest impression. On top of fulfilling my dream, I got to act with all of the other members and it was overall a major experience. I also had my home town’s friends tell me what they thought of it, which made me happy.
What did they say?
They… were actually pretty harsh, commenting on it as it was aired (laugh). I had the blabbermouth role, but they said things like “You don’t look like a blabbermouth at all” or “If you’re from kansai, act with more tact!”.
Was it a failure?…
Yes. After being told all of that, I started watching videos of people getting pranked and then practice in front of a mirror. It is after doing so that I managed to start getting praised. Their comments might have been harsh, but it’s because they are my true friends that they said so, and it’s something I’m grateful for.
This year, on top of acquiring some acting skills, you also managed to be front-row for the first time in “Futari Saison”.
I was in the middle of the last row for the first and second single, and it was a position that allowed me to see everyone, whether it was at my left, right or in front of me. I got told it was the pivot position of Keyakizaka46, so I did my best to perform as such while still thinking I, too, wanted to be front-row one day.
But when they actually called my name (to be front row), more than happiness what I felt was anxiousness and fear.
Why is that?
When I imagined myself being there, I thought “Can a person like me really do it?”. I was really uneasy about this role. But fans told me “let’s do our best together so that you can be front row”, with my friends and family adding “We want to see you singing in front row, not at the back”. This helped me a lot and changed my mind, I had to do it! I did my best to support our center, Hirate, with my smile and dance.
This was a position that wouldn’t let you see the other members behind you. What did you think of this?
As I used to see everyone dancing in front of me, feeling like I was the one being watched now, I felt like “I couldn’t allow myself to drag everyone else down”. Up until now, even if I made some mistakes people wouldn’t notice, or if I forgot some of the dance moves I would just have to check the members’ in front of me. That’s the kind of naive thoughts I had. But being in front, I had to be more strict with myself.
This time, it sounds like you’ll be distributing your CD to middle schools’ broadcast clubs throughout the country before it officially goes on sale.
I was really happy when I heard about that. My home town’s best friends are in their school’s broadcast club. I told them, “You better play it!” and they answered “Of course we will!”.
There are probably still a lot of people who don’t know about Keyakizaka46, and while it is a sad song, it also expresses the joy of living, so I hope people will be able to feel inspired by it, even if it’s just a little.
What is it you like in the “Futari Saison” song?
It reminded a bit of my old self. I used to be bad at interacting with people, I even happened to put on my earphones and listen to music even though I was with someone else. It sounded especially familiar when I read the lines:
“In a 1 meter radius around me,
I created an invisible barrier, separating myself from the outer world.
Yet, you reached out to me,
and dragged me out of it.”
I want to further understand the meaning behind those lyrics, so I’m listening to it everyday.
Alright, then lastly, what are your hopes for 2017?
Before our major debut, I already got to participate in our “Keyakizaka46 Debut Countdown Live” on top of lots of other lives, but we still have yet to do a national tour. I would like to go in the Kansai, to Kyuushu or even Hokkaido as well and perform one man lives there. As for me personally, since I managed to overcome my shyness, this time I’d like to find ways to express my gratitude to our fans, my family and my friends. I would like to try my hand at acting again as well. My desire to take part in dramas is even stronger now that I already got to do it once. Acting was really difficult, but it was also very fun.
Is your dream to become an actress?
My dream is to be both an idol and an actress at the same time. I’d also like to work at a kindergarten (laugh). Even if it’s just for a week, I’d like to become a nursery school teacher and play house with the children.