In this season of encounters and separations, we present you NEWS – alongside spring flowers and warm expressions. On top of the significant encounters of their lives, episodes of amazing encounters recently, we also got them to talk about what they remember of their first encounters with the other members. In addition, we had them come up with their ideal scenarios for their “destined meetings”!
Koyama, decked out in skate fashion, walked in dashingly.
I entered Johnny’s when I was 12, but it was my mum, elder sister and her friend who sent in the resume for me. A few years later, when I was in middle or high school, I joked, saying something like, “Even if Sis didn’t send in the resume for me, I might still have joined the entertainment scene.” Then, my mum replied, “Nah that’s impossible. That’s not something you’d do.” It’s true that I was engrossed in sports at that time and knew nothing about the entertainment industry, so in that sense, my sister created the path for my encounter with Johnny’s. That alone was a huge encounter. Being able to meet my friends from hometown was huge too. I’ve been friends with them since like nursery or elementary school, so I feel really at ease when I’m with them. Even now, we meet every now and then, and take the train to head somewhere together for a meal.
On the first encounters with the members, I remember it to be at NHK’s rehearsal room for Koyama. I remember thinking, “Someone older has entered Johnny’s” as Koyama, decked out in skate fashion, walked in dashingly. The first encouter with Tegoshi was probably when Johnny-san introduced us. In spite of that being our first meeting, he started talking to me in a straightforward fashion, “Massu’s xxx, aren’t you?” I don’t remember my first meeting with Shige, but something that left an impression was how, right in the middle when all the Juniors were saying enthusiastically to work hard together from then on, Shige said, “Because there’re exams to take, I’ll come xx months later,” and went on a break (laugh).
With regard to the pop and culture scene, I got to go for a meal for the first time, recently, with a person who’s been a huge influence on me since a very long time ago. When I said, “I’ve got this and this from this collection,” this person replied with surprise, “You started getting these things from that long ago?” Having gotten the chance to meet somebody I’ve always admired made me feel, all over again, that it’d be nice if I could become somebody as influential too someday.
In schools, the classes get switched around each spring, don’t they. That was what I’d always looked forward to each time, and there’s this memory of how I never ever got put into the same class as my best friend through all 9 years of elementary and middle school (laugh). The season when classes change. There may be unhappy times too… Doesn’t matter whether it’s within the school or outside, but I hope you can find something you enjoy and give yourself a breather from time to time.
Our new album, “NEVERLAND”, was created with the image of having everyone enter this magical world of ours. It’s an album that’s got a wide range of songs, from cool to cute. My solo song feels like it’ll turn out to be a song that’ll fit right into this concept too. Please look forward to the concerts, where you can experience this world of dreams for yourself too.
Yesterday (the day before the interview), I went for okonomiyaki with my friends from my hometown. As all of us are in different industries now, it was really interesting when we started telling each other about our work. I had a great time.
Q. What’s your ideal “meeting of destiny”?
A. I casually enter a bakery that opened in the area, and a female staff wearing an apron was there. It became a habit to head there everyday, but one day, my favourite bread was sold out by the time I got there. Then, she secretly took something out saying, “I kept one for you,”… something along that line.
When I saw Shige in that state, I got a shock, as I had thought he was cool…
The existence of singing is definitely a major part of my life. It seems like I’d loved singing since I was a kid, and when I look at the home videos my parents took of me, it’s true that the kid version of me did sing pretty well (laugh). Later on, I got put into NEWS because I could sing, and singing was what became my strength from then on. In that sense, I’m thankful that for my encounter with singing, and would want to keep singing as an important part of my life from this point onwards too. When it comes to work, a huge encounter would definitely be “Sekai no Hate Made Itte Q!” (NTV) When the programme started 10 years ago, it was really just a few years after my debut, so I’m extremely grateful to the programme for having made the decision to make me part of the programme. Especially so for the overseas location shoots for making me a stronger person. Being thrown into rough situations really tests your mental strength, and I think that’s how I managed to turn into such a positive person.
My encounter with the members? When I first met Shige, I thought, “This guy’s cool!!” In spite of me being the more junior member (laugh). However, when I saw him playing baseball as part of a programme, he had problems catching fly balls properly and I thought, “Ahhh, this person’s a sports idiot,” and remember feeling pretty shocked (laugh). Masuda had this air of a senior even though we were all Juniors. I was the one who started conversations proactively, going “Massu, massu~” Koyama-san had always been very sensitive to people around him then, and would proactively communicate with all sorts of people. Even at that time, he was already a very sociable person.
In private, my encounter with a friend since seventh grade was huge. I was in a school that had 6 classes for each grade, and even then, we managed to be in the same class every year. It’s probably fate. After my debut, he had always been supporting NEWS, and just a while ago, I received a text from him saying, “I bought ‘EMMA’.” (laugh) When we go for karaoke together, he’d always be singing NEWS’ songs, and can memorise the lyrics even better than me (laugh). Having someone who loves NEWS so much in such close proximity is something I’m really grateful for.
It may be nerve-wrecking to have to get along with people you meet for the first time, and it may be good to just not think too much and just jump right into the situation with all you’ve got. For me, even if the person is one of extremely high social standing, I just jump right in to his life. And that usually works out surprisingly well.
We’re now at the stage when we’ve started preparations for the tour while recording the new album. Recently, we had our first ever meeting for the tour, and even me, who usually has a concentration span of 15 minutes, managed to stay focused for a rare hour! …Maybe I’ve grown up~ (laugh)
Q. What’s your ideal “meeting of destiny”?
A. On my way to work, I come across the perfect lady. Then, I head to the gym one day and there she was, doing trainings with her ponytail swaying from side to side. “We’ve met a few times, haven’t we,” I say, and we start going out. From then on, we go to the gym together ♥ That’d be the perfect situation~
When I come across a nice necklace, I think, “I’ve met you”
The encounter with Johnny-san is definitely one of the biggest milestones in my life. Otherwise, my potential would probably not have been stretched this far. Speaking of which, when I went to watch MADE’s performance, I met Johnny-san for the first time in a while. He told me, “I watch YOU every evening. I’m really glad I let YOU become a newscaster. You’re too amazing!” I was really happy, and that made me want to believe in what I’m doing and go even further.
On the first impressions of the members, Shige felt like a smart, pampered kid. Even though he started off talking to me in casual style and called me “Koyama~”, the moment I told him my age, he started calling me “Koyama-kun” (laugh). I first saw Massu on the stage of “PLAYZONE”. Then, he was partnered up with Goseki (Koichi)-kun and back dancing for Higashiyama (Noriyuki)-san’s “It’s BAD”. He was really good, and shone on stage. My first memory of Tegoshi was that a kid has come. And that he definitely only wears what his mum buys him… something along that line (laugh).He was the image of an obedient boy, which might be hard to imagine now.
Recently, I go shopping very often for accessories that I can wear for stage performances and stuff. At every store, there’s a shop staff who’d always come to me, and it’s become a standard routine that the words, “I’ve met you” come out whenever I find something nice. A while back, I found a nice necklace and couldn’t help but go, “Oh no…I’ve met you,” That was the necklace I wore for our recent performance on “Music Station”.
On graduation ceremonies, I have deeper memories of the one of middle school. I was the class representative then, so I had to make the final speech on behalf of the class. When I had to go up to the podium in class, I started choking. It was probably because of the loneliness from having to part with everyone. What I’d like to share with those who have to start off in new environments this spring is, “Don’t push yourself too hard”. Things like, I have to make new friends and all, once you set such rules for yourself, it wouldn’t feel good if you end up not being able to fulfill them, wouldn’t it? I hope everyone can lead a life without rules and at your own pace. It’s okay to not get anxious about things. Human beings are blessed with extremely good adapting abilities, and you’ll definitely get used to things in no time.
NEWS’ new album will be released soon, so my days have mostly been filled with the recording for the album. The theme for the lyrics of my solo song this time is on the cat I used to have, so I’ll be happy if everyone could receive the emotions I’ve put into the lyrics. It was as if the lyrics just came to me and I finished writing the song in one day. The preparations for the concerts are progressing well too. We’re doing all that we can to bring joy to our fans. The goods are really nice this time too, so please look forward to our concerts!
Q. What’s your ideal “meeting of destiny”?
A. While walking at the train station, I pass by a girl who’s my type. I thought, “Ah, she’s cute,” and looked back to find that she looked back at the same time too. We start walking towards each other as if there was something pulling us together. This is the sort of meeting that’ll set bells ringing, I guess. But in real life, even if I did turn back, the girl will probably be continuing in the same direction, walking away from me as if nothing even happened (laugh).
If you get the chance to meet somebody you like, you should.
The biggest encounter in my life is the group called NEWS and its members. It’s only because of NEWS that I got to sing, dance, challenge myself at dramas, varieties, radio programmes, and even write novels. I’ve been given the chances to do a wide range of work, and from each of those opportunities, had lots of wonderful encounters. That’s all because of the base I have, NEWS. It’s amazing how encounters further expand from there. For example, I started photography at a time when I wanted to try doing my best at all sorts of things as part of NEWS. That’s how I grew to like Moriyama Daido-san, and when I mentioned that on radio, I got to do a conversation with Moriyama-san for a magazine. That’s already a dream come true, but recently, I had a great time talking to the drama’s director about Moriyama-san. When I mentioned there was this collection of photographs that I didn’t manage to get my hands on, the director gave them to me. One encounter leads to another – the way things expand themselves is interesting, as well as amazing. I used to be the type who didn’t want to meet people I like or admire. Because it felt like once I met them, my dream would turn into reality. But now, I feel that if you get the chance to meet somebody you like, you really should. That was what happened for Ninagawa Yukio-san. If I’d just wanted to meet him, there probably would have been ways to make it happen, but I just kept thinking that I would only meet him when I get the chance to actually work with him, and he passed away before that chance came. And I had really wanted to meet him.
On the encounters with the members, Massu is the only one I can’t remember. Before I knew it, we were working together for “Kinpachi Sensei”. Koyama-san was a stylish boy who was cool (laugh). He was interested in my studies and we hit off immediately. Only thing was, I thought we were about the same age, so it surprised me to find out he was 3 years older (laugh). For Tegoshi, it probably started when he was dancing behind me on “Ya-Ya-Yah”. Even though he was my junior, he started talking in casual style immediately just because we were the same age, which made me think, “This guy’s interesting.” He was an ordinary kid then though (laugh).
I’ve had lots of wonderful encounters recently too. Higuchi Takehiro-san, whom I got to meet on “Typewriters” is an author I’ve always liked, and also people like Akashiya Sanma-san, whom I met on “Honmadekka!? TV”. Especially so in the recent years, where I get to meet non-celebrities like authors and specialists in the culture, through TV programmes and magazines, and also all sorts of amazing people who appear on “NEWS na Futari” (TBS & affiliates). Many times, I have to be on the listening end and that makes me really nervous, but I take special care to make sure I don't just shrink up. If I don’t do that, I won’t be able to properly listen to what they are talking about. However, when I met Sanma-san, I thought, “Whoa!” (laugh).
There are probably people who are feeling unsure about having to jump into a new environment from April, but if there isn’t a choice other than to jump right in, then I think it’s best to just get yourself mentally prepared and enjoy yourself once you’re out there. To lie to yourself and think, “It’s okay! Piece of cake~♪” might be another option too (laugh).
Q. What’s your ideal “meeting of destiny”?
A. I don’t quite believe in “destiny”, but there is the possibility of things being “meant to be”. Like your hands touching while picking up something you dropped, a whole series of coincidences that make your heart skip a beat and start noticing that certain person. To be honest, I can’t imagine this happening in reality, but if there really is something called a “meeting of destiny” in real life, I’d like to experience it for myself.
Thanks to inala @ lj for the scans!