Akihabara “otaku” idol group Dempagumi.inc spoke to JaME before headlining @JAM EXPO 2015 at Yokohama Arena.
On August 29th, more than a hundred idol groups gathered at Yokohama Arena for @JAM EXPO 2015, the biggest idol festival in Japan. Six members of Dempagumi.inc talked to JaME about their new single, and shared some of their personal experiences of being in one of Japan’s most successful idol groups.
First of all, JaME would like to thank you for agreeing to this interview. As this is Dempagumi.inc’s first interview with you, can you introduce yourselves?
Furukawa Mirin: I'm Furukawa Mirin and my theme color is red. I like playing video games!
Naruse Eimi: I'm Naruse Eimi a.k.a Eitaso, and my theme color is yellow. I like animation and manga!
Mogami Moga: I'm Mogami Moga and my theme color is purple. Recently I am into playing mobile application games!
Aizawa Risa: My name is Aizawa Risa a.k.a Risachee and I’m the group’s leader. My theme color is white. My otaku genre is 2.5D.
Yumemi Nemu: I'm Yumemi Nemu a.k.a Nemukyun. My theme color is mint green.
Fujisaki Ayane: I'm Fujisaki Ayane a.k.a Pinky! My theme color is blue. I love cosplay a lot!
A special ALLSTARS unit was created for @JAM EXPO last year, where Risa joined as a member. This year, Ayane joined the ALLSTARS unit. Please tell us more about this collaboration.
Fujisaki Ayane: Well, the ALLSTARS team consists of one representative from each idol group. I, like other members, worked hard to master choreography and musical style that were different from our own group’s. That was quite challenging for all of us. Actually, we didn’t always have all five members during rehearsals. Sometimes, there were only three or even less of us! We did the best preparation we could on a very tight schedule.
What can you tell us about your new single that will be released on September 16th, including the CD jacket artwork?
Furukawa Mirin: We'll release a single entitled Ashita chikyuga konagonani nattemo. We asked the manga author Asano Inio to write lyrics for the single. We had a lot of discussions with Mr. Asano about composing the lyrics. As a result, we can say that the lyrics really reflect what’s in our hearts.
As for the CD jacket artwork, the First Limited Type A features an illustration of us by Mr. Asano. Also, we actually dressed in black for the regular edition’s jacket, which was quite an unusual choice of color for us. Each edition looks different because we dressed in white for a different edition. We did the photoshoots with the black and white outfits in Italy.
Naruse Eimi: We did the photoshoot for the First Limited Type B cover at Onoden, one of the oldest electronic stores in Akihabara. We're very familiar with Onoden. I was very happy to be able to shoot the cover photos in Akihabara, the very place and culture we represent!
Even though Dempagumi.inc is becoming more and more popular, fans always say that you remain close to the public. How do you explain that?
Furukawa Mirin: We started out at Akihabara Dear☆Stage, where we were close to fans both emotionally and physically. Although today we perform in bigger venues, we're always very conscious of maintaining our intimate emotional bond with fans.
Have you noticed any changes about yourselves since Dempagumi.inc was formed?
Furukawa Mirin: Before I joined Dempagumi.inc, I wasn’t accustomed to working with others as a team, and I wasn’t very good at it. But today, I’m much better at it. Actually, lots of people have told me that I’ve developed a human touch.
Naruse Eimi: I wasn’t so willing to share my personal contact information and hang out with people who I met in this business before. However, other members of Dempagumi.inc inspired me to open up and become friendlier. Today, I’m more willing to build a good relationship with others.
Mogami Moga: I think the biggest change I experienced is that I’ve become able to communicate with people better. Also, I never sang in front of people before I joined the group. In fact, I didn’t even like going to karaoke. Today, though, I can sing in front of people with much less nervousness.
Aizawa Risa: There are just so many changes I’ve gone through that I don’t really know where to begin. I think I’ve become a better person than I was before. It’s really difficult to do everything in my way when I work with others. Also, I also need to make efforts to understand fans’ feelings so that I can connect with them better. Through such learning experiences, I’ve started to really like doing things for others, not just for myself.
I never danced before I joined the group. In fact, I wasn’t even thinking about becoming an idol. I wasn’t a good singer when I started out. I was even told during a practice that I had a good voice but that was really all I had! Even today, I’m still learning from other members so that I can keep up with them. This is my first time leading a group, although I don’t really consider myself to be leadership material.
Yumemi Nemu: I used to think I had to become able to do everything by myself. I came to learn how to depend on others after I joined Dempagumi.inc. Today, I can and also am willing to ask for a help to others with things I am not good at.
Fujisaki Ayane: My biggest change is that I’ve become able to better understand myself. I wasn’t sure about my identity back in my high school days. I couldn’t really communicate with people in my own words when I first started out in Dempagumi.inc. Through working as a Dempagumi.inc member, I learnt how to communicate with others and express my feelings.
Recently, Aizawa and Yumemi released cookbooks. Who is the worst cook in the group?
Risa, Nemu, Eimi, Moga and Ayane: That would be Mirin!
Yumemi Nemu: Everyone except Mirin is good at cooking.
Furukawa Mirin: Yeah, they’re pretty good cooks.
Yumemi Nemu: But Mirin has a great passion for cooking – it’s just not her talent. (all members laugh)
Furukawa Mirin: Well, it’s true that I am willing to do it. But I guess people just have different talents!
To wrap up our interview, please say a few words for JaME’s readers.
Furukawa Mirin: There are a lot of countries we have not been able to have our shows. I would love to have live shows in more different places, so please support us!
Naruse Eimi: Dempagumi.inc is a really fun and entertaining idol group, and I would like people all over the world to find us! Please check us out!
Mogami Moga: There are a lot of countries we have not visited yet. I hope this interview finds you well so that you can find out about Dempagumi.inc for the first time. You can check out our videos on our website. Please come and join our show if you become interested!
Aizawa Risa: All members of Dempagumi.inc are “otaku”, so I think we can entertain people with our authentic representations of Akihabara’s culture and lifestyle. We would like to perform in your country so that we can give you a real feel of Akihabara. Also, it’s our goal to hold a one-man world tour. So please support us and wait for us!
Yumemi Nemu: There are so many people who don’t know about us yet, even though we’ve performed in overseas quite a few sometimes. I hope this interview finds you well. I would love you to join our show, but you can also find us on the internet, in places such as Twitter. Please look out for us in cyberspace!
Fujisaki Ayane: Please listen to our songs and watch our music videos if you’re feeling down or looking for inspiration!
JaME would like to thank PROMIC, Dear☆Stage and Dempagumi.inc for this interview opportunity.
You can watch the music video of their new single Ashita chikyuga konagonani nattemo here:
The music video of akihabalife♪, the B-side of the single, can also be watched below: