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[Interview translation] BiSH Episode 7 Sentochihiro Chicchi's first interview "I want to be center, I'd be happier if I got a lot of singing parts"

Posted by Lurkette, in Interview, Translations 05 September 2015 · 2567 views

Episode 7: Sentochihiro Chicchi's first interview

On April 30, BiSH had their first live show at Shibuya O-nest.

The excited research students (rechristened as garbagemen) were intense, and the number of people connected to the group who had such high expectations were fierce, but make no mistake, they put on a good show, and the songs Matsukuma Kenta made were so powerful that they flew past any expectations the fans might have had.

Momoko Gumi Company was probably standing in front of people as an idol for the first time in her life, but she looked like she was having so much fun. When Hug Me took the stage, she was all the more charming, and as the older sister of BiSH, she took the reins of the other members who might be tempted to flee. Aina The End's dances that she had thought up were wonderful, and BiSH gained one more attractive feature, not just Matsukuma Kenta's music.

And then, the person I interviewed this time, Sentochihiro Chicchi, the central figure in this group called BiSH, gave me the sensation that she would be like Pour Lui was for BiS. Her desire to aim higher is stronger than anyone else's, and she shines naturally with the intensity behind that desire. Her MC was shoddy, but she came out swinging and her bravery was commendable.

I wonder if BiSH might run up to ZEPP all at once. I think they're the sort of idols who can fight that battle of going as far as they possibly can. Management hasn't experienced anything past Yokohama Arena. I am convinced that BiSH is the group who will definitely take them into that unknown level.

Interview & Test: Iida Shinichirou

My feelings of "I'll show you!" were stronger

ーーWhat are some of your favorite things?

Sentochihiro Chicchi (Henceforth, Chicchi): I like light blue and jellyfish. I also like rice omelettes and singing. I like strange things, too, so I like grotesque movies and anime.

ーーFor example?

Chicchi: I like Attack on Titan, but also anime that's kind of depressing. Lately I've been obsessed with foreign TV shows, so I watch The Walking Dead. It's really good, with the main characters being the only survivors among this zombie virus outbreak that swallows up everything it. I like getting freaked out when watching something scary alone.

ーーWhat do you dislike?

Chicchi: I hate crowds. Like festivals, and Shibuya, and maybe it's not so much that I hate it but that I can't deal with it, because I'm introverted by nature and I prefer watching movies or anime at home. I start to curl inward when I go where there are too many people.

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ーーHave you always been an introvert?

Chicchi: Since middle school.

ーーWhat caused that?

Chicchi: I was bullied.

ーーThere are an awful lot of bullying victims in BiSH.

Chicchi: In school there's always like these girls who are at the top of everything, right? I started going out with a guy that a girl from that sort of group had a crush on. And so they would glare at me, like, "Who the hell is that?!" and I started to become ostracized. It was just a middle school relationship so it was more of just a statement that we were going out, there was no substance, but it was still scary. I played softball, though, and I let all my stress out there.

ーーWhat about in elementary school?

Chicchi: I played outside with boys a lot.

ーーYou were lively, then. Did they have crushes on you?

Chicchi: No way, I was so fat! When I was born I weighed 4000 grams, and I looked like a boneless ham. I always stayed that thick.

ーーThat doesn't have anything to do with your birth weight, though (laughs)?

Chicchi: Heeheehee (laughs). As I grew older I lost weight. In elementary school I was really annoying and teachers got mad at me.

ーーSo this rambunctious child got bullied and then turned into an introvert?

Chicchi: That's right. I stopped talking to people and there was a period when I was awful at communicating with others, and so I just turned inward. Also, there were a lot of kids who came from different schools who scared me, or at least were a little overwhelming. I just turned in on myself and even though I had things I wanted to say, I couldn't say them, and it felt a lot like a high school TV drama. There's like a caste system in school, like ranks inside a single class, you know?

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ーーSo what sort of student do you think you were?

Chicchi: Hmm, maybe bottom of the middle? I just wanted to go to high school. Because of the bullying and everything I was wrapped up in, all of the other girls turned away from me. Those top girls would send out messages to everyone, like, "Don't even bother with her," so even though people would talk to me, they wouldn't stick around, and I couldn't ever get anyone to hang out with me. When doing extracurriculars, the girls in my grade would ignore me, so I would play catch with people above or below me in grade level. Towards the end, I couldn't do all of my activities. My friends turned away from me, it got really scary. But I liked softball, so I played my final game before quitting. I wasn't deterred from that, surprisingly.

ーーWhy is that?

Chicchi: I hated being picked on, but my feelings of "I'll show you!" were stronger. I studied hard, thinking, "I'll definitely go to a better high school than you," and in softball I thought, "I'm going to get better than you," and I became a pitcher.

ーーWhat were you excited for back then?

Chicchi: I liked idols. I liked AKB48's Ono Erena, and I started going to her handshake events when I was in my third year of middle school and I'd go every time a new single came out. That was something to look forward to almost every month. I thought that the otaku were all such nice people. Out of all the members of BiSH, I'm probably the biggest otaku.

ーーSo you idolized idols.

Chicchi: I did. I was super obsessed between the end of middle school and my freshman year of high school, but then Erepyon graduated and I didn't go anymore. Then I started to follow Himukai (Yuuna) of Alice Project, but then she quit, and then I gave up on idols.

I hated living without a goal for anything

ーーWhat was your life like in high school?

Chicchi: High school was fun. I wasn't bullied, and I actually became more outgoing, I was even in the group that the teachers always got mad at. I didn't study, though (laughs).

ーーDid you turn into kind of a bad kid?

Chicchi: No, I did it right. I paid attention in school. I wanted to be a TV director after graduating so I went to a vocational school, and it was the most fun I've ever had in my life. The classes and friends were amazing. The classes did have a lecture component, but the hands-on stuff was so much fun, so I did everything with a positive attitude, like, "I'm going to be a director!"

ーーSo why did you go down the idol road?

Chicchi: When I graduated I was so ready to become an assistant director and I looked for jobs. I went to interviews at production companies, and halfway through I just felt like something might not be right about it.

ーーWhy was that?

Chicchi: During school, I liked having roles like time-keeper or director, but we also played out the performer's roles so that we could understand how they felt. I did that, and it was so much fun. I started feeling like I wanted to try doing that, but I didn't move on it. I didn't know what to do so I took a year off from school. During that time I was scouted by the manager of my previous group. It really was fun, and that's when I decided I wanted to be an idol.

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ーーFrom a director to an idol, from behind the scenes to center stage, were you hesitant at all about this change of direction?

Chicchi: Hmm... I do want to try directing, but I can still do that after this, so I want to do what I can only do right now. I don't think you can be an idol forever, so I guess that's why I'm doing it now.

ーーYour formative experience with idols was AKB48, right?

Chicchi: That's right. If I hadn't encountered Ono, I don't think I would have wanted to be an idol. Meeting her made my life fun, so that's why I think, "Idols are amazing, they can change people's lives."

ーーWhy did you quit your previous group to audition for BiSH?

Chicchi: In that group, I was told, "We're taking the road to success," and I really didn't know what that meant but figured it was fine, but then when we would do group shows, I'd see idols with different concepts and I could see they were having fun, which made me think, "Am I really having fun doing it this way?" The differences in the directions we wanted to go started piling up, and then I found out about the BiSH audition and thought, "This could completely change my life around," so I decided to quit.

ーーThere really are many different kinds of idols now, so why did you choose BiSH out of all of them?

Chicchi: Mostly because it seemed like it would make my life more fun. I also liked "nerve," and I liked singing it, so I wanted to join a group where I could sing songs like that. I also just wanted to be selling. I always wanted to be a hit from when I first started being an idol, but my earlier group wasn't selling at all when I was in it, so I want BiSH to sell with me in it. I hated living without a goal for anything, so I always have goals in place.

ーーYou've decided your own path in life for yourself, you want to be happy because of your own efforts.

Chicchi: That's it.

I want to be center, I'd be happier if I got a lot of singing parts

ーーDid no one ever say anything to you to change your mind?

Chicchi: Absolutely not. I don't really listen to other people's opinions. My mother is also quite laissez-faire, so she's always like, "Yeah, I get it."

ーーThere wasn't any opposition to you joining BiSH?

Chicchi: I think she's worried, but she hasn't objected to it. She said, "You chose this so it's all right with me."

ーーIt's been 2 months since you joined the group, how has it been?

Chicchi: It's different than I imagined. I thought Watanabe would be scarier, or that this might be quite difficult emotionally. But I'm having a ton of fun right now, and I'm getting along with everyone, and even though we're a little awkward around each other sometimes, that should fade away in time. Watanabe is also kind to us right now, so it hasn't been hard at all, although I might say that about the number of practices we have, but aside from that, it's just been fun.

ーーWhat sort of position do you have within the group?

Chicchi: We decide the center and leader for ourselves, I think, so I'm not really sure what role I have, but I don't think it's to be in charge of getting people excited. I do talk a lot, so I guess the people who get others excited are a lot like the ones who talk a lot. But I don't really think about what I'm saying and it all comes out. I guess I'm a blunt person? I'm easygoing, but if I think something is wrong I'll say so. We have Aina for dancing, so I don't have the confidence to say, "I'm right and you're wrong," but I think the rules for politeness are different in the idol world so I'll say things rather abruptly.

ーーHave you fought with the other members over anything?

Chicchi: No, we don't fight. We're all good girls. So much so that I think I have the worst personality among us. But they told me to speak my mind so I don't have to be two-faced. Although Watanabe told me I was mean (laughs).

ーー(laughs). Do you have any desire to be center or leader?

Chicchi: I do. I think all idols want to be the center, in the middle of everything more so than anyone else. I don't think other idols would say so, but that's what I think, so I say it. I want to be center, I'd be happier if I got a lot of singing parts, and I want to do my best as leader to pull everyone along. I will do anything to get BiSH to sell. That's why I think Pour Lui is amazing. She's BiS' icon. Because BiS had a name, BiSH exists, and we have to use our strength to build on what BiS built.

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ーーWhat do you think of BiSH's songs?

Chicchi: I really like them. We have a lot of good songs, and writing the lyrics was fun. I had fun thinking up big plans, like, "It would be cool if it were this kind of song," and I had fun recording with people who got me to be more excited about it.

ーーYou sang the big chorus in "Spark."

Chicchi: I did. I was happy about that. I was so happy to get the chorus part. It was like BiS with Pour Lui and Uika, who I think were the strongest among them, and I received something that Pour Lui would have sung, and I was ecstatic. I wondered if someone expected something out of me, so I worked even harder.

ーーHow was Matsukuma?

Chicchi: He's a really good person. He stabs you in the heart, cuts to the core of the matter with what he says, so I learned a lot from working with him.

When you think of unorthodox idols, you think of BiSH

ーーI want to ask you now about the other members, so what is Hug Me like?

Chicchi: She's kind. It's like she's everyone's mother, everyone's older sister. She's also super knowledgeable. "What's this kanji?" "What should I take for a stomachache?" She always knows the answer, and even though she's patient she also gets irritated sometimes, which is even cuter. I really like her face! It has the same characteristics as Erepyon's. I also like that she's a little wicked when she talks. I can sympathize (laughs).

ーーAina The End?

Chicchi: I really respect her. I talk with her the most now, and even though she's younger than me she doesn't seem younger, and she really pays attention to people, so she's quick to notice when someone doesn't get the dances and helps them out, and she's worked in stage the longest so she's taught me a lot of technical things. She has a patient heart, it's like "BIG LOVE." She's a girl who just loves people, it's like meeting a foreigner.

ーーMomoko Gumi Company?

Chicchi: At first I thought, "Oh man, this kid."


Chicchi: When she said she hated otaku I immediately thought, "Then why did you become an idol?!" but she's the type to speak without thinking so while she does cause concern, she is a mood-maker. Aina is the same way, but Momoko talks a lot and she's dumb so it's funny. Still, she acts dumb but I can see that she's smart and she's probably thinking about a lot of things. We also have the same route home so we talk a lot on the way home together, and it seems like she's working hard at going to school and working at the same time. We have good members.

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ーーWhat are you aiming for with BiSH?

Chicchi: Budokan. For idols, going to Budokan is the big thing. I went to see Babyraids and 9nine for their first Budokan shows, and I was so jealous. They were dazzling and looked so happy. I think it must be an incredible joy to stand up there.

ーーWhat do you want to do after that?

Chicchi: It would be cool if BiSH became a worldwide name. When you think of orthodox idols you think of AKB, and when you think of unorthodox idols you think of BiSH, I guess.

ーーYou're doing live shows too, right? What's your mental state like right now?

Chicchi: I just have this impending sense of doom, and it was awful falling down at our first live, but now I'm desperate. Aina is pulling me along with dance, and she thinks of such genius stuff that's so close to perfect, so I've had to not just remember it but think about how to make it my own, which has been fun. I have to overcome that hurdle first.