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[Morning Musume. '21] Sato Masaki Graduation Commemorative Interview, Part 2: Her Beloved Group Members

Posted by Lurkette, in Translations, Interview 18 December 2021 · 316 views

[Morning Musume. '21] Sato Masaki Graduation Commemorative Interview, Part 2: Her Beloved Group Members

Photography/Noda Wakaba (TRON)
Hair & Makeup/Sugunaga Fumi (Lila)
Stylist/Kato Chihiro
Article, Interview/Takeuchi Asa
Web editing/Yoshikawa Nao
Photography support/Backgrounds Factory

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[Morning Musume. '21] Thoughts on the members as she felt when they made music together

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Sato Masaki will graduate from Morning Musume. '21 and Hello!Project at the group's solo concert at Nippon Budokan in Tokyo on December 13, 2021. She has continued to charm many with her unique, emotionally resonant performances and her enigmatic, innocent character, and non-non Web held a long interview with her looking back at her 10 year career. It's a must-read with discussions about her inner thoughts you can only see here. In Part 2, she talks about her feelings on her beloved group-mates.

When I hear them sing solo, I feel like I can understand the other members' thoughts

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――You have a strong image of having a deep love of music, going so far as to compose music even in Morning Musume.
It's just putting a form to emotions, more than composition. Your speaking voice, or tears when you cry, that's giving them form, is it not? I put my feelings of the day into sound as a kind of diary. I think Nonaka (Miki) of the 12th generation is making music right. She got a laptop in April of this year and by July was making songs, which is such incredible drive! She has a completely different worldview than I do, and I think she's really cool.
――Is there anything about the current members musically that you think is good or cool?
I might be going a little off-topic for the question, but I feel like I understand the other members' thoughts better by hearing them sing solo rather than talking to them. They might get mad at me, though, if I have it completely wrong, but I feel like that's how it is for me. They've so far never said anything about it, themselves.
――Can you be more specific?
Obviously I'm saying this with a huge condition that I'm sorry if I've got them completely wrong, but I want to see the 15th generation members Onchan (Kitagawa Rio) and (Okamura) Homare simply enjoy the music more. They're adding more, like, affectations, and the senior members are letting them figure it out, but I want them to really look at the songs, no rushing, and prioritize the emotions behind it. They're young, though, so I definitely understand them wanting to have things set. Panchan (Yamazaki Mei) leaves me with the impression that she is taking things as they are. I think the 15th generation are girls that will grow even more, so I want them to enjoy the music, first and foremost.

Chiiko (Morito Chisaki) in the 14th generation... I don't know what genre, but I think she's someone who really likes music. She also adores Morning Musume., and she watches each member carefully so she can get close to them. But where she's shrewd, maybe, is that it's hard to know what she's thinking at a glance. I want her to come talk to me if she has times when she goes home and cries.
――It's interesting that the question was about things in a musical sense, but you unexpectedly went very deep.
Maybe it's all in my head? I think Yokoyama (Reina) of the 13th generation is a really strong girl. I honestly respect how she gives everything into standing tall even in situations where I'd start crying, if it were me. She's often telling the other members how great they are, but from my perspective, she's the great one. When it comes to music, I want to tell her that no matter what, I'm on her side.

Kacchan (Kaga Kaede) isn't the type to want to stand out, but rather someone who really wants to do more in Morning Musume. But sometimes she spins her wheels, it's cute. I also think she's easy to understand in that she doesn't just express changes in emotion during concerts, but even in recordings.

Then, the 12th generation, when they joined, there was a lot that was asked of them and a lot that people got mad at them for, which I think must have been so hard, and yet, Nonaka (Miki) and Makino (Maria) and Akanechin (Haga Akane) are so kind and pay attention to other people's needs before their own. That's why I want them to take some time to cry just for themselves once, I think. I feel like new doors will open to them once they do. Well, maybe once I graduate they'll all feel much better (laughs).

What she thinks about and wants to tell the 9th, 10th, and 11th generation members she's worked with for so long

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11th generation's Odango (Oda Sakura) has always been someone who likes to sing, likes Morning Musume., and loves to eat. That's why I was so surprised when I read her blog after I announced I was graduating, like, "Is this really what you've been thinking!?" She remarked that she felt fairly competitive, but I wonder if that's not how she really felt. It seemed like she just flipped a switch and turned into "Oda Sakura," like an actor falling into a role. I feel like she's gotten away from that sort of energy lately, though, in a good way. In terms of music and singing, she might actually be the person in Morning Musume. with the least amount of confidence, but I don't know. She's the one most allowed to have confidence, from my perspective. She's also very loving. She's the person who most resembles my beloved director, in some ways.

To my generation-mate (Ishida) Ayumi, I want to ask her what she honestly wants to do. Ayumi has some amazing qualities that only she can bring out, but I don't think she has realized that. I think she hates being taken to task, but she hasn't said as such herself (laughs). Lots of people will have lots of opinions, but I don't think she has to listen to anything that will hurt her. If something resonates with or her she feels frustrated, then she can take advice, because I think if she is feeling some way inside, it will turn into frustration. In any case, what I want from Ayumi is for her to honestly answer when people ask her what she wants to do.
――Finally, what about your 9th generation seniors?
Ikuta (Erina) is loved by a lot more people than she thinks she is, and I want her to know how much I love her, first of all. She is someone who knows what she should do more than she says she does, too. It's like, you know those graphs of people's individual strengths and weaknesses? Ikuta knows hers very well. She's also always thinking about how to do things her own way and putting them into practice, even with things she's bad at. She'll take her time and think of different ways of doing something and try things out, which is amazing. I was talking with the non-no staff earlier about how her singing style left a completely different impression on them this past year, but I think she herself has probably changed how she does things and it has caught on. I haven't been able to see her lately, but she always thinks most about other people and is always working her hardest right down to the wire, so I do worry about her and I want her to know how much she is loved!

Leader Fukumura (Mizuki) thinks about all of us, but I want her to understand how many people she has given peace of mind by acting as leader. What Morning Musume. has now is because of her. She's not the type to tell people what she's feeling, but I want to keep up with her because her judgment is always correct and I'll always believe in her. As a singer, she has a big chest of drawers. It's not just that there are a lot of drawers, the chest itself is also huge. She can convey someone who is sad but strong, someone who is cool but lonely, she can do it all. I respect her ability to show sensitive little feelings as a part of normal human emotion. Personally, I think that Onchan (Kitagawa Rio) in the 15th generation could maybe be the most like her if she can level up more.
――How do you feel about yourself, giving these opinions to the members?
I don't know, but whenever someone graduates from Morning Musume., I understand what they taught me. Tanaka Reina brought singing, Michishige Sayumi brought talk skills, Yassan (Sayashi Riho) brought cool body shapes, Suzuki Kanon taught me the importance of hearing out other opinions, Ogata (Haruna) taught me the importance of the things I lose. This maybe caused me to spend less time studying for school, but that's what it is. Kudo Haruka taught me kindness towards everyone, Iikubo Haruna taught me visuals. Putting all of this together has brought me to how I approach music now. I'm the type to take my time like that. Sayashi is working in a completely different environment now, and that's very encouraging to me. I love the Morning Musume. members as much as I love my own family, so when someone graduates, I like to stash away the core of them, like a jewel. I notice these things when that personality is gone from the group.

It's not that I'm working hard. I'm just doing what I like and having fun

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――What do you think you will leave behind in the group?

Hmm. I think everyone will be happy when I leave (laughs). I want them to be relieved that such a troublesome kid is finally gone. Some happy tears would be just enough. I'm selfish, but that's who I am, and I wonder if it isn't proof I was alive that I caused such a stir myself. I'm scared of being raised up in some strange way, and I'm also scared of the possibility of not living up to people's expectations and disappointing them... I want people to stop their "positive slander!"
――Please elaborate a little on this "positive slander."

It sucks to be told you're not cute, normally, right? But if someone says that to me, I don't really think anything of it, like, okay, then please tell that to my mother and father. I'm more bothered when people say, "You're working hard," or "You're doing your best." The worst is when people tell me not to be humble. I met Tsunku♂'s songs, I met the members, I met the staff and all the fans, all by chance. The time together has been fun, and that's it. I'm really not putting much effort in.

It's so much fun being able to do what my seniors Goto Maki, Takahashi Ai, Tanaka Reina, Michishige Sayumi, and all the others have done. It's the same thing with studying, where it's fun once you understand it, you know? So I get kind of uncomfortable when people tell me I'm working so hard on these things where only I know how fun it is and how much I like it, and then people start to get raise their expectations of me. This is what I consider "positive slander."
――Understood. Even if people are giving you praise, they're unwittingly setting the hurdle higher. What an interesting explanation. Well then, for the final question, what Morning Musume. song do you want our non-no readers, some of whom are around your age, to listen to?
For young people, teenagers, it's "Robokiss" from the unit W, comprised of Tsuji Nozomi and Kago Ai. The sound matches with the emotion of simply conveying your affection, and I think it's wonderful how you can really feel the love Tsunku♂ had for Tsuji and Kago. I think people who listen to that song will love everyone. For people I guess around my age, a little more mature in their 20s, it's "Fantasy ga Hajimaru." I think it really suits the emotions you feel towards friends and best friends and whoever else likes this song.

The song I want people to hear, regardless of age, is "Egao no kimi wa taiyou sa." It's natural to see the grass as greener on the other side, but I often hear people say how much better things were when they were young, but I don't think that's true.

I believe that people, no matter how old they are or what circumstances they're in, can always grow and learn. I've actually learned a ton from my juniors, too. But there will always be sadness, regret, many different emotions. This is a song where you can realize that, if we accept that we are individuals with those varied emotions, and if we don't speak ill of others or ourselves, we can keep growing no matter how old we get. The lyrics are extremely wonderful so I want people to give it a careful listen.

●Satou Masaki
Born May 7, 1999, from Hokkaido. Joined Morning Musume. in 2011 as part of the 10th generation. Special skill is piano. Nickname is Maachan. Member color is emerald green. Charms many fans with changing her way of singing and performing songs between concerts. Has many fans in entertainment, as well, including former non-no model Araki Yuko. Currently a college student, and often graces the pages of non-no. Concept for the photoshoot is "Plain Maachan." Moved as she wished in front of the camera, with more casual styling than usual

Inner cutsew ¥6050, skirt ¥17600/Ungrid 
Earrings ¥2580, rings (right) ¥2080, rings (left) ¥1500/Cross Communication Design Lab (ROOM)