Musubizm girls may be newcomer in Japan’s idol group ecosystem, but these girls have a lot of enthusiastic energy and big dreams. We got to see them performing and interview them at J-Pop Summit 2015. From left to right: Mai Imai, Nami Yamada, Misa Kimura, Rurika Miyajima, Eru Shiina.
In Japan’s hyper-competitive idol group circle, there’s a new girl idol unit joining. Formed by Asobi System in Spring 2014, Musubizm (“Musubi” is a verb that means “tying, connecting and uniting” in Japanese) aims to spread Japanese kawaii culture globally. They originally started as a 6-people group, however as of Spring 2015, Musubizm consists of five members: Eru Shiina, Rurika Miyajima, Misa Kimura, Nami Yamada, and Mai Imai.
Even though Misa Kimura came to J-Pop Summit last year before she joined the group, J-Pop Summit 2015 marked the first time Musubizm perform live in the United States. We were very lucky to not only see them modeling for AMIAYA’s joutie brand and Ayumi Seto’s ‘Aymmy in the batty girls’ brand, but also catch their 2-song performance during MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON Festival segment AND interview them on the first day of J-Pop Summit 2015!
The girls opened MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON Festival with an energetic 2-song performance. The dance routines are really rigorous, while the melodies are fairly difficult to pull off. But the girls performed very well and did their best to connect with the audience. Charmed with their smiles and energetic performance, the crowd warmly corresponded, giving their shouts of support to the Musubizm girls. Also, check out their colorful kimono-inspired costumes and tabi shoes!
Shortly that afternoon, we got to sit down and talk briefly with Eru Shiina, Rurika Miyajima, Misa Kimura, Nami Yamada, and Mai Imai. It’s very cute that they gave the three of us the full “We are…Mu-su-bi-zu-mu!” greeting. I got so tempted that we countered them with our very own Fafafoom greeting, but sadly we did not practice beforehand so I scrapped the idea a second after I thought about it. During the interview, we got to know more about their motivation, personal style, and plan for next year!
Fafafoom: You are a new idol group that’s formed recently. What do you do to build the connection to become a strong idol group?
Misa Kimura: We started working together for the first time, and our group name Musubizm is formed from the verb “Musubi” that means “connecting” or “uniting.” So we build a sense of closeness as a team, such as eating our meals together before or after our performances.
Fafafoom: For each of you, what motivates you to become an idol?
Eru Shiina: I like to give happiness, seeing people’s smiling faces keeps me wanting to do my best!
Rurika Miyajima: I originally did not plan to become an idol, however the opportunity came out of nowhere and now I really enjoy doing it.
Misa: Even though I always really like idols, I never imagine that I’d become one myself. For me, I’d like to be an idol who is a fan of idols.
Fafafoom: Misa-san, you transformed from being a fan of Japanese idol group to become a member of a Japanese idol group yourself. Was there any unexpected challenges you encounter along the way?
Misa: Ah, when I’m on stage, I can see the faces of the audience and I didn’t expect that.
Fafafoom: Thank you, Misa-san. Let’s continue; what about you, Nami-san?
Nami: I did not plan to become an idol. However, my mother has a different dream, so she encouraged me to pursue this opportunity.
Mai: I’m not really the type of person who’d naturally perform in public. However each time I go on stage, I get a lot of energy from the audience, and that’s a lot of fun. Plus, working with my peers here is a great motivation to continue doing my best.
Fafafoom: Each of you represent different versions of kawaii. What does that mean to you, and what you share your own personal kawaii style?
Eru: For me, kawaii style is about being cool – in terms of color, I like black, blue, or red. I like to balance wearing something like a girly skirt with cooler things, so I create my own “kawaii” with mixing various elements.
Rurika: I like wearing pastel colors, and I like strawberry a lot. (She said the following in English) “Yes, strawberry…I AM strawberry!”
Manager-san: No, no, that’s not right! (Everyone laughed.)
Rurika: And I like to collect bags, kimono, anything with strawberry design on them!
Misa: I like to wear girly clothes, however I like to incorporate a motif that’s a little bit off, a little bit weird. For example, a skirt with a Starbucks coffee cup design on it.
(At this point, the other girls seemed really impressed and wanted to know more about Misa-san’s style tips.)
Nami: I like bears, and I like to do pony tails. But now I’d like to incorporate a more adult-type of kawaii.
(Now, the girls look at Mai-san and started whispering, “Uniqlo kawaii! Uniqlo kawaii!”)
Mai: I like simple….basically I like to wear cheap things and make it look stylish and expensive. (Everyone laughed.)
Fafafoom: Mai-san, I’m the same way. Plus, I’m a die hard fan of Uniqlo!
Mai: Ah, really? That’s great, me too!
Fafafoom: What’s the plan for next year?
Misa: We’d like to make an album, and then do ‘one-man live shows’ (i.e. being the only group performing) internationally, including San Francisco and other countries. We’d like to connect with a lot more people overseas.
Thank you Musubizm, for such a sweet interview! Good luck with all future performances and growing success, and hopefully you all will be back next year to San Francisco! Also, special thanks to Erik Jansen and Hiromi-san from NEW PEOPLE for making this interview possible. Musubizm’s schedule was so jam-packed that we almost missed our interview opportunity!
Thanks for reading; until next time,
Fafafoom team for J-Pop Summit 2015:
Interviewer & Editor: Mira Musank
Photographer: Christian Hadidjaja
Translator: Kuni Natsuki