Only Star Magazine (2009.07): Extract
Q & A with Ori-star (Only Star) Readers
■ You’ve done cover versions of other people’s songs. If someone were to sing your songs, who would you want it to be? (Akita prefecture, 15 years old female)
F: “That would have to be Beyoncé-san, whom we met last time in Music Station. On the next day, Beyoncé-san was on ‘Ousama no Buranchi’ (王樣のブランチ King’s Brunch) when she was asked which one she liked and she said ‘I like Fukuyama’. From that time onwards, ‘I like Beyoncé’ too!”
Hadn’t you noticed Beyoncé before?
F: “We’re in totally different places, we couldn’t have known each other, right?
So it was the hand of destiny which enabled you to meet?
F: “After we finished recording “Music Station”, I think our eyes met again when we were in the backstage waiting room. But I was thinking (at that time) there was no way she would be looking at me! The international (superstar) Beyoncé-san looking at me??
You weren’t mistaken…..(laugh)
F: “Now that you mention it, thank goodness she really was…..”
It’s not too late now!
F: “Right, when will she be in Japan again? For the ‘Summer Sonic’ in August? I should be on the Nagasaki leg of my concert tour. As the Hometown Ambassador, I think I should treat Beyoncé-san to a trip to Nagasaki!” (laugh)
■ Fukuyama-san’s beautiful voice is highly intoxicating to all of us. What do you do to take care of it? (Hyōgo prefecture, 22 years old female)
F: “I guess that’s because I imitate myself a lot (laugh)”
Eh, you’d imitate yourself too? (laugh)
F: “Oh yeah, I’d imitate the people who impersonate me. So I’m very thankful that there are others who do (impersonate me).
Would you mimic other people as well?
F: “The one I copy most in my radio programme, is the off-screen broadcaster in NTV’s ‘Burari Tochuugesha no Tabi’ 《ぶらり途中下車の旅》(Travels through Strolling Stopovers)* Also Takiguchi Junpei-san (滝口順平) and Ootaki Hideji-san (大滝秀冶). I like to mimic the characteristic high pitch used by Japanet Takata’s Chairman Takata (高田), and then switch over to the Katsura Koeda (桂小枝) tone straight after.** I do that quite a lot (laugh).”
And mimicking all those voices, is the secret ingredient to helping you maintain a sensual voice?
F: “It’s not just the low tones, I would use high pitches too!”
■ If we should bump into Fukuyama-san in the street, is it better if we keep quiet and not do anything? (Osaka prefecture, 18 years old female)
F: “Yes, I’ve been saying this in my radio programme all along. (I’m a bit) like wild animals…you should never go and feed them, because you would disrupt the natural eco-cycle.” (i.e. Do not approach him if you should see him in the street, you might start a huge commotion there.)
So it’s alright if they stand and look from afar?
F: “Yes, I don’t mind if I’m surrounded at a distance. Apparently the animals in the Galapagos have a tendency of approaching people because they have never had the experience of being hurt by humans. So, if you keep your distance, who knows, maybe I might come over.” (laugh)
■ Looking back at these 20 years, are there any memorable events that you would want to experience once again? (Tokyo, 23 years old female)
F: “Oh, I think that would be those wonderful memories of my first Arena show and getting No. 1 on the Oricon charts.”
You once said that you don’t remember the good things so well. Is that why you’d want to re-live those moments again?
F: “Well I didn’t get a chance to do it then……I want to feel proud of myself for a bit!” (laugh)
■ Are there any specific things that have made you feel “It’s great to be in the entertainment industry!” (Gunma prefecture, 29 years old female)
F: “The thing that made me glad to have this job, is the kindness that other people have shown me! When I go to some shops, they’d do all sorts of extra things for me! In the past, I would say, ‘No thanks, it’s alright’, but now I feel such a response is much too rude.”
You actually did say that …..
F: “Yes. I had turned down the only way that they can do something more for me. In a tea ceremony, that would not be possible. Accepting other people’s services (with grace) is a very important etiquette (in chadō).*** From a professional wrestler’s point of view, that’s something like seeing how much you can take. That’s why I would accept other people’s extra arrangements nicely now.”
And on top of that, if you are able to show your delight, it would be even better for the other party.
F: “That’s right. If we can gladly accept (someone’s good intentions), they would feel happy too.”
You must have come across those peculiar extras like “We can recommend good shops where you can find the girls.”
F: “As for those, I’d still say the same ‘Thank you very much’ and accept it all.” (laugh)
■ 20 years being such a long time, you must have had moments when you didn’t want to work. Whenever you’re not in the mood, what keeps you motivated? (Aichi prefecture, 16 years old female)
F: “Well……I guess it would have to be my fans. It’s because of their happy faces that I would want to keep working hard till the end.”
“Concerts are the best things to do”, that turned out to be true.
F: “Yeah. At work, there are always inter-personal relationships and many other issues to manage. There are times when I’ve had thoughts like “You scum!” But as long as I can make my fans happy, those happy faces are what I love to see!”
So you start to think of what you can do to make your fans happy. That’s why the MC part in your concerts has increased now.
F: “That’s right. If the fans tell me ‘You don’t need to talk so much!’, then I won’t say anything more on stage.”
“We want to hear more of your singing, please don’t talk anymore.” What if they should say something like that?
F: “Well, then I’ll say nothing at all (on stage). ‘Excuse me please. For the past 20 years, I hadn’t noticed that you didn’t need me to talk at all, I’m really sorry.’ I’ll say something like that.”(laugh)
~ Extract from Ori-star (Only Star) Magazine 2009/7/27 (No. 28-1500) ~
* 《ぶらり途中下車の旅》 is an ongoing TV travel show which has been on air since 1992.10.03
(i) Takiguchi Junpei - more information available here
(ii) Ootaki Hideji - more information available here
(iii) Japanet Takata Co. Ltd. (ジャパネットたかた) is a direct marketing company utilising online and TV shopping channels. Their Chairman Takata is their on-screen icon, involved in much of the product selling himself and well known for his tonal changes (going up an octave) when he talks.
(iv) Katsura Koeda is a well-known Japanese comedian.