Only Star Magazine (2009.07): Part 1
Interview with Oristar (Only Star) 2009.07.27 (No. 28-1500)
■ In this interview to commemorate your 20th Anniversary, the editors of Only Star have drafted the caption “Soul Talk with the Man who Strives for the Top”. What do you think, Fukuyama-san?
F: Oh, that sure is it. (laugh)
■ Hahahaha! Although you didn’t get to reach the top when you debut. (laugh)
F: My debut didn’t even start on the right track. My debut was the same day as BEGIN*1 from the same management company. They were arranged to appear on the Ikaten 「イカ天」 show, and became an instant success with their song “Koishikute” (恋しくて My darling). But I had nothing compared to them…..
■ What do you think, now that you’ve been in the business for 20 years? Like would you feel that you’ve worked really hard?
F: No, no. To be honest, I feel like a ball in a pachinko machine. Once I get shot out, I bump into this and that, and I have no idea what’s coming around the corner.
■ Our impression of Fukuyama-san at that time, was that you appeared in Ishikawa Jun-san’s (いしかわじゅんさん)*2 manga series “From K” 「フロムK」
F: Yes. That’s right!
■ The manga talked about the shooting of “Hon no 5g” 「ほんの５ｇ」 but it didn’t have any information on Fukuyama-san nor any illustrations of you. When it was released, Ishikawa Jun-san had written “I remember Fukuyama-san was someone who played rock music. But I hadn’t seen him around after the movie, what’s going on? Please contact me.”
F: Yes! Yes! That was before the media had noticed me. You’re incredible, you’ve done your research. Before I shot the movie, I had read the manga “From K”. That’s why I already knew about Ishikawa Jun-san. The first person I talked up to at the site, was also him. I said, “Please put me into your manga, then I can show off to my friends at home.” I had always been a bit of a geek, the things I liked were never mainstream. A bit like “nobody knows about it, but it’s really good”, that was what I went for.
■ Your line of thought is not mainstream either, is it? What I’m trying to say is, for someone who thought like that, but took the mainstream route, what did you feel?
F: I think that was an issue for my management company to deal with. It was also determined by who came to me with a job in the first place, whether they were looking for an AV actor or a model (laugh)
■ And you’re OK with that?
F: That’s where I’m so lax. Like if someone were to treat me to delicious food, I’d think anything goes. (laugh) “What? Sushi after work?” I couldn’t turn down something like that.
■ Then have you thought about how you could incorporate unconventional ideas into the mainstream?
F: I have thought about it, but people wouldn’t think you’re great if you want to do something like that. They’ll just say “Oh, so he wants to do that” (i.e. he’s just pretending to go mainstream). That’s why I believe if you’re in the mainstream, you should go all out in the mainstream way, and do it with flair. There’s nothing bad about that.
■ But you debut at a time when bands were very popular, you like The Mods and more so, your album producer then was Shirahama Hisashi-san (白浜久) of ARB!*3 Did you only start having this belief half-way through?
F: How should I say it…..with the help of the staff, I tried a lot of things in the first; second and third albums. And I could see simply that even if an album cannot sell, it would have used up a lot of human resources. Because when I was in our amateur band before, we had to work to earn money and pay for the unsold tickets before we could hold a concert. So I know very clearly that “it takes money to play music”. And when my CDs couldn’t sell, I started feeling very ashamed.
■ And when you need more and more human resources…….
F: Yes. In the end, these production and sushi expenses must be paid by someone. At the beginning, I was very insistent, be it on things I wasn’t able to achieve yet, or, my dreams on Rock music. Although I really wanted to realize my dreams, and for a time I didn’t pay heed to whether my way was going to make any money, it turned out that I couldn’t sell at all! So the first three albums could be seen as exploratory, on a trial and error basis.
■ When you started acting at that time, it was also because you wanted to act alongside ARB’s Ishibashi Ryo-san*, wasn’t it?
F: Because Shirahama (Hisashi)-san also said “Even if you try some acting, it should be fine.”…….“Really?” I was dubious when I started. I didn’t know anything then, and they frequently took me out to dinner and introduced me to a lot of people, like movie directors, TV drama directors. I had never acted before, to be more exact, I had no interest in acting, yet people would ask me “Would you like to act?” But this is human nature…..when I was asked “do you want to give it a try?”, I actually found I didn’t dislike it.
■ Like when the opposite sex says “I like you”, we wouldn’t dislike it.
F: That’s why I’ve always said, this is no different from the mentality of girls who’re willing to sleep with people after being chatted up. “I’m being needed….” It’s this feeling.
■ And that came just at the time when you were not being needed in your music, so you felt it even stronger when you were posed the question.
F: That’s why I surrendered my body too (laugh)
■ And slowly your heart as well (laugh). And after that, when the actor became popular, your music became popular too.
F: But when Chiinii-chan チイ兄ちゃん (his role in “Hitotsu no Yane Shita” ひとつ屋根の下) started getting widespread attention, I felt terrible at that time. Being too much of a hit in the drama, put me under a lot of pressure.
■ That would give people the impression that your original profession is an actor, and you only sing in your spare time.
F: Like Oda Yuji-san (織田裕二), Eguchi Yousuke-san (江口洋介) and Yoshida Asaku-san (吉田榮作) etc., they all sing as well. In the early 90’s , they used to call me the Rock Actor……. Because my dramas were such a hit then, I felt more and more that that I had to do the same with singing. After that, I wrote the song “Melody” (1993) and my state of mind at that time was that “I must make this a hit!”
■ Well, from the outcome, you must have got commended, didn’t you?
F: No, this is another thing that I’m really skeptical about, regardless of whether I get praised or criticised, I won’t believe it.
■ Hahahaha! Then what does Fukuyama-san believe in all these years?
F: Myself (said with certainty).
Hmmm, for example, if you ask people what they felt about the concerts, I don’t think anyone will say they don’t like it. Having said that, Osato-san from my management company (Amuse founder) is really good at this. He would say “No, it’s very good!” then “….but at this place….” And he’ll take out a bunch of scrap paper that he’d written on. (laugh) Osato-san knows very well which parts I want to hide and which parts I think other people won’t notice. The things he brings out are real areas of concern, I know that. Like when he queried “You!! Yes you said it in your MC, but that’s not what you really think, is it?”… “…..Oh, he saw right through me?” Something like that.
■ At the beginning you started the MC parts because of Osato-san’s suggestion, wasn’t it?
F: It’s all because of Osato-san! Years ago, he came to see my debut concert, and because I almost didn’t say anything on the stage, he told me off “You idiot, why didn’t you talk at all? You don’t even have one single hit song, wouldn’t it be strange if you don’t even speak a word? You! Before you can get a hit, you just keep talking up there!”
■ You’ve got hit songs now! (laugh)
F: When my songs were doing well, and I was still talking, he said “Fukuyama, how long are you going to keep talking! You’re too long-winded!” (laugh) But Osato-san’s suggestions on my live performances are all very accurate.
■ You used to be a hardliner in the past, you’d never spend so much time on the MC.
F: In the early stages, I didn’t say anything at all. I felt that MC equalled sweet-talking and cajolery. At that time, I could not have imagined that I could have spoken as much as I do now. Let alone having to think so hard about what to say, I’d never have considered that.
~To be Continued~
According to experienced fans, Masha told the following anecdote on himself a couple of times in interviews, and he did so again yesterday in his congratulatory message to the radio station Bay FM, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary as well.
Apparently, when the MELODY single was released, Masha pretended to be an ordinary listener and phoned in to Bay FM to request for the song (to push it). He called himself Osato from Shibuya (Amuse head office in Shibuya). Because his request was chosen, there was a souvenir, so he left the Amuse Office address. But after he used the same name a few times, the radio staff at the phone finally asked: You’re Fukuyama-san, aren’t you!
*1 BEGIN - more information and homepage
*2 Ishikawa Jun is a senior manga artist in Japan. He appeared in “Hon no 5g” as well. Homepage
*3 The Mods and ARB were two of young Masha’s favourite bands.
The Mods - more information and homepage
ARB - more information and homepage
*4 Ishibashi Ryo - more information
Translated from Fukuyama Honne (Articles 6627, 6776 and 6790), with reference to the original article.
This English translation was first posted on MashaPlus [dot] Info Forums. (Registration required to enter.)