Archive for August, 2014

Keiko Kitagawa interview article in “Nikkei Woman” June 2014 issue (English translation)


Q – Please write a message for our readers!

“Day after day…the only ‘now’ you can enjoy is the image of yourself, right here, right now.” – Keiko Kitagawa

Work Saved Me, Even When I Hit Rock Bottom

The movie “Miss Nightmare – The Movie” was filmed in the scorching heat of summer. The main character was a girl called “Miss Nightmare” who had prophetic, calamitous dreams that resulted in attacks on people. The character’s home room teacher, who finds out about Miss Nightmare, is played by Keiko Kitagawa.

“Because this was my first time starring in a drama movie, I was really glad. I’ve had fans who watched my drama series tell me that they really liked my role in this film, and I’ve been glad to hear how vocal they’ve been about it.”

Lots of interwoven footage was used from different locations to create the “dream” footage that appears throughout the film. There were a lot of specialized shooting techniques used and many scenes that required green screens, so this was definitely a new experience for you in a lot of ways.

“I’ve always had unexpected experiences throughout my life, so I don’t feel like it’s really hard to deal with. For example, last year was my first time taking on this kind of drama role. I like to roll with the punches. And with this new role – I think I feel lucky to have had this experience. I really think my work has saved me in this regard. And in my private life as well, of course. (laughs)”

When you were 24 years old, there seemed to be a big rush of people who wanted you to get married or were anxious to see that, did it make you uneasy?

“I always say that my fans are my staff. But sometimes I have to do my best not to laugh off some of their concerns about me.”

But in all her honesty, she is never the kind of person to forget her fans or brush them aside, and I think that’s wonderful.

5 Questions to Keiko

Q – What are your thoughts on turning 28 years old?

I want to challenge myself to do new things. I’d like to experience doing a live performance in front of an audience on stage. That’s something I want to try out in the future.

Q – Do you have any rules about how you use your money?

Those of us in the entertainment industry try not to lose their common sense when it comes to money. But at the same time, I don’t spare any expense when it comes to gifts or celebrations. Maybe that’ll come back to haunt me someday? (laughs)

Q – What do you do when you can’t sleep?

The longer you can’t sleep, the harder it becomes to actually fall asleep. So I try to spend those times reading a book, or listening to L’Arc-en-Ciel on my headphones.

Q – How do you feel about co-starring alongside child actors?

It would be a lie if I said that I think it’s good for children. But I know personally I learned a lot about being the teacher Ms. Ayami when I was on set with her.

Q – What’s your secret to not being afraid of failure?

When I first heard the expression “even if you have to pay for it, you should go through a struggle”, I didn’t understand it. I really started to understand that saying recently. If you live in fear of failure, you’ll have a lot of regrets.

Translated by Miss Dream under their “Hire Us!” program. Paid for by this blog to the benefit of all English-speaking and English-learning Keiko fans.

Keiko Kitagawa and Momoiro Clover Z in the May 2014 issue of “Walker” magazines (raw scans)


Keiko Kitagawa and Momoiro Clover Z on the cover of the May 2014 issue of “Tokyo Walker”:

Keiko Kitagawa and Momoiro Clover Z in the May 2014 issue of “Walker” magazines, all editions:

Keiko Kitagawa and Momoiro Clover Z in the May 2014 issue of “Fukuoka Walker”:

Rika Izumi in her “book-in-book” special supplement inside “Ray” March 2014 issue (English translation of part)


Blogger’s note: Rika’s special supplement spans 12 pages and covers a wide range of topics. Due to resource, time and space constraints I have decided to only commission for a translation of the last two pages, which contains Rika’s outlook in life and her personal thoughts about herself. The first 10 pages are included as raw scans.

Speaking with 25 Year-Old Ms. Izumi

At the age of 25 you’re a respectable adult, but your self-confidence hasn’t truly blossomed yet. In the midst of this process is Ms. Rika Izumi – what are your thoughts on the matter?

“At this age your life is in a crossroads. And you’re impatient because you want it to be game time.”

It’s been five years since your debut in RAY. Now that you’re 25 years old, what is your state of mind like?

I think 25 years old is a crossroads for models. You have to consider if you want to keep modelling, or if you’re going to quit. For me, I think I’m gradually deciding which direction I want to go in, but at the same time I feel impatient because I want to keep growing and developing what I do. At age 25, since I kind of rebooted my career 3 years ago, I haven’t reached all of the goals I set for myself then for five years down the line, so there’s kind of a gap that I’m operating in. Rather than try to bridge that gap, I’m just starting fresh all over again.

At three years into your new career, are you where you imagined you would be in five years?

When I left modelling for a short period of time, it wasn’t because I didn’t want to model anymore, but because I wanted to be the kind of model who “competes with her own name”. I think I’m an atypical model in that regard, and I always wanted to give the readers a life-sized view of me – which takes a lot of personal strength and resolve to do since its vulnerable. But it’s important to me to do things in my own style. I wanted people to think when they hear “Rika Izumi”, to associate that with “originality”. That was necessary to me, to be original.

Have you changed your stance on things over the last five years?

When I thought about where I’d be in five years, I hoped that I would level up in my modelling, so to speak, and continue to create cute spreads for “Ray” magazine. I wanted to learn to wear all kinds of skirts, learn to turn up the corners of my lips to make my smile wider…so I used to practice doing that sort of thing in front of the mirror. But I think now that comes naturally from the work itself. People would look through the pictures in the book and wonder, “Which one is Rika?”, and when I heard that it was hard for me (cries). So I knew that my next step would be to show my true self.

When you got your first cover shoot, it would seem that your career had started to really take off, but you said it made you feel a little gloomy, right?

Well, I owe where I am now because of other people. And I don’t want to quit without listening to what other people say.

It’s not just about meeting expectations; I think I might have been tired? So that made me uneasy. And it seemed like every time I turned around, there was some cute new girl starting out. So rather than do a complete makeover and change the Rika Izumi image I had built for the last five years, I wanted to evolve instead.

“The first thing I decided I ever wanted in life was to be a ‘model’.”

I know that you’re in a transitional period right now, but what are some things you’re working on?

Well, I’m definitely working on trying to understand myself more. And of course I’ve been working on developing hot new fashion trends too. The first thing is really about self-discovery. As for the second, I’m putting the things I love best on display. In terms of my work, I think I’m working hard on my career. And I really believe in what I’m doing. This magazine’s image has always been about doing new experimental things, so I’ve been getting adventurous with trying out new facial expressions during our shoots.

Because this career is my life’s work, I am really fired up about what I’m doing. I want to keep trying more and more new things. I am enjoying trying out new things and living my life as me, as Rika.

“I Will Always…be in the Style of Love”

I think Ray’s outlook on the world has always been about love. They are always chasing after the image of smiling girls who shine brightly. Doing what you love is really important to me, which is why I enjoy modeling so much. Being cute, soft, and being able to make cute gestures and facial expressions is important, of course, but those who shine from within are the ones I love the best. And when you can laugh wholeheartedly in front of the camera and show your true self, that is the best. (laughs)

Lately I’ve been feeling like it’s my turn to be loved. But before someone can love you, they have to love themselves. And I think in order to love someone else properly, you have to admit to yourself your own faults. So you almost have to break your own character to really be in love. And you have to be in it for yourself, already living for yourself entirely. The sense of fulfillment and happiness you seek can’t be found in someone else, so that’s my “style of love”.

I think everyone should develop their own style of love that allows them to connect with others.

The secret to becoming a girl who is loved is by loving others. – Rika Izumi

Translated by Miss Dream under their “Hire Us!” program. Paid for by this blog to the benefit of all English-speaking and English-learning Rika fans)

Keiko Kitagawa in “B.L.T.” August 2014 issue (all editions; raw scan only)