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Vol.31 Takahiro Mizushima & A9 Shou - A Talk (Part 1) -

TEAM SAKUSAKU presents ~ Favorite Collections ~
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One year on from the first staging of “Sakuraikku Smile ‘16”, we bring you this interview-style article featuring voice actor, Takahiro Mizushima, and visual-kei rock band vocalist, Shou (A9), who met through the late contents producer, Takamasa Sakurai! (*For more info on the event, check out episode #20 of this column!)

As an Artist, I Want People to Enjoy Themselves from the Bottom of their Hearts.

───People would probably be surprised to learn that Takahiro Mizushima and Shou from A9 hang out together in their downtime. Your professions seem somewhat remote of each other, so what commonalities do you share?

A9 Shou (hereafter referred to as Shou): Ah, but TAKA (*the name Mizushima uses in his music-related activities) has a bit of a visual-kei side to him!

Takahiro Mizushima (hereafter referred to as Mizushima): It’s true, I do! In the beginning I was more into hard rock and punk rock, but I just seemed to gradually shift over to visual-kei (lol). And the band that best represented visual-kei, including the makeup and songs, for me was A9. When I was getting songs composed for me I would play A9 and say these are the kinds of songs I like and that’s how TAKA developed into who he is today, basically. Performing as TAKA made me realize how similar acting and singing can be. You take on a persona that isn’t quite yourself…I don’t think it has anything to do with performing in front of someone, but for me I really feel that there isn’t much of a borderline between acting and singing. And that’s not just me; I feel the same when I watch Shou as well. The gap between the Shou on stage and regular every day Shou is huge (lol).

Takahiro Mizushima
Shou: “I want to spend my days off at home playing online games and not interacting with other people” – that’s the very core of my personality (lol). And so that’s why I’ve brought in all these different elements to create the style and mindset of the A9, on-stage version of Shou. As my teacher and vocal coach tells me, “Performing live is like going on a date.”

Mizushima: That’s so cool!
Shou: All the people that come to our shows spend their own time and money to see us, so we really should think about what we’re going to do as though we were going on a date. So we plan out the set list and MC roles and think 'okay, so here’s where we bring in the crowd,' and basically construct every detail one by one. It’s probably quite similar to how a chef in a restaurant plans out a course menu. As for our demeanor on stage, we look to Takarazuka. Takarazuka are “women portraying the ideal male,” right? I think that performing beyond the confines of gender is the ultimate form of expression. And as I began adopting all these elements into my being as an artist and as someone who performs on stage, I gradually began to achieve conformity with my own personality, too.

Mizushima: In simple terms, your ‘gap’ comes from your ‘hospitable heart.’

Shou: The root of it all is just trying to express ‘thanks’ and ‘happiness’ to all the people who took the time to come and see us perform. And in trying to figure out the best way to do that I arrived at my current style today.

A9 Shou
Mizushima: I get it. Whenever I perform at an event, I too think how to make it as enjoyable for the audience as possible. Even if it puts me in a less than favorable position amongst the other performers, if the people go home saying ‘that was fun’, that makes me happier than anything. I feel like I’m more suited to bringing the others around me into the spotlight, though, so at some point I would love to do something with someone like Shou who really takes center stage also. Just out of curiosity, if we were to a talk show together, not a live performance, which ‘Shou’ would we get to see?

Shou: If it was really just me being myself, the chatty otaku Shou (lol).

Mizushima: Wait, are you sure you’re okay with that?! (lol)

A9 Shou
Shou: I may be an otaku by I’m not the un-talkative type, and I like quite comical humor, so if you were to show your open-mindedness and accept that, then that’s the side of me you would get (lol).

Mizushima; I don’t know whether it’s okay to make fun of you or not (lol). But now that I think about it, when the audience is watching you sing at an A9 concert they look at you with ‘kakkoii (he’s so cool)’ eyes, and when you speak in your emcee parts they seem to look at you with ‘kawaii (he’s so cute)’ eyes. But artists aren’t simply monoliths, and I think that’s also what’s so appealing about them.

Shou: I’m also used to seeing the regular version of you as a lovable character, so when you debuted as the edgier TAKA, I also felt a certain ‘gap’. When I hear the voice of the various characters I think how professional voice acting is. Did you always have a voice that carries? In this profession I always tend to focus on the components of voice, but I find that the heart of a voice actor’s voice is quite big.

Mizushima: Really? I’m one of those people that joined a voice actor training school simply because I was into anime, so I don’t think my voice was that way from the beginning. The longer I continued with it the more interesting it became and that inner feeling of someone just jumping on the bandwagon of a new fad eventually went away… But I was certainly no prodigy, and through relentless persistence I created the voice I have today. I’ve been lecturing at a training school for the past 6 years now, and by putting into words and conveying something that’s such an intuitive skill I’ve not only become aware of many things, but I’ve been able to then incorporate that back into my acting as well.

Shou: They do say that those who have worked the hardest make the best teachers. So this character and that character that I know, they were the fruits of all that you strived for and acquired.

*The second part to this article, "TEAM SAKUSAKU presents – Favorite Collections Vol.32 Takahiro Mizushima & A9 Shou - A Talk (Part 2)," will be released on January 26th (Friday), 2018! Stay tuned!

PROFILE

Takahiro MizushimaTakahiro Mizushima (水島大宙)

Voice actor and narrator. A friendly character who is popular with both men and women. A clear fresh voice, often plays quiet youngsters, as well as cool, handsome characters.

Major roles and appearances (among many others): Has voiced characters in TV anime, such as Jyojiro Takajyo in "Charlotte," Kotaro Takebayashi in "Ansatsu Kyoshitsu (Assassination Classroom)," Jun Shiratori in "Boku Dake ga Inai Machi (The Town Where Only I am Missing)," Rolo Lamperouge in "Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2," Kouta Otoyama in "Uchu no Suteruvia (Stellvia of the Universe)," Hubert Ozwell in the game "Tales of Graces," Momota Asuma in "Boyfriend (Kari)," etc. Also provided dubbing in films such as "Sokyu no subaru" for the character of Li Chun Yun played by Shao-Qun Yu and "Chronicle" for Andrew Detmer played by Dane DeHaan. Radio work includes "Takahiro Muzushima / Ryohei Kimura ←SIDE BY SIDE→" and many more.
Since 2013 has been using the name "TAKA" for musical performances and activities.

Twitter:@mizushima_d
Blog: http://ameblo.jp/neko-no-otete/

PROFILE

A9 ShouA9 Shou (将)

Vocalist. Formed Alice Nine in 2004. They played the Budokan in 2011 and have been pro-active in their overseas activities, twice performing an Asia Tour. Adding to an already 14-year-long career, their new single “F+IX=YOU” produced by Ken (L'Arc-en-Ciel) was released on January 17, 2018.

Twitter:@SW_A9
Official Website:http://a9-project.com/

PROFILE

TEAM SAKUSAKUTEAM SAKUSAKU

"World peace through J-POP culture!"
TEAM SAKUSAKU is a playground for artists and creators of J-POP culture.
Our passions for the things we like is the pathway to PEACE.

Official Website: http://teamsakusaku.com
Twitter: @team_sakusaku
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/team_sakusaku/
Inquiry: info.teamsakusaku@gmail.com

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水島大宙 A9We have a card signed by Takahiro Mizushima & A9 Shou to give away to two lucky asianbeat reader! Make sure to apply!

We're looking forward to receiving your applications!

Application period: Friday 19th January to Sunday 11th March 2018
Winner announced: Wednesday 14th March 2018

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