Nakagawa Haruka talks about JKT48 Experience
In an interview with Sponichi Annex on April 16th, 2013, Nakagawa Haruka opened up about her decision to transfer to JKT48 and her experiences there.
The interview really shows her determination to break away from AKB, in order to achieve something great with JKT.
Original interview can be found here.
Here is the translated interview….
Nakagawa Haruka (21) of JKT48 is a shining star in Jakarta, Indonesia. Hoping for personal growth, she transferred to JKT48 last November. Since then, she has been focusing on JKT48 by pretty much making Jakarta her hometown, as well as declining to run in AKB48’s Senbatsu Election, which will be in June. We caught up with her when she was in town briefly, and asked her about her thoughts on achieving a bigger dream.
- How is life in Jakarta?
I am living it to the fullest (laughs). Everyone around me says I’m really lively, Akimoto Sensei said it looks like I’m really enjoying myself. I think the change of environment was a good one.
- How’s your Indonesian?
I have no trouble with daily use of the language. But fans laugh when I talk. They said “Haruka is funny.” But I’ve never been called that by fans in Japan (forced smile). Letters from fans are also in Indonesian, and they are very specific about the contents of MC during stage shows, like “it sounded weird when you said that”.
- During stage performances, local fans also yell “Chouzetsu Kawaii Haruka!”, right?
Yes, they go all out. Japanese fans hesitate to be loud about this, but Jakarta fans have no second thoughts when it comes to this. The cheering is actually louder than when I was in Japan.
- Are there differences between fans here and fans back in Japan?
It takes a long time for encore to start. It seems like their attitude is to let members rest for a bit afterwards, and I was worried at first because I kept thinking maybe they didn’t want an encore (laughs).
- Maybe it’s because they’re chill people?
Probably, they’re pretty laid-back.
- But maybe they also want to take a break?
Probably that too…I mean it takes a lot to cheer like that (laughs).
- What other activities have you participated outside of stage performances?
There was an album release back in February and we did some promotions. Went to other towns, did radio and TV appearances, it was busier than when I worked in Japan.
- How about the local members?
Everyone is very straight forward in a good way. We have lessons everyday, and they are quick to say things like “I’m so tired” or “I want to go home”. They’re still kids. It’s like AKB back in the days.
- Does this overlap with the old AKB?
I entered AKB about one year after they started, and also JKT one year after they started, so it’s about the same point in time. We’ve been getting more audience to finally fill up the entire theater, so it’d be nice to see if they will get bigger like AKB did.
- Did you have any reservations about the transfer?
No, I wanted to go very early on. I even told Akimoto Sensei about this, as in “I would like to go soon. When will you announce it?” He was a little surprised, like “Why do you want to go?”
- Well, why did you want to go?
When Matsui Jurina and Watanabe Miyuki were tapped for concurrent employment, I thought, “Wow that’s unfair!” I’ve been there for 6 years and doing the same thing on the team, I wanted to try something different. So I told Akimoto Sensei, “This is unfair. I really want to go to Jakarta.” He was surprised and responded with “Overseas!?”
- What do you want to accomplish in Jakarta?
My dream is to become an actress. I think Jakarta is a great place to start. Many people told me, “Why do you have to go to Jakarta to become an actress? You can’t get jobs in Japan if you go there!” It’s true that if I stayed I would probably get 2 or 3 jobs every year. But, becoming fluent in Indonesian, appearing in dramas over there, I think it helps with exposure because more people will know about me. Indonesia’s population is not small, and getting a lot of support there will probably be big news in Japan too (laughs). I also want to learn English and make it to Hollywood.
- Have you talked to AKB members lately?
Takamina told me “You’ve grown”. When I took the Shinkansen, a staff asked me to put on make-up during the trip because we’re running out of time – I would have overslept and panicked before, but now I wake up an hour before the destination to do the make-up. Takamina said, “I can see your growth now that I only catch you from time to time.”
- So you’re now more mature compared to before?
I feel more responsible. I consider myself to be “a member of JKT” more so than “an AKB member studying abroad.” We’re releasing JKT CDs in Japan, and we want to go all over Asia, which includes Japan, so we’re not overshadowed by AKB. I want to support the members and make JKT be known to more people.
- It’s nice you’re taking on so much in JKT, but Japanese fans feel left out.
Yes, they tell me they miss me (forced smile). These days I don’t have a lot time to see fans in Japan, and I’m really sorry about that, but I’m happy that they support me from afar. Jakarta’s theater has Super-Enpou seats, so please come see me if you have time.