I think quite a few people will already be familiar with Yoshimura aka Ruru/Rurukyan from the iM@S CG franchise. 2014 is looking like a breakthrough year for her as she’s been moving quickly up the cast credits lists with roles in Saki Zenkoku-hen (Yuko) and Akuma no Riddle (Kouko). For this season, Yoshimura has major roles in Sora no Method (Koharu) and SHIROBAKO (Ema), the latter for which she also co-hosts a radio show.
This article is part of Seigura Web’s Seiyuu Mirai Yosouzu (未来予想図, Map of the Future) series.
Elementary school – A manga loving childhood
I first learned that it was possible to make a career in anime and dramas when I was in the third grade but personally, I never thought of being on stage myself. Even so, I began to grow fond of manga that utilized the ‘stage’ as its setting…! By the way, when I was in elementary school I’d save up my pocket money and otoshidama* so I could buy shonen and shojo magazines, spending up to 7,000yen a month (lol).
*お年玉 – new years’ money given to children
Junior high – Drama club aspirations as well!?
This was the period when I started having a strong urge to try out acting. I had planned to join the drama club once I entered junior high, but it was abolished the year before I got there… Even during cultural festivals when I’d suggest putting on plays, I was drowned out by the people favouring dance performances, so I ended up never performing on stage, not even once.
High school – Came to a decision after seeing a feature in Seigura
What actually made me get into acting was an article I saw in Seiyuu Grand Prix about the Japan Narration Acting Institute (Nichinare). I’d had this notion that to become a seiyuu, you’d have to have an ‘anime voice’ but the article mentioned that ‘You can be a seiyuu even if you don’t have an anime voice’, and I thought that I’d like to give it a try.
Inspired by the article, I took part in a free trial session at Nichinare. However, at that point I was still unable to cast aside my fears and was convinced ‘I’d never be able to stand in front of a crowd (and perform)’ (lol). On the other hand, I got to see that acting really was fun, and as I watched how in the same situation, different people could perform in different ways, it provided greater motivation for me.
Training school years – Encouraged by my mother to move to Tokyo
Osaka is my hometown, so it was my intention to spend a year at Nichinare’s Osaka branch before deciding on whether to move to Tokyo, but my mother admonished me. ‘Life isn’t about waiting-and-seeing! If that’s the future you’re headed for, then you should have the guts to go for it now!’. And I ended up moving to Tokyo almost immediately.
In training school, it felt it wasn’t just my acting that progressed but my personality too, went through some changes. I was taught that ‘acting isn’t something you can do by yourself’ so naturally, I have come to realize the importance of being aware of my surroundings.
Furthermore, there was a time in training school where I was given the job of hosting a programme. Going through that reminded me of how difficult it is to draw stories out from a person, but the experience I gained is proving useful for my radio work now.
2009 – Entering I’m Enterprise
I was really happy when my attachment to the agency was confirmed!
In order to show how motivated I was, I’d hop over to the agency immediately whenever my scripts were ready; I did my best, tirelessly (lol).
2012 – Appeared in iM@S
At the iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls audition, one of the judges, who’d obviously sat through thousands of auditioners, mentioned to me that I was ‘the most nervous person (he’d) ever met’ (lol). One of the challenges was how I was supposed to show my own colours through a singing audition, and from the booth I heard this reaction – “She’s just nervous, isn’t she? Let’s do it one more time”….My manager had to bow and apologise, saying “I’m sorry about our Yoshimura…” which made me panic, wondering what I should do. I think of those experiences as being part of a growth process that has led to my being chosen for the role of Jogasaki Mika.
At first I was worried that I might end up like the characters in the manga I used to read who would get things thrown at them on stage, but I think that I’ve finally managed to grasp what singing is all about. Nowadays I try to emphasize on “firing the crowd up” as supposed to focusing on singing technically well. Ah, but of course, I’m trying to get better at singing (lol).
2013 – Saki Zenkoku-hen, Mase Yuko!
One day, as I stopped by the agency early to pick up my scripts as usual, my manager said to me “You’re always here at this time of the week but today, would you like to try out for an audition?”, and per his recommendation I tried out for the role of Mase Yuko in Saki Zenkoku-hen. I totally did not expect to pass the audition, it was as if God had recognized the efforts I had been putting in, and it made me really happy.
2015 – Hope that people will remember my name
When I appear as a guest on programmes I always feel apologetic when people go ‘Yoshimura Haruka, who’s that?’, so I hope (2015) will be a year where I get put in good performances in as many places as possible. I wish to become an actress who can hold her own, with confidence and pride.
2018 – Be the lead in a show
In 3-5 years’ time, I hope to play the main lead. I don’t have any preferences for the type of role but I’d love to appear in a hot-blooded type of anime!
2020 – Act in a kids’ anime!
My dream is to appear in a magical girl anime that airs on Sunday mornings. It’s the type of show I watched when I was a child and still do as an adult, so it’d be wonderful if I could fulfill this dream.. I would be glad to be able to give people dreams.
When I’m 40 – Be a bridge in the seiyuu world
It’s an age that’s in between the youngsters and veterans, so I’d like to be someone who could bridge the communication gap during recording. I hope that by then, I’d be versatile enough so that people would say of me “Be it radio or acting, we can leave it all up to Yoshimura”. On the other hand, I think I’d struggle at giving direct guidance to my juniors. It’s probably beyond me (lol).
When I’m 50 – Be financially secure
I want to buy an apartment for my parents to manage (lol). It’ll be okay if I didn’t end up making it big as an actor; as long as I’m able to continue working steadily I’d be happy.
10 Questions for Yoshimura Haruka
Q1. Describe your personality in one phrase.
A: “Seriously unserious” maybe? (lol) In my heart, I am always serious but it seems that things always fall apart by the end for me…I had my fortune told a while ago and it was spot on, saying the same thing.
Q2. What’s your nickname?
A: Ruru, or Ruru-kyan. By the way, my dad calls me Haru-ban, which is short for Haruka-bancho* (lol). I was the kind of naughty kid who’d go around climbing walls and even now that I’ve grown up, the way I treat my dad hasn’t changed at all, and that’s reinforced that kind of image.
*bancho = gang leader
Q3. What’s your favourite food?
A: I love plum-flavoured candies and always bring them with me when I go out. Though I always seem to lose them by the time evening comes round! On the other hand, I’m not a fan of vegetables. There are certain types of vegetables which you’ll never get me to eat even if you paid me a million yen. Offer me 200 million yen and I might just think about it though (lol).
Q4. What place would you most like to visit right now?
A: The Maldives. I’ve seen its beautiful starry sky in the planetarium before, and I’d love to see the real thing at least once in my lifetime! By the way, one of the places I go to most often is my friend’s house (lol). From a while ago, there are many times when I randomly end up staying over at friends’ places.
Q5: Anything you’ve been addicted to recently?
A: I normally wear glasses. What I’m obsessed with though, are the ultrasonic cleaners you get in opticians. I used to be too embarrassed to use it but its ability to clean (things) is really amazing; and the more you do it, the more fun it gets (lol).
Q6: What’s your favourite manga?
A: Lunatic Zatsugidan by Okada Amin is my bible. Though my tastes in manga may change over time, to me this particular work will always be a fun read no matter then circumstances. I’ve read it so many times (and even dropped candy on it) that the pages have become all sticky. It’s a manga that has great soul, and I’ve even gifted it to friends for their birthdays.
Q7: Are there any sports you’re good at?
A: Is that referring to sports that require guts instead of skill? When I was in elementary school I did set a record of 210 pull-ups on the horizontal bar (lol). It’s only the marathon that I’m hopeless at….There was this one marathon where I was trying to cut corners and in obviously bad shape, and I ended up placing second from last (lol).
Q8: Is there anyone you greatly admire?
A: The members of my family all get along well to the point where we’re comfortable calling out each other’s mistakes, but I still feel that the ones most worthy of respect are the roots (of the family), my ‘parents’. They often come to watch my concerts and used to diligently read the magazines I was featured in…though they haven’t been checking those out too often of late, giving excuses like ‘It’s better for you if we don’t buy them!’
Q9: Any special skills?
A: Arm wrestling. It seems Tadokoro Azusa also claims to be good at arm wrestling, so I’m thinking that we (seiyuu) idols will have to fight each other someday! (lol)
Q10: What is your motto?
A: “There’s no way that a person who wouldn’t even pick up a piece of rubbish lying at his feet could get picked up by chance in Aoyama!’
It’s a line from a scene in the drama 3-nen B-gumi Kinpachi-sensei where (Kinpachi) admonishes a girl who dreams of becoming a tarento. A person who can’t even take good care of him/herself will never be able to attain the things they want in life so before my auditions, I will go pick up all the rubbish lying around my house.
‘Always, thank you’ sums it up best. It’s really rare to find a job where one can be cheered on, and I have come to realize just how much I thrive on that support. I ask for your support too, in the days to come.
To people who are aiming to become seiyuu, though there will be tough and painful times, please find the strength to overcome them. Enjoy the fruits of your labour!
Videos of Interest:
Rurukyan doesn’t seem to understand the basics of English at all
She’s a fan of KaneTomo
Minogashi Sanshimai, a live-action web drama that serves as ads for Toshiba. Yoshimura plays the oldest sister
What I most want to say is…that I had to take a real deep breath when I saw pics of meganekko Rurukyan.
I am really invested in SHIROBAKO right now so naturally I wanted to cover some of the seiyuu involved. Chisu is actually my favourite but of the characters, Ema is my best girl :3