Kikuko-neechan ruins a grand occasion!?
Q: What were your school-friends’ reactions to the news of your début?
Honoka: People around me were surprised. But they did give me a lot of words of encouragement, like “Do your best” or “I’ll be cheering you on”.
Q: We hear that you have taken voice lessons before – have you had any chances to sing at your school’s cultural festivals or anything similar?
H: I have. During the cultural festival in my 3rd year of high school, I sang on stage on the 1st and 2nd days – the 2nd day stages were open to the public so parents etc. were allowed to come and visit. My mother came as well, and some of my male classmates went up to her and asked “Can I have your autograph?” which made other people wonder, “Er, is this person a celebrity or something?”. It made me think, “Ah, it’s me who’s supposed to be singing on stage today but mom is the one stealing the audience’s attention instead”….
Q: Is that jealousy? (laughs)
H: Yes it’s jealousy!
Kikuko: Oh no~ I’m so sorry~ (laughs).
Q: It’s quite remarkable though, that you would think “my mom is stealing the audience’s attention!” instead of “isn’t my mom amazing!?”
H: Really? But I’ll probably never be like my mother. You could never be the same as someone close to you, I think. So for the fans (of my mom), you’ll probably be disappointed….
K: You always say that, don’t you? It makes me feel a little sorry for you….
H: From my point of view, you are my mom whom I’m really proud of. You’re cute, you have a great personality and you’re so gentle – people can’t help but notice you. You’re considerate of your fans, and you’re always firm with things like greetings.
K: Noo stop ittt! Ahh, so embarrassing. I’m not like that at all~.
H: As for me – my voice, my face, my looks – everything is different from my mom…
Q: I do think that both of you are quite similar though. The two of you do make me think, “Ah, they’re mother-and-daughter after all”.
K: You think so too, right!?
H: I’m happy to have been able to make my début, but I do worry about disappointing people who are thinking “I thought she’d be a bit more of a gentle person like (Kikuko)-Oneechan”…
Q: It can’t be helped – Oneechan’s fans have been hearing her on stage, talking about you for 17 years after all. Thanks to that we all feel like we’re like your neighbourhood uncles. We may be deeply moved, thinking “Hocchan has been raised so well,”, it probably never occurs to us to think “She’s not like Onee-chan at all”.
K: You’re all so kind.
H: Also, I’m not good with my words yet. ‘Sparkling’ or ‘fluffy’ is all I know.
K: On the other hand I think that’s quite typical of kids these days, I find the kanji mistakes they make to be amusing. Just the other day, when discussing her future she confused ‘socchoku’ (frankly) with ‘chokkaku’ (right angle) and ‘suichoku’ (vertical). She makes such amazing mistakes sometimes that I can’t help but laugh. But I guess it’s my fault that it’s become like this – when my daughter first started learning words, I would find the little mistakes she made to be so cute~.
Q: We’ve heard a lot of stories about Hocchan; you’ve ended up relating quite a few disastrous anecdotes thinking that ‘it’s interesting so it’s okay’.
H: Are you going to continue talking about Hocchan from now on? If so, I’ll tell stories about you too, mom. Your fans will be delighted to hear them, won’t they!?
Q: That could become a series of surefire jokes for you. So let’s hear it in your first ever interview, #1 in your ‘Stories About my Mom’ series.
H: Once upon a time, my mom brought me along in her car to a newly-opened local department store. After making her purchases, she started to drive home but got lost, suddenly burst into tears and said to me “Hocchan, why don’t you recognize the way home!?”
K: I had no idea where I was and kept going around in circles and got sad, thinking that we might never ever make it home.
H: It’s not like she even asked me to ‘please try to remember the route’ or anything like that, I had to wonder why she said all that to me, while there were tears in her eyes.
K: From my point of view it was as if ‘we can’t go home because Hocchan didn’t bother to memorize the roads!’. I don’t even know the reasoning behind that (laughs).
Mom breaking out in a sweat when her daughter shines
Q: How are you planning on guiding her in the future?
K: It would normally take a couple of years for somebody to début but since her mother is doing this kind of work, she has gotten her chance already. As a parent I feel thankful, but also truly apologetic to the rest of society.
Hence, I believe that is imperative to repay this good faith through meticulously practising the basics of acting and never forgetting to put in the hard work. I’d like for her to not get carried away, to always work at things honestly. I’m not hoping for her to burst on to the scene and make a huge splash; instead, I think it would be better for her to start out with small roles, build upon that and grow, little by little.
Q: It’s normally quite tough to even gain junior affiliation with Office Anemone, isn’t it?
K: The offer for Taiko no Tatsujin only came thanks to another Anemone junior Ishiguro Chihiro. She spoke to one of the Taiko no Tatsujin staff and introduced Hocchan to him.
Thus it’s truly because of Chihiro-chan that (Honoka) was able to début – Anemone is a small agency and I do want to repay everyone who has shown faith in (us). Everyone treats my daughter like their little sister and has helped to train her up. They’re always teaching her lots about acting practice as well. Ah~, (I’m) so blessed.
Q: She has so many older sisters at the agency, plus she’s also surrounded by loads of neighbourhood uncles.
K: Ahahaa! That’s why I have to return all these kind deeds or else karma will hit me.
Q: Honoka made her début at age of 17 and you have now taken part in a 17 vs 17 interview – what are your impressions of it all?
K: I have nothing but gratitude. It’ll be a lifetime memory. I’ve been saying that I’m 17 for a long time now so I was wondering how I could use that long-time joke in relation to my daughter. We’ve been given wonderful opportunities; she’s been able to make her singing début and take part in this commemorative interview – it’s like a dream come true.
H: It’s because mom has been saying that she’s 17 that I’ve been able to début at 17, plus there’s Chihiro-chan who helped introduced me as well as the fact that the fans have helped to get my mother where she is today – thanks to all of these factors, I could make my début. I can’t say that my début came about as a result of my own powers, so what I have left is honest gratitude.
K: You know that well, don’t you (laughs).
H: Still, I do have a sense of pride in the corner of my mind so I want to let loose soon. I want to change my brain-
K: You’re like Anpanman. Do you want to swap your head out?
H: What I mean is that I want to take that pride out of my head and change it all to ‘effort’.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
K: Actually, her seiyuu début has already been confirmed – she’ll be in the ‘Shimajiro and the Picture Book Country’ movie that hits cinemas on March 11. This was made possible by the fact that I also did Shimajiro 20+ years ago and the director said to me ‘Let your daughter’s début be in Shimajiro’.
The final decision was made after listening to her voice sample, and she just recently completed recording for a character called ‘White Phosphorus 2’! It’s a realllly interesting story so I hope that many children and of course adults, will enjoy watching it!!
H: I grew up watching Shimajiro myself so it was great fun, and a dream come true to actually appear in the movie. I’m just living a normal life but I realize I’ve had such great luck. I’m too blessed.
Q: But, such happiness did not last for very long…
H: What, no way~~~~!
K: Yeah that’s true. Things do not always go the way you want them to (laughs).
Q: Now that you’re finally taking steps towards becoming a seiyuu, how do you feel about your senior seiyuu Inoue Kikuko-san?
H: Since I made the decision to pursue acting properly, I do once again realize just how amazing my mother is.
K: No no, I’m not amazing at all but I do think that I’m surprisingly strict when I’m giving acting lessons~. Isn’t it strange!?
H: You may be strict but I don’t find you that scary.
K: Eh~, I did my best to be strict though~…
Q: Ah, you had to go and say that… so what is it that you find amazing about your mom?
H: She works on anime, foreign dubs and games, provides narration work as well as appears on stage shows like for Sakura Wars – when it comes to the ‘voice’, she has so many weapons in her arsenal.
K: Nooo~just stop, don’t say anymooore~~~! It’s so embarrassing sitting here listening to that! Stopppppp~~~!
H: I can only wonder just how much effort she has put in to get to this point; she’s normally so stoic at home so (her acting) is really amazing to me.
K: I can’t take it any more! This is so so so embarrassing ! Stop it stop ittttt~~~!!
Q: How about you, how do you feel about the daughter you raised?
K: Hmm, let’s see. It seems that she has a lot to talk about every day, mountain-loads of stuff in fact. She’s always slept by my side since she was young and even when I’d drifted off to sleep she’d go “Listen mom, listen!” and talk about everything that went on at school that day. Even when I was tired and fast asleep she’d say “Don’t go to sleep mom!”, use her fingers to pry my eyelids open and tell me lots about “so-and-so” doing “something-or-the-other”. Bringing her up, I truly felt just how interesting children are.
To be honest, I don’t know what the future will bring – she’s already been undergoing voice training for as long as I can recall, and is in possession of a voluptuous voice that I’m jealous of. She’s got the stamina to sing for hours on end and has a strong passion for music; I do hope that she’ll keep putting in good, hard work so that she can have a long-lasting career.
Q: Last of all, please leave a message for your fans.
K: To all of you who have always been supporting me, thank you. My daughter is making her début now and is the same age as I am – it makes my heart beat faster! Still, the first thing I want to say is this: “Sorry!”.
Somehow I am filled with this sense of ‘contrition towards society’. Though it seems interesting to have a mother-and-daughter pair where both are 17, I wonder if it’s really okay to be doing this? Even as I’m thinking that, I have a shameless request – both mother and daughter will be working hard to bring smiles to as many people as possible in the future, so please continue to support us for many years to come!
H: There are so many people who love my mother, so I want to apologize for using her as a springboard. Just the other day, I received a very delightful letter. It went something like, “I’ve been a fan of Kikuko-san forever; now that you have made your début, it feels like I have found the reason that I followed her for so long”; so maybe there will be many of these people who’ll come over to my side instead-
K: …Eh, what should I do. Isn’t that being rather shameless? Hang on a minute, can we redo this? (laughs)
H: I’m sorry! I’m just so mouthy, but I swear that I’m a full-fledged adult – I do understand that there are people cheering me on so I’m sincerely grateful! I don’t think they have become my fans as yet but I’m going to send out lots of sparkly beams in the future so please bathe in their light.
K: Eh, what do you mean?
H: Mom, I want your fans to be filled with pride, thinking “We’ve know all about this kid since she was a tiny tot. She’s really amazing” – I want to become such an ultra-amazing person so please watch over me until that happens. I’m gonna send out all these sparkling beams—
K: You just wanted to mention sparkling beams somewhere, didn’t you (laughs)
H: B-but! I just want to send out sparkling beams so guys! Get ready to receive them. People who get hit by the sparkling beams will make me extra sparkly too – that’s like killing two birds with one stone.
K: I haven’t a clue what you’re talking about (laughs)
H: Honoka will become a happy person and then send out her happiness to all of her fans – that’s killing two birds with one stone!
K: Okay then. I’m sorry!