March 7th, 2018


2018.04 Potato - NEWS Solo Series: Letters - Shige

To all the fans,

I’m truly thankful to you for supporting someone like me. There was a time soon after debut when I wondered why the fans supported me. At that time, I wasn’t very Johnny’s-like. I was an impertinent and troublesome kind of guy who said a lot of nasty and contrary things in magazine interviews and other places. Despite that, I think that the people who have supported me since then haven’t given up on me and really have continued to follow me.  Of course including those who have become fans more recently too, I’m glad and thankful that you all find me interesting. As a person, I’m very normal and don’t have many things about me that are noteworthy, but now I’ve come around to being able to say, “I’m interesting". I want to do my best so that you’re glad that you came to like me and don’t regret it. I don’t know what will happen in the future, but I hope that you’ll keep supporting me.

To Koyama-san,

I’ve experienced a lot of things together with you, I think I’ve been together with you longer than anyone else. That’s why I understand what you're thinking, when you’re worried, when you're down, when you're tired, and I also know when you’re pushing yourself too hard. I can’t really lie to myself, or rather I can’t push myself beyond my limits, but you always understand that and will do things like liven up the atmosphere. Also, I’m really grateful that you never deny what other people say right away. Rather than saying, “No, but…” you first take it in with a “Yeah, but…” and I really admire that about you. By the way, the other day Tegoshi said, “That’s obstruction of labor” to which Koyama retorted, “No, it's obstruction of work” and then I retorted again “No no it’s obstruction of business.” Please do something about messing up a retort to a mistake like that. (laughs) Well, but I think that’s also another one of Koyama’s good points.

To Masuda-san,

Masuda-san is someone who doesn’t waver. To a certain extent, the things you want to do and the things you like haven’t changed for a long time. It’s true for the type of music you like and your passion towards clothes, I think it’s amazing to always continue to like the same things. Of course while I say that you don’t change, you’re also doing your best on ‘Netapare’ and ‘Soredame!’ and putting in a lot of hard work into various things. Among those, I think that sometimes you also become conflicted, but you should stay just the way you are. Though if I had to say, for instance if someone were to say, “You’re methodical” I’d like it if you just accepted it rather than deny it by saying, “No, I’m not…” (laughs) I understand how you feel because people often say things to me like, “Since you’re a writer, X right?” But sometimes you have to try and understand someone by labeling them. That might just be part of your awkwardness, but I think it’d be good if you handled it better. (laughs)

To Tegoshi-san,

The first time we met, you were like a younger brother. But now it feels like you're a fellow comrade fighting on the front-line. Especially recently when the two of us were practicing singing together, you might be the one with who it feels the most like we’re working hard together.  We’re the same age and we’re both single children, so there are things about us that are similar, and I can understand well how you feel. You actually can be a bit awkward. You’re not someone who talks about the hard work you do, so when I hear about it later I often think, “So that’s what he was thinking.” On that front, I think you say what you really feel quite a bit when you talk on TV, so I do my best to watch your work to know what you're thinking. Speaking of Tegoshi’s comments, the one I couldn’t believe the most was when you were late coming to work and said, “What are we waiting for?” (laughs) I thought, “We’re waiting for you!” Maybe you didn’t realize that you were late? (laughs)

To the me from 15 years ago,

I think that right now you have a dream, but soon after debut there will be a lot of times that the wind will be taken out of your sails, so all I can say is “Do your best”. (laughs) The happiness from your junior time will disappear, so please be thankful for all the things you've been blessed with. Here on out is all slipping and falling downhill. If I look back on it now, I think it was a really big thing for me to be able to properly experience failure, but while I was in the middle of the maelstrom it felt like a really long winter. After that it will continue to be difficult for a few years so, seriously I can only say, “Do your best.” Anyway, you won’t just experience fair wind in life, so I think it might be best to enjoy the unfavorable wind and do your best. Though I wasn’t able to enjoy that time, so I don’t want to return to it. (laughs)

To the me 15 years from now,

45 year old me, how are things going? For a start, I’ll be happy if you’re in good health. Also, I think that as you get older your position is going to rise, but I hope that you won’t get carried away and stay humble. I also hope that you’re the type of 45 year old that when taking younger people out for food can listen attentively to them. I wonder what’s going on with NEWS. It’s crazy that Tegoshi and I, the youngest members, would be 45. Masuda-san would be 46 and Koyama-san 48… (laughs). But it’d be especially amazing if men that age were to do a concert like ‘NEVERLAND’. We wouldn’t be princes anymore but kings though. (laughs)

2018.04 Potato - NEWS Solo Series: Letters - Koyama

To all the fans,

NEWS fans have created and continue to create a place for me to belong to. Thank you. I’m sure that you’ve worried and cried a lot. Even though supporting an idol shouldn’t make you sad, there are times that I’ve made you feel that way. Because there are people who continue to follow us despite that, the four of us are able to be here. You all are our pride. Even though I treasure you all this much, there have been times that I’ve hurt you out of my own immaturity, but from that I’ve realized even more how important you are and feel even more that I want to make you happy. I’m going to do my best so that you'll think that you’re glad that you’re continuing to support NEWS and me, I am confident about that. For the amount that you’ve cried up until now, I want to make you laugh. Please trust and follow me. I will make you happy.

To Shige,

Maybe because we’ve been together since we were juniors, I have such a sense of security with you. By now, we share a common destiny. When I think about why we suit each other so well, it’s probably because of our history of shared joys and sorrows. You were beside me and experienced the same things for both the most painful and the happiest times. In the past, we had a sense of rivalry as well, there was a part of me that couldn’t be honestly happy for you when you got roles in dramas. I showed you the weak and unpleasant parts of me, but despite that you’ve always stayed beside me. I think that now that we’ve surpassed being competitive and become comrades, our relationship is the strongest. Maybe it was shortly after I started working as a newscaster. I was there when you had a discussion with someone from the agency and told them, “I want to write a novel.” I remember well your expression of determination, and I saw your hard work following that. Shige, you’re someone who has grabbed success through toil and hard work. Having someone like that as NEWS’ brain and the skeletal-like existence that supports its foundation is reassuring. I want you to continue to enjoy work. Because I like seeing you smile.

To Massu,

Massu, you’re someone who has a strong world view. At the beginning, there was a time when I felt that it might be difficult to get along with someone who’s so stubborn and has such strong preferences. But that was because I, on the receiving side, didn’t have the flexibility to. I mean, your pickiness wasn’t just in relation to yourself, but also towards the group in how you want to show NEWS off. For people who are so persistent in their preferences, maintaining the harmony in a group can be difficult, but you clear that expertly and funnel it into the group. That common ground is the costumes, and Massu is without a doubt the one visually producing NEWS. That’s something that I can’t do at all, so I’m really thankful. Thank you. By the way, there was a great costume in one of the plays we saw in NYC recently, do you remember me whispering, “I want to wear one like this”? I’m looking forward to the next costumes. (laughs)

To Tegoshi,

There’s so many things I want to say that I can’t keep it all straight. (laughs) You’re really manly. Your sense of camaraderie is really strong, and you lavish those who decide to stick with you with love. You hate to lose because you have a lot of passion, but it’s not just that you yourself want to win, it’s reassuring that you continue to push forward with the desire for NEWS to win, too. With out a doubt, you are the strongest and best front of NEWS. But sometimes you weaken. For all that you normally put up a strong front, you have no immunity for when you lose strength, so I wonder if when you do you end up lost. At those times, it’s okay to rely on me. Happy, fun, painful, sad, or angry, I like that you’re someone with a lot of heart who shows your emotions plainly. With Tegoshi at the head, I think that my role is to do course correction from behind. In this world, it’s hard to stay true to yourself, but the fact that you’re able to put that into practice is truly amazing. So… do it to your heart's content! (laughs) Because if people get angry at you for that, we’ll apologize together.

To the me from 15 years ago,

I think that the 18 year old me wasn’t able to fully grasp how amazing it was to be able to debut. It’s thanks to the people around you that you debuted without much experience as a junior and then was able to continue to do amazing work. You've misunderstood that a little and gotten a bit cocky, so be careful. Because of your youth it might be somewhat inevitable, but I hope that you’ll watch your surroundings and the environment you’ve been placed in carefully with humility and composure, and think about your place in the group. I wonder if you can do it. (laughs) For the group, for yourself, keep struggling! Keep suffering!

To the me 15 years from now,

The 33 year old me is really living true to myself. The balance of the 4 of us in NEWS is really good, and I’m having fun working without pushing myself too hard while looking after that balance. I believe that we we can continue like this forever, but are we? On the technique front, I want to keep improving. NEWS really places great importance in our music, so right now I want to study that more, but I wonder if the me 15 years from now is able sing in his own style in a way that reaches everyone. I hope so.