NEWS was recently on the cover of Nikkan SPA along with an interview regarding Shige’s new book coming out next month. A portion of the interview was posted online, so I’m sharing a translation of that.
In 2003 a group of elite Johnny’s Jrs were gathered to debut as the mascots of the Volleyball World Cup. Then in 2011, NEWS continued their activities with 4 members. Additionally, they’re receiving attention not just as a group, but also individually, expanding their activities beyond just those of an idol, as a novelist, newscaster, regular on a highly-rated variety show, and costume producer. As they approach the 15th anniversary of their debut in 2018, even greater things are expected from them, what is their outlook for the future?
Kato’s 5th novel ‘Tuberose de Matteru’ will go on sale shortly. First, We’ll ask for their honest thoughts.
T Shige, congratulations on your 5th book!
K The other day, when I went to a bookshop, in the literature corner I saw that they had a shelf labeled ‘Kato Shigeaki’ and I honestly felt happy. In a place that’s completely unrelated to Johnny’s, you’ve grabbed your own place, I was really moved by your hard work.
M Since we’ve been working together this whole time, I, of course, knew the circumstances, but usually Shige doesn’t show us when he’s writing.
T That’s true, I’ve never seen [him writing]. It’s loud on set, so it must be hard to come up with ideas?
S Yeah, it’s impossible. (laughing)
K The only thing we really see is him marking up manuscripts with red ink in the plane on the way home after concerts.
S Since this novel was being serialized during the tour last year, that might be what I was marking.
M But since he’s become a novelist, recently Shige’s started pretending to read books. (laughing)
S I’m not pretending!
T When we’re going places, other people put on headphones and listen to music but Shige’s always reading a book.
M But once we take off, by the time the seatbelt sign light's turned off he’s usually fallen asleep with the book still open.
T Yeah. I thought, ‘Ah, that book’s basically a blanket’. (laughing)
S That was just an accident!
K But the 5th book, that’s amazing. I’ve seen the moment the novelist known as ‘Kato Shigeaki’ was born up close, so it’s even more moving.
M Eh, What was it like?
K Before Shige became a novelist, when we were eating with a person from the agency, Shige said ‘I want to try writing a novel.’
S I really just said it without thinking. I think it’s something that everyone who likes books says at least once. (laughing)
K And then, that person from the agency said to Shige, ‘Then, write something in a month and a half’. I think that was the draft of his debut work, ‘Pink and Grey’. But for a long time Shige’s always liked reading and writing, whether a serialization or blog or whatever, I’ve known that he likes putting together sentences so I completely understood when I heard him say that he wanted to write a novel.
Similarly to how Kato is a novelist, Koyama works as a newscaster for ‘news every.’, Tegoshi appears on variety shows like ‘Sekai no Hate made ItteQ!’, and Masuda produces NEWS’ costumes for concerts and other occasions, you give off the impression of doing a variety of solo work outside of the group. Was there any big impetus for this?
M Rather than one person having done something, once we realized it we all had reached the natural conclusion of doing what we like. For example, Tegoshi’s a sportscaster for a soccer program, but he’s always liked soccer.
S I think that at first, everyone was just being a so-called ‘idol’, but once you pass 30 gradually the time you spend on yourself increases and your individuality comes out. When I think of it now, I think that our individuality has blossomed.