Title / Artist
Interview with Iwasa Misaki
Date: 2017.06.18
Artist:   Iwasa Misaki  
Misaki Iwasa was a member of AKB48 from 2010 to 2015. In 2012, she simultaneously launched a solo career as a singer of enka Japanese ballads. Her first single was a top five hit, and she has gone on to a string of successful releases. Last year, she gave a wonderful performance at the Hyper Japan in London and now she speak with us about that experience and his career.

How was your impression about London? You experienced the meet and greet at the Hyper Japan in London. What conversation did you have with your fans there?

I was surprised that people knew about AKB48. Some of them even brought my photos and CDs!

Our traditional Japanese music, Enka, perhaps is not so well known overseas. Could you tell me appealing points about Enka?

When I went to London, I realized again that Enka was not so popular there. However, there were people who told me that they had become fans of Enka after listening to my songs. Therefore, I believe that if they have opportunities to listen to Enka, Enka could be quite popular there. Enka is an essential traditional performing art when you talk about the Japanese music. Since Japanese Enka singers usually wear beautiful kimonos, I would like to appeal to people the charm of kimonos as well as the beauty of Enka worldview.

You became a member of AKB48 when you were a seventh grader. Did you have any difficulties then?

I remember I was really sleepy at school.

When you were with AKB48, you also carried out activities as a solo singer. Could you compare your feelings when you were with AKB48 and now?

When I was with AKB48, I sometimes found it difficult to juggle group and solo activities because the former was my main activities. However, now that I can devote my time to my solo activities, I have been able to make more serious efforts than before.

You graduated from AKB48 in May 2016. How did you feel when deciding you would leave the group?

I always wanted to become a solo singer. I also wanted to announce my graduation in front of my fans directly. Therefore, when the dates of my solo concerts were set, I decided that I would tell my graduation from AKB48 to my fans there.

Your Kimonos are colorful and gorgeous. What are your favorite colors or patterns?

Red and black. I like vivid colors.

Could you tell us about new trends in Enka?

Enka is getting popular again. More and more younger people are becoming Enka singers. It’s a very good trend.

Could you let us know about your second album “Misaki meguri ~First Chapter~(美咲めぐり〜第一章〜”?

It contains all my original songs. By listening to these 5 songs, you will see how I have developed as a singer. By listening to other cover songs, you can discover amazing songs you’ve never heard before. Killing two birds with one stone!

Do you have favorite songs in your new album?

“Mujin Eki(無人駅)” which is my first song and “Tokyo Female Bus Conductor(東京バスガール)". “Tokyo Female Bus Conductor(東京バスガール)" always encourages audience's to clap hands in time to the music when I perform the song on stage. It has a great rhythm.

Could you tell us about your single, “ Saba Kaido(鯖街道)”which was released on January 10, 2017?

It's about a route from Fukui to Kyoto. It is called, “Saba Kaido.”It's an imaginative song about a girl who lost her love but overcame a disappointment in love, becoming stronger from her experience. Please listen to it!

What is your goal as a Enka singer in the future?

I would like to become an Enka singer who everybody knows. I also aim to spread how wonderful Enka is overseas.

The audience was thrilled to see you at the Hyper Japan in London. If you were to grade your performance, how many points would you give yourself?

I would give myself 50 out of 100. I was pleased to see the audience thrilled and supporting me. In that sense, it is 100 points but I want to expand Enka fans overseas so I modestly give myself 50 this time.

Would you give us some advice how to enjoy Enka more?

I wear beautiful kimonos as well as dresses. It's a part of my performance, so please pay more attention to my outfit as well as my songs.

Could you send a message to readers of Nippon Project?

Hello. I’m Misaki Iwasa. Nice to meet you. I am a Japanese Enka singer. You might not be familiar with Enka but it is a traditional music in Japan. Through my career, I would like to carry out my activities so that people all over the world can listen to my Enka songs. Therefore, please try to listen to Enka!!

Thank you for your time and good luck in the future!

Nippon Project would like to thank Misaki Iwasa for her time out to let us discover more about herself and her music.

Author: Meiko K.
last update: 2017-06-18