[Translation] Numero Tokyo May 2019 - Ayumi Hamasaki Sekai
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Old 7th April 2020, 04:51 AM
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[Translation] Numero Tokyo May 2019

Translated by remove-mom from the AHS Discord. Please credit them if you repost elsewhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by remove-mom
I guess just a "disclaimer" that I'm still very much learning so I can't promise it's mistake-free. and in terms of my translation style I really try to lean on the literal side so as not to take too many creative liberties with what she's saying.

I want everyone to get a closer sense of it and to make what they want of the nuances.
From scans provided by Aderianu.



"I am always, at any given moment, the youngest I will ever be again, with the largest number of possibilities ahead of me."

Q: At the time of your debut, what kind of brilliant future did Ayumi Hamasaki imagine for herself?
A: That's... Never once have I actually wanted or considered it to be brilliant. (laughs) Particularly when I'd just started out and in the early half of my 20s, I think my strongest feeling was that I wanted to find my raison d'etre, but at the end of the day you could probably say that I was working for my own sake. But whatever I did at the time became a social phenomenon, and even the slightest things were scrutinised by the media; when this came to be the case, I couldn't regard myself as existing properly in the world. I'd felt that way for a long time, but at that time I wanted people to stop paying attention to me. I think that that was the time when I most wanted to stop being "Ayumi Hamasaki."

Q: You were able to recognise that you were the focus of everybody's attention and that your very existence stood out brilliantly. But the fact that you wanted to quit in spite of that shows that it was not your intention to be brilliant. (laughs)
A: If anything, I wanted to run away. But even if I were to quit, I'd still always be Ayumi Hamasaki, so even if I did something different for a job or lived my life elsewhere, nothing would change -- after I came to accept that, my feelings of wanting to quit subsided.

Q: Even if you ran away, "Ayumi Hamasaki" would always follow you?
A: That's right. Of course there were days where I wondered "will I be able to laugh easily today?" and days where I felt that I lacked the courage to stand in front of people and say "it's Ayu!" or the confidence to shrug off the tension of being on stage -- there are days like that even now -- but it's no longer the case that I think of not being Ayu.

Q: In what way did you encourage yourself during such times?
A: First of all, it went without saying that "Ayumi Hamasaki" was not something that belonged to me alone. There had also been almost no changes among our staff -- everybody had shared in the burden of having carried all of the same memories and experiences. When I looked at them, I realised they were working hard for the sake of Ayumi Hamasaki as well. The knowledge that I, too, should do my best to play my own role -- that of "Ayumi Hamasaki -- was the biggest motivator I had in times of such weakness.

Q: You did so by actively keeping in mind that there were many who had always been there alongside you. For instance, there are dancers who have been with you since your debut, aren't there?
A: I think I have definitely made changes that I've needed to make, but if we're talking in terms of people, those changes have been few and far between -- life is too short, so rather than seeking out new people you could say that it's more about the "test of endurance" of seeing it through together to the very end. Through good times and bad, we've always been fighting together, even when all we seem to do is butt heads; with the passing of time, even those times become fond memories. The way in which we come to possess those things together -- just as you can't choose your family, this isn't something that I feel compelled to change. We're completely like a family. Because we're all human, there are things we like and dislike about one another, and taking all those things together and continuing to believe in and love one another -- that's the way we've been up until now.

Q: So that's not something that you do because it's considered best practice, but rather something that stems from your own personality?
A: I think so. I'm a private person who doesn't feel any particular compulsion to go out and make new friends or to have lots of encounters with different kinds of people. I don't actually have any exclusively "personal" friendships to begin with; in my case, even though my friends are also my family, they are also my workmates. It's the kind of lifestyle where every day we wonder whether we'll get work done or just sleep at home. (laughs) For instance, even though my dancers are both my friends and family, they are also my workmates, and so I feel to some extent that I need to be their boss. You could say that.

Q: That's what your ideal situation looks like?
A: That's right. Just as Max (Masato Matsuura) often says that "work is play and play is work," I don't work well with people with whom I can't also have fun, and I can't have fun with people with whom I can't also be serious and get to work when the time comes to do so.

Q: What has been the most important thing to you over the last 20 years?
A: To take pride in the brand that is "Ayumi Hamasaki" without a sense of self-righteousness or complacency, because everyone is working so hard to protect it. As such, there are definitely times even now when I have to avoid feeling too upset by my own mistakes and failures.

Q: I imagine that continuing to work hard on the same thing for so long would yield its own hidden difficulties and dilemmas; is this true in your case?
A: Continuing itself is indeed the most difficult thing. There are definitely moments where I find myself wondering, after this much time has passed, whether I've reached my destination by this point or whether I'll reach it soon, only to find myself at a loss upon realising that I'm still very much in the middle of my journey. But then there's also the fact that reaching one's destination means there's no longer a destination to reach -- often that thought fills me more with emptiness than with a sense of accomplishment. Those are the kinds of dilemmas I face, having done this for so long.

Q: What destination is that that you wonder whether you've reached?
A: Whether I've expressed my thoughts and said what I have to say. Wanting my feelings to be understood, wondering whether we've come to understand one another and whether my feelings have reached everyone -- when I reflect on these things with a clear head, it's usually the case that I don't feel like I've achieved them yet.

Q: Those are things that you try to do by singing from the stage?
A: Yes. Either through my songs, or through the way that I live my life. But there are moments when I still feel like I'm a novice in this respect. There are days when I can't force myself to feel the right emotions for songs I've been singing for a long time -- for instance, "SEASONS" -- and this is something that I can't avoid for as long as I'm only human. Sometimes the thought of smiling and singing in spite of this is something that I honestly can't stand, and the idea of singing the same songs today, tomorrow, a few days from now, next week and for the next several months seems monotonous. But "SEASONS" is the most anticipated song, wherever I go on tour. For that very reason, I feel the need to challenge myself to perform that day the first performance of a new "SEASONS", and to have the mindset of wanting to decide for myself what kind of "SEASONS" can be sung by the person I have become. I'm keenly aware of that. Having said that, emotions aren't able to be so quickly organised -- in that sense, it's a constant struggle.

Q: Even though it's the same song you're singing, the emotions you're swayed by now are different to the impressions you had when you first sang it so many years ago. Is that distinction something that stems from the evolution of "Ayumi Hamasaki?"
A: I think there is as much of an evolution of nuance as there is the extent that I sing the song many times over. However, I am personally conscious of not changing things based solely on how I feel. There are times when I do make changes because I feel that it is expected of me to do so, but it is essentially not the case that I do so based on my own feelings; I have a tendency to look more widely and objectively at things first.

Q: It seems as though there are quite a few songs of yours from three, five or even ten or more years ago that still befit you, this tour in particular being full of such songs, and their lyrics help the performances to express the true nature of Ayumi Hamasaki.
A: I'm often told by fellow artists, both junior and senior to me, who come to watch me perform that I'm able to sing songs from a long time ago without any sense of unnaturalness. (laughs) I personally feel a little awkward saying things like "now I'm going to perform one of the classics." It's true that some songs sound outdated, or don't mix well with newer songs, and that I sometimes prefer to sing newer ones, especially when I'm already working on something new. But I don't go out of my way to avoid mixing old and new songs together. There are songs that I try not to sing too frequently because I hold precious to me things such as the thoughts that I had when they were being created, but no matter how many years have passed since I wrote a song's lyrics I never forget what I was trying to express at the time. On the contrary, sometimes I find that I understand myself even more clearly. (laughs)

Q: Which suggests that you haven't changed at your core.
A: That's true, but there are also a lot of lyrics where I expressed things like "this is how I want to be" or "I want to become this kind of adult", aren't there? When I compare myself to the way I was then, I'm a little bit closer to becoming an adult than I was then, so I wonder about it.

Q: It's still possible to listen to the "power of A" which will be held inside Saitama Super Arena on April 6-7, isn't it?
A: Because it's going to be a special live held for two days only, I've looked into what songs people want to hear and decided upon a setlist. There'll be a lot of fondly-remembered songs, so please come and enjoy the show. (laughs)

Q: So you're continuing to embark on quite a few tours, even as we enter the 21st year of your career?
A: Part of the reason I'm continuing to tour is because there are still places I've never been that I want to go to, but to put it more simply, I've become fond of concert halls. When it comes to conveying my feelings through singing, I find that the sense of distance provided by concert halls is better than that of arenas, for instance, for being able to gauge whether people are enjoying themselves -- the responses from the fans in their seats are conveyed much more clearly, and so I, too, feel keenly and assuredly that I'll be able to clearly express the message of a song. I've developed a fixation of sorts on the charm of concert halls, and I've come to want to delve deeper into it. In regards to the number of tours and to my schedule, it is quite demanding, but as long as I have my big family here with me, the people with whom I can goof off but also work earnestly, we'll be able to see it through together. When we're on tour we're together for more than half of each week, so if we couldn't tell what one another was really thinking or felt like we had to prepare for the worst at all times, I think it would be too much for us to handle.

Q: What kinds of things do you hope for from Ayumi Hamasaki heading forward?
A: This is also a test of endurance, but I want my whole family to devote these lives of ours to entertainment. Because this is something that we're all building together, if we come to lose even one person it'll mean the end of our dream as know it, so for as long as we're all continuing to strive toward that future together, I absolutely want to keep moving forward with no complaints as well. It's not that I want everyone to follow me. Of course, out of everyone it falls most strongly upon me to be dependable, and my vision certainly needs to be something that I maintain with clarity, only upon which we can all lift ourselves up and set out together.

Q: And as a result, you want to achieve something dazzling and brilliant to the eyes of anyone who sees it?
A: I truly believe so.

Q: What kind of thing would you say looks brilliant to the eyes of Ayumi Hamasaki? Is it different now from what it used to be?
A: It hasn't changed. People being genuine. People genuinely getting frustrated. Genuinely getting so wrapped up in what they're working on that they forget to get any sleep. I think people who have that kind of aspect to them are the ones who are shine the most brilliantly.

Q: Finally, what kind of advice would you give to somebody who is struggling in terms of choosing their path, someone who has doubts about whether they're currently on the right path?
A: Whether you've only felt those doubts momentarily, I think the best thing to do is to just take a chance and do it.

Q: Even though change is scary and, although you can always do things over, there are still the inescapable realities of age and of physical ability.
A: I'm still yet to experience any fears pertaining to my age, but everybody fears change to some degree. But I think "if it's something I only felt momentarily, could I rid myself of those doubts?" To try to forget all about them, and to affirm that I'm doing what I want to do -- it would be good to be able to get rid of those thoughts entirely, but there are times when some part of me can't stop wondering how things would have turned out if I'd done something differently. But one thing that I can always say is that, "I am always, at any given moment, the youngest I will ever be again, with the largest number of possibilities ahead of me." As such, I feel that the more I stay in one place and hesitate, the further away from me my ambitions become.

Q: This is the way you've done things up until now?
A: Indeed. I'm who I am now because I lived like that.

Q: And not for anybody else's sake. You've lived your own life, complete with the sense of resolution and responsibility that come with doing so.
A: The things that I decide to do for my own sake invariably become things that I'm also doing for others, so I don't think it's possible for me to live purely for others' benefit. We all feel this way, and in terms of my reason for living, I have the situation I'm in and my family, and as a result I feel connected also to the smiles and tears of my audiences. That's why I'm able to derive my own sense of accomplishment, and to feel each time as though I've continued to work toward my dream. Thinking that perhaps I should stop what I'm doing because someone else said so, or because I've gained something approximating personal satisfaction -- there will always be times when these kinds of irregular thoughts occur to me, and that's because I'm only human. Everybody wants to be happy, and to feel as though they've lived a good life. Incidentally, when I was firing everybody up on the last day of this tour, I simply told everybody to create a stage that they thought would make the best gift to them. But I don't think that it simply ends there, and that in and of itself is the greatest gift everybody can receive -- that's what I believe. If you lose your way, have the determination to make the best of things, and find your own answer. And if you can see things through to the very end just like that, and find that you've made somebody else smile -- I think that's how you achieve happiness.

(Ayumi Hamasaki was born on October 2, 1978 and is from Fukuoka in Fukuoka Prefecture. Soon after her debut, by the year 2000 she had several million-selling releases to her name, and her fashion choices and personal mannerisms had an enormous impact at the time on high school girls in particular, "ayu fashion" becoming a social phenomenon. This kind of charisma earned her the attention of many people the world over. In acknowledgement of her 21st anniversary, "ayumi hamasaki 21st anniversary -POWER of A^3-" will be held on April 6-7 on a stage that has been built from scratch just for these two days.)

Last edited by truehappiness; 5th August 2020 at 01:30 AM.
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Old 7th April 2020, 05:59 AM
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Thank you for posting, and very big thanks to remove-mom for the translation.

I have so many thoughts, but don't feel like going into it atm. Anyway, it's a nice interview, especially considering all that is happened since then.
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Old 7th April 2020, 10:23 AM
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Thanks!
Interview about nothing
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Old 7th April 2020, 09:11 PM
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It's so cool to finally read this in full! Thank you so much for posting it here

There's quite a few quotes I like here and that I find interesting. She referred to herself as an adult here, which I don't think she does too often, and she really seems to underline the importance of her team.
I think she has mentioned before that she wanted to run away when her popularity spiked, but I like how we get the perspective here that even back then, she reasoned that she couldn't ever run away from her own identity - so she may as well keep doing what she loved. She show/ed so much maturity even back then.
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Old 7th April 2020, 09:52 PM
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Old 7th April 2020, 09:57 PM
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Thanks for this! Always wanted to know what she talked about here haha do you mind if I translate this to spanish? I have a fanpage where most people only speak/read spanish and I think they would love this and of course I'll give you credit, just let me know
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Old 7th April 2020, 11:07 PM
Deep snow Deep snow is offline
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thank you so much for sharing this. I always love these peeks into her thought process, especially as she was pregnant here. while this fact was not expressly acknowledged (of course), I'd like to think that the priorities and motivations she expresses here must have been updated with this life-changing decision taken into consideration.

Last edited by Deep snow; 7th April 2020 at 11:10 PM.
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Old 8th April 2020, 12:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deep snow View Post
thank you so much for sharing this. I always love these peeks into her thought process, especially as she was pregnant here. while this fact was not expressly acknowledged (of course), I'd like to think that the priorities and motivations she expresses here must have been updated with this life-changing decision taken into consideration.
This interview was likely around October 2018 (since that's when the photoshoot was), even though it was published in May 2019. I would have been interested in what she would have said after she found out too....
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Old 8th April 2020, 01:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Evan Odinson View Post
Thanks for this! Always wanted to know what she talked about here haha do you mind if I translate this to spanish? I have a fanpage where most people only speak/read spanish and I think they would love this and of course I'll give you credit, just let me know
remove-mom says it's fine!

Quote:
Originally Posted by remove-mom
yeah sure! I'm down with that
Please remember to credit them for the translation.
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Old 8th April 2020, 01:15 AM
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Thank you for this!

This interview really gave a lot of perspective on how she sees herself and her future career. I also love the part about how/when she chooses to sing certain songs.

I do wish her answer to the question about having dancers/staff that have been with her since the very beginning could have been a little less vague(considering how direct the question itself was), but also not surprised per Japanese custom that her answer was in such a way. It would have been nice if her response somehow segued into the departure of certain band members, but I suppose this response is the only answer we'll ever get.
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Old 8th April 2020, 01:39 AM
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Thank you for translating this interview !!
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Old 8th April 2020, 01:41 AM
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So happy to finally have a translation for this.
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Old 8th April 2020, 03:56 AM
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remove-mom says it's fine!



Please remember to credit them for the translation.

Will do!!! Thank you (both) so much
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Old 8th April 2020, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deep snow View Post
I always love these peeks into her thought process, especially as she was pregnant here.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koumori View Post
This interview was likely around October 2018 (since that's when the photoshoot was), even though it was published in May 2019.
They talk about "power of A" which will be held on April 6-7, so I think that's interview were made somewhere between January and March. Maybe right before the release of this issue, that was on 28th March
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Old 8th April 2020, 02:37 PM
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Thank you for the translation!
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Old 8th April 2020, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aderianu View Post
They talk about "power of A" which will be held on April 6-7, so I think that's interview were made somewhere between January and March. Maybe right before the release of this issue, that was on 28th March
I don't understand what you mean - October 2018 would have still been before that date, so she could have still spoken about "power of A" being on those dates. Unless there's something critical I've forgotten here which meant the dates were changed publicly after January? They would have known the publication date ahead of time so it makes sense they would have mentioned something happening around March-April (as opposed to talking about December-January plans).

Magazines usually have these interviews and photoshoots done ahead of time so they have the final issue formatting and design done and dusted months before, so it made sense to me that they would have had this completed in 2018 (heavy promo times around singles/albums sometimes an exception!).
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