The two girls poured out their heart and passion for both their groups, as well as talked about a range of issues from the similarities and contrasts in their personalities , interests, and their goals for the future individually, and for their respective groups.
However, the main topic of discussion focused on their goal in establishing a name for their groups, NMB48 and SKE48, as being more than just another sister group.
The full translation of the interview can be read below.
Both fighting their own nervousness, the “shy” conversation starts!
Matsui - *rubbing her knees while slightly fidgeting on her chair* …. Where do I start…?
Yamamoto - Are you cold?
Matsui - When I’m nervous, I have this habit of rubbing my knees to calm me down…
Yamamoto - So you were nervous too. I know the feeling, I also have a hard time approaching others.
Matsui - It’s the first time for us to have the opportunity to have this kind of discussion with just the two of us, right?
Yamamoto - We have been brought together thanks to the senbatsu but regarding talking properly to each other....
Matsui - We met during the 「Everyday, Kachuusha 」 shooting, no? I thought that those two girls from NMB must have been nervous, so I decided I should gather my courage and come to talk to you but… With my zero social skills…
Yamamoto - Ahahah. Even though we were already on the set, you did come talk to us.
Matsui - But it was hella awkward.
Yamamoto - No, no, it wasn’t that bad (laugh).
Matsui - For 「Manatsu no Sounds good」 MV shooting in Guam, I shared a room with Sayanee too.
Yamamoto - We were together all the time for almost 4 days.
Matsui - At the time, I was constantly nervous, trying to make sure I wasn’t encroaching on your everyday life.
Yamamoto - Was that really how you felt?
Matsui - Hmm. I remember we barely talked to each other…
Yamamoto - There was not a noise in our room and the atmosphere was so gloomy. With our phones in our hands, we would tell each other 「I’m going to look for Wi-Fi.」 (laugh).
Matsui - Ahahah. But it’s the same when I’m paired with SKE members too. Like, I could never go visit someone else’s room to play there.
Yamamoto - Ehh~? I’m also not really comfortable with sharing my room but if it’s with NMB members then I’ll go have fun with them with pleasure.
Matsui - I’m hopeless, really… There is no way I could connect to people as frankly as someone like (Matsui) Jurina
Yamamoto - Milky (Watanabe Miyuki) too is the kind who easily goes to socialise with others.
Matsui - They are quite similar in this aspect no? They’re free-spirited and act as they please, managing to pull in everyone. They constantly have such a “happy aura”, it’s like they just need to be somewhere to give it a glamourous sparkle.
Yamamoto - Jurina-san and Milky both just have this something that draws you in, and with that, they're able to win anyone over, right?
Matsui - Whereas I for one, and Sayanee too I think, are the type who carefully pick people, and then only start to open up. Am I wrong?
Yamamoto - That’s right. Milky is the sociable type whereas I am…
Matsui - You think about your own position, consider both parties involved, try to find a balance and then only decide if you want to make one step forward?
Yamamoto - I’ve never been one to forcibly go after others anyway.
Matsui - Don’t you envy them though?
Yamamoto - I do. It would immediately enlarge the field of my surrounding.
Matsui - It makes you think life must be a lot more fun when you can easily go towards others.
Yamamoto - I think it’s important to remember that both Jurina-san and Milky are single children.
Matsui - I see. Like how they are good at being pampered.
Yamamoto - Jurina-san and Rena-san, Milky and myself, our relations are quite similar, right?
Matsui - Waoo. Just now, I felt an incredible empathy with Sayanee (laugh).
Yamamoto - What else do we have in common…
Matsui - We both like manga and anime!
Yamamoto - Myself, I’m a fujoshi. (tln : Sayanee doesn’t use the complete term of “fujoshi”, but only the first syllable, which kanji “腐” reads as rotten. So you could read her sentence as “I’m myself (thoroughly) rotten. )
Matsui - Two seconds, let’s be clear, I’m not a fujoshi (laugh). It’s not like I had something against boys love but I won’t go out of my way to get my hand on it.
Yamamoto - While I’d move heaven and earth to get hold of it (laugh).
Matsui - You’re also into otome games no?
Yamamoto - I did play 「Hakuoki」based on the Shinsengumi…
Matsui - I’m playing it too! I like Heisuke Todo.
Yamamoto - You do like shota characters, don’t you?
Matsui - Ahhh~ Drat, you’ve seen right through me (laugh).
Yamamoto - He is cute with his mischievous look, isn’t he? I myself quite like Hijikata Toshizo, but my favorite is the antagonist, Kazama Chikage.
Matsui - Chii-sama?! That’s the forcible type.
Yamamoto - It has nothing to do with my own type of course.
Matsui - Hold on, is it really all right for us to have this kind of conversation in the elections guide book?!
Yamamoto - Don’t you think we could gain some votes? Shota votes and handed votes (laugh)
Their nature of “passionate women” reveals itself. The exchange heats up!
Matsui - I’ve knows Sayanee since her debut but your image hasn’t change one bit since then.
Yamamoto - What image do you have of me exactly?
Matsui - Someone focused, with a strong sense of responsibility, diligent, a passionate girl.
Yamamoto - Speaking of “passionate”, then Rena-san too…
Matsui - Eh?! Is that so?
Yamamoto - You ARE passionate! In your blog you let out your real self, or how do I put it? You write down your own feelings and thoughts without concealing them. I think that in this aspect, you and I are quite similar.
Matsui - Sayanee too in her blog speaks on behalf of members and fans by voicing their feelings, right?
Yamamoto - It wasn’t like this at first but my entries kept hitting up (laugh).
Matsui - In this year elections too you’re going to flare things up?
Yamamoto - I’m set on doing it. Last year, even though I was part of AKB-san's senbatsu I didn’t rank in media senbatsu in the elections. I felt, miserable…
Matsui - I also have a lot of regrets regarding last year elections. Being part of AKB-san;s senbatsu and through my personal works I should have been able to convey my burning desire to rank higher, but since I didn’t… That’s why this year I’m being honest!
Yamamoto - Me too, I can’t fail in ranking into the top 16. The speech of Shinoda (Mariko) -san also triggered something in me last year.
Matsui - You talked about it in your blog right? Something like 「The fire has been lit」.
Yamamoto - In all the changes that are currently operating, I want to become someone capable to stir up AKB-san!
Matsui - Sayanee's so fierce! But since a seat is finally empty, there is no other choice but to go for it, right? Me too, I don’t want to have any regrets this year so I’m going all out!
Yamamoto - Rena-san too is blazing!
Matsui - That’s because SKE’s athletic spirit runs deeply through me (laugh).
Yamamoto - You even became Team E leader right?
Matsui - Hmm. Strangely enough (laugh).
Yamamoto - I think you fit perfectly.
Matsui - Eh?! When I was never appointed to lead anyone before?
Yamamoto - Are you for real?
Matsui - What should a leader do? Please tell me, Sayanee!.
Yamamoto - For me to…. I mean….
Matsui - As captain, what does Sayanee focus on?
Yamamoto - If there is something I can’t properly do myself, I shouldn’t point the same thing out to others. That’s why I believe that when actions come along with words, you really gain authority.
Matsui - I wonder if I’m built for the role considering how SKE abides by the doctrine of dance’s supremacy (laugh).
Yamamoto - I have no doubt Rena-san’s approach and stand will be properly conveyed. Speaking of which, I heard from a staff member that during a concert, Rena-san spent a lot of time attending to a trainee who didn’t feel well.
Matsui - That must have been at our recent Gaishi Hall concert. There was a girl who didn’t get promoted, so she cried backstage a lot.
Yamamoto - If you ask me, someone capable of doing this is cut to be a leader.
Matsui - I’m glad to hear that~ I’ve been praised! How does Sayanee act around her juniors?
Yamamoto - When we are together, I mostly speak with them. If I’m asked 「Please let me take a picture with you.」 , I say 「Ok」, but I keep a certain distance by answering bluntly (laugh).
Matsui - I’m also the kind of person who creates her own territory so if I’m not dealing with a girl who will break my defenses without minding…
Yamamoto - That's why you should start with something like calling out all the girls present that day 「Ok, everyone who is free now let’s go eat something together!」.
Matsui - Waoo, that’s so cool! You really do sound like an elder sister. But, I can’t go and have lunch with members, even when I’m invited somehow…
Yamamoto - You don’t like the idea?
Matsui - That’s not, hmm, well… It would be nice to take things slower and to get to know each other better first… You see?
Yamamoto - But isn't that precisely one step you can take in getting to know each other better?
Matsui - Oh, I - I see (laugh).
When two blazing souls meet. The morning of the revolution is drawing near…
Matsui - How does Sayanee feels when she is part of AKB-san’s senbatsu?
Yamamoto - Hmm…. If you ask me if it’s similar to when I’m with NMB where I have my own part to play, the answer is probably no. That’s why, among other things, I follow Takamina’s example so closely…
Matsui - Like a vice captain, right?
Yamamoto - Exactly. During 「UZA」, I was told by the seniors in AKB, 「Your dance style is really cool.」. That opened my eyes to the necessity of properly polishing those areas where I was already strong at to make them my own selling points.
Matsui - But you must have experienced it too while you were with AKB-san, things like 「Where do I stand in this?」. Personally, I’m still searching for it…
Yamamoto - I perfectly know what you mean.
Matsui - That’s why I think what we need the most right now is to clearly establish our characters within AKB. Just like how we manage to define who we are in SKE and NMB.
Yamamoto - In our respective groups, we are either captain or leader, but it would be great to be able to show other aspects of our personality when with AKB-san, right?
Matsui - Hmm. But I ponder if that’s really what we’re ought to do. I feel like we’ve been pushed toward a crossroad we’ve now reached. Do you think it has to change, Saya-nee? The current 48 group.
Yamamoto - The real question is how do we change the 48 groups …. How do we change it from our own provinces?
Matsui - I’ve this feeling that the more vigorous the provincial groups are, the more fun and interesting the whole group will turn out to be.
Yamamoto - I couldn’t agree more.
Matsui - I can clearly feel expectations from SKE fans, so I also want to answer them. But if I think about my own interest only and make a move, it could affect SKE’s image. But then, in order to have a lot more people to get to know SKE, I need to enter senbatsu no matter what. That’s why, honestly, I’ve often been lost, wondering about what approach I should opt for, sometimes seriously worrying.
Yamamoto - It’s not an easy situation…. But you know, I think that if we can’t change things from the outside, we should do it from the inside.
Matsui - … In other words?
Yamamoto - I think it can’t be helped that we are seen as AKB-san’s sister groups. But fans need to be able to properly set each group apart and understand our differences. That’s why for now I think we have no other choice but to, at least, thoroughly polish our own skills so that people will someday say 「When did NMB turn into such an awesome group?!」.
Matsui - I see. SKE are also going through a similar kind of crisis. Although we appeared by ourselves on Kouhaku Utagassen, and got to be known by people all over the country, truthfully, I don’t think it changed anything in terms of how we are seen as a sister branch of AKB-san. SKE members’ level of recognition is far from satisfying, and we also don’t have a hit song like 「Heavy Rotation」 that everybody knows. That’s exactly why, I think, we need to be more assertive and aim higher. I hope to be able to convey this stand in this year's elections.
Yamamoto - That makes sense. If we’re going to compete anyway, it’s important to have at heart to “aim for the top!” (tln : “Teppen tottande!” in the text), right?
Matsui - It is. Hence this is why I think this year, the election results for Sayanee and myself will be, in the purest sense of the term, the touchstone which will allow us to know “how far provincial groups have gone so far”.
Yamamoto - I’m also often told by fans 「Don’t lose to Miyuki!」, but… Since she became a concurrent member, Miruki has been very favourably welcomed by AKB-san’s fans…. And it’s not like if I were fixated about being center either…
Matsui - It’s ok. Carry on.
Yamamoto - But, after all, I want to take number one in our group! If during the elections, when my envelope is opened, reactions were to be something like 「Eh? That’s all?」… I’d die in shame.
Matsui - I’m also giving all I have in this battle. This year, finally, I want my dream of a single digit ranking to be granted!
Yamamoto - No matter what I want to be in the top 16, to repay my fans for their support!
Matsui - It would seem…. We both truly are “passionate girls”, no?
Yamamoto - Seems like it indeed (laugh).
Matsui - I’m really glad I was able to talk with Sayanee today, that we could exchange our points of view and feelings. Thank you.
Yamamoto - All the pleasure is mine. I was also really happy when I heard I could talk with Rena-san.
Matsui - Even though we barely exchanged a word during 「Manatsu no Sounds good」MV shooting, right? (laugh)
Yamamoto - Ahahahah.
Matsui - What about exchanging our yells to wrap things up?
Yamamoto - For the elections, let’s aim at being number one of our respective groups!
Matsui - Hmm! Let’s do our best so after the elections we can give another interview together, a 「We did it!」 interview!
The actual scans from the elections guide book.
Shared this translation because I thought it was a really good read!
Even if you don't really know the AKB sister groups/their members, it is interesting to know of things from their perspective too.
Personally, I won't really consider myself an AKB fan anymore.
I am more of a sister group fan...
Both of them (Rena and Sayanee) really spoke my sentiments well.
Whatever happens, I'll be supporting them!!
Them being so honest, it was very refreshing too!
All the best to both NMB and SKE!