Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Walking Down The Graduation Crosswalk - An Interview with LONDON BLUE (19/08/2019)

I would like to start this post with my gratitude towards LONDON BLUE's manager, Kiyoshi Hayashi - also known as Rin Say - for allowing me this opportunity once again, as well as for allowing me to use images from LONDON BLUE's live shows via their Twitter page. I also want to thank both KANA and KYOKA for their hard work and for answering these questions despite being busy with practice, performances and more.

I would also like to thank ジュンペイさん, ヤウユ and ふしあな for allowing me to use their images in this post. Full credit will be given via each photo used.

Inspired by British music, UK fashion, Japanese pop and a cool n' cute vibe, LONDON BLUE are a J-pop Idol duo filled with energy and packaged in a cute burberry or plaid design. Styling themselves around UK fashion prints, the groups love for Britain - London in particular - is undeniable in both their look and sound, and with each performance the girls will wave a towel of white and blue above their heads with pride.

Created 6 years ago, LONDON BLUE has faced their fair share of hurdles as an indies idol group before finally making their major debut under King Records in 2017. Now that their 6th Anniversary is on the horizon, the group faces their biggest hurdle yet - the graduation of their current lineup, KANA and KYOKA. With this, LONDON BLUE will restart with the introduction of new members, girls who are ready continue the groups legacy whilst finding their own path to walk down.

(Photo courtesy of ジュンペイさん via Twitter)

With their graduations announced back in early August, KANA and KYOKA have since been preparing for their last few performances together before LONDON BLUE's September 18th One Man Live, which will see former members MISAKIKAORURIYOKAYANO and 3510 return to the stage with KANA one last time before she graduates. This special One Man Live will also act as the penultimate performance for KYOKA, who will go on hiatus from the group until her final Birthday Live on September 30th. She will not be participating in any live shows or events with the new members.

Their future's seemingly set in stone - KYOKA potentially walking down the acting path whilst KANA aims to stay behind the scenes as the groups choreographer - both members have an exciting time ahead of them. With the hurdles of the idol world soon behind them, the excitement and the memories that this path has brought them down, it's time to have one final chat with the girls before they go their separate ways and create a new road for themselves.

Before they both take the crosswalk towards a new career, let's talk a little about graduations and instruments, memories and new era's with KANA and KYOKA, the energetic idol duo behind LONDON BLUE...

Walking Down The Graduation Crosswalk
- Interview With LONDON BLUE -


(Photo courtesy of LONDON BLUE via Twitter)

The following interview was conducted via e-mail in mid-August.

You both recently announced your graduation from the group. It must have been tough to make this decision, but can you tell me one reason why it was decided to leave the group in September this year?

KYOKA: It wasn't easy to make this decision, but I decided that it was time to move on to the next step [in my career].

And how did your fans respond to this announcement?

KANA: They told me "You've done your best so far!". I was delighted to hear that.

KYOKA: "I'm not surprised."

So, how did you both feel when you realised that you would both graduate from LONDON BLUE this September?

KANA: "Have fun until the very end!", I thought.

KYOKA: It made me feel a little lonely, but I don't feel sad about it because LONDON BLUE will continue to exist even after we graduate.

As KYOKA has been a member of LONDON BLUE for over a year now, but you have experienced a lot already. What has been your biggest challenge since joining the group?

KYOKA: Fighting against the anxiety that during a live performance I would suddenly fall out of synch with everyone.

You're also acting in a stage play as well, right? You acted before in a movie, but now you will become a new character on a stage. What are you most excited about with this stage play?

KYOKA: That this performance will allow you to see something different from my usual style.

By the way, KANA learned how to play the drums after she first joined LONDON BLUE, right? Can you still play them?

KANA: Yes!

KYOKA, can you play an instrument as well?

KYOKA: I can. I know how to play a little keyboard as well as the drums.

Is there an instrument that either of you would like to learn to play?


KANA: The sax!

KYOKA: The harp.

By the end of September you will have both graduated from LONDON BLUE. It feels sad, mostly because I never expected both of you to leave this soon, but I understand that as people we must move forward in our lives. But my question is this: Do you want to continue your activities within the entertainment industry after graduation?

KANA: Yes.

KYOKA: Of course we will continue.

(Photo courtesy of ヤウユ via Twitter)

Interestingly, KANA’s time in LONDON BLUE has been very hands on, to a point where it feels very different when compared to other Idols, at least from an outsiders point of view. From learning the drums to creating the groups choreography… do you have any aspirations to continue teaching idols choreography after your graduation?

KANA: Yes, I do.

Actually, I'm curious; is there anything else you would have liked to try during your time as idols, such as writing lyrics or costume design?

KANA: I would like to try making costumes some day.

KYOKA: I don't think I'm well-suited for things like this, really.

You will be handing over the reigns to a new generation on September 18th. Is there any advice that you would like to give to the new members who will continue LONDON BLUE’s legacy?

KANA: Please enjoy LONDON BLUE's music and continue to have fun during the live performances like we have done.

LONDON BLUE feels like a family, even when the original members have graduated and moved forward. Will you support the new era of LONDON BLUE from the sidelines as previous generations have done for you?

KANA: I want to continue working with the new members and choreograph their future performances.

KYOKA: To the new members: I sincerely support you.

Of course LONDON BLUE has changed a lot over the years, but there have been many achievements. Because a new era is about to begin, is there anything that you would like to see the new members achieve?

KANA: A Budokan live show!

KYOKA: I don't know.

(Photo courtesy of ふしあな via Twitter)

In three words, please tell me what LONDON BLUE means to you.

KANA: Continuation - The importance of continuing. Trust - The importance of trust. Happiness - I feel really happy here.

KYOKA: Growth. Trials. Challenges

And what memories do you both treasure from your time in LONDON BLUE?

KANA: That I was able to perform a live show in London last year!

KYOKA: Thanks to the release events for LONDON CALLING, I was able to perform in various places.

Before we close the interview, is there anything that you would like to say to your manager before you graduate?

KANA: Thanks to Mr. Hayashi, we have been able to overcome various hardships whilst experiencing fun things as well for five years. I want to sincerely thank you.

KYOKA: This is something that I would like to tell you directly, but I want to thank you for everything, and I will thank you in the near future.

Finally, please leave a message for the fans who have watched you since your first performance, and for those who will continue to watch as a new generation debuts in LONDON BLUE.

KANA: I look forward to the LONDON BLUE we will see from now on. The new formation will create a different breeze in addition to continuing the good that LONDON BLUE has achieved so far! Please support the renewed LONDON BLUE with me!

KYOKA: Thank you, always. Even though my graduation from LONDON BLUE is not that far away, please come and see me. Of course, LONDON BLUE will not disappear after this, and I will continue to do my best from now on.

Thank you very much for your time, and good luck with your up-coming performances! Please continue to work hard until your graduations.

(Photo courtesy of KANA via Twitter)

BONUS QUESTIONS

Do you have a favourite costume that you wear on stage?

KANA: I like the costumes that we wore during the London live.

KYOKA: The red checked outfit looks very Rock, but I actually like it because it's cute.

Can you tell me what your favourite colour is?

KANA: Red.

KYOKA: Today it's purple. But my favourite colour can change depending on the day.

And do you have a favourite LONDON BLUE song?

KANA: Special My Love

KYOKA: Tokeiji Kake no Love Summer

Did you ever get to try fish and chips in the UK?

KYOKA: No, but I want to try it.

KANA: No.

(Photo's courtesy of LONDON BLUE via Twitter)

And so my time interviewing both KANA and KYOKA comes to its end, one week before KANA's graduation take place. I am extremely thankful for being able to send questions over to the girls one more time and ask a few things that had been playing on my mind since my last interview with them, and regardless of whether it's in person or through e-mail, I am glad to have seen their answers and experience the joy of reading their thoughts and feelings. Whether their answers were lengthy or minimal in response, I was happy to see the answers and understand the girls a little more through this final interview with them both.

Since witnessing LONDON BLUE's live show at Hyper Japan in London last year, I can't deny that LONDON BLUE have found a special place in my heart. They might not be the biggest group out there, the most well known or even the most seasoned, but they are a group that I have come to love greatly. For a while now I've been aware of their presence, but since meeting them in-person, watching their energetic performance and interviewing them at Hyper Japan Festival 2018, I have become a dedicated fan. I love this group, and I am extremely grateful and lucky that I am able to contact them so easily, follow the girls via Twitter and organise interviews like this.

I will undoubtedly miss this incarnation of LONDON BLUE, because whilst it is completely normal for idol groups to gain and lose members, it feels like both KANA and KYOKA have been working hard these past few months as a duo to create a strong, fun image of LONDON BLUE. It seems strange that I won't see either of them any more as a part of this idol outfit, especially KANA. With 5 years under her belt and her graduation looming ever nearer, it seems weirder and weirder that we will no longer have a member from original era of the group. Despite being a 3rd generation member, KANA has watched the group grow, seen it through its hard times and even watched it flourish with new members, a major debut and a London live performance.

With KANA departing so soon, it will really feel like a 'different' LONDON BLUE.

(Photo courtesy of LONDON BLUE via Twitter)

But with both their departures, LONDON BLUE will create a 'new breeze' as KANA herself stated. With a renewed lineup we can watch the group grow, and with KANA backing them as their full-time choreographer - a job she was already doing, by the way - I am sure that LONDON BLUE will continue to flourish and see themselves moving further forward, and I am almost certain that the former members of the group will watch them from the sidelines and help maintain this groups strength.

Once more I would like to express my deepest gratitude towards LONDON BLUE and Kiyoshi Hiyashi for allowing me to conduct this interview and publish it, despite the past month being a busy time for both members. Thank you for everything, and I look forward to working with LONDON BLUE and their management more in the future.

And I would like to once again thank ジュンペイさん, ヤウユ and ふしあな for allowing the use of their beautiful photos. Thank you very much.

Finally, I would like to thank you all for reading. I hope that some day you can support LONDON BLUE alongside me, and enjoy their music, style and presence as others do.

Random Trivia We Learn:

- LONDON BLUE has had a total of 12 members since their formation
- Members from the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th generations were taught how to play instruments such as drums, bass, guitar... etc.
- Their opening theme on stage is a rock version of God Save The Queen
- KYOKA's energy is bouncing-off-the-wall levels of energetic
- KANA is currently training the new members and teaching them the choreography
- KANA is the groups official choreographer
- Most members of LONDON BLUE are still in contact with one another
- KYOKA began her career as a child actress prior to joining LONDON BLUE.
- Sometimes plays with a live band, or the members also act as the live band for some songs

And finally, please check out some pictures! Enjoy the duo that is LONDON BLUE's KANA and KYOKA in all their glory!

(Photo's courtesy of ヤウユ and ふしあな via Twitter)

(Photo courtesy of LONDON BLUE via Twitter)

(Photo's courtesy of ジュンペイさん and ヤウユ via Twitter)

(Photo courtesy of ふしあな via Twitter)

(Photo's courtesy of KANA via Twitter)

(Photo courtesy of ふしあな via Twitter)

(Photo courtesy of LONDON BLUE via Twitter)

KANA's graduation live

Ki ~yon-chan 'ni yoru Kyon-chan no ta me no! LONDON BLUE Graduation Real Birthday Party
Links:


KANA Links:


KYOKA Links:



Thank you for reading, and have a pleasant day.
Chiima~

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