The four-member junior dance group J☆Dee’Z is made up of Meik, Nono, ami, and leader MOMOKA. These four girls are ridiculously cute and JPHiP got to interview them at the first Japan Expo USA, held in Santa Clara.
Before I talk about the interview we had with them, I’d like to talk a little bit about my own impressions of J☆Dee’Z. They’re young. Very young – the oldest member is only 14. They’re a little shy. They’re cute. But most of all, they re incredibly talented. They took Grand Prix at the LOTTE X Sony Music audition, they’ve been dancing for years, they’re models, and talented singers to boot. At the bottom of it all, though, they’re kids. Our interview with them, and my interactions with them throughout the weekend proved that more than anything: they like nail art, they’re a little shy, and seemed almost overwhelmed at the attention they got before, during, and after their concerts. It’s the combination of raw talent, stage presence, and personal shyness that endeared them to me. I can’t wait until their music is released and they get a real chance to share their talent with the world. We here at JPHiP got a chance to interview them at Japan Expo, and here’s what they had to say.
Slack: So we’d like to start with self-introductions. This time, however, we’d like to make it a little more interesting – please introduce the person sitting to your right!
(laughter from the girls) Meik: This is Nono, she’s the youngest…
Slack: And if you could, please give an interesting fact about them too.
Meik: Oh gosh, there’s so much! Ummm…she’s always really happy and enthusiastic about everything, and she’s also a natural comedienne.
Nono: I’m nervous…um, this is ami and she’s always positive thinking. (gestures at ami.) Um…yoroshiku onegaishimasu? (Everyone laughs)
(It doesn’t come across well in text, but she was trying to get ami to say yoroshiku.)
ami: This is our leader MOMOKA, and she has really fair skin!
MOMOKA: This is Meik. I think her style is the most expressive in the group, and her charm point is her curly hair.
Tris: My hair is curly too! (laughter, nods) So, are there any dance styles that you don’t know yet that you’d like to challenge?
Nono: Ahhh…break dancing. I haven’t done it yet, and I would like to try.
MOMOKA: Me too!
Nono: It’s a little scary though…
Meik: I’ve done it a little and it’s really scary.
ami: I’d like to try acrobatics too.
Slack: So in your dancing, who is your role model? Who do you look up to?
Meik & Nono: Les Twins-san!
Tris: When did you start dancing and why?
Meik: I’ve been dancing for about seven years; my older sister was a dancer, so I started because of her.
Nono: It’s been about six and a half, maybe seven years for me. I started dancing because when I was younger, my dad and I saw some street dancers when we were out and I thought they were cool!
ami: I’ve only been dancing for about 3 years…
Tris: Really? You’re so skilled!
ami: One of my specialties is that I’m really flexible, and I hadn’t really done any sports or anything, so I thought this was something I could do.
MOMOKA: I’ve been dancing for eight years, my father was a dancer so that’s how I got started.
Slack: We know that many of you also do modeling: does dancing help with that, or the other way around?
Meik: It helps when I’m modeling, if the photographer says look like you’re moving or look like you’re dancing I have somewhere to draw from. The opposite is true too, if they want me to pose during a dance and look like a model I know how to do that too.
Tris: We know that you’ve also been to Japan Expo Paris – what’s the biggest difference between there and here?
Nono: We haven’t seen a whole lot of difference between the US and Paris. One thing that I think is particularly similar is that the audience is very supportive of us.
Slack: MOMOKA, I know you’re the leader; what are your duties in that position?
MOMOKA: I really don’t feel like I’m doing anything special as the leader, but if we need to discuss something and get everyone’s feelings on it, I’m the one that eventually puts that together into one thought.
Tris: I wanted to ask…I know that you have all danced with Aigasa Moe, who’s now an AKB48 Kenkyuusei (as of interview time – she is now a member of Team 4.) Do you still keep in contact with her, and how do you feel about her success?
MOMOKA: I’m actually still in touch with her, recently we went out to eat and did purikura (Japanese photobooth pictures) together. We don’t get to see each other that often because we’re both busy, but it was really good to see her. In fact through her I got to see AKB48 at the theater!
Tris: So for our last question today – you guys have challenged dancing, singing, a lot of you model as well. Is there anything else you’d like to try, for example acting, or songwriting?
Meik: I want to try acting!
Nono: Lyric writing and composing music.
MOMOKA: I’d love to write a song for the group to perform and dance to it!
ami: I’d love to act, but another dream of mine is to become a fashion designer once I’m more famous.
Slack: I think that’s all the questions we have today, thank you so much for talking with us!
Tris: Thank you!
J☆Dee’Z: Thanks very much!
I’d like to thank J☆Dee’Z, their managers, and the translators for giving us their time to interview them; these girls were really lovely to talk to, and were very thoughtful throughout (even though they were clearly a little nervous and shy!)
To all of our readers, I’d like to emphasize again how talented this group is, how charming, and how much fun it was to chat with them. We even compared nail art after the interview.
J☆Dee’Z. You might not have heard of them. But you will. And I guarantee you’ll love them.
Photos by Nights4Saturn.