I’ve decided that I need to devote some time on this blog to mindless-yet-delightful gushing about the woman who made me love Momusu in the first place: Yoshizawa Hitomi.
Yossy. Yocchan. Yoshimi. Pimp of all. Riida. Ishikawa’s “dah-ring”. Michishige’s Prince Charming.
Mr FRIGGIN Moonlight.
I love this woman.
But that is nothing new. If you’re new to this blog, it might be. If you’ve read this blog for a bit, it’s a Legolas statement (ie. incredibly obvious… An example from The Two Towers “this forest is old…very old.”).
I think I will probably need to restrain myself from overloading you with a simple picspam, cause goodness knows there are too many good shots of her. I’ll try to actually write something coherent beneath all the inevitable keyboard-mashery that ensues when I see pics of her.
I promise nothing.
I wrote a leader-centric post last year, reflecting on why I thought Yossy made a great leader for Momusu. Some of the points I made there may repeat here, but stay with me. I’d like to state also, as ironic as this is, that this post was probably one of the hardest ones I’ve ever written.
It’s impossible to narrow down all the reasons why I adore this performer. My mind races when I try to think of an answer. There are so many clips, so many mp3s, so many pics, so many esoteric little moments…there’s just too damn much to go through. I’ll probably leave out a million important things and think of them a week after this is posted.
All I can do is my best.
More entries like this might be in store.
I’ll try to keep the keyboard-mashery to a minimum.
I think it’s interesting how people fall for the idols that they do. I have no idea what led me to notice Yossy in the first place. I’m fairly certain Mr Moonlight had something to do with it, so let’s start there.
Reason 1 : MR MOONLIGHT
Before I got into Japanese media, I was (and still am) very into British comedy. So seeing cross-dressing was always something just a little absurd and it was almost exclusively men-dressing-as-old-women. Monty Python’s pepper-pots could never prepare you for the absolute awesome that is Mr Moonlight.
When I watched it, I really thought for a moment that Yossy was a guy.
A very pretty guy, but still, a guy.
She’s just as pretty as a Johnny’s boy, ain’t she?
Abe and Goto are clearly just girls in suits singing in a lower register; Yossy absolutely embodies everything about that character: she swaggers, she struts, she flirts and she rocks out like freakin’ Elvis. She could have been embarrassed about it, being designated so early on as the “manly” Musume, but she decided to just have some fun. Instead of it being something entirely funny, it became an outlet for both her boyish side and her mischievous side. She hits on pretty much everyone, new members and old members alike. Her confidence is so strong in that PV. You tend to forget it’s a girl and her ridiculous Host-like behaviour becomes charming.
Or, if you’re me, it makes you go: YOSSYKAKKOIIGHE&O*QFG#RQIWFKSDVBAFIU!!!
Another thing I adore about Yossy was how she never seemed to take herself too seriously. She really understands the concept of being an idol personality, rather than just something pretty or cute. Whenever she was playing a role, she’d throw herself into it, no matter how stupid she was going to look. The thing is, she really never seemed to look that bad. Sometimes the secret is to play it seriously, even if you’re not taking it seriously.
Let’s examine the storyline, shall we? I want you to see just how amazing her acting actually was when she was only a teenager.
Uh oh. They’ve seen this face before…
Mr Moonlight is in LURV…and sighing at the moon.
The girl in question:
A young Ogawa Makoto. She seems sweet and ready to be swept off her feet, ne?
…Nothing seems to move her heart, even the ol’ Hollywood flourish.
“What’s wrong, baby?”
“Hmph. You’ll just break my heart.”
“Why, never, baby. I’m Mr Moonlight.”
“I’ve got the stars in my pocket, baby.”
“Ah, how pretty!”
“Come fly with me.”
(A ‘come hither’ look, if ever I saw one)
So off they go into the night, ala ‘A Whole new World’, without the magic carpet. All they need is the shimmer of Mr Moonlight.
M = Totally swept off her feet.
(Wouldn’t you be? Damn…)
MrM = Totally diggin’ this chick.
Unfortunately for our heroine, Mr Moonlight is fickle.
“You’re next, baby.”
(Notice Kei, always peeking out from behind someone.)
“Wanna come fly with me?”
(Notice Kei, once again.)
He just can’t help himself.
And anyway, all the ladies want some of that…and Mr Moonlight knows it.
I’ve tried to explain why I like this to myself and to others, but I’ve discovered that the words aren’t there. I don’t really know what it is that appeals to me about Yossy’s little foray into the world of the Host. When I first saw the PV and found out the guy in the white suit was a girl, for some reason I just thought it was really cool. It’s funny because it’s a girl and it’s funny because it’s exaggerated, but the coolest part is how the girl disappears into the character. I know that it’s Yossy, but all I can see is a Host. She’s as goofy as she is kakkoii.
I was also really into swing music at the time, so that didn’t hurt anything. But really, I think it was seeing how she stole the video that cemented things for me. I started looking for her in all the other videos before I even knew how to pronounce her name. It’s all because she can be so many things at the same time.
Which brings us to…
Reason 2: Her Boyish Persona
I think her boyish/cool personality has always been the thing that appealed to me the most.
Look at this pic to your right for a moment. Could anyone else, aside from Nakazawa, pull off such a look? I don’t even just mean the leather-tough-girl style, I mean that look on her face. I mean her posture, the way her whole body screams “don’t mess with me”, but also, “I don’t care one way or the other”. Pictures like this make me want to climb inside her head. It doesn’t look like an idol pic. Clearly, she’s been posed, but you believe it just a little.
Ahem. If you’re me, that is.
And if you’re me, you’re also going YOSSYHWR78OTRGUYKSDTHRW&*Q#HRQB~~~!!
She started out just as cute as the rest of them. Check her out at her very first live:
She’s young and slightly unsure. She’s completely adorable, trying her best to be what she thinks an idol should be, but even then her personality would come out.
An example of this is what she says to the camera before going out. Everyone in the 4th gen, up to this point, has said variations of “I’ll do my best”. Yossy doesn’t say this. She says one word and one word only.
There were a few years in there where Yossy seemed to fade into the background, because there were so many girls, so much personality and so many changes in the line-up.I also think it was due to her gaining some weight randomly. A little disillusioned during that time, maybe? Whatever happened, they seemed to dress her in billowy costumes and put her at the back. For that few years she seemed to be kinda “rebellious”. She still did her job, of course, but moreso than anyone else, she seemed to do whatever she felt like during this time. She commented herself on this time, describing herself as rebellious. I’m not sure exactly what she meant, but it seemed like a free sort of time.
I recall distinctly the ‘FUN’ special, (when the RINGU lady scared the hell out of almost all of them; it’s an infamous clip now, thanks to youtube) when Iida was telling a scary story and she touched Niigaki startling her and of course, starting a screaming chain-reaction. She just snickered in this wicked, jolly way through the whole thing, even as everyone yelled at her. That whole special she just seems amused by all the scary stuff, while everyone else ends up in hysterics.
Some pictorial examples of her boyish/rebellious side:
I just like this look. Even Ishikawa is a little unnerved.
Yossy does a little (completely random) boxing.
Yossy explains that there is no one in Momusu that she is afraid of, ie She can beat up any of them if she has to. Tsuji tells a story just after this moment about how she stepped on and broke Yossy’s sunglasses in the car and Yossy just wordlessly pounded her fist into the door, presumably in rage.
Yossy glares at H!P Kids when they giggle at the fact that she could be crowned ‘Crap Girl’ during the MMI Sports Festival. You don’t mock this girl.
This is a bit later on, but during Chokkan2’s pv filming, Yossy enjoys deafening everyone with her powerful gong technique.
Don’t misunderstand. Yossy is quite girly in many ways. When she sees a snake, even a fake one, she squeals and flails as much any cutesy girl. She just plain can’t handle rollercoasters. She looks amazing in a dress and she has the cutest little impish smile I’ve ever seen. Even so, she’ll probably always be associated with a boyish personality.
I guess it’s because I’ve spent so much of my life as a tomboy, that I find it easier to identify with this sort of type. When you’re so influenced, some times you have to fight to define your own sense of femininity. I constantly do, because I cannot play the game of the poor-shy-unassuming-cutesy-girl who loves pink. I just can’t do it. I’d laugh at myself. Yossy seems the same. Let me clarify a bit here: it’s not that such a personality is necessarily “fake”, but if I were to act in such a way, it would be. I’d assume it’s the same for Yossy. I won’t act scared if I’m not scared, for example. It’s about being true to yourself, ne?
For instance, I’d never look as hawt as Yossy does as a guy.
Yoshizawa Hitomi = confusing my sexual orientation since 2005.
(This is a joke…;P)
As Yossy got older, she developed a confidence that I have yet to grasp myself. Sports has never been a part of who I am, but it’s hard to think of Yossy without seeing her in that Futsal uniform. I cannot comment as much on that side, because even with Yossy present, sports just don’t interest me in the least. What I will say, is that sports seemed to give her that confidence. It was another goal, aside from being a part of Momusu, to focus on. That was also the first venue (as far as I know anyway) in which she was a leader.
Reason 3: Yossy as Leader
Also, pimp of all.
Most of my leader comments would be in that post, but I’ll try to say something different here.
One of the most interesting things about following Morning Musume is seeing how the girls develop and slowly coming to recognize characteristics about your favourites. What I recognized in Yossy (as a leader, but also just in general) was how strong she seemed, but also how big sisterly she could be. She’s definitely a force to be reckoned with, as are all the girls in the 4th gen, but even with that slightly intimidating aloofness she can sometimes have, she’s always been the most likeable.
There are so many stories of her fellow members being scolded or making some embarrassing mistake or running off upset and Yossy quietly approaching her and soothing her in some way. Not in a motherly fashion of “there, there”, but by saying something like, “don’t even worry about it, ne?”
I’ve also seen her firmly scolding a very new, very ‘green’ Koharu on a Hello Morning episode (I miss those behind-the-scenes moments so much). At a break in the dance lesson for Iroppoi Jirettai, she takes Koharu aside and tells her that she expected more from the miracle member. Something like, “I really was shocked you couldn’t do anything. You need to work harder.” She isn’t mean exactly, but she’s severe enough to really convict her kouhai.
More than anyone in the fourth generation, Yossy felt like a personality that was distinct and likeable without being overwhelming. It seemed like all the members, regardless of age liked working with her, evidenced for example, by the amount of times she’s worked with Nakazawa in the past year (they went to Hawaii and even took part in a cross-country tandem bike trip). On that awesome trip H!P took to Hawaii back in 2001, she was first choice for every single team. They said things like, “she seems fast”, “she’s definitely the smartest” etc.
If I could ever be in the same room with her, without crying or dissolving into pwned mush, I think it would be really relaxing. I think once you get to know her, she’s probably someone you could hang out with without any pressure. She seems like someone who could go with the flow of things and keep you laughing and not taking things too seriously.
I personally could never hang out with her, because the thought of meeting her pretty much makes me dissolve into the aforementioned pile of pwned mush. Just the thought of it.
I’m such a fangirl.
Reason 4: Hangry Angry/Gothy-Punk-Emo Yossy
LOOK at her!
This is one of those things that I wouldn’t really care about one way or the other if it wasn’t Yossy. While I was sure I’d dislike the music, from the start I was intrigued by the concept of Hangry/Angry: IshiYoshi together again and sporting a look we’d never really seen from them before? Based on some clothing line with emo-kitties for mascots?
Why the hell not?
Even with spiked-out-insane-hair, Yossy is always a win.
To my pleasant surprise, I loved the music. The mini-album rocked. I loved every single track, especially ‘Angelia’, which is beautiful in a haunting way that just pwns every time I hear it. Their voices blend wonderfully, their harmonies are the kind that get under your skin and in each track, their solos are stronger and fuller than I’ve ever heard them in H!P.
I loved ‘Sadistic Dance’ and this Top Secret pv is very possibly the hottest thing ever.
What’s better than a slightly inappropriate cuddle in a limo?
Yossy, still pimps Rika after all this time.
Gif taken from -The Mr Moonlight Effect – (see my blogroll)
I’ve said most of it already: I love this experiment and I love that they are still enjoying working together after all this time. I have no idea how long this will go on for, but for now I’m just enjoying things.
I wish I could bombard you with caps from the new pv, but I don’t have a high quality version yet. That may have to be a separate post. Instead I will leave you with a final picspam of Yossy goodness.
Final Picspam: Kanashimi Twilight
What sort of gushy-fangirl entry would this be if I didn’t address her “graduation” single? Like I’ve said numerous times, even without the Yossy significance, which I’ll be the first to admit is difficult to ignore, this is a wonderful single. The image and the music was in perfect harmony for this one.
As for me, I was just satisfied they gave her a proper send-off. Not every member gets this awesome a good-bye single.
So I’ll end this part of my Yossy Love post with a small picspam.
I adore this woman…
From a performance on Music Station (I think). PWN!!!
PV cap! Intense and beautiful.
The rarely seen, but powerful Yossy-Hair-Toss.
Seriously, she’s been trying to kill me like this since 2005.
“Why yes, I AYM wearing two belts. Why? Because I CAN!”
“Yeah, you! You KNOW you want my belts!”
The caption just writes itself, don’t it?
“Ugh! It’s so difficult being AMAZING…”
Look at that expression…she knows EXACTLY what she’s doing to me…
Just a final note: if you hate/dislike/areindifferentto Yossy, you probably shouldn’t have read all that.