Birthday: Forever 16!!!
Birthplace: Yamaguchi prefecture
Favorite food: Strawberry short cake
Otome song sample
My Shy Master
When: January 16th 4:30pm
Where: Drom -- 85 Avenue A (b/w 5th & 6th St.) NYC
Guests: Uncle Yo (The Otaku Comedian) -- Promise (3 sister J-Pop singing group) -- CD-3(Japanese dance&comedy entertainment group) -- Myu (Japanese dancer)
When: January 24th 5pm
Where: Top Tunes Karaoke Bar
303-305 East 53rd Street (at 2nd Ave) NYC
Cost: $10 ($5 music +$5 one drink)
Guests: Promise (3 sister J-Pop singing group) -- CD-3(Japanese dance&comedy entertainment group) -- MaeMae(Cosplay J-pop guitarist) -- Elderberry (Bittersweet Cosplay Singer)
1. My Shy Master
3. Shining Star
Leave your comments about this interview and read what others had to say at the following link:
Reni Mimura Interview
"Sometimes I like to be a Japanese office lady by wearing a suite with my hair up. Wearing chequered pants with handcuffs and chains makes a girl with Rock style. Wearing a light pink dress with a frill makes Reni Lolita style. Everyday I would like to be different. Cosplay is my life!" - Reni Mimura
Do you think you have to travel all the way to Tokyo to see Japanese costume players doing their thing? Well think again. Reni Mimura brought her show to Manhattan in 2008 and performs on a regular basis with her MoeMoe Dancers. Winner of a Tokyo talent competition in 2006, its not hard to see why she is making a name for herself in the kawaii world of Japan's cuteness culture. Her upcoming shows on January 16 and 24 will be featured in a documentary on NHK (Japan's version of PBS).
So put on your maid outfit, Naruto jumpsuit or whatever floats your boat and come hear the story of the girl who says "My ideal situation is the audience not paying attention to me, but everybody is liberated and dancing themselves. That's when we become one. Reni and audience feeling calm and gentle, and we are one."On December 24, 2009 Reni Mimura was kind enough to give an interview to Andrew from J-Pop World. All photos courtesy of Reni Mimura with credits to HIRO and Atsuko Horiuchi.
First off, can you tell us a little about the world of cosplay. How would you describe what it actually is?
Cosplay can transform you into a different personality. For example, if you are shy, it can help you speak to others more easily. We can have a lot of fun with it and make people happy at the same time. I think this is a very futuristic thing to do. It's like a game! ^_^
What about cosplay appeals so much to you?
By cosplay, like I said, we can be different from who we usually are and get attention and make friends easier. For example, I can't speak English very well, but if I do cosplay, then everybody talks to me and I'm more confident with speaking English! ^_-
How would you describe your particular theme of cosplay fashion?
Love and Joy!!
How do you view your audience?
I want friends and feel that it's fun to make friends with the audience!! Its so wonderful to meet new people!!
Where can fans see you perform?
Well, my performance is not only fun to watch... but also fun to participate in! People who come to my show get a chance to be on the stage. That's the best part! Even people who were shy the first time, the next time they come to my show, they enjoy being on the stage! Of course, I will always sing and dance for them!!
Friends can see my performance in Reni's Japanese "Maid" Show in Manhattan, New York monthly. The next shows are on January 16th and 24th. Please come! (For more information see www.renireni.com.)
Let's learn more about your past and how you ended up in the US. Can you tell us a little about your hometown and what it was like growing up there?
I grew up in Yamaguchi prefecture. For me, the place was kind of uncomfortable because people were conservative with lots of rules. If I didn't come to the US I would not have thought much about my origin, ancestors and hometown... Yamaguchi prefecture has sent out many historically important people, and without them Japan would have been different. Maybe... part of me consists of the Yamaguchi spirit, which I thought uncomfortable before, and it might have affected me to come to the US.
How did you first get involved in music and performance?
I started dance at the age of 7. I learned theater, including writing and directing. Of course, I played as well. Then I took many auditions for actors and dancers. But none of them went well, so members of a theatrical group I had at the time suggested forming a band, and I started composing and writing lyrics. I became a singer in the band and made a demo tape, and this demo tape made one of the big music auditions in Japan, and I made my debut. ^_^
How did you first discover the world of cosplay? What made you want to get involved?
There is no Halloween in Japan, but cosplay is getting really popular in Japan through Akihabara culture. I like fashion, and have been doing cosplay in private for a long time. For example, sometimes I like to be a Japanese office lady by wearing a suite with my hair up. Wearing chequered pants with handcuffs and chains makes a girl with Rock style. Wearing a light pink dress with a frill makes Reni Lolita style. Everyday I would like to be different. I love to surprise people by being different everyday, and try not to become bored. Cosplay is my life! ^_^
When you were still in high school what type of career did you imagine having?
I imagined becoming a dancer or choreographer. I have been dancing two hours everyday until now. It's part of my life.
Tell us more about the musical and performance activities you did while still in Japan.
My performance style was a little more sexy in Japan comparing to the one in the US, but my heart has not changed a bit. I love peace -- supporters are truly precious for me. Because of them, I'm not lonely and can keep going. So if I establish true trust between me and my friends, I might go to the next stage of cosplay, and wear something different than maid costumes. However, my heart has not changed and will never change. That's what the song, Shining Star is about btw.
What was it like being active in places like Akihabara?
Freedom! Everybody gets to be a star, idol and main character. If you say you are an idol, then people support you as an idol. If you say you are a character from anime, then you become one in Akihabara.
Tell us more about the contest you won in Tokyo.
The contest was about finding an artist who gets a CD deal produced by Mr. Takahiro Yamautsuri, a composer and arranger of one of the Pokemon movies. He selected me after listening to many demo tapes that were submitted and called me... but my phone number had changed! He found my resume and called my father, and finally he contacted me. He is still a good advisor for my music.
In 2008 you made a major life change by moving to New York. How did that come about?
I wanted to perform worldwide because I want to meet more people and have more friends. I released my first CD in 2006. Japan is a small and isolated country. I just wanted to go beyond that. Releasing a CD and being in a movie has satisfied me in some ways, and I felt it was time to go on.
Did you always want to come to the US to perform?
I was definitely thinking about performing, but not relocating and living. But I recently realized that there are so many things you would not know if you don't live in the place -- like what kind of things people like and don't like. I think its very important to know the people you perform for. I want to be loved by everyone, and living in the US is I feel necessary. Right now, I'm like a baby full of curiosity because everything is still new to me, and I feel like I am still growing a lot. ^_^
What about the US surprised you the most?
The size of the place. And people are cheerful and kind.
What was the biggest challenge?
Singing my original song in Japanese to an American audience.
Learning a second language fluently is always tough. Do you have a "most embarrassing moment" trying to say something in English for the first time?
By missing some words here and there, the audience sometimes looked confused. That was embarrassing. We can still see that clip on YouTube. But I want to share a lot of things with my friends, so I could not stop there... I had to keep on trying my best.
What did your family and friends think of your cosplaying activities?
Everyone thinks it matches Reni's style.
What did they think of your decision to move to America?
Of course, they miss me and worried about me, but nobody stopped me, and said I should go. They knew how I was struggling in Japan, and how I desperately wanted to achieve my goal.
Tell us about some of the people who have helped your career.
Members of the theatrical group, Mr. Takahiro Yamautsuri, Agent Sato... those people share similarities. They stay true to their feelings in order to live their life with joy. Everybody sympathizes Reni's dream and supports me. ^_^
What have been some of your most memorable moments as a performer?
The first time I performed in the US was at Japan Society in New York. I only had songs written in Japanese, and performed three songs from that. But despite of my concern, people gave me a standing ovation after I performed, and I felt I should keep going.
Can you describe what its like when you are performing and the audience is really enjoying themselves? How does it make you feel?
Freedom. My ideal situation is the audience not paying attention to me, but everybody is liberated and dancing themselves. That's when we become one. Reni and audience feeling calm and gentle, and we are one.
Let's talk about the songs you perform. Who writes the music and lyrics?
I do both writing music and lyrics. Of the 10 songs from Japan, I composed five songs, and Mr. Yamautsuri did five songs. The four songs which I released in the US, those are composed by Agent Sato. The lyrics are all written by me. I have tons of messages I would like to write. I had a lot of support in translation from Japanese into English by American friends. Right now, we are working on translating those songs which were composed in Japan.
Tell us about the pop song My Shy Master.
This song is about a couple. She loves sweet pastries and fashion. He is very shy and busy with his job. That makes communication very hard. Then she came to this idea. "Ok maybe I can be a cute helper for him, like a maid." This pretty song goes from English and Japanese back and forth. Dance moves are also choreographed very cutely, and fans love to dance together. ^_^
Otome has a more folk sound to it. What does the song mean to you?
This was a new challenge for Reni. I had never sang about my gratitude towards my parents. After I relocated to the US I felt so far from home and lonely, and this reminded how important parents are. I sing my gratitude in this song. This song tells me also how much I learned through my experiences in the US and how kind people are.
Tell us about the dance you do for Shining Star. How do you come up with your moves?
I just want to dance together with friends in this song. Just liberated and become one. I told this to my choreographer, Myu, and she put it together.
Who are the other dancers in your act?
MoeMoe Dancers!! Myu is a dancer and also a choreographer. Chieli is learning choreograph right now! Reni also has MoeMoe Sisters!! And another dancer, Maiko.
Outside of the music and cosplay, what do you do for fun and relaxation?
Cleaning, shopping, laundry and cooking. Very ordinary. ^_-
Do you have a favorite manga, movie or TV show you love the most?
I love movies by Hayao Miyazaki. I love those main female characters. Chobits, Haruhi, Bleach. Anime that were suggested by friends in the US. I watch them.
What do you miss most about Japan?
Clothing... I am very small. I don't fit American size...
Can we get a peak into the romantic life of Reni? What is you idea of a romantic date?
Just what every girl likes and feels romantic. I love a carousel. Twinkles, floating and music makes me feel that I am in a dream. @^_^@
What type of qualities do you look for in someone you would date?
English, Japanese does not matter. Fun and talking between hearts are the most important.
Any thoughts on marriage and kids in the future?
Right now, all of Reni's supporters are my sweethearts!
Do you have anything else you want to bring up or comment on?
Hello! readers of J-Pop World. Thank you for reading my interview. Reni will try my best so that more people know me. Please support me!
Do you have a final message to all your fans?
I'm taking dance lessons, have performance meetings and photo shoot sessions in order to let the world know about my activities and performances. Sometimes I feel lonely, but I will keep going as I think about friends and meeting you soon. I really feel I am here because of your support. Thank you so much, my angels!!
For more info checkout Reni Mimura's official site and MySpace and Facebook pages. Leave your comments about this interview and read what others had to say at the following link: Interview Comments