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87th Class: A Miniature Encyclopedia¹
Episode 4, Yumeno Seika
Text/Illustrations by Hinata San
April, the month where so many things begin, is here. Finding employment, starting a new school; the whole town is opened to the fresh mood... !! U-uh-oh!! In this place, an innocent girls high school has-? Huh? Huh...?? What a cute bobbed hair-do and sailor uniform. She is my lovable guest for this issue, Star Troupe's Yumeno Seika, Tomomi!! Everyone, what do you think of her amazing style!? The cameraman was surprised as well, and said in a few words, "she has great balance between head and body." This time the dress-up theme is as you see — an all-girls high school student and a phys. ed. teacher!? This is to realize the request of Tomomi, who joined the Music School right after graduating from middle school, and who said, "I'd like to try and see what it feels like to be a high school student just once." If there were such a beautiful student, the whole school would be in an uproar, hm?
For the meeting of the mischievous Tomomi and I, we have to go back to the time of the Takarazuka Music School exams. By chance, we two who sat next to each other were the same age and hit it off. Even back then, Tomomi's long legs set her apart from the crowd among the other candidates, and she stood out. And then, when we were returning home after the last day of the exams, unexpectedly, we caught sight of each other on platforms on opposite sides of the track at the station, and shouted in farewell, "See you again when we've made it!" I think in the instant we met, Tomomi (who was from Saga Prefecture and took things very easy in those days), and I (who was from green and fertile Kawachinagano in Osaka) recognized the same feel in each other.
Tomomi had gone to see Takarazuka with a relative who lived in Kobe, and when she began growing tall it seems she decided to take (and began working toward) the Music School exams with non-serious feelings. Because it was far from her house to ballet lessons, she didn't go more than once a week, and even in the end her teacher never learned her name.
This same Tomomi was the co-captain of the softball team who led relentless practices. The world of Takarazuka was so completely different from this that apparently although she opened her mouth, she couldn't say, "I want to take the exam for Takarazuka" to her club friends... When her friends gathered together at her house to congratulate her on passing the exams--
Friends: "What's Takarazuka? Where are you going?" they asked unanimously.
And on the day the results were announced, Tomomi (who had no cell phone) ran to a public phone and called home to convey the news, but her mother only said: "What about high school!?"
After that, as her family was bewildered by the unexpected situation, finally her father said, "Go for it!!" with a push on her back.
Tomomi, who has a zeal for practicing, accomplished a great enterprise — although she was near the bottom when she entered the school, she raised her ballet scores to near the top of the class by the time we graduated. And so we spent two years together as friends (and sometimes quarreling too) at the Music School.
Tomomi, who had been assigned to Star Troupe, participated in the "Butterfly Lovers / Southern Cross Revue III" tour as the youngest underclassman. In her home area of Saga, when it was time to cheer for Tomomi — Well well, I'm told it was amazing. Here and there in the audience, there were people that Tomomi knew!! She was still an underclassman, so she only appeared as a "villager" and a "rockette" on the very edges of the stage, but the voices raised were really delighted. And during the finale, a banner saying "Yumeno Seika, ganbaranba yo!!"² was hoisted up... For Tomomi, the performance in Saga became one she'll never forget.
Tomomi, who steadily repeated her daily diligence, played Andre in the shinjin kouen of "The Rose of Versailles" in 2006! I've already said this in the January issue in Saou Kurama's article, but for us 87ths, "Berubara" was our hatsubutai, so for Tomomi to play Andre-sama was a huge sensation with us!!
Among constant, great pressure, the shinjin kouen arrived. Actually, before a shinjinkouen, once, without fail, Tomomi will have a dream about the show.
That time, the honyaku (the person playing the role in the main show) appeared in her dream.
Honyaku: "Tomomi~! Over here~!!"
Tomomi: "Okay~!! I'm coming right now!!" she replied, and that's the sort of thing it's made up of. Starting the day after the dreams, somehow or other, she's able to grasp the role and rehearsals become easier. The contents of the dreams are different at different times...
To: "Every time it feels as if the honyaku-san is pulling me along. At a time when I haven't been able to dream at all, I think, 'Won't I dream soon~?'" It's quite a strange tale, but jealous-making dreams, huh? It must be that Tomomi's subconscious reveals itself in the form of dreams, don't you think?
Recently, upon doing a male role, Tomomi references Korean dramas. Tomomi's reasoning is that there are aspects of the performance of Korean actors which have things in common with a Takarazuka otokoyaku. She says she's learned a lot from how they use their eyes. In comparison, Japanese actors' portrayals keep a lot to themselves, so they're difficult to copy. Having said that, Burapi (Brad Pitt)'s performance is copyable, but it's quite different from her own... Korean actors, when they're angry or when they're crying, they set out their feelings straightforwardly, so they're a very good reference. Even when you're busy, don't get trapped by one thing; doing the things you want to do will give you a change of mood — Ever since she got this advice from an upperclassman in Star Troupe, she has watched Korean dramas even during rehearsal weeks, to relax and to study at the same time. Incidentally, her longest record for watching Korean dramas straight is 17 hours.
Recently, Tomomi has been in the Bow Workshop "Hello! Dancing". This is a show which is 75 minutes of continuous dancing, and I went to see it — It really is amazing!! They're mid-performance and the wrap or what-have-you was lifted, and it was great! The results of giving up her rehearsal vacation for independent rehearsal are perfect. Congratulations on a job well done. ☆
And, lastly, what is Tomomi, who is giving her all as an otokoyaku and a dancer, thinking now...?
To: I want to be someone with compelling eyes. I want to be the kind of performer who uses her eyes and makes people think, "There's something different about this person." Everyone, don't take your eyes off of Yumeno Seika, who continues to grow into the magician's eyes of the Korean school of training!!
All right, everyone. Next time my adorable guest is.... Emergency monopoly data collecting, Flower Troupe's "First Princess" will make an appearance. Look forward to it♥
(1) The title is a word-play, because "Mame" is both Hinata San's nickname, and the word for "miniature/tiny".
(2) colloquial form of "ganbare" (do your best / good luck)