Please do not repost anywhere without the translator's permission.
from The Takarazuka III: Hanagumi - translated by lokai
For Haruno Sumire, who has become a top star, a group of otokoyaku upperclassmen who have known her since she was an underclassman speak about Flower Troupe’s performances and how Osa has grown.
Natsumi: Today, with the troupe that more and more is greatly rumored on the streets to be the best in Takarazuka (laughs), I am pleased to be able to speak with all of you, the upperclassmen otokoyaku of Flower Troupe.
All: Yes. (laugh) Thank you for this opportunity.
Natsumi: First, how are things concerning our latest performance(1)?
Otomo: For my part, among all of the Japanese people, I am the only foreigner...
Natsumi: But even though you have the role of a foreign person, the prologue and finale are done as Nihonmono, so it's difficult to come and go, isn't it?
Haruno: How do you change your makeup?
Otomo: Primarily I change the makeup for my eyes. I change the double line from purple to brown, but one day I accidentally drew in the double line as navy blue. (laughs)
Haruno: You never mess up, do you? (laughs)
Otomo: Within no time, I'm changing from a foreign person to a Japanese person. (laughs)
Natsumi: You do what you can in a short space of time and divide out your performance, saying "I'll have fun and do it myself" - one could say you do that because you're an upperclassman.
Yabuki: This time Todoroki-san is making a special appearance, but I was always together with her in Snow Troupe until I changed troupes, and now it's been five years since I was with Todoroki-san. But just as though that much time hadn't gone by, I suddenly return to the past and can share the same space with her - it's an interesting sensation.
Natsumi: Since Todoroki-san was sent from Snow Troupe to Superior Members, it’s the first time she's been with another troupe, isn't it? But with that being said, in her first lead with Chiharu (Yabuki) and everyone, I think she was very relaxed.
Yabuki: She's an interesting person, isn't she, Ishi-chan (Todoroki).
Haruno: Even in the past, did you get the feeling she was that kind of person?
Yabuki: Yeah, she hasn't changed.
Haruno: I thought she had an image of being hard-line and never off, but during rehearsals and even performances, talking with her in the wings, I felt a very soft atmosphere and thought that "hard-line" image was completely wrong.
Natsumi: It's because she gives off the impression of having come far in her position.
Haruno: Somehow, there's a part of her that's hard-line, but also a soft side of her, isn't there? You could say she's broad in both ways.
Otomo: Sumire-chan (Haruno), during the performance when your hakama slipped a little...
Haruno: Yes, yes. (laughs) She held it down for me, the whole time.
Yabuki: She's kind, isn't she?
Haruno: I really think so. She's a person who gives others very close consideration.
Natsumi: Even in the rehearsal room she gives others a lot of consideration, but it's not severe at all. She's amazing. Todoroki-san is a person who can have a lot of affection, just like an older brother doting on a younger brother, in this communal life of upperclassmen and underclassmen.
Otomo: Chiharu-san, what do you think of her acting?
Natsumi: I'm the chairman here!! (laughs)
Yabuki: Like in the scene where she delivers the 'flute named Wind', I think you could say it's a well-received performance - she's studied how to permeate the stage with her own existence, and more than Ieyasu-san or Mondonosho-san(2) she radiates a presence in her acting.
Natsumi: She is thinking and creating that throughout the scene. Since she's an upperclassman she's carefully studied that sort of thing, and this is another cause for Flower Troupe to be growing.
Takashou: I have performed in Nihonmono at the Grand Theater since I was a ken-1(3), and I've been able to see Chiharu-san's Nihonmono fight scenes in the practice room – it's very good study for me. (laughs)
Yabuki: No, no. (laughs)
Haruno: I would constantly see Saota-san (Takashou) helping the underclassmen with stretches in the rehearsal room and think, "she's really dependable". I always trusted her with those things and thought, "ah, there are upperclassmen who will help me stretch like this". There's a difference of only one school year between us, but during rehearsals I would think "it's amazing that she helps out so much".
Natsumi: Everyone is happy, right?
Haruno: And that breeds a relationship of mutual trust - the underclassmen continue to really count on Saota-san.
Takashou: Thank you very much.
Natsumi: The things Saori (Takashou) is doing are really important, and of course, this is more proof that Flower Troupe is the best troupe, I think, looking from the outside.
Otomo: Looking from the outside?
Natsumi: Because I'm the chairman.
Natsumi: Now then, Osa (Haruno), your turn.
Haruno: In this role of Hanai Mondonosho I protect Tadateru-sama, and as one of the chief retainers I risk my life, but I also act while strongly feeling how I would see Tadateru-sama in terms of my own existence. It's not simply a role of holding oneself back and staying by Tadateru-sama's side as his vassal, but certainly in parts of the performance I have no lines, and I feel as if it's made up of a game of catch with the hearts of each person.
Natsumi: When you're an underclassman, you try to do something different with your performance every day, don't you? But of course each way of doing it looks like this to that person, and you could say that it depends clearly on the basis that these members, these people are doing it, and creating a performance that has much more depth.
Yabuki: Because there's a balance.
Haruno: And also, it's not just the performers, but the energy of the audience is really in there too, I think. That's why only fellow performers can understand, "today I want to do it this way", and when you have to do well, you have to do well. So you could really call a performance a composite art.
Natsumi: It's not just something you can do alone. A lot of things are done spontaneously. And?
Haruno: And finally, because Mondonosho feels that he wants Tadateru-sama to be allowed to be Onikko-sama(4) until the end, he makes the decision to kill himself to keep Tadateru-sama alive, but his death really is for his own sake and for the sake of Onikko-sama. So he is able to die feeling good, without regret.
Yabuki: That's right.
Haruno: Every day as I do the performance, that is my own small objective.
Natsumi: One day, Mondonosho suddenly just comes over to Hidetada's place and privately commits hara-kiri.
Haruno: Yes. (laughs)
Natsumi: In the practice room, I was thinking crap~!(5), and when opening day came I was a little scared. Like, "that sort of thing is in this!?" Concentrating on the intensity of down-to-earth people who risk their lives, plus their hearts – you could say it's the holiness of risking even one's life.
Haruno: In that scene, there's a time when I suddenly feel the loneliness of Hidetada, who Hacchi-san (Natsumi) is playing.
Natsumi: It's a silent game of catch.
Haruno: Because he truly makes up his mind and goes to that place, my own feelings are very refreshed.
Natsumi: When I'm acting with Osa, it's a game of catch with our hearts, and I feel we're doing a "living performance".
Yabuki: For the living characters in that scene, it's nothing but feelings versus feelings. It's amazing.
— ☆ —
Natsumi: Now then, I'd like us to discuss Haruno-san's image and character.
Haruno: What, you've already said, haven't you? (laughs)
Otomo: My first involvement with Sumire-chan was in the production called Saran Ai, where she had gotten a proper role.
Haruno: I was a ken-3 then.
Otomo: One day, when I asked Sumire-chan "Are you all right? Nothing has been too hard?", she said, "No, I am fine. Mio-san (Otomo), are you all right?" (laughs)
All: (explosive laughter)
Haruno: (pratfall) I said something like that? That's like saying "what about you, are you all right?"(6) (laughs)
Yabuki: Rather like a precocious child, isn't it. (laughs)
Haruno: That was rude of me. (laughs)
Otomo: I was amazed. I think that was my first impression. Recently we were father and son in Immortal Thorns.
Haruno: I say "Father, that's mean!" don't I? (laughs) You're a cruel father. (laughs)
Otomo: I thought you had become independent. (laughs) Now I feel you have a tenderness, as if it could envelop everything.
Yabuki: Tomorrow, you ought to treat her to dinner.
Takashou: I've actually been a part of Moon Troupe. We had a one-year difference, even when we were yokasei and honkasei.
Haruno: My hatsubutai was in Moon Troupe.
Takashou: At that time I was one year ahead of you, but I don't remember our years in the Music School or the hatsubutai at all. (laughs) But you were well-behaved, definitely.
Haruno: No, no, no, no. (laughs)
Takashou: After that, we did talk for one reason or another, but when we got in the same troupe, I saw the person called Osa anew and thought "she's a very kind person". You respond to everyone, and you have a magnitude that can cover many areas, and I think your strength has a good effect. That's why, even though I'm a year above you, I respect you very much.
Haruno: You're embarrassing me. (laughs)
Natsumi: What about her image onstage?
Takashou: She's extremely pretty onstage!
Yabuki: It's amazing, isn't it, everyone? (laughs)
Yabuki: Before I came to Flower Troupe, I didn't know Osa at all. When it was decided that I would change to Flower Troupe, I watched Blue Swan, but you had a very strange role. (laugh)
Haruno: Bernard is not a strange role! (laughs) It was a comedy.
Yabuki: It still left a very strong impression on me. Like, "Ah, that's Haruno Sumire-san". (laughs)
All: (explosive laughter)
Yabuki: That was my first impression.
Haruno: That's awful~ (laughs). But from what you saw after that, your impression was overturned, wasn't it? (laughs)
Yabuki: What!? But when I saw the Saran Ai shinjin kouen, I thought you were a person with a really wonderful smile, like I had never seen such a smile. What is it about your smile, I can't say. (laugh)
Yabuki: It's bright and gentle. Then, before long we had become friends and could talk about many things.
Natsumi: And how about now that she's become a top star?
Yabuki: I think she's grown into a very humane person. In these two or three years, you've been given a lot, haven't you? And for those things you had to overcome, you were truly focused.
Otomo: You make a serious effort, don't you.
Natsumi: You're very diligent.
Yabuki: ...And, what was it? Ah, the story of Anne of Green Gables, wasn't it?(7) (laughs)
Haruno: I haven't done anything like Anne of Green Gables. (laughs)
Yabuki: Devotedly putting your effort into one matter, even though there are many times when I think "you don't really have to think about it so much". But you're not satisfied, thinking "I have to do it myself", and go all out. Like a child who only does one thing but does it with great enthusiasm - it's that kind of feeling. But lately you've gained a lot of experience - one could say you've developed a good eye for things, and the scope of what you see is going up to the level of outer space.
Haruno: Hey now~ (laughs) I can't really see that far. (laughs)
Natsumi: It's a boundless feeling, right?
Yabuki: This person doesn't say "that's enough". She seems to always be constantly trying to chase after one thing - that kind of effort is amazing.
Haruno: For me, you could say that if even one member of Flower Troupe was missing, I wouldn't be here - that's how great an influence people have been to me. That's why, if I wasn't together with the upperclassmen and all these people, I truly think that I would be nothing.
Yabuki: And we'll say "yes, that's right". (laughs)
Haruno: (laughs) Whatever you say of me, I have a tendency to get carried away and put too much importance on the feelings of others over myself. There are times when that's good and times when it's bad, but that's how important people's feelings are to me. So when everyone speaks their feelings like this, if I wasn't able to experience those things, I would be nothing - that's what everyone's feelings do to me.
Natsumi: Let me speak, too. Concerning Haruno Sumire-san - lately she's been a bit noisy. (laughs)
Natsumi: When I changed troupes to become kumichou of Flower Troupe, of course at first there were many difficulties that I couldn't get used to, but at that time, Osa also had a lot going on. When she substituted in during In the Amber-Hued Rain, people probably said "she must be grateful to get to stand in for the lead role". But that's not how it was. She had the training for her own role piling up on her, and that alone puts an enormous amount of fear in one's performance. Any person who's stood on a stage even once should know how true that is, I think.
Natsumi: There were certainly a lot of different feelings, but Osa always goes on whole-heartedly. That's why she never makes a bad face. When it turned out that we were doing Elisabeth next, Osa didn't say one word, but same as always, she naturally had an attitude of "I'll do what I have to", just like that. There are many times when I've seen and learned from Osa's "actions before words" attitude.
Haruno: Eh, is that true?
Natsumi: When I see Osa looking like that, I'm watching over her as kumichou to make sure she doesn't overwork herself. In that way, I feel that Osa has changed me into who I am now.
Natsumi: Now I can say honestly, I'm proud of Haruno Sumire.
Haruno: You praise me too much~! Bring me back down~ (laughs)
Natsumi: With this person, I'm really glad that she could get to the top. The first time I saw Osa was as the man who dies in Dawn Overture. (laughs)
Haruno: Tsusaka, right? The mamma's boy, Koichiro. (laughs)
Natsumi: At that time she made such a smile, you could say it's like melting in the light of the sun. This person's smile, not only can it really heal you, but her smile can make you cry. That was my first impression.
Yabuki: You've gone too high!
Haruno: Heeyy, come back down, come back down, Haruno Sumire~ (laughs)
Natsumi: After that, a friend of mine was very ill, and when I asked if there was something I could do, they said they wanted Haruno-san's autograph.
Natsumi: And so I first spoke with Osa. At that time, Osa said, "Is just my autograph enough? Is there something I can do?" I couldn't say anything except "That's fine", but, waahh... (mimes tears welling up) I thought, "Ah, I really will cry from this person's smile". But it's not just that fleetingness, a smile that can make you cry or heal you - Osa isn't just those things, she's very much like a rascal(8). (laughs)
Haruno: I am a rascal. (laughs)
Natsumi: Even in Elisabeth, that came out very beautifully. ...I've talked a lot about her image, but that's the way it is. (laughs)
Haruno: Thank you very much. I truly am surprised. (laughs)
Natsumi: And now, let's say "this is what I hate about Haruno-san..."
Haruno: That would liven things up. (laughs)
Natsumi: And after that joke, I'd like to hear Osa's troubles as an otokoyaku.
Haruno: Ehh? What could that be? Of course I value being broad-minded and such as an otokoyaku. You know, it's good to have something like broadness. But I'm not sure about myself (if I have that).
Natsumi: But certainly there's a limit to how much you can know and do, isn't there? Don't you think "I want to be more like this" and keep growing?
Natsumi: And for Osa right now, that point is infinity. Here I've gotten a bit proud again.
Natsumi: Now then, finally, please say things you'd like to tell our friend Haruno Sumire as brothers(9).
Otomo: I think I want you to decide clearly for yourself, choose for yourself, and keep on walking.
Yabuki: I want Haruno Sumire to be like Haruno Sumire, always. That's all.
Haruno: Thank you very much.
Takashou: I want you to keep shining forever and ever.
Haruno: I will shine in the same way that Saota-san can nonchalantly eat food at her dressing table. (laughs)
Takashou: I'm always eating something in the dressing room, aren't I? And somehow Osa at the dressing table next to me notices, and I turn to face her, absentmindedly eating. (laughs)
Haruno: Saota-san is angled exactly toward me. (laughs)
Natsumi: And I want for Osa to be carefree and stay right there. If something happens, I will definitely support you. With Osa at the top, everyone in Flower Troupe will join forces and keep getting bigger. I've always thought Flower Troupe should be like that, so Osa should also not work too hard, stay the same Osa as now, and be at ease. If there's something you need, ah, please call me. I will send you anything. (laughs)
Haruno: Hacchi-san, you're the best!! (laughs) You make me very much at ease.
Natsumi: But if Osa can keep creating that kind of atmosphere, I will be so happy I could cry. Everyone can go on trying their best inside of it. Everyone, thank you very much for today.
All: Thank you very much.
(1) A Flute Named Wind
(2) Here they begin to talk about each other's characters within the play. They continually refer to Osa's character using only the first two kanji, which would be either "Mondo" or "Mondono", but I'm writing out the full name.
(3) kenkyuuka 1
(4) Having not seen A Flute Named Wind, I'm not entirely sure on this, but from reading the summary and such it seems that another name for Tom's character Tedateru-sama is Onikko-sama - the "devil child". I can't figure out any other explanation.
(5) Kuso~! can be interpreted many ways, but I picked the word I thought least likely to offend people's ears. ;-)
(6) Omae koso daijoubu ka? tte kanji
(7) According to psychoteffy's analysis, Chiharu-san is comparing Osa to Anne, "a child who only does one thing but does it with great enthusiasm"
(8) Natsumi: "...Suggoku yarou-ppoi yo ne." Haruno: "Yarou desu mon."
(9) Hacchi-san does indeed say oniichan-tachi to shite