Kamiya Saki will withdrawal from GANG PARADE on May 22nd 2020. A member of first era of BiS, founding WACK's first group Planime, and even after two name changes to POP and GANG PARADE she kept pulling the group and WACK. During her activities she went to second era BiS in a rental trade, while having unexpected experiences, completely devoting herself to exhaustion she accomplished everything in entertainment.
The announcement of withdrawal was made on January 3rd 2020. Essentially the plan was to withdrawal on the Nakano Sunplaza live of the national “MY FIRST HALL TOUR”, that was supposed to start on April. However due to the large contagion of new corona virus and demand for quarantine, the tour was inevitably postponed. After several discussions, it was decided that Kamiya would withdrawal as planed on schedule, for the sake of her own future and the two groups born of GANPARE's division, “GO TO THE BEDS” and “PARADISES”.
Accepting that situation the crowdfunding project “We want to hold GANG PARADE Kamiya Saki's withdrawal live that we couldn't hold”*. If the project successfully reaches the goal of twenty million yen, the withdrawal live will be held on the same venue, Nakano Sunplaza. So, will the live happen? Not only about the project, we heard from Kamiya Saki her feelings on the current situation of the imminent withdrawal.
Data & Text: Nishizawa Hiroo
Photo: Sotobayashi Kenta
I'm really thankful they thought and prepared the crowdfunding that would give me the possibility to meet everyone
- The crowdfunding to hold Kamiya-san withdraw live, it started last night (May 10th 20h). After only one evening it reached about 50% of the goal. First please tell us about the money and it's repercussion.
Kamiya Saki (under, Kamiya): I received messages from a lot of people saying “I donated to the crowdfunding”. It started surpassing over 6 million yen, I was surprised by this speed. There was the plan you could donate and receive a T-shirt and a live ticket, but even so there were a lot of people donating other than that, that were people donating without knowing if they will be able to go to the live, I am really thankful.
- The goal of twenty million yen is certainly a big one. Because it's an All-or-Nothing project, if it doesn't reach the goal, the project will be suspended and the money wont be charged. It feels like a great trial, how are you dealing with it?
Kamiya: To begin with I will “withdrawal” instead of “graduate”. I have a great feeling of gratitude for having this opportunity thought and prepared, even though I will be leaving halfway through the group I created myself. Not knowing if I could meet fans for a last time, I'm really thankful they thought and prepared the crowdfunding that would give me the possibility to meet everyone. Thinking realistic, to make real all the setups and productions of “MY FIRST HALL TOUR”, this amount of money might be a high mark but, I believe maybe it can be realistic.
- With the reason that postponing the withdrawal wouldn't be good to either Kamiya-san or the group, it was decided to maintain it on May 22nd as planed. How do you feel about this?
Kamiya: Personally, I didn't like to continue not knowing when it could be done. Because a lot of people support me it's difficult to say it but, I thought it would be better to just stop at once at put and end to it, instead of continue to extend this doubt of doing the live of not. Even so, people who couldn't meet a last time during the tour were worried, a saw a lot of people on SNS being disappointed, regarding that I am really sorry.
The first era of BiS also makes me feel envious of my past self
- This will be Kamiya-san's withdrawal interview. It'll be in a rush but I want to look back to the path you walked so far. First, you started as a new member on the first era of BiS. When you joined BiS, did you imagined you'd come to 2020 with so many changes?
Kamiya: Well, I didn't imagine it at all. Back then it was like it's fine as long as I have fun, I didn't imagine it at all, I don't think I thought about anything really.
- It was just the period of job hunting, did you regret choosing the entertainment path?
Kamiya: I don't regret at all. I really think it was a good decision. I'm reading all the comments at the crowdfunding, someone from Glad said “my store closed but I'm donating”, some said “I'm not really ok with it, but the fans were desperate so I donated”. Suddenly it was not just myself, people were moving influenced by fans, a lot of people were taking actions and I felt like they were building me. That included, I'm glad I did this job, my life wasn't wrong. Thanks to everyone I the most out of it.
- The first era BiS, Kamiya-san was troubled about popularity. As an action toward that you ran a 100km marathon and started a series of cosplay, doing several activities voluntarily. I believe it was a period of struggle but, looking back at it now, how do you feel about yourself back then?
Kamiya: I feel envious of my past self. I enjoyed everything, earnestly doing things I loved without restrictions (laughs). I don't think I had this conscious back then but, looking back at it now I believe I had something that could only exist then, I was a stupid who didn't think of anything (laughs).
- Crowd diving too, it was a classic of Kamiya-san.
Kamiya: That time, I didn't have anything but that, I also didn't do any effort to find something else. I left everything to others, I didn't had my own opinions. As if other's opinions were my own. If someone thought that was good, endorsing that is my style!. I used to think that was ok. To BiS back then, I think this stance had a good balance but, there were things I could've done more. I was someone who did the bare minimum.
The POP era in which the strange inferiority complex became the strongest weapon
- At BiS disbandment live on July 2014 at Yokohama Arena, it was announced you would start a new group called Planime with Mizuta Mari-san in WACK, the office Watanabe Junnosuke-san had started. How did you feel back then?
Kamiya: I was the only one without a caretaker but, there was also a big part of me that couldn't do anything alone, I also didn't have the courage to jump into something completely new. I thought a sense of security with Watanabe-san. Even so, I didn't think about it that much……. I believe I had the strong feeling of wanting to start something new. Because I felt it would be nice to be in BiS since the start, I wanted to experience of starting a group from scratch. Watanabe-san was the one who made that a reality.
- Looking back at Planime era, how was it?
Kamiya: It felt like swimming in a deep sea. But it was also exciting. Even now I have the notes of candidates to the group name. At the beginning we had someone to choreograph. There was the joy of arranging these thing myself, there was a lot of joy on deciding this and that with Mari-chan. However, even though Watanabe-san made the members the core of it, our way of thinking was naive, it turned out we went into a deep sea…….
- GANPARE's lead song “Plastic 2 Mercy” was born on Planime era. It was the song that started everything.
Kamiya: It's WACK's first song. When I heard “Plastic 2 Mercy” I was really excited. Watanabe-san thought a lot about it, making the interlude long so we could dance. Because it was a sound different from BiS, it took a while until fans accepted it but, I am happy it became a song that makes everyone excited. There's also the “still not enough” line about BiS ending, in reality I wrote about it with different words but, Watanabe-san fixed it interpreting my words. “Plastic 2 Mercy” is the song that makes me feel the connection with BiS the most. It really is a special song.
- After that on the MV of “UNIT” single, you two climbed a mountain with arms and legs tied together. It was a period that had reminiscent of BiS era.
Kamiya: “UNIT” was so hard (laughs).
- After that Mari-san left, and with new members you started POP.
Kamiya: That time BiSH was also starting. It was a period that my BiS complex became even bigger. At first I couldn't even look at the members properly, I'm really sorry about that. Even so, Yua (Yumeno Yua) said “I want to join the group Saki-chan is in”, and Yama-chan (Yamamachi Miki) who was a fan of mine from before, I'm really thankful they trusted me despite everything and continued with me. No matter how I think about it, it wasn't strange to be frustrated, it was a period that this strange inferiority complex became the strongest weapon. A lot of things were regrettable, I struggled but, the rebellious spirit from back then was necessary to com so far, if it wasn't for that period there wouldn't be GANPARE qualities of today. Every period is important but, I believe that time was something I could only experience with POP.
- POP era was one that had the proposition that Kamiya Saki had to change. More than anything, Kamiya-san realized that yourself, and so there were a lot of trials for it.
Kamiya: That time I showed my foolish, pitiful side but, even so I had chances, I'm thankful they trusted I could change. If that period didn't happen, I think I would've gone down a bad road as a person.
- Kamiya-san had activities suspended and started to work as the manager. Back then you were told brains are like muscle, right?
Kamiya: I was told that. Back then it was really like that. Looking at it now, I'm almost envious (laughs). They trusted me. Even if it was like “No no no, there's more you can see!”, they trusted me somehow. Makes me laughs (laughs).
- After the announcement of hiatus at the first oneman live UNIT, Watanabe-san and live staff Sato-san and other staffs had a quarrel on the absence of members about POP future. I remember it clearly even now. Everyone was serious about POP, they all wanted to do something.
Kamiya: I heard about that from staff later, even if it wasn't about them, they thought and discussed as if it was about themselves, even now it makes me really happy. I don't think this gratitude will even go away.
GANG PARADE, the miracle of turning things that aren't positive in miracles
- June 2016, POP changed to GANG PARADE. At first the members didn't change from POP era, and until you shaved your hair there wasn't any big changes to Kamiya-san, is this correct?
Kamiya: If we're talking about changes, it was around the training camp of 2017, around “FOUL”. Also, around when Coco, Doku and Yuyu joined.
- During GANPARE era, the second version of BiS started. Perhaps this was also a big influence?
Kamiya: With BiS starting over, I think I felt even more that I couldn't lose. When I heard from Watanabe-san about BiS, I thought “Don't mess with me” and punched him in the shoulder, this story is well known but (laughs), it was decided that Maika would join, then Coco, Doku and Yuyu too, I remember being really excited. Until then there were a lot of things I couldn't see ahead because of the urgency, but since experiencing the 3 member era, I had this weird excitement that we could turn things around if I treasured every single day. @JAM was like that, it felt like we would perform a miracle. Coming out of a time we couldn't even imagine, perhaps we can do something, such period started after the name change.
- Maika-san, seen as the one light, and the 3 former SiS (BiS official rival that disbanded after their first live) joined. With raging unforeseen changes drawing near, the group changed at once.
Kamiya: I really think it was a miracle. When we became 3 back then, Maika joining, Coco, Doku and Yuyu failing BiS, joining SiS and disbanding, all of it is a miracle. Like the miracle of turning things that aren't positive in miracles. I think I said this back then too but, it felt like the last chance GANPARE had to change.
- Among that, it was announced Kamiya-san would go to BiS in a rental trade. With something still left in your heart you could be a BiS member once again. How was the 2nd era of BiS to Kamiya-san?
Kamiya: It was really special. As if I was awaken, how I faced the lives, the confidence in myself, I discovered my live style. It's a treasure for life. Even in such a short time, it was a time I won't ever forget. During second era BiS, at “SET YOU FREE”, or making music with people from bands, I learned the intensity of lives, how serious so many people deal with music. It was an intensity different from POP or Planime. I think I definitely wont't forget the feeling of being on stage again as BiS at “Gyuno FES”. It was the most fun, I remembered I forgot that feeling.
- I remember that live. All of Shinkiba Cost was excited.
Kamiya: Since Planime started, I heard many times from fans “Saki-chan is not the same one I used to like”. I really thought about what that was about. But returning to BiS and performing lives, I remembered something impulsive from the early days. I felt I had to take back to GANPARE this feeling of enjoying everything as if it was the first time.
- At the free event before the BiS oneman at Kokugikan on March 2th 2018, you made a speech saying you did everything you left undone in BiS. You really looked like you completed everything.
Kamiya: That time I had nothing but the feeling of achievement. March 3rd was when I understood there was achievement other than CD sales and performing in big venues. It really felt like I could die. I performed feeling like it would be ok if I my mental state turned out to be unable to be on stage again. I had to do this much, I performed feeling I couldn't leave anything behind.
Now, it feels like I'll become an astronaut
- After that, since returning to GANPARE, I believe one of the challenges was how to bring to the group everything you got from BiS.
Kamiya: In the period I wasn't there, I looked from outside how big the GANPARE members built was and really felt that. It was also really clear how GANPARE itself improved, it was a period I slowly searched about if what I would do was going to be good to the members. At the beginning, for good or worse I had a strong sense that GANPARE = myself, I was reckless. From that perspective, I somewhat could see from an objective point of view. Since returning it felt I was out.
- With new era members Tsukino-san and Haruna-san joining, I believe you were able to watch the group from an outside perspective.
Kamiya: Other members said “The GANPARE we did so far is also good but, we have to change to fit the current members”. Everyone saying their opinions to make the group better, it was something I definitely couldn't do with just my strength. This well functioning, I really felt I couldn't break it.
- On 2019, Naruha was promoted from Wagg. It was a period WACK itself had a lot of young members. Back then during the interviews I would see Kamiya-san near the group as if you were withering, it made me worry.
Kamiya: It was around that time. When I started to think if being there was the right thing. I don't want this to be misunderstood but it has nothing to do with Naruha joining, now it feels like there was a GANPARE manual like “GANG PARADE is like this”. That's why leaving the good aspects, with 10 people of different ages and careers, I thought it would be better to make it a mess like a rubik cube and put it together again. With Naruha joining, it was a period that this possibility was spread.
- When was it that Kamiya-san decided to withdrawal?
Kamiya: Leaving or not leaving, I had thought about it before. But like a one time breakdown, I had a feeling it wasn't something transient, it was like if I walk up that road I would have the same feelings as that person so I prayed a lot (laughs). When the Zepp oneman with 9 members ended it was really bright, I had a great feeling of achievement that we could do it, it also felt like I could add to the group the things I felt during the rental trade but, my feelings were underwater again. After the training camp audition, seeing sparkling girls saying they wanted to join WACK, the sensation that my feelings inside were changing unnecessarily became bigger and bigger. As WACK become bigger, I started to feel more and more strongly that I was being too spoiled by WACK. There was that, as if it goes on like that I will stop, I couldn't imagine a future my life would be better. I had a strong feeling that perhaps I wouldn't be able to grow anymore, so I decided on the withdrawal.
- What do you think of the future after leaving GANG PARADE?
Kamiya: After all the experiences I had so far, I realized I definitely can't live alone. I definitely don't want to cut ties with Watanabe-san, I want to work together in the future after growing. Right now I don't have any plan that if I do it'll be a success. But I am excited. Honestly speaking, it might not be profitable, I think it's something that won't be easy. But I am happy I found something that wont go easily. Now it feels I'll become an astronaut.
- You are going to challenge yourself in great scale, right?
Kamiya: To me it really is like that. Honestly, when I said I would leave, I thought I could work with Watanabe-san at WACK just like that. But I was told “I don't wanna work with someone who will abandon their own group midway”, when I thought about it again I hesitated once. For a second I was scared of myself suddenly having nothing. When I considered it again I thought “I am being too spoiled, am I not?”. I thought that even if I left Watanabe-san would somehow make it work. But I properly recognized myself that was wrong. That's why I will grow with my own power, and work hard to be able to work together again.
- In order to work together again, you are going to distance yourself from WACK and grow.
Kamiya: Yes. I don't want it to be misunderstood so I want to say it properly, I want to work with WACK and Watanabe-san. But it's wrong to explain that it's because I was in WACK until now and working together is natural.
It was the first time I had the solid will of “There's no other way but make it the best”
- What do you want to tell the members that were with you all this time?
Kamiya: I think the crowdfunding wouldn't happen if it wasn't for member's intentions. Because it's complicated, isn't it? Even though they'll divide in 2 groups and start new activities, someone who left will comeback for one day and make them perform. Even so they all said on SNS “let's do it”, I'm really thankful. Splitting in 2 groups, I could see each one's qualities even more, there were a lot of things I realized after I decided to leave. For example, there are several roles only Dokuson can do, everyone has things like that. I think that's really amazing. I felt empathy for several ways of thinking, received a lot of stimulus. Opinions that are considerate of others, composed opinions, by knowing a lot of views, I was also able to grow. During the last moments there were times members would collide with each other but, it was like Wow! There's also this perspective!. It really made me realize a lot of things. That's why I'm really thankful. Yua and Yama-chan are the ones I worked the longest with. What should I say. It's a figure of speech but, they are my 2nd time comrades in life. Honestly, ever since BiS I couldn't use the word comrades but, GANG PARADE are comrades to me.
- I think if there was no respect and love for Kamiya-san, this crowdfunding wouldn't have happened. I believe the members feel the same.
Kamiya: I'm thankful. Having the crowdfund succeed is the first step but, even if it doesn't, the members, and so many people supporting me, they are really pushing my back. By challenging the next thing, no matter how long it takes I strongly felt I can't fail. I believe I received the strength to live. It would be the best if this circumstances didn't happen but, I'm really thankful that I can have this experience even in this situation.
- What do you want to say to the fans that supported you until now?
Kamiya: What I want to convey the most is “Thank you for loving me”. Thank you for finding me among so many idols and people. I thought they wouldn't accept me after the trade, even though a lot of things happened people continued supporting me, even if their oshi is someone else people would say “there's only today because you were here”, or “WACK only exists because of Saki-san”, even if they are recent fans, there are fans that aren't Saki oshi but will talk to me regardless, I was happy about everything, it was my power to live. I think I could live until now because of everyone. I think it's a really wonderful relationship. I also received power from everyone, and could forward this power through performances. I really feel like “thank you for loving me”. In a crowdfund comment there was “I want you to come to my funeral” but, I'll definitely go! (laughs).
- I won't say it was a family but, they were people close to that, right.
Kamiya: Obviously, I'm really happy for such straight feelings, or people who started to like me recently. At special events when someone said “I worked hard looking forward meeting you”, it made me feel my work, the meaning of life, there's nothing but gratitude. That's why I'll go to everyone's funeral (laughs)!
- If the crowdfunding succeeds and you can perform a last live as GANG PARADE, how do you want it to be?
Kamiya: Needless to say, there's no other way but make it the best. That's all. It was the first time I had the solid will of “There's no other way but make it the best”. When I think it'll be after the corona pandemic, I think there'll be a blank. That's exactly why I want to surprise members, staffs and everyone that comes. Like “Eh!” I wan't to perform it like “It's better than back then!” is obvious. I want to show a live that will make them thing “Why did she leave?”.
*1: by the time of this translation the crowdfunding project already ended and successfully reached the goal.
Translation by renai