A Japanese Girl in Spain: Interview with Kamieda Emika (former NMB48) (Part 1)

You might already know of Kamieda Emika if you followed the 48Groups, even from afar. If you don’t, Kamieda Emika is a former member of famous Osaka-based idol group NMB48. She now lives in Barcelona, Spain, and happily accepted to meet us over her latest trip to Japan. Here is the first part of this exclusive interview!

Hello Emika, thanks for having us for this interview.

Thank you!

First of all, can you introduce yourself for our readers?
最初はBonjour Idolの読者のための自己紹介お願い致します。

Of course! My name is Kamieda Emika and I was a member of the idol group called NMB48 for 6 years. After I left the group, I moved out to Spain. I currently work in the entertainment world in both Spain and Japan.

Can you talk a bit about your passions as a child? Did you have any interest in the entertainment business while younger?

When I was 5 years old, I watched the anime Magical DoReMi (Ojamajo Doremi) and one of the heroines -the purple member- was an idol. It’s from this moment that I started being interested in idols.

So was this anime the very first reason for your interest in idols?

During that same period, idol group Morning Musume was really famous and one of my friends liked them a lot. While watching them with her, I gradually became a fan too, and from there, I told myself “I also want to be an idol!”.

Who was your favorite member?

I was fan of Kago-chan! (Kago Ai)

Do you still like idols as of today?

I don’t know much about idols anymore but since I was one myself before, I’m still a little interested. The 48 Groups, as well as Korean groups, are rather popular so I’m curious.

How did you come to the idea to become an idol yourself? And why?

I participated in the audition for NMB48! When I was a kid, I admired and loved Japanese idols a lot, and I wanted to be an actress as well. So I thought that becoming an idol would be the first step towards that goal.

Can you tell us about the audition process in order to get into AKB48 and NMB48?

First of all there are some documents to fill, then a dancing and singing exam, followed by a global audition… It’s from that moment that we become kenkyuusei (trainees). I was actually more excited than nervous at that moment. It was so much fun!

You were in the group for 5 years and a half. On which particular aspects did this experience have a impact on your life?

I became an idol at 17 years old and my life experience was completely different compared to the one of a non-celebrity. In Japan, at 17 years old, we go on school trips and have fun with our friends during and after school. I couldn’t experience such precious moments but on the other hand, I got to sing and dance in front of tons of people. I grew up with that kind of experience and they made me what I am today.

What are your most beautiful memories as well as the most painful ones?

Hmm… There are a lot of good memories but if I had to choose only one, it would be the moment I realized that I could convey energy to people without necessarily meeting them directly. Beyond the fans that I could meet during handshake events, many people told me that they were sick or that they had all kind of problems, and the simple fact that they wanted to do their best because they saw me smiling on stage made me ecstatic. And of course, to meet my fans is a bliss!

There were a lot of sad and difficult events too, but for example at the start of my team (Team BII), we didn’t manage to sell out our concert tickets. However, the other teams of the group all had sold out shows. We were the youngest team and the lesser-known, but as the captain I felt sorrowful… From this moment, we all doubled our efforts and at the end, we sold all our tickets! Then I won a spot at the janken (rock paper scissors) tournament… It was like this moment in time came out from a book or an anime. A ton of different feelings, happy, sad and funny ones were mixed together and came up like waves.

You were the team captain right as it was created. How did you feel about it?

At the very beginning of the audition to get into the group, I was asked if I wanted to have a specific role as a member, and I said yes. Since I was the youngest one, I wanted to be someone who could gather everyone. So, when this announcement was made, I instantly told myself “I have to do my best”! I wasn’t nervous at all.

You were famous for this role and very respected by your comrades.
What were your responsibilites as a team captain?


Really?! (laughs) I carried a huge responsibility. We are the first to get scolded at any slip-up or mistake. I don’t know if they are reponsibilities but I had to look out for the members, for the team, for the fans… Still today, people thank me for that and told me that I was respected for it, so I’m glad I did my best at that time.

How did you manage to adapt to this important role within the group?

Eh… that’s a good question! (Laughs) I’m not sure what to say but I think when telling myself things like “Let’s do our best!” or “I have to do something!”, I had to do the best I could every day.
え、なんでだろう(笑) 分からないけど、多分「頑張ろう!」「どうにかしなきゃ!」「私が頑張らないと」っていう気持ちがあったから頑張れたんだなと思います。

You also had a TV show (Tanieda English) where English lessons were provided. Can you tell us about the content of this show, that lasted for about 15 episodes?

During this period, I was studying English and it was a TV show where we interacted with a teacher in English. But since I was with another member that didn’t speak English at all, it was more like a variety show (Japanese entertainment show). A lot of foreigners used to watch it.

Do you still keep in touch with the members of the group?

Not with everybody, but when I come back to Japan, if we can find a moment to see each other, I often ask them to go eat together or grab a coffee. The members I spend the most time with are naturally the ones from the same generation as me.

Official Fanclub

I just launched my official fanclub!
By subscribing, you can access livestreams, events and goods sales. There is also a chatroom where we can talk together!
It all goes through an app called “fanicon” and you can subscribe from abroad, so don’t hesitate to join us! If a lot of foreign fans subscribe, I might get to hold events abroad!! I am waiting for you!

Kamieda Emika

Subscribe here!

Photos by Brice and Nathan
Interview transcript by Angélique, translated to French and English by Nathan and Brice

Thanks to BONDI Cafe Yoyogi Beach Park management for letting us do this interview in their cafe!

Kamieda Emika – Twitter Kamieda Emika – Instagram Kamieda Emika – Official Fanclub Kamieda Emika – Youtube

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