© Horipro International / Touko Nakamura

Interview With Touko Nakamura, Japan’s Cutest Anime Song DJ [Video]

Touko Nakamura Is Performing This Weekend at Re:animation 12, Japan's Largest Outdoor Anime Song, Techno and House Music Festival

We had the pleasure of interviewing Touko Nakamura, anime song DJ and aspiring singer, now registered in famous talent agency Horipro's newly established subsidiary Horipro International, as she prepares for her upcoming performance at Re:animation 12, Japan's premiere outdoor rave for anime song and game song lovers as well as techno and house music fans.

Profile

"Hi, I’m Touko Nakamura and I’m 22 years old. I love anime and anisongs! I was a finalist in the Singer Actress Audition at the 39th Horipro Talent Scout Caravan. As 'the cutest anisong DJ in Japan,' I’ve attended many kinds of events such as Anime Japan and Re:animation. I also performed on the theater stage for the first time in August, 2017 and I’m looking forward to broadening my range of activities even further."


Video Message to grape Japan readers

Japanese and English subtitles are available in the YouTube video settings


Interview with Touko Nakamura aka DJ Touko

grape Japan (gJ): How did you become a DJ?

Touko Nakamura (TN): I owe it to my manager! I had always been a huge anime fan. I went through a phase as a Vocaloid otaku and I loved Nico Nico Douga. In other words, I was a typical anime otaku. The problem was I had no opportunity to use any of that knowledge. But then, my manager told me about an anisong DJ event called Anison Disco, and I wanted to know more. That’s how I ended up setting foot into a night club for the first time in my life. When I got there, they were playing everything from classic anime to the latest season, all nonstop, which was such a surprise for me. I was so interested that I decided then and there that I wanted to try it for myself!

gJ: Did you have any experience deejaying before that?

TN: No, none whatsoever! As I said, I’d never even set foot in a nightclub before, let alone touch any DJ equipment. I had a friend who was an anisong DJ but he lived in the countryside, so I couldn't ask him to teach me. Everything I know about deejaying I learned by myself.

gJ: Why did you decide to specifically become an anisong DJ?

TN: Because I like anisongs the most! When I started out as a DJ, the only thing I had confidence in when it came to music was anisongs, so I wasn’t interested in playing other genres. Now that I’ve gained some experience as a DJ, I’ve started listening to other genres. These days, I’ve been thinking I’d like to try deejaying Japanese rock and K-pop too.

gJ: Which anime do you like? (I hear you’re a fan of Zettai Karen Children)

TN: Zettai Karen Children! I’m happy that you’ve done some research on me! Yes, Zettai Karen Children was on Nichi Asa (a TV time slot for anime starting early Sunday mornings), so I woke up early and was glued to the screen every week! Some of the other anime I like are the Code Geass series, Macross Frontier, Fate/Zero and Haikyu!! I liked Fate/Zero so much that I ended up buying the BD box set even though it was expensive for me since I was still in high school at the time!

gJ: Back then, did you also enjoy listening to anisongs in addition to watching anime?

TN: I loved anisongs! But I enjoyed singing them more than just listening to them. I’d listen to a whole bunch and then sing them in the karaoke box! It’s through that experience that I began dreaming about becoming an anisong singer!

gJ: When you deejay, I hear you like to play songs enjoyed by wotagei dancers and mostly male anime fans. Do you personally like those songs?

TN: Yes, I love them! It’s true that many of my fans are male, but I certainly don’t play songs that male anime fans enjoy only out of fan service!! (lol) When I deejay, I choose songs which I truly like, and my fans happen to enjoy most of them, so I’m really happy about that! Maybe there’s something of the tomboy in me… (lol)

gJ: Do you yourself dance wotagei?

TN: I’m not too confident in my motor skills, so I’ve never tried. Otagei dancers have developed a strong core, so they look like athletes to me!

gJ: What do you aim for when you DJ?

TN: Making sure that I genuinely enjoy deejaying! Of course, the DJ needs to have a minimum of skills like knowing how to transition between songs, but whenever I go to anikura [anisong DJ events], it’s the feelings the DJ puts into her playing which largely determine how much fun I end up having at that event. If I see a DJ huddled up in the booth with a frown on her face as she focuses on her transitions, it doesn’t matter if she’s playing all her favorite songs. She just looks like she’s excited about playing for herself. Embarrassing, don’t you think? I think it’s the DJs who enjoy themselves and show their enthusiasm who can really get the crowd excited and give them a good time. As for myself, I know I haven’t reached the point where I can do that perfectly yet but I’m working on it every day.

gJ: Apart from Anison Disco, you’ve played at regional events like Kanazawa Anisong Festival and many other venues big and small. Do you consider a venue’s size when you deejay? And if so, how?

TN: Rather than the size of the venue, I consider the target audience. Is the event geared towards male or female anime fans, or seiyuu (voice actor) fans, for example. I do as much research as possible and then begin making my set list based on that. Size does matter, though. The larger the venue, the more likely it is that I’ll play more anthems. But even then, you know I’ll mix in a few “niche” song which I like. If the crowd really goes for one of those, I’m ten times happier than usual!

gJ: You’ll be playing at Re:animation 12 this weekend. How do you feel about it?

TN: I was given the chance to play at Re:animation 11 in ageHa on November 22, 2017. Before then, it had been a big dream of mine to play at a large event like that, so it’s truly an honor to be able to play twice in a row. Re:animation 12 will be going on for two days, July 14th and 15th, and I’ve been given the opening slot on July 14th at the main stage, which is an important time. As the first DJ up to bat, I’ll do my best to create a great mood for the rest of the day! If you’re going to attend this wekeend, please come to the River Side Stage in the main stage area and let’s have fun together!

gJ: Can you tell us what songs you’re going to play?

TN: I haven’t decided on anything yet! OK, I’m kidding. But with all the songs I want to play, I wonder if they’ll all fit within the 30 minutes I have (lol). I don’t want to disappoint anyone if I’m unable to play all of them, so I’m sorry but I can’t tell you just yet. But one thing I can say is you’ll definitely hear “Tottoko Hamutaro” at least once during the day (lol).

gJ: If you become an anisong singer, will you continue deejaying as well?

TN: Certainly! For me, deejaying is the point of origin of all my activities. I’d like to continue deejaying in the future if I have the chance to do so.

gJ: Are you engaged in any other activities apart from deejaying and singing?

TN: I perform on stage and on radio. As for radio, I have a regular spot as a member of the 10th generation Yan Yan Girls on the show “Oretachi Gochamaze! Atsumare Yan Yan” every Saturday morning at 1:50 AM on MBS Radio which is broadcast in the Kansai area. I hope to become an entertainer with a broad range of activities not limited to deejaying and singing.

gJ: Have you ever traveled abroad? Have you attended anime conventions or anisong DJ events outside of Japan? If not, are you interesting in doing so?

TN: To tell the truth, I’ve never traveled outside of Japan yet! I’m very interested in anime conventions and anisong DJ events outside of Japan. I often see videos from foreign events on Twitter. I know how exciting they can be, so if I have the chance, I’d really like to deejay at such an event.


Information on Touko Nakamura

Regular radio appearances

  • Radio Nikkei, “Anime & Seiyu Music Night” Every 4th Wednesday 19:00~
  • MBS Radio, “Oretachi Gochamaze! Atsumare Yan Yan” Saturdays 1:50~

Social Media


Re:animation 12

Date and Time:

  • Start: 10:30- July 14(Sat)
  • End: -18:00 July 15(Sun)

Venue

Uenohara-shi Katsuragawa River Park Special Site ,Yamanashi Prefecture (Google Maps)

Access: 5 mins. on foot from Uenohara Station (JR Chuo Honsen Line), about an hour by train from Tokyo

Performer Lineup

In addition to popular anisong artists like fhana, Asaka, ORESAMA, Aira Yuhki, Yuiko Ohara and YURiKA, there will be live acts like seiyuu / artist hibiku (Hibiku Yamamura), anisong composers and track makers like Taku Inoue, higedriver, DJ'TEKINA//SOMETHING and baker, and anime director Seiji Mizushima, not to mention a who's-who of popular DJs in the anisong scene such as Goto Osama, DJ Caesar, the crew of Anisong Disco, Touko Nakamura, Tank and Hikoku, for a total of over 83 artists!


Stay tuned for our report on Re:animation 12 and DJ Touko's set, later this month!


By - Ben K.

Source:
© Horipro International / © Re:animation / © Skiyaki Inc. / @touko_nakamura / @touko_nakamura
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