ASIA NEWS NETWORK
WE KNOW ASIA BETTER
Publication Date : 08-08-2012
After 10 years in show business, Japanese singer Shoko Nakagawa still communicates with fans through her blog, instead of delegating the task to an assistant.
Her blog, Shokotan Blog (Shokotan is her nickname), remains a source of pride and support to her. Most importantly, she says she is unlikely to forget how it was her lifeline back when, as a teenager, she was struggling in her nascent showbusiness career.
In an interview with Life!, the 27-year-old says in Japanese via a translator: "Back then, I had very dark thoughts and was very sad, but the Internet and the blog changed my life a lot. I still continue my interest today.
"It's all thanks to my blog that people got to know me. It led to me going on TV and many other job opportunities."
Set up in 2004, the blog received one billion hits in four years and translated into offline success for her.
The petite, sweet-looking artist is now recognised and loved by fans for singing the theme songs of various anime series such as Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, as a voice actress, and advocate of cosplay among other things.
She was in Singapore last Saturday (August 4) for her debut concert in Singapore, which was held at the Kallang Theatre.
Her visit here was part of her first Asia tour, including stops in Taipei, Hong Kong and Shanghai, celebrating her 10th year in the industry. Her journey has humbled her more than made her head swell.
She says: "I'm astonished that it's my 10th year. Back then, I had no goals or dreams and I kept crying a lot. Now I'm completely different and I'm so happy to have an Asian tour to places I love such as Hong Kong."
Although Nakagawa's schedule is full, she still attends to her blog herself, keying in at least 20 entries a day.
"I used to write 30 to 50 entries a day, but I can't right now. I want some proof of my existence. I post different things such as my drawings, or pictures of me in cosplay so that I'll never get sick of it."
Her entries include quirky pictures accompanied with text from Nakagawa, who is quite different from cookie-cutter pop princesses. While in Singapore, she snapped a picture of herself pretending to drink from the water-spouting mini Merlion at One Fullerton.
Looking at the Japanese idol, who is dressed in a floral dress paired with a simple headband, it is hard to imagine that she had "no friends", which was a reason why she set up her blog.
Appearing to be as refreshingly honest in this interview as she is on her blog, she says: "I had no friends, so I had a lot of creative, imaginative thoughts that I kept inside my mind. So I threw all my emotions into the blog, like my love of anime, cosplay and manga."
Underneath her cutie-pie good looks, she could well be an otaku or geeky fanboy. She says her greatest accomplishment so far is "to sing anime songs because they encouraged me when I was younger". Her favourite is "Sorairo Days" (2007), from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, an anime series about life on Earth in the future, which she sings in Japanese and Mandarin in her greatest hits album, "Shoko Best".
A greatest-hits compilation sounds impressive, but to her, it means only that she is done with the first phase of her career - she is hardly a veteran, says Nakagawa with a big laugh.
Singing in Mandarin is, understandably, a huge challenge for her: "I have to listen to the song for hours to be able to sing it without looking at the lyrics. It's so difficult."
That is one reason why she is amazed by K-pop stars who have moved into the Japanese market. Some of these groups include Kara and Girls' Generation.
Of the Korean singers, she says: "They are admirable and cool, for coming out of their comfort zone and going overseas to promote their songs in a foreign language. It's wonderful how these Korean stars can not just sing but also speak Japanese so well."