I have been doing lots of messy little pieces of translating for this so I thought I would condense it all into one master post that people can scroll through. I’ll keep adding little bits and pieces in as they come along~ 📖🍃✨
While searching for jobs, normal, everyday university student Satoshi, is scouted by a strange man called Yamaki to be the “Deputy Manager of Heaven’s Book Service”, and is temporarily whisked away to Heaven. The green-eyed girl with a strange charm, Yui, who was already working at “Heaven’s Book Service”, doesn’t take to Satoshi at first. Yamaki reveals that he is trying to rehabilitate Yui’s wounded heart.
Satoshi starts work as the Deputy Manager. The children that come to play at the book store beg him to read to them. That’s right, part of the “service” at “Heaven’s Book Service” also includes reading books.
Although Satoshi doesn’t enjoy it at first, he is charmed by the children’s purity, and decides to do his best to fulfil their wishes. Seeing Satoshi like this, Yui gradually starts to open her heart to him.
Then one day, the time comes for him to learn about Yui’s past.
Q. How do you imagine Heaven?
I guess I imagine that the food there doesn’t have any flavour (Lol). I heard Brother Tom say this, but it seems like everybody has their own picture of what they imagine God to look like. My image has come to look like Johnny-san. He brought forth a new kind of entertainment and fashion in Japan, he always felt like a God-like person to me, but now that he has gone to Heaven he is even more like a God to me now.
Q. What picture books did you like when you were little?
There were a lot of picture books in my house that were handed down to me by my big brother, but I liked “Kataashi Dachou no Erufu” (Elf the One-Legged Ostrich) and “Tonari no Seki no Masuda-kun” (Masuda-kun sits in the seat beside me). There were a lot of great stories in the Nontan Series as well. If I become a dad, I definitely want to try reading them to my kids. I’ll add in my own ad-lib dialogue, and quiz them on what they think might happen next, doesn’t that sound fun (Lol)?
Q. What do you want to do as the leader of the cast?
When I had the lead role in the “Tripper Yuuenchi” play this Spring the cast got along really well, even in rehearsals everyone was able to take on challenges while taking together. For example, we’d say things like “This is an emotional scene where you should cry but, let’s try it without shedding any tears”. I think talking about things is important so, I’d like to make an atmosphere where the cast can talk to each other about things naturally again this time.
Q. What do you struggle with when it comes to plays?
First, I guess it’s looking after my health. I have a strong voice but, when we did “ABC Za” it got bad for the first time. But once you start to do vocal care you end up with a voice that needs vocal care, so to start with I’ll try and do my best to leave health care up to the last minute (Lol). Also, we’ll be using a number of real picture books during the play, so I think I want to read them in advance before rehearsals start.
Q. What highlight of the show are you excited about?
The highlight is the picture book reading scenes. The pictures jump out of the book in the children’s dreams, but I think that actually showing it in reality is interesting. Personally, I don’t know what kind of strength Kawai Fumito the actor has, so I’d be happy if I could discover it in this show. The original book is such a wonderful piece of work that I’m going to do my best to make it even more powerful.
Popolo January 2020
It seems like you have previous experience of singing techniques and voice care from your other work?
That’s right. My voice rarely gets worn out from singing. Just, for the first time in ages I thought it was pretty bad during the previous “Legend of Johnny’s”. There was a lot of ad-lib, and a lot of regular talking too though (Lol). When we had a day off from performances I’d have variety show recordings so I had to strain my voice, and there was a time when it became a bit of a problem. But I wonder if that would be the case if it was only singing… When my voice is hoarse the ability to bring out my singing voice is within me. I’ve learnt how to have a certain amount of control, so that I sing in a way that matches the condition of my throat. Speaking of, Yabu (Kota) came to see our concert this year and he said to me for the first time “You’re a pretty good singer”. When I asked if he was joking he said “I’m being serious”. Later he told me that I have volume to my voice. Whether it’s my singing or speaking I want to improve (Lol), but I feel like I want people to think “He can sing better than I thought”. By doing non-Johnny’s plays I also want the fans to tell me that I have a solo singing voice they are excited to hear.
Books at the book store are separated and shelved by genre, but which genre does the current “Kawai Fumito” belong to?
I guess I want to be in the picture book corner. No matter what generation you’re from you can read a picture book, right? Because you can just enjoy the pictures it’s got nothing to do with countries either. I think I want to be this kind of person. I want the things I say and the things I perform to reach people no matter what generation they are from. No matter who you are or where you are, pictures books are easy to pick up, right? I want to be someone that people can engage with freely, someone they can empathise with.
Stage fan Vol.6
In the book Satoshi’s voice is described as “A voice that makes people happy”.
Ah… I’ll have to do my best to put on a nice voice (Lol). I don’t think my voice is pleasant in anyway. I feel like I’ve rarely been told that I have a “nice voice”. Oh, but Johnny-san told me “Your laugh is vulgar” once (Lol). Personally, I have always thought of these as words of praise. But the A.B.C-Z members said to me just before “It wasn’t praise”.
Ha ha. If that’s the case, what kind of voice to do aim to have in the production?
Um… But I guess it’s best not to put on a way of talking. Because Satoshi isn’t putting on a particular voice when he speaks. For me it’s more that I think he has a sense that he’s not very good at reading books. Paired with the fact that Satoshi is a university student, I think that he is a person that has a boyishness in him somewhere. So it would be best if I could produce a voice with that “boy at heart” feeling in it. I’ll do my best to be “Pure Kawai Fumito” in this production (Lol).
TV Guide Person Vol.88
There are many original songs!
The musical is made up of a number of original musical numbers. In regards to this we were suddenly given the powerful (!?) proclamation from Kawai “In (each) one show I’m doing the most singing I have ever done in my life!”
Then without thinking he added “I feel like up until now I haven’t really been singing A.B.C-Z’s songs (Lol)” Kawai talked about the number of original songs mixed in with a joke, to which Inoue-san also revealed a certain story “It felt like we just gave the songs a go on the day the music arrived (at rehearsals). I was suddenly able to sing these songs that I had never heard before. We’ve gradually been figuring out how to deal with things as they come up”.
As they took on rehearsals the company have come together with the high expectation to take on the challenge of any new song, this is what you experience in an original production, Kawai continued full of heart-felt emotion “I think this about the member’s too, but I realised once again that my seniors, like (Domoto) Koichi-kun are amazing, I really think that musicals are amazing”. He continued to reveal to us honestly in regards to overcoming the wall of increasing rehearsals “I was a bit scared along the way. There continued to be so many sleepless nights. But now I’m able to enjoy it”, he told us about the change of heart he had to be able to enjoy the performance from the bottom of his heart.
As for the love story?
In the original book, Satoshi, played by Kawai, and the heroine Yui’s, played by Inoue-san, relationship is the main story point that we’re curious about. When one of the reporters asked “Is this your first love story?” Kawai reflected “Coin Locker Babies (which he appeared in previously) was a violent production so I don’t know if that counts as a love story, but (as far as the original genre goes) I guess this is my first time? In something where they start out cold and then grow close to each other”.
“It’s fun because I have no experience of doing a love story. But I have learnt a lot from watching them. I think Fujigaya Taisuke (Kis-My-Ft2) would be good at this kind of thing (Lol). I also want to perform to a level that people can learn from!”. Even though it’s his first time performing in this kind of role, he faces each day with enthusiasm.
Continuing on “I think speaking to girls, and acting are a bit embarrassing, but I guess I can do it when I’m in character, right?” he said, turning to Inoue-san for confirmation, to which she gave a reserved nod (Lol). In fact, Kawai and Inoue-san are both shy people.
On top of this it is also Inoue-san’s first time doing a love story and when she revealed to us that “I didn’t know how best to go about it and I asked my mother for advice” Kawai also blurted out “I also talked to my mum about what I should do (Lol)!” which he greatly regretted (Lol).
Nevertheless, since they’re both such shy people, he said “We concentrated on the acting and to begin with we had poor timing with our lines, but it feels like we have been able to form a bond as characters as well as our regular selves. We’re doing things with a positive outlook”, it’s like he’s saying that more so than blending with the character he’s rising to parts of the character! “Since it’s a musical there is power in both the songs and the acting. I have to get straight into the songs” he said as he spoke strongly about being able to naturally play the role of Satoshi on stage.
Johnny’s Web Presscon Report Part 1
I think I’d like Johnny-san in Heaven to see this play too. Right now, I’m sure that Johnny-san is creating a new kind of entertainment in Heaven. He’ll finally be able to do flying without wires. A production made in Heaven is sure to have flying in it (Lol). No matter what kind of production he makes, I feel like I’d like to see it too.
There were lots of surprising things about Johnny-san. With that “YOU are gonna do it” attitude, he would easily make things we had never imagined before a reality. The strongest memory I have of him is when there was a fire during a previous show. We ended up having basically no set and we were all thinking “What are we going to do?”, but Johnny-san said “YOU will be the set” and went ahead and did the play. I had no idea what he was talking about at the time, but I realised afterwards that he was telling us that we could still do the show with just ourselves standing on the stage. Thinking back on it now I feel the trust he had in us even back then.
Johnny-san loved being on set, even the day before his fall he was there at a Junior recording session. At that time he praised me for the first time. He said “YOU are funny!”, when I asked “What part?” he said “Oh, I don’t know…”. That was what Johnny-san would always say when an idea came to his mind. It’s something I will never forget.
Tengoku no Honya Playguide January 2020