Hello and welcome to the YCML 2006 Interview with pop idol and beloved
Yuricon mascot, Yuriko!
Interviewer: As you all know, Yuriko is very busy right now, preparing
for a world tour. We're very glad that she could take a moment out of
her busy schedule to talk with us. We've forwarded our questions to
her and she's sent us answers back, which we've translated for you
I: So, first of all - welcome Yuriko-san, and thank you for taking the
time to answer our questions.
Yuriko: Thank you! It's a pleasure to be able to talk "directly" to my
fans on the mailing list. And thank you very much to everyone who sent
me cards and birthday wishes! Thank you all very much for your
I: Let's get right to the questions shall we?
1) Does Yuriko prefer chocolate or strawberries?
Y: Tough question. I think I'll have to say strawberries.
2) Does she lurk online places? Watching shows from Europe and
Y: I don't have time to watch much television or do computer stuff,
I'm afraid. I do like watching the news, when I can, and Midori likes
"The 'L' Word, although I find it a little.... I think I like film
noir best. I saw "Sin City" not too long ago and thought that was
interesting, if a bit comic booky for my taste.
I am online a little. I do email, but don't have much time or taste
for other things...although sometimes I lurk (is that the right word?)
on fan groups for Midori. But don't tell her that.
3) If you could live anywhere in the world without fear of
persecution for being lesbian, where would you live?
Y: I love living in Tokyo, honestly and can't imagine ever living
anywhere else. Of course I'd like things to be more open here, but it
will take a lot of changes for that to happen. I mean, women aren't
even on an even footing here, so there's little chance for lesbians
and gays. But for all that America is held up as some kind of ideal
place, it's not perfect - and the UK is too rainy for me. (Laugh) I
think I'll stay here.
4) What's it like being a famous lesbian pop idol?
Y: It's...busy. Exhausting, bone-crunching work, followed by hours of
promotion, and of course, as much fan time as possible. The other day
I met with some members of my fan club, and I almost fell asleep while
one was talking to me. I apologized - I had been up since 4AM - but I
felt so bad for her. (Laugh)
5) Is there any times where it's difficult to deal with because
some people can't accept same sex coupling?
Y: Of course. It's one of the reasons I'm open about myself and my
relationship. I never really know going into a job, whether it's a
television show, or an interview, whether I'll meet with someone who
is out to "get" me or not. Sometimes it is very tiring. But I feel
like I owe it to every fan, to every gay and lesbian to every
transgendered person, to everyone who isn't exactly like everyone else
around them to be myself as publicly and openly as possible. Maybe I
can make a difference - maybe not. But this is who I am.
6) We know she loves cello music, but are there any pop idols she
listens to? Anyone she admires? Like, if Britney was in Tokyo, would
she want to see her? Perform, I mean!!
Y: (Laugh) Good question! I sing pop music, but I don't listen to it
very much, to be honest. If Britney was in Tokyo (I think she was here
a few years ago,) I'd probably be too busy to make it to the concert!
I blame my manager. She barely lets me have any fun. (Laugh).
I do like to dance, and whatever is playing is fine with me. House
music is good, and I like jazz too. Midori likes ska and reggae, and
sometimes we will go to a concert if I know the band, or it's a
benefit. But on my own? I'd really like to see Christine Brandes -
she's a soprano opera singer in America who happens to be a lesbian.
I'd love to see her sing in person. If anyone knows her, maybe you can
get me an invitation? (Laugh)
7) Do you like anime and manga?
Y: Not particularly. I read manga as a girl, but stopped, oh, I guess
back in middle school. I read a *lot* of novels. I don't care for
animation - real life is so much more interesting! Who needs giant
robots and things when life is so cool. (Laugh).
8) If you wanted to drive any car in the world which make of car
would it be and what colour?
Y: Of course some sexy sports car, right? Something smooth and sleek.
And I'd want it to match whatever I was wearing. (Laugh)
9) How old are you going to be?
Y: Old enough that it's not polite for you to ask anymore. (Laugh) I
can tell you this, though - I'm still younger than Midori!
10) Who, aside from Midori, is your favorite author/writer? Favorite
Y: I really liked Suzuki Koji's "Ringu" and I adore Uno Chiyo's work -
especially her memoir. And the diary of Anais Nin, too. I really like
work by women who refused to be defined by society, who were sexual
rebels. My favorite book? That's hard. As a child I loved folktales,
especially those connected to the area I grew up. Now? I think I like
stories by women who make a difference in their time on this earth -
and I like horror stories. I guess my favorite book still has to be
"Revelations" by Yukano Midori. And no, I'm not just saying that so I
don't have to sleep on the sofa. (Laugh)
11) Where's your favorite vacation spot?
Y: I've heard of vacations.... No, seriously, I loved Greece when I
was there. I don't think ever been anywhere else that looked that
12) Being an out lesbian, I'm sure that the press is constantly
comparing you to Melissa Etheridge or other out singers. What's the
most annoying comparison you've ever received and what's the best one?
Y: You have no idea. (Laugh) I get compared to anyone who the reviewer
or reporter heard about being gay once. The most annoying was a
review of a mini-concert I did for a charity. It had some horrible
theme like Paradise and all the performers had to be dressed with
wings. Don't ask. The reporter said that my segment looked like a
Takarazuka rip-off. I was a little annoyed at that - I wasn't the only
one wearing sequins and wings! (Laugh.) And the article mixed up my
set with another singer's. The best comparison...I like the reviews
that compare me to people who have excelled in their field. Even if
it's not a good match, like Melissa Etheridge. We don't sing the same
kind of music at all, and she doesn't act. But she's really amazing,
so I don't mind. I think it's funny when I'm compared to male visual
13) As a famous yuri pop idol, what love and career advice would you
offer to Julia Tachibana of Strawberry Shake Sweet?
Y: I'd have to say - go for it Julia-san! Tell Ran-Ran how you feel!
Career advice...well...from what I can tell she's a hard worker and
she picks good roles. I think she'll do just fine!
14) Do you plan to expand your fanbase overseas (i.e., beyond Japan
and the US, say to maybe the Philippines)?
Y: Well, I have an upcoming tour, and I will definitely be playing in
Manila, so yes. I appreciate all my overseas fans. The final tour
schedule isn't complete, but we'll have dates in several foreign
countries, including the US and Europe. (Maybe we'll even do a special
tour t-shirt - what do you all think about that idea?)
15) I have a question.....*tilts head* Have you ever had problems in
the beginning of your relationship where it was hard to read your
partner and you had doubts about it?......
Y: Every day. (Laugh)
16) What do you think about gay marriage?
Y: Another tough question. Of course I think anyone should be able to
marry and share their lives and money. But I think it's not marriage
most people want so much as the guarantee of stability and recognition
by family and community. The problem is that a piece of paper isn't
going to confer either of those.
I: Well, that's it for this interview. We can't thank you enough
Yuriko for your time and your answers.
Y: That was really fun - let's not let another five years go by before
we do it again, okay?
I: Okay, we promise! Best of luck to you on your tour, too.
Y: Thank you - I hope I will see you all at a concert.
I: Any last words?
Y: Thank you all for being my fans and for supporting me. I look
forward to many more fun things and I hope you will all be part of
I: Thank you again, Yuriko-san - you can be sure that we will.
And there you have it - Yuriko's present to all of you on her
birthday. Thanks to everyone who sent in a question!