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As always, I'm not a professional and this is for ENTERTAINMENT purposes only. Please do not copy. Original scan was from Yoshiko_Mama, who is a true hero for international fans. I am really thankful for all of her hard work.

A.B.C-Z Johnny’s Densetsu 2017

A.B.C-Z’s theatrical series ABC-Za launched in 2012 at the same time as A.B.C-Z’s debut. This year’s challenge will be to tackle Johnny’s Densetsu again after 3 years. Before taking things to a new level this fall with their play, and incorporating a new “densetsu”, the five members spoke once again about the glamour of Johnny’s theatrical productions and performances.

-----In October you’ll be starting your third run of Johnny’s Densetsu. What feel will the play have this time?

Kawai: Because we’re still in production meetings about it nothing has been decided for sure yet. But there’s no reason for it to be as gloomy as it has been, I’d like it if the story was happier this time.

Tsukada: Of course last time there were a lot of parts where we took on the real story had to tell it properly. But I think every day was happy for the Johnnys and Johnny-san going to America (in the 1960s).

Hashimoto: It didn’t sound like real life, how much fun they had.

Goseki: Because the plot will be based on Johnny-san’s real memories, we won’t be dancing in musical theater-style numbers, we’ll be the ones watching.

Kawai: Right, right, Snow Man will be singing dressed up as the acts and so on.

Goseki: This time, we feel like, “We also want to do more!”

Totsuka: Yeah, that’s right.

-----The content of the show will remain based on the same foundation of the story of the original Johnnys and Four Leaves?

Kawai: That will be the base but the plan is to try to make it more realistic.

Totsuka: I’d really like to dig a bit deeper.

Kawai: Personally I’d like to tell the whole story behind a bunch of different groups.

Tsukada: Because each Johnny’s group has their own legends, right?

Kawai: I don’t know to what extent we can actually do it but I like to try to do an all encompassing Johnnys work. There’s even a group that’s in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Goseki: Kinki Kids, right? And Johnny-san is in it too.

Kawai: I think that if we tied in some famous references like that, the fans would enjoy picking up on them.

Tsukada: That would be fun! I want to play Johnny’s sempai! But who especially…

Totsuka: Okay, so like who out of V6-san?

Tsukada: Okada (Junichi)-kun. He’s also got a good body. (laugh) If I was playing Okada-kun, I’d have to think about my muscles even more.

Totsuka: Alright, I get it!

-----Where does the difficulty lay in staging this encore run of Johnny’s Densetsu right now?

Tsukada: I think we definitely have a high bar to clear. There will be a lot of people who saw the play last time and two times ago and we have to do something to top the memories they have of the old shows. There’s a lot of pressure.

Kawai: That’s exactly what we and our team are thinking about. Adding in a new story, and taking the play the next step forward.

Tsukada: How should I put it, this has happened to A.B.C-Z by fate or with fateful timing. It’s a good time for us so we’ll be able to put on a good show. Maybe I can’t say that myself though (laugh)

Kawai: I think it’s actually just like that.

Tsukada: ABC-Za is always an incredible challenge whether it’s last year with the script and music by Nishidera Goto or two years ago produced by Yacchin-san (Soga Yasuhisa). For this production the timing worked out so that we could look back at the very beginning one more time and try to re-fight that battle.

-----When you say the timing worked out, do you mean because this year is the fifth anniversary of your debut?

Tsukada: Huh, maybe?

Kawai: We didn’t decide to do Johnny’s Densetsu because of the five year anniversary but I’m happy it seemed to work out that way naturally.

Goseki: That’s for sure.

-----What were some of the plans you had for yourselves for this fifth anniversary year?

Tsukada: On the fifth anniversary of our debut, on February first, we released a CD single. That was also good timing. And I think we’ll be able to review our performances and really dig into them one more time.

Kawai: That was a good start, wasn’t it. The song, “Reboot!!!”

Goseki: And from there, we each had our own plays, and then there was the tour, and now Johnny’s Densetsu 2017.

Kawai: We fought hard in this fifth year but I want to fight even harder. As a group, on our own. The first half of the year, we each had a lot of individual work.

Hashimoto: When my play Deathtrap finished, I thought, “Yes, I’m done!” but at the same time I thought, “Damn it, I’m done.” I still don’t understand my reaction but I went for dinner with (starring actor Kataoka) Ainosuke-san and everybody so many times and it was really fulfilling. The second half of the year, rehearsals for live shows have piled up and honestly I’ve been so busy. (laugh)

Goseki: As far as what I’m grateful for, the first half of the year, everybody had more work outside the agency [Johnny’s & Associates]. The impression I’m really left with is that our ties in the industry are spreading further and further out.

Tsukada: I stared in a play, Sakurapapao, and I’m going to be filming for a movie, Last Hold, but the memory I’m left with from the beginning of the year is JOHNNYS’ ALL STARS ISLAND. I learned a lot from being both conscious of and self-conscious of standing center stage at Tei-geki (Imperial Theater). And I think because of that, I was able to star in a play and a movie.

Hashimoto: It’s tough being center stage huh? (laugh)

Tsukada: Hey, I was uncomfortable at first. (laugh) I felt like, this isn’t where my place is. But I eventually got used to it.

Totsuka: The two-man play Defiled was tough too. But it was really worth doing.

Kawai: It’s incredible, being able to do these plays. I also had a great experience with Mori Masako-san and the other cast members in Nodo Jiman. But that said we’re still not all that well known so we have to appear on TV more often. And the people on TV are even busier than we are. So, we have to get to that level.

Tsukada: From July into August, we were on a ton of special music shows.

Kawai: Especially on FNS Uta no Natsumatsuri [2017.08.02] we were an “Anniversary Artist” and we were able to show some clips and do a fifth anniversary performance.

Totsuka: We’re really lucky.


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