On October 20, Japan's 'Oricon News' published a one-on-one interview with IZ*ONE's Miyawaki Sakura, currently gearing up for the group's Japanese comeback with 'Twelve'.
During this interview, Miyawaki Sakura honestly opened up about her decision to halt her activities in HKT48 and AKB48 and debut again as a rookie K-Pop idol. She began, "At first, I thought that I would be able to go back and forth between my activities in Japan, so when I was informed that I would need to halt my Japanese activities, I was shocked. At the time, I did not know any Korean, so I was very concerned about whether I would be able to adjust. The recordings [for 'Produce 48'] also took place entirely in Korean, so it was difficult to keep up at first; I eventually received help from the other members who could speak Japanese and also learned by using a translation dictionary."
She then reflected on the cultural differences between Korea and Japan. "For example, in Japan, many people refrain from expressing their honest opinions, but in Korea, people very direct and straightforward. They deliver their opinions very clearly and firmly say 'No' or 'I don't like it', which surprised me. During an interview, we also received a question asking, 'Which member would you want to be reborn as?'. Someone answered, 'Myself', and I was shocked. I've dealt with similar questions in my Japanese promotions, but I've never heard anyone answer that way, and to hear someone say that they like themselves just fine was very inspiring; it was a good learning experience."
In addition, Miyawaki Sakura compared the idol culture in Japan, where many idols debut with little to no training experience, with Korea's idol culture of rigorous training and preparations. She confessed that the system was hard for her, saying, "I was an idol for 7 years, so why can't I do anything? I kept thinking that. Before our debut, we practiced for 10 hours a day, but I'd never practiced for such long periods before so it took me a long time to adjust. I was very anxious and worried about whether I would be able to keep up in this completely new environment, and so during our debut days, I remember crying a lot alone."
But these days, Sakura revealed that she finds the long practices "not all that difficult". Next, Sakura expressed her affection for both the Japanese and Korean idol industries, by observing, "In Korea, it is necessary to show a perfected image from debut. Concerts also consist of high quality performances, like watching a very high quality show. In Japan, idols go on stage with little experience, so fans cheer them on from a more comfortable distance. Fans can see their idols learn and grow as time goes on, and fans also watch concerts as if they were parents watching their children grow. I like both industries for how they are. But even in Korea, fans say, 'She improved her singing' and 'she improved her dancing', so I feel that all fans similarly cheer on idols' growth."
Finally, Miyawaki Sakura talked about a song from IZ*ONE upcoming 1st full album 'Twelve' that she participated in composing and writing. "One of the members said that they liked this song, without knowing that I participated in creating it. I then told her, 'I made it'. And she said that she liked it a lot, which made me very happy."
IZ*ONE's 1st full Japanese album 'Twelve' is set to hit store shelves in Japan this October 21!