A circle of friends connected by goof-touch! The “FIST BUMP” corner of the radio program “GRAND MARQUEE” features people who live and enjoy Tokyo in a relay format.
On June 20, Asako Kikukawa, representative of the moms’ chorus theater “Utauhahagokoro,” was introduced by writer Sohei Wakusaka. She told us about her motivation for starting the momsan theater and the events based on child-rearing.
Raising Children and Being in Theater
Celeina (MC): This is Asako Kikukawa, representative of the mama-san chorus theater “Utauhahagokoro” introduced by yesterday’s writer, Sohei Wakusaka. Please give her my best regards.
Kikukawa: Hello, everyone! I am Asako of the moms’ chorus theater “Utauhahagokoro”! I am Asako Kikukawa from ……, nice to meet you (laughs).
Takano (MC): You are a bundle of vitality! (laughter)
Kikukawa: I usually do this with all of us, so I was thinking how I hate to do it alone now (laughs).
Takano: I took the liberty of checking Kikukawa-san’s Twitter. I was like, “Don’t say any off-the-air words!” (laughs).
Kikukawa: That’s right (laughs). There are a lot of things in child-rearing that are on the edge of off-the-air terms. There are some songs that we can’t play.
Celeina: I’ve been listening to a lot of songs on Spotify.
Kikukawa: That’s not good (laughs).
Takano: The kind of thing that would make your kids happy.
Kikukawa: There are phrases that children often want to say. Like the ones that come out of the human body.
Takano: Poop, right?
Celeina: Can I say it? (laughs)
Takano: I was working on a project called “Poop Museum.
Kikukawa: That was also a big topic of conversation in the mama community. People wanted to go there.
Takano: I could use the whole floor space for this story. Please proceed. Please stop (laughs).
Celeina: Let me begin with a profile. Asako Kikukawa formed the all-female theater unit “Hula-Hooper” in 2002. In 2017, she formed the mama-san chorus theater “Utauhahagokoro. Currently, they are active in two locations, in their hometown of Tottori and in Tokyo.
Takano: So you are from Tottori today?
Kikukawa: Yes, I am. I am here to practice for “Utauhahagokoro”.
Celeina: Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule.
Kikukawa: No, I am not busy at all. We practice only about once a month. We can only get together about once a month. Everyone is very busy. We try to get together somehow.
Celeina: Your child is with us today.
Takano: They are over there at the other side of the booth.
Celeina: Your hair is so cute.
Kikukawa: Thank you (laughs).
Celeina: Is it always done by you, Kikukawa-san?
Kikukawa: Yes, I do. I want her to cut it, but she wants to grow it longer, so I thought I’d play around with it. Today, I put it in about three dumplings.
Takano: I had prepared two microphones for the guests.
Kikukawa: When I asked if he wanted to come in, he refused, saying he was reading a book over there.
Celeina: But you usually perform with your children, don’t you?
Kikukawa: Yes, I do. I have been performing with my child since before he was born, when he was still in my belly. We started performing together when she was 1 or 2 years old. It’s like I’m holding her in my arms while we perform.
Celeina: It’s a gifted education in theater.
Kikukawa: That’s right (laughs).
Even after becoming a mom, I continue to do theater as a mom.
Celeina: How did you get into theater in the first place?
Kikukawa: I was born and raised in Tottori, but when I graduated from high school, I came to Tokyo with the idea of doing theater. From there, I went to a training school and had opportunities to work with contortionists. I wanted to do silly things anyway, so that’s how I started this theater unit “Hula-Hooper”.
Takano: So “Utauhahagokoro” started in 2017?
Kikukawa: It was when my child was about one year old. I had a baby and couldn’t really settle down, but I said to an actress friend of mine who had a child around the same age, “I want to do something like this, what do you think? When you have a 0-year-old child, you have to take care of everything, like changing diapers and clothes, and I would say, “Let’s change him. I thought it would be fun to sing a chorus of the humming that comes naturally to me.
Takano: That’s something only a mother can do, isn’t it?
Kikukawa: That’s right. It’s like a song about a mother’s objective feelings toward her fussy child.
Celeina: I see. Then, of course, the audience you want to reach is moms. I guess it is also about empathy, but I would also like to express my feelings to my partner.
Kikukawa: That’s part of it, too (laughs).
Takano: Not only your children, but also the children of the other members of the group will appear on stage.
Kikukawa: I can’t imagine doing a play without my children. I wanted to create a place where they can enjoy themselves and do what they want to do to the best of their ability, while being there with us in the rehearsal hall and during the performance.
Celeina: It’s a win-win-win situation (laughs).
Kikukawa: I don’t know if it is a win-win situation (laughs).
Celeina: It is a joy to be with your mother all the time.
Kikukawa: When they reach the level where they can stay at home by themselves, they stop following me, but they are not to that level yet. But they are all playing freely around the house. Sometimes she sings while holding me in her arms, and sometimes she gets really mad at me and says, “Don’t sing now.
Takano: So that happens sometimes (laughs).
Kikukawa: Stop it! It’s too loud!” (laughs). (laughs). Like, “I’m sorry for being so loud because I’m practicing.
Takano: Even though we are here to sing (laughs).
Celeina: But we are all mothers, so it’s reassuring.
Kikukawa: Yes, that is true. In this day and age, everyone lives in a nuclear family, but when they get together, they scold each other’s children. I think it is fun to raise each other’s children as if we have a big family, or rather, as if we have many relatives.
Takano: It is wonderful, isn’t it? Now that you’ve heard all this, I’m sure you’re all wondering what kind of songs “Utauhahagokoro” is going to be. Mr. Kikukawa has chosen one song for us. What song would it be?
Kikukawa: I wanted to make a song that my kids could learn to sing along with, like an alphabet song, about the time before they started elementary school, like an aiueo or something.” I wrote a song called “Hahagokoro no Aieo” and I’d like you to listen to it.
Takano: I was worried about the messiness of “Rarirurero” (laughs).
Kikukawa: I was exposed (laughs). I thought that was enough (laughs).
Celeina: It’s fun, even for adults to listen to.
Takano: The bass line is surprisingly tannic (laughs).
Celeina: Kikukawa-san selected the song “Ha ha gokoro no aiueo” from “Utau ha gokoro” and we sent it to you.
Parenting is a circle of life
Celeina: I have been asking you about the chorus theater of “Utauhahagokoro” since I mentioned earlier. What is the content of the play?
Kikukawa: For example, there are many things in child-rearing that I wish people would stop doing, so I introduce episodes related to those things and lead into “Please listen to the ‘stop it’ rhapsody. It’s a meta-feel to the song. It’s a mixture of truth and falsehood.
Takano: When the mothers see it, some of them say, “I know what you mean! I know what you mean.
Kikukawa: I’m glad to hear that.
Celeina: Pre-moms who are going to become moms can also go and study. It might also be a good way to relive the experience and prepare for it.
Kikukawa: It could be too chaotic and scary, though (laughs).
Celeina: So, “Utauhahagokoro” is going to have its next performance.
Kikukawa: On September 10, we are going to perform “Sing! Dance! Raise! Hahagokoro no Niwa 2023 Natsu no RINNE Fes” will be held on September 10.
Takano: I’m curious about the title (laughs).
Kikukawa: The theme is reincarnation (laughs). Children’s clothes become unwearable very quickly, because they grow out of size or something. We don’t want to throw them away because they are still beautiful and we don’t want them to be worn, so we talk about how child-rearing is like reincarnation. We will have a flea market, games with hand-me-down toys as prizes, and of course a stage performance.
Takano: It is a wonderful activity that is both fun and socially meaningful. Please let us know if you have any additional information on social networking sites.
Celeina: Now, “FIST BUMP” is a circle of friends connected by “Goo Touch”, and we are asking you to introduce us to your friends.
Kikukawa: It is Machiko Machikado, a theremin player. The other day, Ms. Takano said she wanted to play the theremin (laughs).
Takano: So you listened to me.
Kikukawa: That’s right. I thought that Machiko was the only one who could do it.
Takano: It is amazing that you still have friends.
Kikukawa: I really happen to have a friend who is like a leading theremin player. Please learn from him.
Takano: I would love to learn (laughs). By the way, in a word, what kind of person are you?
Kikukawa: A beautiful eccentric.
Takano: That raises my expectations. Thank you very much. Tomorrow, I will connect you to theremin player Machiko Machikado.
Celeina: Today it was Asako Kikukawa, representative of the mama-san chorus theater “Utauhahagokoro”. Thank you very much.
Kikukawa: Thank you very much.
J-WAVE （81.3FM） Mon-Thu 16:00 – 18:50
Navigator: Shinya Takano, Celeina Ann