Credit goes to ryokoayublue
December 8th, 2011. She took the stage for the first time as a 13th-generation trainee on the day marked the 6th anniversary of AKB48's theatrical debut.
Her name is Mitsumune Kaoru.
She was the subject of almost all discussions among fans that day.
"Who the hell is she?"
Her overwhelming beauty and sense of fashion are unparalleled - someone like this has never existed in the AKB48 line-up.
Just who is she?
One morning, bright and early. While on the set for Weekly Playboy's gravure set, she was asked about her attitude towards the photo-shoot.
"I'm having a great time. It's the first time I'm doing swimsuit photos..."
She was slightly nervous. But her response had a sense of maturity in it.
"I have not gone to the beach or the pool since I was young. This is also my first time wearing a bikini. I'm just enjoying these new experiences today."
Today we will find out more about Mitsumune Kaoru, the trainee that has everyone's attention.
Friends that are also rivals / The reason why she admires AKB48
"I'm 18 years old now, but I've been modeling in salons in Osaka, appearing a little in magazines, and doing small-time modeling jobs. When I heard that a friend was going to the model audition for the Kobe Collection, I thought, 'maybe I should go too', and then I won..."
Just before the photo-shoot, we asked her more questions about herself.
- You were already a model, why did you want to join AKB48?
"As a model I get to go to a lot of shows, but I thought, 'it would be great if I can find out what I really want to do from now on', so I talked to a lot of people. Someone then suggested, 'how about giving AKB48 a shot?' AKB48 does go to a lot of places, you know. Moreover, I actually don't have a lot of friends."
- That came out easy, eh?
(laughs) "With the Kobe Collection, the final 8 competed against one another for 6 months before a winner was chosen. The "friends who are also rivals" relationship among us is very precious to me, and I would like to get back into that again. I think I can find this in AKB48."
- AKB48 does have the "bond between people who are chasing their dreams together". However, it's difficult to imagine a top-tier model becoming an idol. Have you attended a handshake event?
"I am sure some supporters from my Kobe Collection era are against this. But there is no such border for me. I'm also more of an indoors person, and I think this might strike a chord with fans of AKB48.
- While we're on this topic, what are your hobbies?
- Super cultured girl, aren't you?
"I also like to draw, and I always carry a notebook so I can draw things like these." (opens notebook)
- Whoa, what the hell? These are very realistic and detailed drawings! (photo on bottom right of first page)
"Foodstuffs, animals, human eyes and other body parts. I hurt my foot while in Korea, so I kept on drawing pictures of foot when I was in bed."
- These are good! By the way, what are you into recently?
"Lately I've been concentrating on buying things to decorate my room."
- What's the most expensive thing you bought recently?
"I fell in love with a replica of a mounted deer head and bought it on impulse. It was about 70,000 yen.
- What?! That's so strange! Maybe I shouldn't have asked. On the other hand, what were you like when you were young?
"I was normal like every other child who started ballet at the age of 3. (laughs) I did ballet and track until the end of middle school. I was a long distance runner, I guess I always liked pushing myself to the limit.
- Iiiiinteresting. Mitsumune Kaoru, you are interesting indeed!
Kobe Collection Winner, then AKB48
It was supposed to be a light interview, but she answered with such detail even on the short questions. Photo-shoot was about to start so we stopped the interview for the time being.
The atmosphere changed as soon as the photo-shoot started. Soft smiles with a cool, piercing gaze, her demeanor does not suggest that this is her first gravure shoot.
After a few combinations of poses and outfits, we clearly felt one thing when we looked into her eyes --- "Curiosity".
Her expression says, "I can't help but to be fascinated by the fact that life is changing so fast, right in front of my eyes."
It was already dark when the photo-shoot was over. The interview resumed.
- So, how was it?
"It was great fun! The swimsuits are new to me, and the white shirts, black pants. This is the first time that I've done a really stylish shoot, I had a great time."
- We could tell you were enjoying it just by looking. It looked like you didn't feel any pressure at all.
"Hmmm, maybe. It's not like I have a 'I want to do it like this' target for everything. It's whether I can or I can't do it. So even though I'm nervous, I don't feel any pressure from the people around me because it's irrelevant. I emphasize a lot more on 'Can I do this?' There are some drawbacks, and it's perfectionism in some aspects..."
- Perfectionism! So what kind of person do you want to become?
"A stylish person! But I'm only at about 2% of who I really want to be."
- 2%! You aim high! Are you happy about how fast your life is moving?
"...yes! I was part of the Kobe Collection; I performed 'Heart gata no Virus', a very idol-like song during the AKB48 Kouhaku Song Battle (the event took place on December 20th, 2011) after joining them; now I'm doing a gravure shoot like here, I can't help but to enjoy all this. I am happy!"
- We are also glad that we got to know you a little bit. So, final question - what's the one advantage that you think you have over the others?
- "Probably cheerfulness. I'm the type of person who is cheerful wherever I go, for better or for worse. At first I would be worried and anxious, but once I overcome the obstacles, things will look up."
- Right. You won't find an idol like this, in AKB48 or all of Japan!. On the internet you are called Mitsumune-kou.
"Shimazaki [Haruka] san and Watanabe [Mayu] san call me 'Kaoru-kun' for now...that's not bad. 'Mitsumune-kou'...now I'm a little worried. (laughs)"