IZ*ONE’s Sakura recently held an interview with Oricon News and revealed her thoughts on adjusting to a different culture, the ways she’s changed since being in Korea, the difference between Korean and Japanese idols, and more.
Miyawaki Sakura was a top idol in Japan, taking part in both HKT48 and AKB48. However, two years ago, she took a break from Japanese promotions and re-debuted in Korea through IZ*ONE. Although she might have been sad to leave her fame in Japan to promote in another country, she has proven through her hard work and effort with each new album and has become highly praised in Korea too.
How did you feel after finding out that you would be taking a break from promotions in Japan to go to Korea?
I was shocked when I heard this because initially I thought I would be promoting in both Korea and Japan. At that time, I didn’t know how to speak in Korean at all so I was nervous if I could even do this. All the recordings were done in Korean so I had some help from members that knew some Japanese or used Google translate. Time flew by during that time.
Were there any culture or environmental shocks or differences?
There were a lot (laughs). For instance in Japan, we don’t say exactly what’s on our mind out of respect for the other person. But in Korea, they express exactly how they are feeling. If they don’t like something they will say “NO” and that was shocking.
Another instance would be during an interview, they would ask, “If I could be born as another member who would it be?” And they would answer, “Me.” I’ve received this question many times in Japan and I have never answered in that way before. Being able to have confidence in yourself is really cool and is something I can learn from them.
Then have you changed to as a result of this environment?
Yes I have. There could be some personality changes, but a lot of it are things that I have never had before. I’ve realized that voicing my opinion is important and I have been slowly expressing my thoughts. My personality has changed and the way I think has changed in a positive way.
What were your thoughts after finding out you would be debuting as IZ*ONE?
Although I was happy, I was more nervous. I was worried and anxious about how I would be able to follow along in such as new environment. I remember crying by myself a lot during our debut.
Why is that?
I’ve been doing this for seven years and couldn’t understand why this was the best I could do. I practiced for 10 hours a day too. I could have made higher quality results but I never experienced this in Japan so I guess I wasn’t used to it so it took some time.
In your opinion, what are the differences between Korean and Japanese idols?
They each have their own advantages. In Korea, they focus more on high quality performances, so it’s crucial to show a star performances from debut. Even just watching a concert seems like watching a show, so they’re level is really high.
What about Japanese idols?
I feel like they receive support at a closer distance. Just like me, they usually perform on stage without any experience or training. Many fans are able to watch the idols improve and grow and watch our concerts like proud parents in a way. The concert scene is totally different but I like both styles.
IZ*ONE will be releasing their first Japan album TWELVE with their title track “Beware” on October 21.