Classmate Talk: Shibuki Jun & Maori Yuki & Kouju Tatsuki
Kageki (September, 1992)

Kouju: The three of us were dorm students, but I actually met Rika at the exam. We had both come all alone, so we ended up talking together.

Shibuki: And then we ate together.

Kouju: That's right, but neither of us thought we would pass, so when the results were announced we clung together and cried.

Maori: A photo of that ended up in something, didn't it?

Kouju: We were inducted in the 70th anniversary year, and the picture of us crying was published in some magazine in relation to that.

Shibuki: That magazine was published just as we were yokasei, and we got scolded.

Maori: We were often getting scolded (laughs).

Shibuki: But Tartan (Kouju Tatsuki) and Minako (Maori Yuki) were always very steady.

Kouju: Minako was the steadiest. She was a leader and such too.

Maori: Speaking of Taa (Kouju), as soon as you had unpacked your bags, you wanted to go back to Hokkaido.

Shibuki: Who? You say that the reason you're here now is because someone stopped you back then (laughs).

Maori: Runpa-chan (Mayama Haru)!

Kouju: You say that a lot (laughs). When you total it up, I feel that you must have unpacked your bags about seven times.

Maori: I didn't think that you would become such a hard worker, Rika. You were really pampered and withdrawn, and in ballet and such you would always dance while looking down. But Taa always said about you: "That girl is going to make progress!"

Shibuki: Eh!? That's the first I've heard that!

Kouju: I did say it, in fact (laughs).

Shibuki: Among the three of us, Tartan is the older sister.

Kouju: I really don't think so. I'm told that I seem responsible, but I'm really not at all.

Maori: But you were a hard worker. Classes started at nine, but you were always there at school dancing by seven.

Kouju: In the beginning, my grades were awful.

Shibuki: Minako, you could do things like reading musical notation, but Tartan and I couldn't at all.

Kouju: We were terrible (laugh). We were bad at piano too. Somehow we all were goofing off.

Maori: In general, our class wasn't very serious, was it?

Shibuki: Even during ballet rehearsal, if the teacher was gone we'd just space-out......

Kouju: I'd doze off in chorus, and Minako, who was a class representative, would send me out of the classroom.

Maori: I sent you out?

Kouju: You did. You told the teacher to send me out.

Shibuki: In any case, we were all bad.

Maori: And we all rebelled against the honkasei (laughs).

Shibuki: And then when we got scolded the first target was almost always Tartan.

Maori: Runpa-chan and Oomai-chan (Oomai Kaori) were also usually targets, but in the distant future on stage the ones who stand out are the ones who seemed impertinent, don't you think?

Shibuki: As a rep, Minako was our representative and was often angry at us, but you weren't angry at us personally.

Kouju: How should I put it, a lot of our class has really changed, or perhaps I should say that they have overly-strong personalities.....

Maori: They called us terrible things, like The Black Hole and the Air Pocket. They said there weren't any stars, and we were the worst class.

Kouju: Everyone was deathly serious, but inside that we were always doing bad things.

Maori: Though with the benefit of hindsight we can laugh at it.

Kouju: There were a lot of moments when we laughed during the hatsubutai too.

Maori: We had a lot of chorus parts as hatsubutaisei, so we weren't much in the chorus box, right?

Kouju: That's right. And I'd nap a lot in the chorus box, and we got scolded for making noise in the theater basement.

Maori: A lot happened. Speaking of which, the three of us also went on the New York Tour.

Shibuki: We got yelled at then too.

Maori: I and Rika and Kirihara (Shouko) and Itsumine and Miyabi (Kei) were always together, and we were even late to catch the bus.

Shibuki: But that time we definitely checked the schedule with the sensei. And even so the bus had left, and there was a huge uproar......

Kouju: I was in charge of our yearmates, and I was backstage when the kumichou (Takara Junko) told me, and it was difficult. Because I was really worried.

Shibuki: That was three years ago now, and almost ten years have passed since we entered the Music School.

Maori: It's gone by so fast-!

Kouju: There's only one shinjin kouen left for us.

Maori: Me too, I only have the one in Tokyo left.╣

Shibuki: I've never been able to see your shinjin kouen, Minako; it's too bad. I've seen Tartan's.

Kouju: I switched troupes▓, so I've been in more shinjin kouen than everyone. But although I'm told, "I wondered how many leads you would be given", it was two: "The Rose of Versailles" and "This Love Until the Cloudy Horizon".│

Maori: Both big shows.

Kouju: For "This Love--" it had been two years since I had a lead, plus it was my first Nihonmono, so I was enormously nervous.

Maori: You seemed calm, though.

Shibuki: Watching from the audience you couldn't tell, but you were shaking like a leaf. You got nervous and the lines vanished from your head.

Kouju: The unforgettable "Romanov Jewelry" shinjin kouen!

Shibuki: Tartan had Ruko-san (Asaka Jun)'s role, so when her lines were gone there was a lot of blank time. My line when I came out after that was "I was scared!", and at the time I really was (laughs).

Maori: But because of that, nothing can scare you now, right?

Kouju: But as we advance, new worries will emerge.

Shibuki: But even long ago, you had a different quality about you, Tartan. That's why after you switched troupes, when I watched you objectively as a member of Snow Troupe, and when I thought, "Even now she dances with symmetrical positioning", it was a strange feeling. Right now you've become a great stimulus, and it's because you've been here that such a large part of me has kept striving. You've always been splendid.

Maori: You have an indescribable composure. And there's a nice kooky side to you, like when you get together with Runpa-chan to make a comedy duo; you're great.

Kouju: When we were in Music School, we did it every time we went on a trip.

Maori: You do it off the cuff, which is what makes it so amazing.

Shibuki: She had a rich sense for it. And also, she's stubborn.

Maori: That's true. Stubborn as a rock.

Shibuki: Absolutely immovable! "I think it's like this, so it's like this!!" (laughs)

Maori: Isn't that good though? For this job you have to have a strong personal policy, don't you? I definitely think it's better than being indecisive and having your opinion flow this way and that.

Kouju: I wonder...... From the beginning, you were always someone with vitality, Minako.

Shibuki: I'd say powerful or energetic... I want to follow that example.

Kouju: I haven't seen this show "PUCK"4, but I've heard that you're working hard, Minako, and even doing well with the adlibs, and I thought that was amazing. I'm particularly bad at adlibs, and just knowing that something like that is there raises my level of nervousness, so I really respect you. And then, you're a naturally sweet type. And yet you're determined to thwack at the stage, and I think that's amazing too.

Shibuki: Yes, it really feels like a 180 degree turn.

Maori: That's true for everyone, isn't it? Tartan and Rika, you're amazing on stage too.

Kouju: In your case, you really have a very sweet feel, so I think it's especially amazing.

Maori: My baby-face has caused me a lot of worry.

Shibuki: I've had the same problem.

Maori: You don't really seem to have that manner. You've grown up fast, though you have a meek and shy image.

Kouju: She really is shy, and long ago she'd mumble her lines while staring at the ground.

Shibuki: I didn't join because I really loved Takarazuka, so I didn't know what I should do.

Maori: You didn't know anything, so you absorbed it quickly.

Shibuki: And I didn't think that I'd be allowed a lead role in a shinjin kouen. But, you know, at that time Tartan and Minako really worried about me, and that was a great emotional support.

Kouju: That was a serious worry (laughs).

Maori: I knew it would be fine. But I was worried that you suddenly got a lead role without ever having played a nibante one. But you were cool.

Kouju: Yes, it was really good.

Maori: When Rika and Tartan try so hard, I'm proud and really happy. Because it's in spite of the terrible things they said about our class in Music School (laughs).

Shibuki: When I watch everyone's performances, they motivate me.

Maori: There are complete differences based on the colors of the troupe, and we've naturally acquired them, so it's a learning experience.

Kouju: I'd like to be able to go on as friends, motivating each other.

Maori: Don't leave me behind, okay? (laughs)

Shibuki: I'll do my best to not be left behind (laughs).

(1) Rika was in Flower Troupe at the time, while Tartan was in Snow, and Minako was in Moon.
(2) Prior to Snow, Tartan had been in Flower with Rika.
(3) At the time of this article, Tartan hadn't gotten her lead in "Chuushingura" yet.
(4) Minako (and Moon Troupe) was currently doing "PUCK", and Minako had the shinjin kouen lead.