Free Announcer Aika Kanda “Forever! My Brilliant Flight Life | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Free Announcer Aika Kanda “Forever! My Brilliant Flight Life

Aika Kanda: Me, Pink, and Sometimes New York

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Illustration drawn by Mr. Kanda

The issue in which the memorable first installment of this serial column appeared featured a color photogravure along with the column. While girls in swimsuits and underwear continued from the cover, suddenly there were three pages of pictures of me in clothes with a self-promoting smile. My manager and I were looking at them, and I could almost hear him saying, “It looks like this is the only part that isn’t FRIDAY (laughs)” or “Obaasan, you’re in the way! I can almost hear her voice saying, “You’re getting in the way! But that picture is something that will last a lifetime for me. Because, you know! I could be that Barbie! I could be that Barbie!

Barbie is the name of the fashion doll known as Barbie. Next year will mark the 65th anniversary of her debut, and she is sold in more than 150 countries around the world.

I got my first Barbie when I was in kindergarten. Barbie was tall, with a small face and long arms and legs. Her hair is golden and her eyes are blue. Aika was naturally attracted to Barbie because she had something that she did not have.

My love for Barbie was rekindled in my mid-twenties when I started to get into traveling in the United States. Until then, I had always thought of Barbie as wearing frilly dresses, but I found the girls I saw in American toy stores to be very interesting and varied. Livestock farmers, obstetricians and gynecologists, tennis players and pilots ……. I don’t remember these Barbies ever coming to Japan!

I found out that Barbie was introduced in 1959, when the number of jobs available to women in the U.S. was limited, with the motto, “A girl can be anything she wants to be. Since then, she has represented more than 200 occupations. Now, in keeping with the current trend of valuing diversity, the brand is presenting all types of beauty, including various skin colors, body types, and transgenders.

It is no longer just a toy. The more I learn about the messages Barbie sends out and the speed with which it is ahead of its time, the more positive and encouraging it has become to me. Combined with the fact that pink, my lucky color, and Barbie’s image color are the same, I began to think of myself and Barbie in a similar light.

Eleven years ago, after I quit NHK, I started buying a Barbie doll whenever I went to the United States. At the time, I thought I was buying Barbie dolls “because they were cute! But now I think about it, I am afraid of what will happen to me in the future, and I don’t want to think about it or admit to it . I may have been trying to drown out the anxiety in the back of my mind by keeping Barbie by my side, who was telling me, “You can become anything!

The figure of my dreams that can be realized for a few thousand yen.

At present, I have 38 Barbie dolls on display in my room. In the last few years, my criteria for purchase has changed, and I now choose Barbie as the fulfillment of my dreams.

A ballerina Barbie because as an adult I wished I had taken ballet lessons when I was little. Barbie as a newscaster because I admire Yuko Ando. Barbie in a Yankees uniform and holding a baseball bat because she likes to watch Major League Baseball games but can’t go often. Barbie wants to live in New York, but she doesn’t have the energy, so she has a New York cityscape on her box. Barbie wants to drive a pink car but it’s too expensive to buy, so she drives a pink convertible.

Barbie loves the sea and got a first-class marine license, but couldn’t afford a cruiser, so she is riding a cruiser. Barbie in a swimsuit because she is too embarrassed to wear it. And Barbie in a stuffed animal costume, which I can’t get a chance to wear but would like to ……, and so on. Barbie does everything I want to do but can’t, and she does it beautifully. It’s really cool! No one can compete with her! Thanks to you, instead of thinking negatively, “Oh, I can’t do it? ……,” I think, “Barbie is doing it! I’ll get on the flight!” I am feeling positive.

I am excited about what I might want to do in the future. Because I don’t have to set any limits on my ideas. Whatever I want to do, Barbie will make it happen, and for a few thousand yen, I can take advantage of it. Yes, you are no exception. It’s “You Can Be Anything”!

© Kazuki Shimomura

Born in 1980 in Kanagawa Prefecture. After graduating from Gakushuin University with a degree in mathematics, she joined NHK as an announcer in 2003, and left in 2012 to become a freelance announcer. Since then, she has been active mainly in variety shows, and currently makes regular appearances as the main MC of the daytime TV program “Poka Poka” (Fuji Television Network).

From the June 30, 2023 issue of FRIDAY

  • Text and illustrations by Aika Kanda

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