The Story Behind Ayako Fuji Sizzling Swimsuit Photoshoot for Her Photo Book: “Fuji Ayako” | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The Story Behind Ayako Fuji Sizzling Swimsuit Photoshoot for Her Photo Book: “Fuji Ayako”

Interview with Ayako Fuji on the occasion of the release of her photo book "FUJI AYAKO

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The secret story behind the shooting of the photo book was a series of unexpected developments…! >

(Please enjoy them along with the photos!)

Am I being tricked?”

On April 15, singer Ayako Fuji, celebrating her 35th anniversary of her debut, will release a photo book in which she proudly reveals her toned “beautiful body” that belies her 60th birthday.


Fuji boasts 21 appearances in the Kohaku Uta Gassen. She sings enka songs in a kimono, but she has also take-off her obi (sash), lintel, and even tried her hand at wearing a bikini.

When we asked her frankly, “why she took on the challenge of a photo book?”, she replied


“At first, I was told that it would be an essay book. Then it turned out to be a photo essay. Did I get tricked?”


Then, she looked around at the staff with a mischievous smile on her face.

When they showed me the pictures they had taken, everyone on the staff was so excited. I had thought that a photo book was out of the question for me, considering my age and other factors, so that was a happy miscalculation.

This photo book was born from such a “happy miscalculation”. The photographer, Kayoko Asai, brought out the best of her beauty. When she tried her hand at photogravure for a previous issue of Weekly Shukan Gendai magazine, she was photographed by Asai, which led to this photo book. 


“When I did a photogravure for Shukan Gendai, I was amazed at how beautifully someone could take pictures of women. I had hoped to work with her again someday. I have never seen a woman’s point of view like this before, and it is refreshing. It’s so simple, but there’s something shining through it. Anyway, I wanted to have your camera take pictures of me. I thought, ‘If it’s Mr. Asai, I’ll take off my skin’ (laughs).”

I let myself go and said, “Do as you please.”

The photo book project went “off without a hitch” after the original essay book was changed. Bikinis were also prepared at the photo shoot. 


“I don’t think I would have been able to do this work if I had any doubts or insecurities. This work was born from the relationship of trust between me and Mr. Asai. I let myself do as I pleased.”


Filming took place on Ishigaki Island in early November of last year. The filming took place in the ocean at sunrise, but there was one thing that bothered Fuji more than the cold.

The cold and fear made me think, “I am going to die “

“I hate water. I hate getting wet. I hate going in the ocean and I hate going in the pool… actually didn’t tell any of the staff about this. So you might say, ‘Let’s go further in.’,  ‘Let’s go deeper.’ ‘Please soak up to here,’ they would simply say. In my mind, I was thinking, ‘Oh no, I don’t want to do that. I might die…’ But they just kept taking me further and further away (laughs). So I was shivering like Bambi. Cold and scared. In the pictures, I look like I’m standing tall and proud, but I was already shivering (laughs).”

From the photo book “FUJI AYAKO” (Photo by Kayoko Asai)

Fuji, who “hates water,” was encouraged by the sight of Mr. Asai getting soaking wet for the photo shoot. The photographer and I worked together to create each and every piece of work. One of her favorite shots is the “back shot,” which shows Ayako’s back.


“I never had a chance to look at my own back, so I was surprised to see how well it turned out. You don’t often get to see your back by yourself. I was a bit impressed. If you have a back, you feel old, don’t you? Your back is very important.”

This is what my body looked like when I take off my kimono.

This “beautiful body” was created by yoga, which she has practiced for the past 10 years and continues to do four days a week. She also started kickboxing two and a half years ago.


“I didn’t work out for a photo book,” she says. “I wanted to sing for a long time, so I decided to train my inner muscles, which are important for singing. You may not have noticed, but it’s like, ‘This is what my body looks like when I take off my kimono’ (laughs).”

From the photo collection “FUJI AYAKO” (Photo by Kayoko Asai)

This year marks the 35th anniversary of her debut. Moreover, as she turns 60 years old, she has entered the realm of veterans in her singing career.

“I am enjoying life more than I ever imagined I would when I reached the 60th year of my life. I think this is expressed in these photos as a message that I love myself more now than I did in my 20s and 30s. Getting older is not something to be afraid of. I think there are women who say, ‘I’m too old to…’ But I tell them, ‘Let’s not say that. Women can shine no matter how old they are.”

Finally, “Did you think Ayako Fuji was amazing yourself?” I asked her.

“I think it’s hard to see unless you expose yourself like this. I don’t usually look good in the mirror. I’m not a narcissist (laughs).  When I looked at the photos taken of me, I felt as if I were a stranger, thinking, ‘You’ve come this far, Fuji Ayako. You’re doing a great job…”

She answered with a big smile. Ayako Fuji, who embodies “beauty” with a full body and soul, will continue to show us even more evolved “beauty” in the next 5 to 10 years.

  • Photography Masakazu Yoshiba Interview and text Norifumi Arakida

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