“I love Mike Tyson, and I had done all the image training, but the moment the bell rang, my mind went blank (laughs). (laughs) I found out two weeks before the fight that my opponent, actor Houka Kinoshita (57), was a black belt in Shodokaikan. I thought to myself, “I’m not going to be KO’d! But when I looked back at the video, the fight didn’t turn out that badly, so I think I got away with it.
Mikio Osawa, 52, jokingly looked back on his amateur kickboxing debut, which he lost by decision on August 27 in Tokyo. He left the Johnny’s Office at the same time he left “Hikari Genji” in 1994. Since then, Osawa has tried his hand at various fields such as acting and film directing, but his new challenge is kickboxing.
The legendary idol, who arrived at the interview location by subway, looks back on his turbulent life.
The legendary idol, who arrived at the interview location on the subway, recalled his turbulent life: “I am here today because I was in ‘Hikari Genji. I learned a lot from Janie (Kitagawa) and Mary (Fujishima), and that’s why I’m here today. That’s for sure. I felt the same way when they passed away as I did when I lost my parents.
There was a phone call that became a turning point in my life. The caller was Mr. Janie. Osawa had been active in the Johnny’s office since he was in elementary school, but he never made it. One day, when he was in high school, he called Mr. Janie and told her that he wanted to quit the agency. “One day, when he was in high school, he called Mr. Janie and told her that he wanted to quit the agency.
It was Janie, who said, “You should try roller skating. You’ll be a star for sure. I was a little puzzled, but it actually turned out to be true. At first, I was not sure about the name “Hikari Genji,” but it turned out to be perfect. Whenever Mr. Janie took notice of a group, he would ask, “Why this girl? When Janie-san finds the right girl, even a junior who is a bit of a novice will sell. He was full of talent to find a gem and make it shine.
Thus began the life of a super-idol, sleeping only when traveling by car and receiving one metric ton of chocolates on Valentine’s Day.
I had four live singing programs a week, including ‘Uta no Top Ten’ and ‘Yoru no Hit Studio,'” she said. At the same time, I was giving concerts, promoting new songs, and appearing in variety shows with drama. This was later passed on to “SMAP”. With today’s idols, concerts would have to be cancelled if they got sick or injured, but “Hikari Genji” didn’t let anything happen to them. No matter if they fell off the stage and cut their shins or cracked their bones, they would go ahead and do it, saying, “There’s no one to replace us. They told us to make dragging our legs a part of our performance.
It was tough, and it was hard, but because I experienced those days, I became a person who would not be intimidated no matter how hard things got.
It was his ambition that drove Osawa to leave the group. Osawa’s opinion that “Hikari Genji” should grow together with the fans and that they should consider taking off the roller skates was not accepted.
Osawa’s opinion that “Hikari Genji” should grow with the fans and consider taking off the roller skates was not accepted. Nowadays, there are next steps for idols such as actors and TV personalities, and that’s why we have ‘unconventional idols’ like SMAP and TOKIO. Their targets were always kindergarteners to high school students, and they did what they liked. I felt like I was doing the same thing over and over again. I couldn’t continue to wear fluttery costumes as I got older and act out the role of an idol.
Mr. Merry was aware of my feelings and when I told him that I wanted to quit Hikari Genji, he said, “I’ve felt that. But she didn’t think that I would quit the office as well, and when I told her that, her face changed. ……”
It was in 2007 that Mary and Osawa met again, having not had a chance to meet since then. The farewell party for Mr. Janie was the stage.
“I got a call from a staff member at the office asking if I wanted to meet with Mary. I said yes. I said yes. As soon as I met Mary, she said, ‘Jyuu! She remembered me well. However, Mayo Kawazaki, 58, who was accompanying me, hugged Mary and started crying, and I said, “Wait a minute! (laughs). (laughs). Masahiko Kondo (57), Kazuya Kamenashi (35), and other favorites of Mary were there, and I also got to meet President Keiko Fujishima (55). It was kind of like a reunion. I know it’s a strange thing to say, but I’d like to thank Mr. Janie again for giving me this opportunity.
Osawa’s ambition led him to make a connection. When he was still in his teens, he met Yutaka Ozaki at a bar in Roppongi, which he frequented to make contacts.
“We didn’t have cell phones back then, so we didn’t make any promises, but when we went to the bar, he was there. We both hadn’t sold yet, and he once gave me a demo tape saying, ‘This is the next album we’re going to release. We were together almost every night. I will never forget the time he sang “Jyushichi no Chizu” to me on my 17th birthday. Eventually, we both became busy and had fewer opportunities to see each other, and I heard the news of Yutaka’s death in Germany, where I was on location.
In order to improve himself, Osawa left the Johnny’s office. In order to improve himself, Osawa left the Johnny’s office and was suddenly confronted with a harsh reality at the TV stations and record companies where he went to greet people.
He was told clearly, “You won’t be able to work for a while! That’s what they said to me. Even if Johnny’s doesn’t take any action, there is definitely discovery. My acquaintances in the entertainment industry quickly withdrew. I was young, and there were times when I was mad. But if you keep your cool, you’ll know which one is better to keep a relationship with. Luxury brand clothes are just clothes once you take off the tags. I cut off the tag “Hikari Genji” by myself. When I look at the current Johnny’s Office, where many people are leaving, I can feel the change of the times and the wave of generational change.
Rejecting his idol self and not being able to trust others, Osawa says, “I had a tough time mentally for about 10 years. However, he said with emphasis, “This is the most fun I’ve ever had in my life.
“There are those who leave, and there are those who reach out to us anew. Hardships and setbacks become drawers. I’ve been through a lot, but looking back, nothing was wasted. I have achieved everything I wanted to do. Kickboxing is another opportunity that came my way through fate, and punching a sandbag is refreshing for my body and good for my mental health as it relieves stress. The next fight is scheduled for December, so I’ll definitely get my revenge!
The tag “Kisei Osawa” shines brighter than any of the former members of “Hikari Genji.
From the October 8 ,2021issue of FRIDAY
Reporting and writing： Masao Kurihara PHOTO： Shinji Hamasaki