Kyary Pamyu Pamyu: the long interview

Japan's new favourite Harajuku Girl goes ‘PonPonPon’

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu: the long interview

This has been an awful year for a lot of people, but for Kyary Pamyu Pamyu it's been going rather nicely so far. Already famed for her kooky dress sense and limitless array of weirdo facial expressions, the 18-year-old model and Harajuku style icon is now poised to hit the big time. Earlier this week she released her debut mini album, and it's currently hovering at no. 2 in the iTunes Japan charts. Moshi Moshi Harajuku is produced by electro wunderkind Yasutaka Nakata, of Perfume and Capsule fame, who's used the opportunity to unleash some of his most sugary productions to date – including a cutesy cover version of Capsule's own 'Jelly'. The release was preceded by the already notorious 'PonPonPon' video, a sensory overload of dancing blackberries, psychedelic pigs, floating brains and torrents of eyeballs. Or, as we find out, just another day in the head of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu...

Who had the idea for the 'PonPonPon' video?
I talked with the director, and he made the things I wanted to do happen. I'm good at unicycling and pogoing. I like eyeballs and gross things too: they're not just scary, they're also kinda cute. When I told the director all of this, he used it in the video.

How did you feel the first time you watched the finished version?
They used a lot of CGI, which I thought was neat – like shooting fireballs, or having eyeballs come out of my mouth. When the director told me to stick my tongue out during filming, I wondered what the hell he was going on about, but when I saw the final CGI I loved it. It's really polished.

What do you think people watching overseas will make of it?
I think they'll be surprised. I get a lot of comments from overseas on Twitter – from people in Brazil, for instance. I'm happy to get so much of a response. Everyone's writing in English, so I use a translation site to read everything. The song was released simultaneously in 23 different countries, so I think a lot of people heard about it.

Where do you think you have a lot of fans, besides Japan?
When I went to LA recently, I had a lot of foreigners compliment me on my fashion, which made me really happy. I want to go back there again.

What were you in LA for?
It was a preview for Pirates of the Caribbean. I met Johnny Depp. I was sent by a magazine, and had a lot of crazy photos taken with Penelope Cruz and all the others. Johnny was really small, actually. He looks big in the movies, but I don't know how they do it.

Who are your icons?
I like Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera and Katy Perry – especially Katy, at the moment. I'm influenced by overseas music videos. When I saw Gwen's 'Harajuku Girls' vid, I started thinking, 'Wow, Harajuku girls are super kawaii and totally awesome', and that's what got me where I am now. I started out as a model right after that. Gwen really opened my eyes about style.

Are there any English guys you like?
The actor who plays Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter series, Tom Felton, is my favourite guy in the whole world. I loved him when I was a kid.

What do you think about Lady Gaga?
When Gaga came out with blue armpit hair, I thought that looked super cute.

It's like you take something cute, make it really grisly, and then it ends up being cute again...
Some of the things I think are cute, other people will think are scary. I like it myself, but… When I used the album cover as my Twitter photo, it freaked a lot of junior high-school students out. (Laughs)

Speaking of the album, what was Yasutaka Nakata like to work with?
I'd been a big fan for ages, so when I heard he was going to work with me I was bowled over. I'm still surprised now.

What was your first impression of him?
He's got this image of being super cool, but he was really interesting to talk to. He talks about food a lot – like, 'The tonkatsu there is really good' or 'That shabu-shabu is great.' He's very knowledgeable. I don't like vegetables, so he took me out to eat meat instead.

What's with the title Moshi Moshi Harajuku?
When I was speaking to Nakata, he said it'd be good to pick a name that foreigners could understand, like 'kawaii' or 'konnichiwa' or something. When we laid out all the different names, the combination of 'moshi moshi' and the cover photo was just total nonsense. As in, it was great.

Continue reading Kyary Pamyu Pamyu: the long interview

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu: the long interview
Part 1 | Part 2

By James Hadfield
By Daisuke Nishimura
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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