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Kiiyan and Yonaga Tsubasa  participated in last Saturday’s KenPro blu-ray release event at Animate Shinjuku. They were the last set of guests, starting at 18:30. KenPro president, Utsumi Kentarou, was the MC, guiding the conversation (as much as Kiiyan with a mic can ever be guided). The event had three parts: Kiiyan, Yonaga and Utsumi chatting; questions from the audience and prize giveaway.

Here’s some quickie bullet points (many thanks to my friend Yasmine for summarizing things for me). It’s Kiiyan-centric, since, well, he did most of the talking (sorry Wingu!).

  • It’s worth noting that Kiiyan calls Utsumi, who is not only his shachou, but also probably a little bit older, “Ken-chan.” Consistently.
  • Kiiyan said that Ken-chan’s rapping is a curse. He rapped at his own wedding, and all the KenPro staff were like “we’re doomed….” and, well, the marriage didn’t last.
  • Ken-chan denies that Kiiyan gave him a hug from behind to calm his nerves before he went on stage (but does fess up to saying really nice things about Kiiyan in the blu-ray extras)
  • Kiiyan told us a very poignant story about his early days with KenPro:
    • When he first left Yamaguchi to come to Tokyo, he was dating someone and he told her he was going to become famous and come back for her. Being apart didn’t work so well, though, and they split up. But when he came back a couple of years later for a ceremony for 20 year olds … well, things weren’t going well for him as a seiyuu, but the flame was apparently still there and they got back together.
    • When he got back to Tokyo, he talked with an older seiyuu in KenPro, Nomura Michiko (then wife of KenPro’s founder, Utsumi Kenji), and he told her he felt he wasn’t getting anywhere as a seiyuu and wanted to go home. (Not telling her he had a girlfriend to go back to.) She told him to go home and that there would be a spot for him at KenPro no matter how long it took for him to come back. Outwardly he thanked her. Inside he was like “yesssss!”
    • So he went home and picked back up with his girlfriend. But … after about a month, he realized he just couldn’t stay in Yamaguchi. He said, “I’m a person who belongs in Tokyo.” So, he called up KenPro and asked to speak to Michiko-san, as he was that Taniyama guy who quit the month before. And back to Tokyo and KenPro he went.
    • Obviously, the relationship didn’t survive being long-distance and the two parted ways. Cut forward to this year’s Fukuoka shows … the ex-girlfriend came to one of the shows with her son and a female relative. Kiiyan said it was a very emotional moment, and he almost cried…
  • When Kiiyan got back to KenPro,  most of the staff quit that day (or not long after). Including 4 of 5 managers. And the one that was left was … eh. So Utsumi, a 4th year college student, at the time, had to help out. Folks were really not sure of the future of the agency if he were to take over (obviously he’s done just fine!)

  • When they chatted about everyone prepping to sing Can Do on stage with Granrodeo, they all apparently complained that Kiiyan’s key was too high for them. Including Saiga. And Kiiyan was like “You … you should be able to sing in that key!”
  • Kiiyan called Saiga ikemen, which Yonaga whole-heartedly agreed with.
  • At one point they teased Yonaga about going off and starting a Yonaga-Pro agency. And Kiiyan joked he’d gotten an offer from Intention (Suzumura Kenichi’s agency) that morning.
  • Only a handful of folks in the room had made it to the Anisama performance the night before.
  • Several of us had our blu-rays already and had watched at least some.
  • The first two freebies to be given away were round rubber KenPro straps, which Kiiyan immediately proclaimed, more than once, were nipple covers.
  • When we were down to the last handful of people for those nipp–er, straps (myself included), on Kiiyan’s turn, he beat us all, which led to much amusement as we all sat down at once. Kiiyan is wicked good at jan-ken and he was all sorts of proud of himself for clearing the floor, even if that wasn’t the intent of the game.
  • I did not win anything — I am horrible at jan-ken — but I did well enough that there’s no way Kiiyan (and the others) missed seeing me standing up. Heh.
  • They ended up giving away multiple copies of signed KenPro CDs, signed tote bags, signed pamphlets. The woman next to me won one of the CDs, so I got a peek at the signatures when she showed it to me.
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