Japanese girl group Sakurazaka46 (櫻坂46) has been busy touring the world with their latest stop being Malaysia, performing at the Japan Expo Malaysia 2023 on 21st August (Saturday). The group, which debuted back in 2015, now has a total of 29 active members, and these ladies gave a spectacular performance for Malaysian fans at the 3-day event.
Before taking the stage at the Japan Expo, team Hype had the opportunity to chat with some of the members where they opened up about their experiences in Malaysia, the meaning behind their group name, and what they hope to achieve in the future.
No, this is our very first time in Malaysia, actually. Neither of us have visited before so we’re looking forward to experience more things here.
2. Is there any place you want to visit, or anything you wish to experience in Malaysia?
We tried Nasi Lemak and it was so tasty and spicy! One of us actually tried a local fruit here and couldn’t stop eating it cause it was so yummy.
We’ve also already had some experiences eating at restaurants in Kuala Lumpur but other than that, we hope to experience more local cuisines and try more local food courts around Malaysia so hopefully, we’ll get to do more of that soon while we’re still here.
3. What were your first impressions about Malaysia? What do you think about the cultural and social aspects?
We went shopping all together recently and the locals here are very warm and welcoming. Some of them even talked to us in Japanese which was very surprising and nice. We felt very comfortable and safe here.
4. Can you tell us about the origin and concept behind the name “Sakurazaka46”?
The most important part of our name ‘Sakurazaka46’ is the first part; Sakura. As many people may already know, the word Sakura means Cherry Blossom which is a very popular flower in Japan and has been widely used to represent our country. With that in mind, with our name ‘Sakurazaka46’, we hope to be the performing group that represents Japan wherever we go.
5. Sakurazaka 46’s performances are known for their energy and synchronization. How do you prepare both mentally and physically for your stage performances?
When it comes to mental preparations, we’ve worked with an incredible choreographer for our performances and each movement, formation, and concept has a special meaning to them so what we do is we try to understand the message and relate ourselves to those stories so that we’ll be able to convey them through our performances.
As for our physical preparations, we’d do regular exercises and warmups to strengthen our bodies and build good stamina so that we’d be able to perform without getting tired so easily.
6. What are your aspirations for the future of Sakurazaka 46? Are there any particular milestones or goals you’d like to achieve as a group?
We’ll be having our first-ever stadium concert at the Chiba’s ZOZO Marine Stadium in Japan this coming November for our 3rd year Anniversary and we’re very excited about it. We also hope to do more exclusive performances and concerts of that scale for our fans in the future.
7. Lastly, would you please leave your message to your fans in Malaysia?
We hope that our music and performance will be a good introduction to Japanese culture to our Malaysian fans and through our show, we hope to create a bridge for them to learn more about Japan and what the country has to offer.
Checkout Sakurazaka46’s latest music video for “Start Over”: