Alright, let's start out easy: can you introduce yourself to us?
Annyeonghaseyo! My name is Hope, and I'm a small part of SHINY SHINY. It's nice to meet you.
You and your brother's adoption story isn't uncommon knowledge to most CM Entertainment fans, but I was hoping having you here with us now, you could give us the story from your prospective?
Oh, okay. I can do that? Though most of the stories you hear are correct. Just before my fifth birthday, my birth parents and little sister were in a bad car crash just outside of Shibuya where we lived. It, um... it killed them and most of the people involved in the accident. I was really young back then, so I don't remember them much now. My father worked at a car plant and my mother was a secretary. We were just a normal, average family. I have a few photographs that were sent with me to the orphanage, but that's about all.
I wasn't at the orphanage for very long- a few months. Time was a lot harder to keep up with then because I was so devestated by losing the only family I'd ever known. It's hard on a kid to be taken away from their normal life and thrown into a world of despair. But Appa and Eomma (Jong-su and Chisa Yukizome Kim, Makoto's adopted parents) contacted the agency and decided to adopt me after visiting.
They were worried that I would be lonely on my own- both of them had siblings growing up, and they didn't want me to miss out on that. I'm glad they did, because we all met Nagito not too long after that. We were brothers instantly, even if we don't share a single bit of blood. It's like that with our parents too- I love them just as much as I loved my birth parents.
I'm sorry. That must be so hard to talk about.
No, it's alright. It can be hard to relive bad memories, but the story has a happy ending, doesn't it? Besides, I hope the more I talk about it the more it might reach someone who's going through the same things that I did and give them some hope that things will get better for them in the future like it did for me.
What is your relationship with Nagi like? You're not related by blood, but you seem close.
Like I said, Nagi is my brother- it doesn't matter to me that we don't share blood or names. I can remember from the very first day that we met, Nagi promised me that he'd always look out for me and take care of me, and I knew then that I never wanted to have a life again without him by my side. I think for us to have met after going through so much sadness as kids, we were able to bond and become closer than most brothers are.
Nagi kept his promise. He's always been there for me, from moving into our new home to cheering me on at my debut to sending me positive messages when I'm halfway across the world. I do my best to be a little brother he can be proud of. Eomma used to say that we were like twins, attached at the hip growing up, and even though our jobs keep us apart a lot, he's still one of the most important people in the world to me.
What are your favorite and least favorite parts about being famous?
My favorite part is being able to reach so many people. Idols have a huge responsibility to bring joy to the lives of others, and being out on stage and seeing all the smiling faces is the best thing in the world. My least favorite part is probably the paparazzi- I don't mind them doing their jobs! I just don't particularly like having my picure taken all the time.
SHINY SHINY has proven their popularity overseas with a sold-out US tour, but they haven't made many waves here in the homeland in the last two years since your debut. Do you think the release of your new albums and your upcoming comeback will change that?
I'm hoping so! I think we resonate with American audiences more because we have a very strong message behind our lyrics. That's not to say other Korean groups don't as well, it's just that the issues we address are more popular overseas, I think. Either way, we've worked really hard on our upcoming album, and I know SHINY-BBY has as well- we're really hoping that the Korean fans will give us a chance to prove that we have the talent to impress them too.
Your subgroup SHINY-K is known for their powerful political stances and bringing awareness to many social issues, but you've always seemed so... calm and sweet. Do you agree with your group's message?
Always. It would be very silly to sing about things I don't agree with, wouldn't it? Most everything we sing is written by us and carries the messages about social issues we want to express. I think it's ridiculous to think that just because I'm quieter than the others or kind to everyone that I don't care. I care a lot.
You and your brother (Nagito Komaeda, ST*R) both have been labelled "lucky" by many of the fan magazines because of your parentage. What was it like having famous parents involved in the industry? Do you credit your fame to their influence?
I guess you could consider us "lucky". My eomma was a big Japanese idol- she still occasionally makes appearances or performs for commercials, but she retired to raise me and Nagito. Our house was filled with music- singing and dancing, performing our school songs in the living room while our parents watched. I wouldn't say that fame was expected of us, but our parents encouraged us to follow our dreams and be as creative as possible.
My appa works for a branch of CM Entertainment, so when an audition came close to us and we were old enough to try out, they urged us to go. I don't think that anyone will ever know the judges reasons for choosing us both, but what I know for sure is that my brother and I have worked hard to get as far as we have. Nagi is talented at many things, and I'm sure if you asked his bandmates, they would tell you he was as important to the team as anyone else is.
Maybe the reason I was allowed to debut with SHINY SHINY was because of my parentage, but I like to think that I try hard to prove myself worthy every performance and song.
Who chose Hope for you?
Ha, well it's kind of a funny story. Before SHINY-K debuted, our leader wanted us to chose stage names to match our personas- the others chose Hope for me because they said that I gave them hope for the future of the world. It's stuck since then.
Your voice- in my opinion, at least- is one of the most powerful and angelic voices CM Entertainment has to offer right now. What kind of practice have you had to keep up such an amazing voice? Would you sing something for us?
Um, wow. Thank you. I appreciate that. There are a lot of talented singers in CM Entertainment, so just to be included with them is an honor. I practice singing often so I can offer my best to the group. I'd hate for them to be held back just because of me. I'll sing for you if you really would like?
Thank you for that. Do you have any other hidden talents that you've been keeping up your sleeve? Is there anything you're particularly bad at?
Um, no. Not particularly? I'm alright at English and Spanish thanks to spending a lot of time overseas, but I'm not as talented as some of the others I know. It's... a bit of a joke with everyone in the group, but I'm embarassingly average at everything. Except running, which I'm horrible at.
One day I'll find my hidden talent! One day! I haven't tried everything yet, after all.
There are rumors floating around that you've been spotted out and about with Haena from ROSEGOLD. Is it true you're dating? What is she like?
Well, uh... yeah. It's still a new thing, but I don't think it's too hopeful or too soon to say that we're dating. She said yes, at least, when I asked her.
Haebitna is an amazing person. I'm sure if you've ever seen her perform or heard her voice, you know just how amazing she is. You just have to meet her once to see how wonderful and bright she is. We knew of each other, obviously, since we worked for the same company, but we never got to spend much time together before we were asked to help show the trainees how duets are supposed to go. We spent the entire day together and learned that we had so much in common, so when it came time for life to go back to normal, I decided I couldn't miss my chance and asked her to go get some ice cream with me.
...which of course was in Idol!Gee the next day, but I think that's probably just to be expected when you spend time with someone as famous and well loved as Haena.
Where is the furthest from home you have traveled? Where do you want to go in the future?
The United States, I suppose. SHINY SHINY performed in New York, which feels like worlds away from South Korea or China or Japan. I wouldn't mind visiting England or France one day, though I really need to work on my English and French before then.
What are your dreams for the future? Where do you see yourself in five/ten years?
I... don't know. I would still like to be performing, with SHINY SHINY too if we get lucky enough. Maybe SHINY SHINY and ST*R will go on tour together in Japan, and my brother and I can visit the places we grew up in. I'd love to do another international tour too. But as for big plans, I don't really have any. I'm just trying to take one day at a time and enjoy the life I've been given.
Makoto Naegi is his canon name, and he kept his name after being adopted just like his brother.
Okay, but have you heard D.O. sing. Sobs.
Makoto and Nagito are connected in canon by their SHSL titles. Even though Makoto's changes to the Ultimate Hope, they are both recruited in their years as the Ultimate Lucky Students. That, and canon!Nagito is kind of obsessed with "hope" which ties back to Makoto. (Plus, they're precious brothers who deserve to have each other in their lives okay, just give me this.)
As another throw back to the SHSL Ultimate Lucky, Makoto and Nagito are considered to be lucky because their parents are famous and were able to pull strings to get them their jobs.
Makoto's parents are thouht to be dead in canon as it's never revealed what happened to them after he and Komaru left their home.
Makoto is a very humble character in canon, and it's mentioned in Danganronpa/Zero, that he has "incredible strength inside, despite often appearing weaker on the outside." During hard times, he is shown to have power to give hope for other people and affect their way of thinking with his unusal optimism. He is also a pacifist, as he believes that killing and violence isn't the answer to anything.
Danganronpa takes place in a dystopian-like version of Japan.
Approved by Dessy beforehand.