Hiiragi Rio put on three amazing shows at Japan Expo LA and got the crowds that came to see her very hyped up! We were able to catch up to her after her final performance and she was able to pull herself away from her legions of fans to grant us an interview. We hope to see more of her here in the US and hope that this isn't our last chance to sit down and talk with her!
Hiiragi Rio is a Japanese idol and J-Pop singer known by her nickname "Riorio" and her catchphrase "Takama Riorio!". She debuted solo in 2011 and was also a member of the group, Heart&Cupid. She released her first solo single in 2013 and it was followed by four more over the next two years. She has performed abroad in Taiwan, France and in the UK with Japan Expo LA marking her first performance in the US.
A-To-J: Please introduce yourself.
Rio: Yes! Everyone, raise your hands up! Ready… shimmer, shimmer, shimmer, super big smile! I’m Hiiragi Rio, also known as Riorio! Everyone together… “Takama… Riorio!” (Translator’s Note: “Takamaru” is the word she’s using to combine with her name, it means to get hype) Nice to meet you!
A-To-J: How do you like L.A.? Have you gone sightseeing?
Rio: L.A. is very friendly! If I wave “hi”, they say “hi” back! The food is also great! I love eating a lot so I’m happy that the portions are big here. Yay!
A-to-J: What food do you like the most here?
Rio: Hmm… Hamburgers!
A-to-J: From where?
Rio: There was a place near the convention center that is supposed to be fourth most popular in America. It was tasty, “juicy!” (English)
A-To-J: What is the difference of Japanese fans and American fans?
Rio: There’s a lot of people that haven’t seen me before so they don’t really know what to do seeing my lives but as the live went on, everyone cheered along and it was heated up and very fun!
A-To-J: What is your inspiration?
Rio: I really love anime and I get influenced by anime singers. There’s no one person but I’ve been inspired by many “anisong” singers.
A-To-J: What is your favorite “anisong”?
Rio: I really like Code Geass so I really love the song “Mosaic Kakera”.
A-To-J: Please tell us your goals for next year.
Rio: I want to come back to LA! Also since the US is big, I want to go to other places like NY or Seattle. In Japan, I want to become big and a star!
A-To-J: Is it hard to always perform with such energy?
Rio: I’ve never thought of it as hard. I get a lot of energy from the fans so we exchange a lot of heat and make it a great time which is why I’ve never felt like it was tough.
A-To-J: Have you had any funny happenings during lives?
Rio: For my 19th birthday, I had a one-man live. I tripped during the first song… During the first part of the song, I told the fans “Let’s get hype!” and then I tripped. It was embarrassing but I do trip during my lives sometimes
A-To-J: Can you tell us something about your fashion style?
Rio: Harajuku style! I really like this style and I know overseas people enjoy it so I wear this style to overseas. When I’m in Japan, I wear Japanese style or more mature or cute styles… I wear many different things!
A-To-J: Can you give us the detail on what you’re wearing right now?
Rio: There’s a lot of badges attached [to my skirt]. There’s also a pocket with a doll in it.
A-To-J: What brand is it from?
Rio: This one is Nile Perch! There’s also a wallet attached.
A-To-J: Was it sold separately from the dress?
Rio: Yes, I attached all these things myself! And these are… (Lifts up yellow paw shaped gloves) pockets! Then my backpack, Darko-chan! I also have these shiny headphones.
A-To-J: Did you decorate the headphones yourself?
Rio: This is a brand, yes! (Laughs)
A-To-J: Where do you go shopping?
Rio: This is all Harajuku! Except for the yellow paws, these are from Shinjuku.
A-To-J: What is a store that you recommend?
Rio: Nile Perch! They sell a lot of pastel colored goods.
A-To-J: Have you performed at any other overseas countries?
Rio: Other than America, I’ve performed at Macao, Hong Kong, Taiwan, France and the UK.
A-To-J: Where in Taiwan?
Rio: I went to Taipei and Takao!
A-To-J: What food did you like in Taiwan?
Rio: Tapioca! It was chewy.
A-To-J: Did you go to the night market while in Taiwan?
Rio: Yes I did! Everything was delicious!
A-To-J: Where can we get updates and information about you?
Rio: You can find it on Twitter, Facebook, Ameba Blog, as well as everyday broadcasts such as Nico Nico Broadcast, Twitcasting, SHOWROOM, AfreecaTV and Youtube. I also do LINE as well (@hiiragirio1220). My twitter id is @hiiragirio.
A-To-J: Please send a message to your US fans.
Rio: I was happy to be able to come to America for the first time! If you’ve seen me for the first time and you became my fan, I will come back to see you again. I will go to LA and other parts of America in the future! With the broadcasts, you can see me every day! Please come see me! “I love you!” (blows kiss) Bye!
The above interview was conducted by Darice Chang with assistance by Stephanie and Ellen, all of whom provided on-site translation. It was directed by Manuel Figueroa with filming by Eunice Wang and post translation by Tiffany Fujii