text by Jennifer Rabenitas & Ryoko Kuwahara
photo by Wataru Fukaya


The leading existence of Tokyo’s hip-hop with its outstandingly sophisticated atmosphere and flow: KANDYTOWN. Celebrating its release of first major work “KANDYTOWON”, the six members GOTTZ, IO, KIKUMARU, Neetz, Ryohu and YOUNG JUJU gathered for a party with producing director Reiji Okamoto(OKAMOTO’S) and Jennifer close for work of Reebok as their guests. Casual communication starts.

-To start with, how do you decide roommates for your tour? I heard that you all had a hard time in last tour.

IO “We mistakenly booked double beds instead of twins”
YOUNG JUJU “Was it at Osaka? Two for each room, and I went with Neetz. We did ladder lottery, it’s kind of a rule in KANDYTOWN to decide something with it. But we cannot gather for that, so we take live movies and release on SNS.”
Reiji “Sounds horrible!”
YOUNG JUJU “I was with Neetz the previous time as well.”
Ryohu “Me and GOTTZ.”
YOUNG JUJU “IO had a room for himself only.”
IO “I had the luck then.”
YOUNG JUJU “I was with B.S.C and DONY, but he said he’d never spend a night with a guy, rather pay a room by himself and he just went out.”
Ryohu “DONY was a good guy. I’m a gentleman as well, I gave GOTTZ three blankets.”
YOUNG JUJU “No, the truth is, when GOTTZ and I went back to our room, Ryohu was already occupying all the bed sleeping, so we went out for a drink.”

-You mean, you didn’t sleep at all?
YOUNG JUJU “not really.”
Ryohu “But in the last tour, B.S.C did a serious discussion and all of us were able to get a room for each.”
YOUNG JUJU “I can’t stand staying in a room with another guy.”

-I liked the ladder lottery. Okay, next. What’s the hottest phrase in your group? Like group slang?
KIKUMARU “Gachi-gachi”
YOUNG JUJU “Katai (hard) is a long hit as well. Gachi-gachi is harder than Katai.”
Reiji “Numatite is also a hit, isn’t it?”

-What’s Numatite?
KIKUMARU “It was created from the fact that Mr. Fujinuma was doing rap music in the past. What was the group’s name?”
Fujinuma “Daijyobu desu (I’m not gonna join this!)”
YOUNG JUJU “Daijyobu desu is another hit. When someone says “What’s up?”, then say “Daijyobu desu.”
KIKUMARU “Barashi is hot too.”

-You mean, breakup?
Ryohu “Yes, that’s right”
YOUNG JUJU “It’s Seiji-san (director)’s favorite phrase”
KIKUMARU “That came out a lot during the REC.”
Ryohu “And, hold tight.”
YOUNG JUJU “When you did something wrong, and someone is angry about it, you just hold him tight.”
GOTTZ “Though he’s angry with you?”

-Doesn’t it make the situation even worse…?
IO “Though he’s angry, “ah, you just have to hold him tight”. That’s time gap for Numatite. Hey, can I breakup this bean sprout?”
KIKUMARU “Go ahead.”
IO “Thanks.”

-IO can only eat meat? What about fish?
IO “I’m fine with fish.”
KIKUMARU “He loves McDonalds.”
IO “I like Teriyaki burger.”
Reiji “I also love Mac these days.”
IO “They are good. High quality, and will be there wherever you go.”
Ryohu “Exactly.”
Reiji “And Mac’s coke is the best.”
IO “I know! It’s best when you have it from drive-thru”
Reiji “That’s true! And I feel like eating Filet-O-Fish when I go drive-thru.”
IO “That’s not true for me.”

-McDonald’s coke is said to be kept in the very best ratio of coke and ice. That’s why it’s good.
Reiji “And the size of straw is same as average size of nipples.”
IO “The straw for shakes.”
Reiji “Yeah, the shake’s straw is the same diameter with average nipples”

-So, as a conclusion、Mac is great. Do you guys have any fetish?
All “What a question!”
KIKUMARU “Cheek’s my best and the only.”
GOTTZ “Achilles’ tendon”
KIKUMARU “What about you IO? Yours is difficult”
IO “Hey why’s that? I don’t have a particular fetish, I think.”
YOUNG JUJU “He avoided.”
GOTTZ “Cheating.”

- How about Ryohu?
Ryohu “I’m fetish of hearts.”
KIKUMARU “Hearts? What’s that?”
Ryohu “I turn around when someone has a nice scent, but eventually will value heart.”
Reiji “What about Neetz then?”
Neetz “Thigh, leg.”
YOUNG JUJU “Mine is official. I love hips!”
IO “I like looking from the back, when someone’s lying face down. How can I say, the shape from the back?”
YOUNG JUJU “IO actually likes hips and busts. I also like wide shoulders like swimming athletes.”
IO “You like everything.”
Reiji “You are a bipedal walking fetish”
GOTTZ “He’s a mammal fetish. Hey wasn’t Reiji’s movie of ray fish’s birth horrible? Disgusting!”
Reiji “I shared movie of ray fish’s birth on Instagram, and it had such bad reputation, so I was excited. I kind of wanted to sink popularity cause my follower is around 39 thousand and I didn’t want to make it forty. I like this borderline.”

-Interesting. Do you guys want your girlfriend to have same taste of music?
YONG JUJU “Never. I don’t want my girlfriend to come to club or listen to hip-hop.”
IO “The very last thing I want her to do is to listen to our music.”
Reiji “Hey, girls can listen to MICROPHONE PAGER can’t they?”
IO “Well, they won’t. I’ll be shocked if she starts listening to Japanese hip-hop when we are at home. I’ll go out for a walk. Better listen to Justin Bieber”

-Who will you want to date in the group?
GOTTZ “Me too.”
KIKUMARU “He’s the man. Cool itself, kind of.”
Reiji “DONNY’s a good choice.”
Reiji “HOLLY Q’s good too.”
YOUG JUJU “He’s cool.”
KIKUMARU “Hey are you guys okay?”
Ryohu “Calmly speaking, DONNY’s a firm choice. He’s proper”
Reiji “I’ll choose DONNY as well.”

-What about you IO?
IO “Well, I don’t want to date with anyone. So to speak, me. Cause I’m naughty.”
Reiji “That’s a dangerous reason! B.S.C might be another good choice.”
Neetz “I’ll be most comfortable with WEELOW.”
Reiji “WEELOW’s good too. He’s steady”
Neetz “Steady.”
GOTTZ “Honest.”
YOUNG JUJU “Who’s most gentle?”
Reiji “JUJU?”
YOUNG JUJU “You bet!”

-Everyone’s a gentleman. I’ve not seen this gentleman in same generations.
YOUNG JUJU “Who do you think is the most gentleman?”
IO “Hey stop that.”

-Hmm. But I think JUJU’s fairly gentle.
YOUNG JUJU “Here I come!”
IO “He’s crazy.”
Reiji “Jennifer, who do you date with?”

-Add DONY and Ryohu, split into two.
KIKIMARU “That’s me!”
Ryohu “That was fast.”
YOUNG JUJU “He meant it.”
Reiji “DONY again. He’s the one.”
IO “Jenny, you will be just a playmate, if you choose DONY.”

YOUNG JUJU “He’s got something dark.”
GOTTZ “DONY pitfall!”
YOUNG JUJU “These days I directly ask him, “You have something dark don’t you?”.”

-Who’s the “father” in KANDYTOWN?
Ryohu “Neetz?”
Ryohu “I’m not doing anything.”
IO “Hey, that’s not cool!”
Ryohu “Relatives?”
IO “That’s not cool either.”
Reiji “Younger sister?”
IO “Neetz is the younger sister.”
Reiji “Ryohu is like mother.”
YOUNG JUJU “And I’m the uncle.”
Ryohu “That’s B.S.C.”
KIKUMARU “I want to be the grandson.”
Reiji “No, Kiku’’s the pet dog. A dog life, still a part of the family, kind of.”
All (laugh)
KIKUMARU “I don’t like that kind of.”
YOUNG JUJU “YUSHI’s the father?”
Reiji “That’s not a good idea! He’s the second brother miraculously.”
YOUNG JUJU “Neetz is the one who automatically cleans the floor.”
Reiji “That’s Roomba”
YONG JUJU “Roomba’s one of the family, kind of.”
IO “Living desperately every day.”
YONG JUJU “Cause we take cares of him when he’s full of dusts.”

–No sisters?
KIKUMARU “Juju, maybe. He’s feminine.”
Reiji “Juju’s the mother and Ryohu’s the father.”

–You guys have a family-like atmosphere. How long have you been knowing each other?
KIKUMARU “I know JUJU since he was three and I was five.”
YONG JUJU “Uh, there was a green corridor in elementary school called Green belt, and I met KIKU and his sister.”
–Do you still remember then?
KIKIMARI “No. At first they were just my younger sister’s friends.”

–I see. Do you all remember when you met each other for the first time?
IO “I remember well when I met KIKU. When I was in the first year of elementary school, I was a transfer student, and KIKU was already there. Our first seats were fairly close because it was in alphabetical orders, and I saw a paper plane flying in the classroom one day. KIKU was the one who did it.”
KIKUMARU “I was the one!”

–That’s quite cool.
KIKUMARU “I met Ryohu in Shinkiba’s R festa or something in junior high school, right? You were with YUSHI and others.”
Ryohu “Studio Coast?”
KIKUMARU “Yeah. All of you were wearing NORTH FACE. I went with MASATO, but I was so short and thought YUSHI and everyone’s so huge.”
Ryohu “I remember that.”
IO “Ryohu was scary, actually.”
KIKUMARU “Yeah, he truly was.”
YOUNG JUJU “I only heard about him, but thought he was scary”
KIKUMARU “I called him Ryohu-kun until around finishing high school. Everyone called him so.”
Reiji “We felt like he was senior.”
Ryohu “I was bad during junior high.”
YOUNG JUJU “I’m even scared now.”
Ryohu “I’m like a gentle woodcutter!”

–So Reiji joined from junior high?
Reiji “Yes, from the first year of junior high. But I was with DONYHOINT and B.S. C from nursery, then elementary.”
YOUNG JUJU “My encounter with HOLLYQ’s quite interesting. When I was in sixth year of elementary, I had a quarrel with his friend and my friend hit him. So we went to their school to apologize, but I just stood wearing my hood and didn’t say sorry. Then he said “Hey you, take off your hood”. That was the first communication. Then we were in the same class in first year of junior high, and we became friends very soon, and we stayed together all day during junior high.”

–All of you had a wonderful encounter.
IO “Not all of us.”
GOTTZ “Year, we didn’t have such an interesting encounter.”
All (laugh)
IO “Simple, cool.”
YOUNG JUJU “GOTTZ were in public school, and whenever we go to the park they were there. They had a different kind of badness.”
GOTTZ “I didn’t do anything bad at all. I don’t take risks. I played soccer until high school.”
Ryohu “But you were off limit everywhere.”
YOUNG JUJU “All chain stores near the station closed.”
Ryohu “I was in the same elementary school with Neetz, but I didn’t had a chance to talk to him.”
Neetz “We did.”
Ryohu “You’re kidding!”
All (laugh)
Ryohu “Neetz and a guy Minnesotah were very close. I played basketball with Minnesotah during elementary and junior high, and I lent him JAY-Z and SNOOPDOGG’s album to him and said “you’ve got to listen, it’s so cool”. Then, when we met as grownups, he was also a DJ.”
Neetz “And I listened to that JAY-Z’s album.”
Ryohu “Passed through many hands.”
IO “Minnesotah knows Ryohu was really scary.”
Ryohu “That’s true.”
YOUNG JUJU “I also heard he’s scary.”
Ryohu “It’s not the bad scary. It’s like psycho.”
KIKUMARU “Isn’t that worse?”
YOUNG JUJU “IO and Ryohu used to have fights.”
Ryohu “About a year or so.”

-After starting KANDYTOWN?
Ryohu “Before starting.”
YOUNG JUJU “Seventeen or eighteen years old, maybe.”
IO “We had fights in front of Seijo station.”
Ryohu “Yeah we did. Body blows.”
IO “We were fools, had a fight in front of the police station, and while I was caught and carried into the station, Ryohu ran away.”
Ryohu “Yeah, by car.”
IO “(laugh) I was yelling “I’ll get you for this someday”.”
YOUNG JUJU “You were so famous for not getting along.”
IO “YUUSHI was terrible, he calls me and Ryohu at the same time. But we never had a conversation.”
Ryohu “But we stay in the same room. After a year or so, everyone came and say, hey that’s enough.”
Reiji “Funny.”

–I see. So, is there any sense of beauty common to you all?
YOUNG JUJU “hip-hop at least. We won’t be tacky in that sense.”
KIKUMARU “Way of walking is one. “TOKYO TRIBE was the trend, and YUSHI was wearing SARU and I wore WARU. We were like TOKYO TRIBE. We were in white and black, but joined shoulders and shot photo booth picture pretending to be so cool.”
Reiji “Awesome. But there are those tiny things. Never use Mckee’s narrow side. Guys should use bold. Or never arrange eyebrows.”
Reiji “But I saw old photos, and YUSHI did arrange eyebrows.”
KIKUMARU “His eyebrows went a bit bold one day, and we were teased him of it.”
Reiji “Yeah. When we were in Zutto Zureteruzu’s Senko Riotte、the application form had a place to write names. Cause it looked like official, everyone was writing real name、 but I was shocked YUSHI wrote “Dokatto”. Can play around everywhere.”
KIKUMARU “I just remembered. YUSHI did bad and was called to come to the teacher’s room, but he just lay down on the corridor. So the teacher came to the corridor and had an interview. He didn’t even move so head of year was kneeling down to talk.”
GOTTZ “Hey, I wrote YUSHI’s resume”.
Ryohu “I did as well. He said he couldn’t write the kanji of “to” of Tokyo-to.”
YOUNG JUJU “His response is just genius.”
Reiji “Yeah. Makes everyone say, “is that acceptable!?” kind of.”
YOUNG JUJU “He’s innocent, but cruel.”
Ryohu “Anyway he didn’t fit anywhere.”
Reiji “And he’s always shocking.”

-Finally, can you tell us the best memory of this year?
KIKUMARU “Okinawa’s Muruku bay. IO’s stage was there, and we all went with him and had fun with Jennifer.”

–That was awesome. What about you Ryohu?
Ryohu “There’s too much I can’t choose one.”
GOTTZ “What about Neetz’s sis married?”
KIKUMARU “Wasn’t that last year?”
Ryohu “(laugh) IO released his solo work as well.”
Reiji “Right. This year’s cool. KANDY, IO and JUJU.”
YOUNG JUJU “KIKU and Ryohu as well.”

–You IO?
IO “Actually there were many events this year. Too much every day, so every day’s a memory.”
Ryohu “True. I can’t even look back.”
Reiji “Solo of November is not even a memory yet.”
KIKUMARU “Not at all.”
GOTTZ “But the memory is, to be with everyone.”
Neetz “No change for five or six years though.”
Ryohu “Oh, shooting the cover page of “WOOFIN’” hit me in my heart. IO and I have done that before, but that was the first cover page as KANDY, so that was impressive.”
IO “True.”
GOOTZ “Let’s have fun together in the coming year as well.”
Ryohu “Roger that.”

photo Wataru Fukaya
interview Jennifer Rabenitas & Ryoko Kuwahara
text & edit Ryoko Kuwahara

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