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The Kitagawa Diaries


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I am always on the lookout for new scans, articles or tidbits of information regarding Kitagawa-san for this site! If you have any, please E-mail them to me, and I'll be sure to give you full credit for your contribution! Thanks!

Saturday,Nov 22,2003
Seventeen Interview

Many thanks to the invaluable Jay N. for translating this interview Kitagawa-san did with Seventeen magazine (Japanese ver.) for me!

Q. What'd it feel like to be chosen for Seventeen?
A. I was really happy about it. For the sake of everyone who reads seventeen I've got to do my best, I think.

Q. Its fall, what would you like to begin doing more of on from now on?
A: Reading. I've come to like books more and more and so I just want to read more and more.

Q. What's something you would you like to learn?
A. Fortune telling.

Q. What kind of fashion taste do you want to go for in the fall?
A. The style of someone who travels around. I think it also looks good when pants are tucked into the boots.

Q. What kind of things did you want to buy or have bought for the fall? What do you want currently?
A. I bought a suede bag. And currently I want a cowboy hat.

[Ed. WTF?! Is this Live-Action Aino Minako cowgirl fetish nonsense some kind of communicable disease?!]

teh gr8tst nightmar3!!1
For some reason, Kitagawa-san's modeling career tanked shortly after this photo spread...

Q. What western brands do you like these days?
A. I don't have a particular brand that I've decided on, I just get the clothes that interest me.

Q. Whose jeans do you like the most?
A. Lee jeans.

Q. What interesting books have you read recently? Do you have any recommendations for our readers? (Including manga.)
A. "Catcher in the Rye" (by J.D. Salinger) was very interesting! My recommended book is "Yuhi" by Sumomo Yoshie.

Q. What movie did you go to recently?

Q. What do you do on your days off?
A. I don't have any days off. I wish I had a day off.

Q. If you had a door to anywhere like Doraemon, where would you want to go?
A. I want to go to Firenze in Italy!!!!!!

Q. What kind of things are supporting you in succeeding in your modelling career?
A. Reading books, studying my 'senpai' models by watching them, those kind of things lift me up! I'm looking to be beautiful from the inside out.

Q. For the last question, a message for our readers please! Doing your own PR work is OK!
A. I'm really happy to have become a Seventeen model. For everyone who voted in the poll, thank you very much. From now on I'm going to be putting everything on the line to do my best, so please cheer me on and take care of me.

- 北川景子 は火野レイです -

Wednesday,Nov 19,2003
She may be Rei-san, but can she dance?

Note: This article is part of a larger series of articles I'm working on for a project I'm involved in, so while normally I wouldn't mind anyone reposting the data elsewhere with attribution, in this case I kindly ask that you do not repost it anywhere. Thanks!!

Shinto Series I: The Shinto Miko and the Kagura Dance
By Dr. Xadium

From all I know about Rei-chan, the two of us are exactly alike. It’s a very smooth transition into her role, I can't think of any ways we differ."
-- Kitagawa Keiko, on being Hino Rei

As a die-hard Sailor Venus fan of long standing, I am faced with a crisis of conscience. On the one hand, I have supported the cause of Aino Minako through Manga, Anime and Fanfiction—I even worked her character into the “all Outer Senshi and their Pals” Suburban Senshi series.

But six episodes into Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon and one thing becomes stunningly clear to me—in terms of sheer verisimilitude and screen presence, no one better represents their assigned Senshi than Kitagawa Keiko-san as Sailor Mars. In action and appearance, she fits “to a T” the expected role of a Shinto Priestess. (And she doesn’t run like an airplane, which is an added bonus).

(Picture adapted from Serecindra’s site)

Yes, Kitagawa-san definitely has the necessary solemnity, aloofness and gravitas… but there is one more skill she needs for the role, one question about her that remains unanswered, and is critical to her proper portrayal of Hikawa Jinja’s mysterious miko-- can she dance?

“Dance? But the solemn manga-style Hino Rei that Kitagawa represents is too stolid a character to ever indulge in something as frivolous as dancing! We all know how she feels about things like Karaoke!”

Perhaps so, but believe it or not, dancing is a vital part of the Shinto miko’s repertoire.

But what is a Miko, anyway?
(a.k.a. utterly dodging the question for the moment, or “Rei’s lonely life”.)

“Yes, yes,” you protest—“I already know what a “Miko” is—someone who works at a Shinto shrine.” There’s more to it than that. Have you ever wondered why there only seem to be young women serving as miko at Shinto shrines? Or why it is that the Hino Rei of the manga and live action series has little interest in boy chasing? (Or for you InuYasha fans, why a Kikyo / Inuyasha pairing would either be highly unlikely IRL or at least why it would mean the end of Kikyo’s career?) Well these things are all inextricably bound with what it means to truly be a Shinto miko.

(And yes, I know that Manga Rei has had bad experiences with men that might drive her away from them, but that would just draw her more into the lifestyle of the miko, as you will see)

(Picture adapted from Serecindra’s site)

In ancient times, the miko was a spiritual person who went into deep trance, and was said to channel the gods, bringing their message to the people. To this day, some sects of Shinto rely on miko to perform this function [i], although in modern times the role of the miko has been relegated to a support position, wherein she serves as an assistant to the priest (and is usually his daughter). [ii]

Miko have to be unmarried[iii] (along with everything else that implies in a traditional society). Thus, Rei (or Kikyo, for that matter) cannot get truly “involved” with men / (or hanyou) without forsaking their status as miko.

(So any fanfics you see that have Rei, shall we say, in a deeper relationship with Mamoru / Yuuichiro / whoever and then going back the next morning to tend the sacred flame are way off base as far as traditional Shinto is concerned, unless, as I’ll get to in a moment, she gets a promotion).

Incidentally, this also explains why teenagers are mainly featured in anime as miko; the aged Kaede from InuYasha is a notable exception (and now we know what her social life must be like).

The reason for this required celibacy can be traced back to the legends of old; miko still learn the songs which speak of how the first miko was originally offered up as a bride to the gods. Her purity gives her power… it is said “her touch is holy; the grain sown by her hand is blessed”. [iv] (Many followers of folk Shinto still feel this way about miko, who have become titular heads of many splinter offshoot religions independent of the shrines.) [v]

Thus, Rei’s disinterest in boys is a quite logical one—personal issues aside, at this stage in her life, because of her duties, she can’t waste her time on them, and it would just cause problems for her to try.

But I’m a hopeless otaku who wants to marry her! HELP!
(Or, for every rule there is an exception)

Now, while miko cannot marry, Shinto (not having the same taboos on procreative functions as some occidental religions) does allow its priests and priestesses to marry and have children.[vi] (Recall that miko are already “wedded” to the kami, so that prohibition doesn’t count as a taboo).

It is rare, but there are Shinto priestesses—thus if Rei was to one day ascend to full control of Azabu-Juuban’s Hikawa Jinja, she would be able to marry and have a family. So, basically, all you Rei fanboys, Hino Ojii-san must die. (or quit, but I like the drama implied by the former scenario better).

OK, OK… but what about the dancing?

In addition to the “stock” roles of Miko that are well known through anime, such as conducting various rituals, and assisting in wedding ceremonies, they also perform a special ceremonial dance known as Kagura.

What is Kagura?

The word Kagura literally means “place of the gods”, but the Kanji used mean “music of the gods”.

The term refers to a performance involving music and dance [vii] celebrating the renewal of life—that traces itself back to the very roots of Japanese myth.

The sun goddess, Amaratsu, was lured out of hiding by a dance performed by the goddess Ama no Uzume no Mikoto—leading to the belief that dances such as Kagura pacified the ancient gods, consoled them and offered them entertainment. [viii]

While it can be done in public, this dance, which has been performed much the same way as it has been for 2000 years, is often performed by miko in austere settings, where no one but the performers can see what goes on.[ix]

The form of the Kagura dance hearkens back to the era in which miko were not mere subordinates to a temple priest, but rather shamans in their own right.

The swaying motions of the dance, together with rhythmical stamping and hand-raising, all look back to a time when the miko would seek to induce a trance state in which she offers her body for possession by the deities, who would then convey their messages through her.[x]

Kagura performed in Kasuga Jinja during the 1960’s [xi]

Some of these miko—known as aruki miko—would go from one village to the next, dancing and passing along their messages. The dance of an aruki miko actually served as the basis for a more well-known form of Japanese dancing, kabuki.[xii]

Thus,as you can see, any halfway decent Rei-san has to know how to dance—it’s part of her job description… so the question remains…. Kitagawa-san may be the living embodiment of Hino Rei… but can she dance?

I notice that in her “diary entry’ for 11/14/03, Kitagawa-san wrote:

“In the way back from the shooting location today, in front of the station, I met some people performing "folklore" music. They were wearing folk costumes and enjoying their dance- it was a fun and carefree musical performance. The sight of those guys holding our culture important was something that really hit me right in the heart.”

If that’s so, then perhaps we may yet see her dance in some far-off episode of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon.

Well, that’s it for this opening salvo in what promises to be my irregular series on the Shinto life of Hino Rei (and the excellent acting work of Kitagawa Keiko-san), so until next time, please amuse yourself by getting your o-mikuji (fortune) read at CyberSamurai’s Virtual Samurai… and remember, Kitagawa Keiko is Hino Rei!!

Works Cited:

[iii] id.

- 北川景子 は火野レイです -

Tuesday,Nov 18,2003
What's in a name?

There are more than 70 ways to render the name "Keiko" in Kanji; the particular one used for Kitagawa-san's given name is 景 ("Kei"), meaning a "scene" or "view".

The second part of her given name, 子 ("Ko") means "child".

the family name "Kitagawa" breaks down as follows:

北 ("Kita") - "north" or "northward",

川 ("Kawa") - "stream" or "river"

Therefore, it could be said that written in this manner, "Kitagawa Keiko" means "a view of the north river"-- or "a northward view of the river".
(this is all guesswork on my part)

- 北川景子 は火野レイです -

Monday,Nov 17,2003
Number 1 at the polls?

According to my admittedly vague comprehension of the babelfished site here it would seem Kitagawa-san is the most popular of the PGSM senshi so far...

- 北川景子 は火野レイです -

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