―In your interview four years ago you said, "At tough times I want people to look at me and smile," but I wonder if you remember that?
"Oh, maybe I said that. But that's because it's not just something from four years ago, it's something that I'm always thinking."
―However, speaking of the time of the interview four years ago, that was a difficult period, wasn't it.
"Yeah, I suppose."
―In the meeting room, when the two of them said they were quitting, what kinds of things did you think?
"Hmm, the other three definitely stopped in place. But I didn't stop at all. Up until that point I hadn't known that Nishikido-kun was thinking of quitting, but for some time I had felt that Yamashita-kun's passion for NEWS had begun to cool."
―You mean that you were vaguely aware this day was going to come sometime?
"Yeah. Our final tour as six members, LIVE! LIVE! LIVE!, was after a two year period without a tour. At the MC of that time I said to the fans, 'Sorry for making you wait. Because from now on we're gonna work really hard!'. When the two brought up the topic of withdrawal, even if we had stopped the two of them from leaving there, I would've ended up repeating the same thing. If in the end we were going to make the fans wait and cause them sadness, I thought that we shouldn't bother trying to stop them then."
―That their withdrawal was inevitable.
"Yeah. It's not that it became a separation out of hatred. And it's not that I was even a little pissed off. I don't wish them unhappiness in any way. But isn't a group a team? In order to keep going on together, if you don't have the same goals, the same ambitions, and the same levels of passion, eventually you'll break up somewhere down the line. Like, if at some point your ambitions differ, I guess it was fate to separate."
―Koyama-kun, Kato-kun, and Masuda-kun all felt a sense of crisis about the continuation of NEWS. Did Tegoshi-kun feel it as well, of course?
"I didn't feel that at all. I have an optimistic personality, I'm extremely positive, and maybe it was because I don't get caught up in negativity even towards negative things, but I had absolutely no feelings of crisis. Because I caught sight of it like, 'This is the chance for me to become the main.' Like, my chance had finally come. It felt like I could grab this chance and focus the attention of the world on NEWS, on me."
―You're really positive.
"Although of course I thought about many different things."
―What kinds of things?
"The timing of when we talked about the two of them quitting was about when the Tegomasu 2nd Live Tegomasu no Ai DVD was going to be released. And Tegomass had a tour waiting from October. I had great confidence in what we were doing with Tegomass, and if we were going to restart NEWS halfheartedly and become a group that was thought of with pity I didn't want to do it. If we weren't a NEWS that I could put my chest forward for, like, 'If it's this we can do it,' maybe I wouldn't have continued."
―In September, all four of you stayed a night at Kato-kun's house, right?
"Yes, yes. We stayed a night."
―It seems that Koyama-kun wanted to discuss the future of NEWS, but Tegoshi-kun was messing around the whole time doing things like PK with a balance ball?
"That's true (lol)."
―I wonder if that was to prevent the atmosphere from becoming too serious, at the worst to prevent the air from becoming strange like, "the dissolution of NEWS," and that you were behaving cheerfully on purpose.
"Nah, I wasn't thinking about anything."
―Even when you mischievously wrote "You can do it!" in English with a marker on a light, there was no meaning behind it?
"There wasn't. None. None at all. Just innocent messing around (lol)."
―On October 7th, it was announced that two of the members would withdraw and that NEWS would continue activities as four people.
"It was announced, but how our activities would go from there was still a blank sheet. There was also quite the possibility that we were remaining in name only. I started leaning a bit towards the direction of ending NEWS as well."
―Then, at the time when the four of you went to yakiniku and Koyama-kun put himself forward for leader, what did you think?
"Something like, 'We don't need a leader, do we?'. Well, like either way was fine. But even now I remember well the words that Koyama-san said to me at that dinner. Like, 'I want Tegoshi to pull the group along. If it's you, we can do it. So pull NEWS ahead for us.'"
―You were told that kind of thing.
"Yeah. Shige as well, he's not really the kind of person to say things in words, but it felt like he was giving off an atmosphere like, 'Tegoshi, we're counting on you.' The two of them came at me quite hard. But Masuda, since he has strong preferences, and his feelings towards Tegomass are also really strong, I guess he worried over it quite a lot."
―Tegoshi-kun, you yourself worried as well of course, right?
"Hmmm. First of all I wanted to concentrate on the Tegomass tour. The tour began, and during rehearsals and the tour itself Masuda and I talked loads and loads about things like, 'What is the difference between Tegomass and NEWS? What's the meaning of doing them?'"
―Then why did you sing "Sakura Girl" at the Tegomass tour?
"We chose the song thinking that it was a perfect fit with our thoughts towards the two who quit and perhaps towards the group called NEWS as well. Like the section of the lyrics that goes, 'The reason that they're pretty is because they're scattering." But when it came time for the concerts I couldn't sing it while looking at the fans. That was the first time I felt something like that."
―Why couldn't you sing it?
"I guess because I thought that it must be painful for the fans hearing this song now. At that time, if I had felt inside myself that it was definite that NEWS would continue as four, maybe I could have sang it as if it were no big deal. Because we were also feeling various emotions, and there was also a small thought that perhaps, 'This could be the last time singing a NEWS song.' That's why instead of singing here smiling, if NEWS ends up going away, it wouldn't be a good way of giving that kind of shock to the fans. Thinking like that, I wasn't able to look at the audience."
―What was it that caused Tegoshi-kun to decide to continue with NEWS?
"As expected it was the fans. When I'm walking around town, I'm easily spotted and many people start talking to me, but after the announcement of their withdrawal, almost everyone told me, 'Thank you for remaining as NEWS.' When I thought about how many people would be hurt if NEWS were to disband, I thought that I couldn't do it."
"The Countdown Concert of that year was also quite big to me. It was the first time for four member NEWS to perform, but we were waiting hidden behind a white cloth. And then, even though there were fans of many different groups, when it was understood that we were appearing there was a huge reaction. It was so big that it surpassed anything I had imagined by far. I thought that I couldn't cause all these people pain."
―And then the continuation of NEWS was settled inside of Tegoshi-kun.
"Yeah. It wasn't which should I choose. Because both are important. I couldn't choose, and there was no need to choose. There were fans waiting for the revival of NEWS. We started off as nine people, the members started decreasing, and there was a time our activities were suspended. Despite that the reason we were able to keep going wasn't because one of the members was protecting it, it's because NEWS was protected by the fans. I also talked a lot with Masuda about how 'We can't easily throw this away.' In the end I said to Masuda, 'Let's give it a go!'"
―Previously you said, "Can the NEWS that has lost its heart fly again?," right?
―Koyama-kun said, "Now the heart of NEWS is Tegoshi."
"I'm happy, but isn't he praising me too much (lol)"
―He also said, "The one positive person is pulling along the three negative ones."
"I got my natural positivity from my father, but when we decided that we would do NEWS as four people, I suppose I really became completely positive. 'Cause we have nothing left to lose. I decided to only look forward and stop hesitating. A center showing weakness is nonsense, right? That kind of group won't attract fans. Yeah. After that, there's one more thing that I decided after we became four."
"That more than standing in the center, I'd become NEWS's shield. Even if I have confidence in myself, when it becomes about the group, in regards to things like performances and new songs, there are parts that we don't know what kind of evaluation we're going to get. Perhaps there are times we'll be showered in criticism. I decided that I would take in all the criticism towards the group, as well as all the criticism towards the other three. With a feeling like, 'Those who have criticism, please direct it at Tegoshi.' Like, so don't say it to the other three. Because this is the center position I've always wanted to stand in, I have to do at least that."
―Since about when did you think that you wanted to stand in the center?
"I guess around the release of 'Hoshi o Mezashite' (March '07). That was the first time I was in the center. I stood in the middle of the members on stage. I thought, 'This feels great. I want to be here.' Other than the center, no matter where you are dancing you can always see some other member in the front. But there is no one in front of the center. Like, this view with no one in front of you, this position that is closest to the fans, it's great. I thought that it really felt amazing. That's why I was determined to definitely become the center. I wanted to stand in the center the whole time. I've always thought that I want to become the center."
―Your effort for that purpose has brought you this far. Koyama-kun also said, "Tegoshi has a big mouth, but once he says something he will put in all the effort to make that true."
"That's for sure. But, for example, on this tour I played the piano, but I don't think that practice was effort, and I also don't think singing lessons are a part of effort. Rather than 'Because~', I like the word 'Despite~'. Like, 'Despite being a Johnny's, playing the piano' and 'Despite being a Johnny's, being only in my underwear.' Anyone can do 'Because,' but only a limited number of people are able to do 'Despite,' right?"
―I guess that's true.
"Furthermore, I think that because you only have one life, it's best to do the things you like and things that are fun. And I think that what's right in front of those fun things is effort. To put it paradoxically, it's better to put in effort because fun things are waiting. Because there are definitely fun things waiting for you in the future. And when you break through it, you end up thinking that effort isn't effort. No matter how hard some muscle training exercise is, I don't think it's tough. Because the excitement of the future result ends up winning. That's because from a young age my dad raised me saying, 'Do the things you like.'"
―But aren't there also people who have trouble finding the things they want to do and things fun to them?
"I don't understand the meaning of that. 'Cause isn't life a continual series of choices? Yakiniku or sushi, which do you want to eat today? This car or that car, which do you want to ride? There are various choices, and depending on the choices you have to put in effort to get the things you want, and maybe you have to work hard at studying. But I simply think that if just by working hard there's a world you'll be able to reach, isn't it good to put in the effort. Because if there are things I want and a way I want to become, I can't stand a life where I just stand by and watch like, 'Maybe I can't get it' and 'Maybe I can't become like that.' Everyone is living their one and only life! You should do the things you like and became the person you want to be."
―That's certainly true.
"It's okay to not have any foundation or confidence at first. 'Cause when I was a Jr., I was scolded by a dance instructor for having a big attitude, and because I was yelled at like, 'What is that you want to become!', I quickly responded with, 'A star!' (lol)."
―And then you really became a star.
"Although I still have a ways to go. I want to become a star not in regards to my work, but to my way of living. There are still so many things I have to accomplish."
―Next, please tell us three things that have left an impression from the time NEWS became four up until today.
"I guess the first one is the Countdown I mentioned before. The second one is the time around the release of 'Chankapaana.'"
―The opinions of Kato-kun, who wanted to quickly release a new song, and Masuda-kun, who wanted to create something perfect even if it took time, conflicted, didn't they. Which way did Tegoshi-kun feel?
"I was with Masuda. I don't want to show uncool points or weakness in front of others. That's my instinctive feeling. That's why I also hate crying in front of people. For the same reason as that, I don't want to show halfhearted done things to the fans. I definitely didn't want us to be thought of like, 'Because the number of people decreased, this is the only kind of song they can do.' Therefore, the part of me that didn't want to release anything until we could create a satisfying work was the same as Masuda."
―As something that has left an impression, what do you mean by "around the release"?
"The company staff, the record company staff, the tour staff for NEWS LIVE TOUR 2012 ~Utsukushii Koi ni Suru Yo~, of course the members; everyone was full of the spirit of, 'We definitely must not break the wings called NEWS.' Because those were days we became one with the staff and fought together. Everyone was moving for the sake of NEWS, like 'Let's bring the best songs we can for NEWS' and 'We want you to appear on as many TV programs as possible.' Of course as far as we know everyone was like that, and I think many other people probably worked hard for us as well in parts we don't know about. Like, the concert staff saying, 'Let's add these special effects.' Many people brought many different weapons for us. And then they saw us off onto the stage of Chichibunomiya. I'll never forget those passion filled days."
"That's why the third thing that's left an impression is after all the stage of Chichibunomiya. I've never experienced it and this might be an improper comparison, but it felt like going to the front of a battlefield. Like, 'If we fail here NEWS is finished,' it felt like we were challenging a fight not knowing if we would live or die. I think that the nervousness and emotion that I experienced at that concert will never be that high again. On that day, the atmosphere we created with all of the fans, it definitely won't ever be surpassed from here on out. Definitely."
―While singing 'Full Swing,' surprisingly you cried, right?
"During 'Share' the three of them were already crying. Because I understood that the other members were falling apart, I thought that, 'I can't fall apart as well.' I had the feelings that I didn't want to shed tears in front of the fans, but right at the hook of 'Full Swing' I saw a girl who was crying. The message she was holding, 'Thank you for remaining as NEWS,' came into my sight. At that moment, various images came back to me in quick succession."
―What kinds of images were those?
"The faces of all the staff members making every effort for our benefit, the faces of Koyama and Kato saying 'Pull the group along for us,' the face of Masuda smiling after the time I said, 'Let's give it a go.' And the faces of everyone at the venue. Like, all of the points came together and became a line. At the moment I had the conviction of 'NEWS is doing it!' And then I became unable to bear it any longer."
―Now, what kinds of things do you think towards the two who quit?
"I wonder. The somewhat strange thing is, even if I see them suddenly I don't get the feeling that we were originally in the same group. How should I put it, it feels like the current four of us were put together as a group from the beginning."
―Perhaps that's because you're fulfilled with NEWS's activities now.
"Yeah. Perhaps that's right. I think it's because I have confidence that we're creating good things as four. In regards to our concerts as well, I have confidence that we're definitely doing interesting things. The distance between the members has gotten closer than before, and at the same time I think that the distance between NEWS and the fans has gotten closer as well."
―That may be right.
"Because after all the four of us have been working together since our Jr. period. Since before we became NEWS, we appeared on things like Ya-Ya-Yah together. I guess it feels like we've reached a place where we can properly show our real selves."
―After the rehearsals for NEWS LIVE TOUR 2015 White, just the four of you went out for dinner for the first time in a long while, right?
"Yes. It was fun."
―At that dinner, Masuda-kun confessed that, "Actually, until the 10th Anniversary at the Dome, I didn't have confidence in the activities we did as four." Had you realized that?
"I didn't know that at all. I was surprised like, 'You thought that kind of thing!' At that dinner, of course we talked about the future of NEWS as well, but the second half become almost completely like a girls' talk (lol). Well, even though we're four guys. Maybe that was the first time I talked like that with the members. In the end we talked until four in the morning."
―During all the difficult times up until today, during tough times, who was it that always stood by Tegoshi-kun's side?
"The members, family, staff, and then the fans."
―What kind of existence are the other members to Tegoshi-kun?
"What is it, I wonder. I guess I can't say that they're friends. How should I put it, they're brothers in arms. If I put it like soccer, teammates. As fellow players, it's important to be in fierce competition and fight to be a regular. But when it becomes time for a game, we show our teamwork and switch to go for the win together. I guess it's that kind of feeling."
―Then, one by one, what kind of people do they seem like to you?
"Koyama is, hmm, I guess to put it in soccer terms he's the keeper. He's at the back of the team fortress, always encouraging his teammates in a loud voice."
―How about Kato-kun?
"Shige, I could end it just saying that he has talent, but writing books is seriously amazing. He's established his activities as a writer, and they're actually interesting. But above all else, the fact that it's not a path that was spread out for him but a path that he cut out for himself, I think that not as a celebrity but purely as a guy that it's really cool."
―How about Masuda-kun?
"I wonder. Our personalities clash the most. Yeah. Probably, if we were classmates we definitely wouldn't hang out (lol). However, there's no mistaking that he's my number one partner, and I recognize his talent. Because in regards to performances and costumes, he sees things that usual people can't. I don't think that I want to be together all the time, but I guess I think things like, 'I want to work together soon.' Furthermore, it's that as Tegomass we've come this far without dancing, only singing. I think that's something that definitely hasn't existed in Johnny's until now. We're not the one and only, but I have pride Tegomass has become that kind of thing. After all, I think it became like that because Masuda is here."
"But just the players alone can't win the game, the company and record company staff that work together with us are the coaches and medical staff, to put it in soccer terms. The fans are the audience. I think that when everyone comes together we can win a game for the first time."
―As expected, you can't try hard if you don't have an audience?
"That's right. Even if I stop in place like, 'I can't run one step further than this,' since the cheers of the fans are there I can start running again."
―Next, what kind of existence is your family?
"One way or another to put it is that my mother is probably my biggest fan. And after all I think I want her to be smiling more than anyone else. It's impossible to be thankful enough for her giving birth to and raising me. And my face resembles my mother's. When I entered the company and received my first paycheck I gave it to my mother. Although apparently it's still set aside untouched."
―How about your father?
"......He passed away. Right on the day that 'KAGUYA' was released."
―I'm sorry, is that what happened.
"The day after he became ill he passed away, it was seriously so sudden....... So I didn't even get to see him at the end. The last thing he said to me was, 'Get me a Dome ticket.' He was planning to come to the last day of the tour."
―I've made you recall something painful.
"No, it's alright. I was the chief family representative at the funeral, but because my dad was a NEWS fan I made a single medley to play at the ceremony. In the middle of the ceremony when 'Sakura Girl' began playing, my father's mother, my grandmother, told me this. 'He liked this song and was always singing it.' That was the first time I heard that. Because my dad had been planning to come to the Dome concert, on that day during 'Sakura Girl' I sang the whole thing while facing the heavens. Just for that time, it wasn't the fans; I allowed myself to sing while looking up at Heaven. When I finished singing I pointed up and said this. 'Dad, did it reach you?'"
―While holding on to that much sadness, you kept standing and conducting yourself in a strong manner......
"That's because I'm sure he wouldn't wish for that. For me to be depressed, my father. If I were depressed, I'd be making him think, 'Blaming it on me isn't an excuse.' Of course it was painful. But I made it through the funeral without crying at all. The people around me were crying heavily, but I thought that it wouldn't be good for me to cry at that time. Even though I wanted to cry for him. But he definitely wasn't wishing for me to be weak like that. When it was all finished and I was finally alone I cried heavily though."
―This question is out of place, but the time you were on Sekai no Hate Made ItteQ! in only your underwear, the recording was right after that?
―Why are you that strong?
"I wonder why. I guess because no matter what kinds of painful things are happening in my personal life, they have nothing to do with the fans and viewers. That's not something I should show to them. As a person who is standing in front of a television camera. You said it in the beginning, but it's because I want people to look at me and smile."
―Isn't it okay to show your weak side once in a while?
"But I'm not as strong as I say. Because that kind of thing happened, there's also a part of me that worked hard day by day encouraged that I would be able to see all of the fans during the tour. Because as expected the people who understand me the most are all the fans."
―Nevertheless, you're strong.
"I wonder. Because I have a positive personality that I received from my dad, I'm thankful for all the things that happen around me, both good and bad. Because if I lacked even one of the experiences I've had, I wouldn't have become the person I am now. Furthermore, I think that I've become this positive because of everything that's happened, the sad and painful things. If nothing had happened I wouldn't have become this strong. The fact that we became four people, from a general viewpoint maybe it's a negative thing. But because that kind of thing happened, the bonds between the members have become stronger. If you think about that, it's not like there was no meaning for it. There's not even one thing that happened that was worthless."
―That's true. No mistaking it.
"I can say that about our relationships with the fans and staff as well. We didn't have a smooth sailing. I think because of that, our bonds with the fans, staff, and other members have deepened. I'm repeating myself, but that's why I'm thankful for everything that has happened. There aren't any other fans that have gone this far in giving me, us, love. The twelfth year since NEWS's debut, this is a strange discussion; if we had made it up until now without anything happening I think our relationship with the fans would have been more shallow. The thing that brought us to this kind of deep, trusting relationship is that we've overcome many different things together."
―Because the fans were there, the current Tegoshi Yuya and the current NEWS exist.
"Yeah. Koyama said that I'm 'the heart of NEWS.' Probably Koyama, Kato, Masuda, and the staff are all parts of the shape making up the group called NEWS. But with just those NEWS doesn't move. The moment I stood on the stage of Chichibunomiya and saw the full crowd, I really felt that, 'I'm alive!'. How should I put it, the fans are the blood. When the fans flow into NEWS's heart and flow into the whole body, we can move for the first time."
―That's true. Then this is the last question, but where do you think the goal for NEWS is?
"Probably no matter how far we go there's nothing like a goal. But, the four of us can keep running no matter how far. As long as we keep hearing the cheers of the fans."