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INTERVIEW: Rinne Sugeta of 7 MEN Samurai on New Year motivations and more!

STAR CONTRIBUTOR

Written exclusively for Tokyohive by Sabina Lindstrom

As we get ready to step into the second month of 2024, a lot of people are still hard at work on their New Year's resolutions. Getting in shape is certainly a popular goal, driven by personal targets and/or just a desire to be healthy, but sticking to these resolutions can be tough!

When it comes to keeping yourself motivated, one of the best ways is finding someone in sight of your goal and applying their advice. And when it comes to goals in general and fitness in particular, there's one talent we immediately think of who never stops pushing onward and upward toward success; whether it's for himself or the sake of his group.

Having recently participated once again in “Sasuke Ninja Warrior” (SASUKE), the original Japanese version of the global hit “Ninja Warrior” franchise and well-regarded for his high physical aptitude, Rinne Sugeta of 7 MEN Samurai is the perfect person to seek advice from. Let's delve further into his own goals and personal benchmarks, more on his participation in SASUKE, and how he predicts his fellow members would fare at such a challenge of physical endurance.

As smart as he is strong, we also can’t help but be impressed at how seamlessly he switched between English and Japanese while answering!

Can you introduce yourself to the Tokyohive reader community?


(In English) I’m Rinne Sugeta from 7 MEN Samurai. I’m 25 years old. I can play the saxophone and guitar and do acrobatics! I have five cats and I’m the mood-maker of the group!


Getting into shape is one of the most common New Year's resolutions in the US/the world, and as someone active and known for your fitness, do you have any advice for those wishing to keep up with their resolution? How do you keep yourself motivated when working out? What about your own workout routine?

The best advice I have for people who want to get back into shape is to go with friends. It definitely makes it a lot more fun. Going by yourself is usually quite difficult, and it’s hard to stay motivated, but when you’re with other people, it allows you to see the fun in working out, and you can share the mental stress of going in and trying to better yourself.

Another thing I advise is also to keep track of your progress. If you keep records like “I was able to lift this much weight last week, but now I can do this much,” you can see the kind of upward climb, and it leaves proof that you’re improving. It also helps with mental stress, and it becomes more fun, almost like a game of your own.

As for myself, I like to see the progress of my bench press because when going to the gym, something like the bench press gives off the feeling of getting a “manly style” body type. Therefore, seeing the progress with it helps me to come closer to achieving such.

When it comes to my workout routine, I like to work with personal trainers. I like to work with someone who can help shape and push me in particular areas but also give me an outside perspective on what I need to improve on. If they’re happy about the progress, I get happy too! It means I’m doing better and better.

You recently participated in SASUKE, known in the West as “Ninja Warrior,” and have done so since 2020. How did you prepare for SASUKE?


(In English) I know that I need a strong grip for SASUKE, so I focus on arm muscle training. For example, hanging from a bar is really good for that.

In previous years, when we had work at the Tokyo Imperial Theater, I would often hang from various things backstage to develop my grip. Even though our work this year at the Imperial Theater is happening after SASUKE, I still find places to hang from to continue to build the core grip strength whenever I can.

Another thing that I keep track of is the callouses on my palms. I develop them when I work out, and even if I get rid of them, they come back. That kind of development is something I use to keep track of my progress too. It gives me a sense of pleasure to see that development is coming along.

Why did you decide to participate in SASUKE in the first place? What motivates you to continue trying for SASUKE every year?

The original inspiration was the people who came before me, like A.B.C-Z’s Ryoichi Tsukada, whom I also look up to. Seeing him achieve this sort of thing (on SASUKE) and having a similar personality, desire, and sense of wanting to get in shape and work out inspired me. I’ve always wanted to do it myself, and when I got the offer to participate in SASUKE for the first time, I was really appreciative. It was something I really looked up to and wanted to participate in so I’m really appreciative that I’ve been able to continuously participate the past four years.

In terms of motivation, the biggest thing was that I was just really excited to see the set of SASUKE. It looked really fun and challenging, and the idea that if I really developed myself, I could have a body that actually would be able to compete in such a trying course was something that became sort of a personal motivation.

That kind of aspirational aspect, dependent on the event itself, is something that really motivates me to work out and develop myself. The overall sense of completion and achievement and the desire to know that I could do something like this is what keeps me going. Even though for four years, I haven’t been able to do everything that I feel like I want to do, that sort of constant “Oh, next year I will try even harder,” “Next year I’ll do it again” is what really keeps me going, along with the accompanying sense of self-competition.

@jr_official_tiktok SASUKEセットで遊んでみた!!! #菅田琳寧 #7MEN侍 #SASUKE #SASUKE2023 #NINJAWARRIOR #内宮パーク #目線カメラ #がんばりんね ♬ オリジナル楽曲 - ジュニア【公式】

It's always great and funny to see 7 MEN Samurai challenge various physical courses and challenges on YouTube. Among the members, how far would they manage to go in SASUKE and why?


Rei Yabana: Yabana would, despite what may seem from his skinny frame, probably do really well! His grip strength is surprisingly strong, maybe second to me within the group, so he would probably manage to get all the way to the Dragon Glider. He would surprise a lot of people who would think that he didn’t have in him to get that far.


Taiki Konno: Probably to the Rolling Hill. It’s a lot further than it seems and actually really scary. It maybe doesn’t look that way on the screen when you’re watching it but when you’re there, it’s actually intimidating and a lot farther than it appears. So Konpi would getprobably this far but it's hard to imagine any further than this.


Taiko Sasaki: Taiko has a really good sense of balance so he would probably make it to the Dragon Glider. Because of this, he would do really well at the Fishbone, and kind of maneuver his body around that and keep upright through that whole process but he would probably not be able to handle his own weight at the Dragon Glider and then fail at that.


Katsuki Motodaka: On the other hand, Katsuki has no balance whatsoever so he would probably fail at the Fishbone.


Reia Nakamura: Reia is really good in general (at these things), but he hates getting dirty so there’s a high chance that he’s going to willingly give up before the Dragon Glider in order to make sure he doesn’t fall into the dirty water!

@jr_official_tiktok あなたは2度見をしたのでは👀? #菅田琳寧 #7MEN侍 #腕トレ #トレーニング #錯覚 #筋トレ ♬ MONTAGEM - PR FUNK - S3BZS & MC GW & Mc Menor Do Alvorada

You've also been active on the Junior TikTok by not only dancing and following the trends but also uploading fitness-related TikToks! Are you going to continue these videos and make a series?

It might be hard to make a full series due to the way the channel is built and that it is a shared channel, but I would definitely love to do more. On the previous site, ISLAND TV, I did a lot of these sorts of things, and I would love to be able to continue it in order to show off my personality more. It would be less about the fitness aspect itself and more about “training with me” and focus on the different body parts that I am personally working on at the moment. That way, the fans who also want to get in shape can follow along with me.

@jr_official_tiktok 最後のキメ顔なんなん?😂 #菅田琳寧 #7MEN侍 #自重トレーニング #懸垂 #背中トレ #トレーニング #ぶら下りにくかったここ ♬ MASTERPIECE - DISGRACEMODE

In terms of whether or not it would become an actual series, I’m not quite sure, but I did have a lot of fun making the ones that are currently up on the Junior TikTok channel, and I would love to do more of those. I also follow various fitness-related channels, especially other people from SASUKE, and I get a lot of inspiration from them.


The phrase “がんばりんね” (Ganbarinne) has become well known among fans as your personal cute and motivational catchphrase! Do you have any other hashtag for fans/readers to use if they follow your advice and fitness workouts on TikTok?

I think that continuing to use “がんばりんね” would probably be the best. Especially if people get to truly understand what the phrase means. The whole idea is the combination of “がんばります” (ganbaru = “to do one’s best”) and “りんね” (Rinne = my name), and it playfully emphasizes that “Rinne will do his best,” that I will do my best, (where the “I” could also apply to anyone using it.)


So rather than change it or for the sake of changing it, the aim is to reinforce the meaning behind it. I will continue to work hard so that the “りんね” part of “がんばりんね” means even more and becomes more and more inspiring to anyone who might use it themselves. By continuing to use it, those who watch me, take my advice or find inspiration in my SASUKE journey can genuinely understand the meaning of that phrase and apply it meaningfully to their own lives.

The official SASUKE account also used the hashtag #がんばりんね multiple times during the promotional period, and that made me really happy to see. Something that I was looking up to and inspires me was using an element that I came up with to inspire others. I look forward to becoming even more of an inspiration to other people and pushing out that message.


In 7 MEN Samurai, you play both the saxophone and guitar; what made you pick those instruments?

My first exposure to the saxophone was actually when I saw a street musician who played both the saxophone, piano, and acoustic guitar within the same set. I thought that was really cool and something I aspired to and wanted to be able to do myself. Of course, it didn’t hurt that the senpai I look up to the most, Hey! Say! JUMP’s Ryosuke Yamada also plays the saxophone. These two inspirations were what pulled me in the direction of picking up the saxophone.

However, within the kind of style of music that we play as a group, there aren’t many songs that really accommodate the saxophone too well, so it was recommended to me that I probably should pick up another instrument to not pigeonhole myself to an instrument that can’t really be used that much, and I ended up with learning the guitar. In terms of which instrument I have more confidence in, it’s definitely the saxophone. Right now, I’m working with a dedicated professional because I want to be the best saxophone player within the STARTO family.


You're also personally known for your stage acrobatics and other physical exercises during shows. What made you start with acrobatics? Do you have any favorite moves?

The dance studio I'm currently attending, which is the same one I started at back in the day, also provides classes specifically for learning backflips. I thought it looked really cool, so I wanted to try it out. While a lot of the people managed to do it in a week, it actually took me about a month before I could really get it down. However, I take great pride in this because it aligns with my personal ethos of “Try and you will succeed” or “Stick with something and you will succeed.”

So even though people around me were able to get it much quicker than I was, the fact I was able to get it all down because I was so determined and committed is something I am really proud of, just as an overall process and ethic.

@sasuke_tbs #7men侍#菅田琳寧 さんが アクロバットを披露✨👀 #ジャニーズjr #がんばりんね #SASUKE2022 #fyp #おすすめ ♬ What Makes You Beautiful - One Direction

(In English) My favorite move is the Flashkick!

I perform it a lot in various shows, and it’s a type of backflip that is usually performed with one leg extended and the other tucked, kind of like a kick at the peak of the flip.


Returning to the topic of resolutions, what about your own/the group's New Year's resolution? Or a goal for 2024. Or what do you look forward to being able to do in 2024?

In terms of work goals, I would love to do more regular radio shows or have a regular 7 MEN SAMURAI solo radio show. There are numerous opportunities with radio shows, providing a more personal connection with fans. Being able to speak live to lots of different people and hear their feedback in real time is something that other groups have had a lot of success with, and I would love to do such with 7 MEN Samurai as well.

As for my personal goals, I am actually studying to get my NSCA license as a personal trainer to have proof that I’m committed to what I am doing with fitness, personal training, and those things. As for the group, we would love to do more shows in 2024, especially shows out in the more rural regions of Japan, not just the big cities, just to really commit to being able to do a lot more for a lot of different people. But more than anything, to make all our fans happy.


Any closing words for our worldwide readers?


(In English) Hello, my beloved fans, I’m Rinne Sugeta. I’m studying English now to be even one step closer to being able to communicate with all my international fans. We’re doing our best to make sure that 7 MEN Samurai is STARTO ENTERTAINMENT’s band that is loved not only in Japan but also all over the world.

It is clear that the resolutions of Rinne are sure to come to fruition as he and 7 MEN Samurai continue to take on Japan and the world. Whether it be by clearing all of the stages of SASUKE next time or becoming our own font of inspiration to get fit, Rinne is sure to win your heart in a second with his pure and straightforward determination to succeed. No matter what, he’s a winner in all aspects.

In honor of his catchphrase, let’s all がんばりんね together with Rinne and 7 MEN Samurai in 2024!


Catch 7 MEN Samurai every Friday at 8pm JST on YouTube!


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RELATED READING about STARTO ENTERTAINMENT’s Junior Talent:


INTERVIEW: Yuto Takahashi and Mizuki Inoue of HiHi Jets on their latest drama and favorite original songs!


INTERVIEW: Ken Kojima of Ae! group talks about his new starring drama and more!


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