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Posted by J_Global 430 pts Friday, February 16, 2024

INTERVIEW: Taro Yoshikawa of AmBitious talks language learning and more!


Written exclusively for Tokyohive by Kat Gruss

One of the most difficult yet rewarding skills that anyone can pick up is being able to speak another language. The intricacies of brand new grammar and committing to memory new vocabulary can feel at times like climbing a mountain; but for those who reach the peak, the world is more open than it was at the base.

Aside from the obvious personal achievements, being able to speak a second, third, or even a sixth language can open doors to brand new cultures and friendships with people across the globe. Taro Yoshikawa, of the up and coming Kansai Junior group AmBitious, is one such young man who has endeavored toward multilingual proficiency with English, and given that he managed this entire interview using such he certainly seems to have endeavored well!

We sat down with Taro to discuss his language abilities, his upcoming stage play produced by Ken Kojima of Ae! group, and more!

Editor's note: As a testament to his English skills, the following interview has been transcribed directly from his original answers, with minor edits only as required.

Please introduce yourself to the TokyoHive community!

Hello everyone, I’m Taro Yoshikawa. I’m a member of the boys group named AmBitious. I’m graduating from university this spring, so I’m very excited to get more work in my free time.

How would you describe AmBitious to someone who doesn’t know them?

There are a variety of members who can dance very well and can dance a subset of hip-hop called 'poppin' dance. There are a variety of people, so I think it’s fun to watch this group.

What English word would you associate with each member of AmBitious and why?

Ichita Inoue: His is “dance” because he dances very well, and he is the dance leader of the group.

Leo Nagaoka: It’s... "adorable?"  Or maybe “spoiled?” But he’s good at communicating with older people.

Takeyuki Mayumi: His word is “jump” because he’s always jumping at our concert, and he’s very happy and full of energy all the time.

Rikuto Ura: He’s “smart”, he’s clever. He’s the only member who is good at thinking in a normal way. He’s logical! We rely on him.

Gaku Kawashita: It’s... “serious” or “enthusiastic” because he is always practicing his dance alone in his own world with his earphones.

Rion Ouchi: It’s “music” as he likes to play instruments. He plays the piano, guitar and so on.

Yuri Oka: I think he’s the craziest person, so it’s “crazy.” His crazy side doesn’t always appear. Sometimes he changes his image. He’s very “funny” too.

Myself: I’ll describe myself as “power” or “powerful” because I’m working out. Sometimes I’m training too much… I like working out. Or maybe “strong.” I’m the second tallest, by the way. But definitely the strongest.

AmBitious' official group photo in January 2024 (Taro Yoshikawa top row, furthest on right)

What inspired you to start learning English?

When I was a junior high school student, I scored not bad on the English test. I’m not a very smart person, and I cannot score very well on tests usually. However, on the English test, I scored pretty well, so I tried to improve my English skills. I gave up on the other subjects. I focused just on English!

Is there any kind of work using your English abilities that you would like to challenge in the future?

I want to appear in educational TV programs, such as English educational programs. Perhaps acting someday? But I have to study more first.

How do you maintain motivation to keep studying English?

I don’t rely on motivation because motivation can suddenly disappear at any time. So I’m trying to make my English studying to be like a routine (as good as brushing teeth, eating, etc.). I make one or two things that have to be achieved or done as a daily goal. I set these goals every day. This shows my self-motivation.

Before Island TV was discontinued, you would make English themed videos for that website. How did you come up with the concepts for those videos?

Firstly, I wanted everyone to know my and Yuri Oka’s skills in English. Secondly, I got the idea of my English videos from YouTube. If we ever have a channel of our own, I want to make more of those kind of videos.

What is something about your upcoming stage play Oide yo! Minami SHOTENGAI that you would like to share with fans, whether they can attend or not? What makes this play special and stand out amongst others according to you?

I want to share “warai” or “Kansai-ness”, as there’s a lot of comedy shows in Kansai, like “Yoshimoto Shinkigeki”, and I think Kojima-kun (Ae! group) was inspired by those shows. I think now is a good time to grow up in terms of Kansai-ness. I want to share the Kansai sense with everyone in this show.

What has it been like working on this play with Ken Kojima as the director and writer?

He’s very reliable, and he tries to listen and ask everyone’s opinions. I think he wants everyone to rely on him. He’s made an environment where he’s easy to work with.

Kojima is famous for his rather unique "words of wisdom." Are there any such words that you’ve heard during rehearsals? Do you have any words of wisdom of your own?

(Laughs) You mean the "Kojima Meigen?" I haven’t heard any from Kojima-kun himself during rehearsals just yet. As for my own words of wisdom or quotes to live by…I’ll make one now. “Be healthy for good performances.” I mean for a good performance for the show, like dancing and singing, you need to be healthy.

@jr_official_tiktok タノシムキモチ。 #小島健 #Aぇǃgroup #岡佑吏 #AmBitious #丸岡晃聖 #Boysbe ♬ Everytime We Touch - Cascada

What kind of work or goal would you like to challenge with AmBitious in 2024?

I want to show up in a variety TV show, like our own starring TV program. We also want to do a live concert.

Do you have a message for International AmBitious fans?

Thank you for cheering for us from overseas and other countries! As a Kansai Junior, and as AmBitious, we are going to send out fun to everyone overseas.

For my fans, I want to be the English leader of AmBitious. I will lead our group to the world, so please wait for us! I will be a diplomat for AmBitious and all Kansai Juniors!

@jr_official_tiktok 開花🌸 #大内リオン #吉川太郎 #岡佑吏 #真弓孟之 #AmBitious ♬ ス・マ・イ・ル - 上白石萌歌


The road to native level fluency is one filled with ups and downs, but we have every bit of confidence that Taro will achieve his goals. From his continued efforts to improve his English to his dreams for the future, Taro and AmBitious will win your heart with their pure ambition. We cannot wait to see him become the bridge between his group and the world!

For more content from Taro and AmBitious, check them out on the official Junior Instagram, TikTok, and X accounts!


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