The International Linear Collider (ILC) is the name for a next generation particle collider being planned for the mountains of northern Japan. Similar to the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, this facility would smash particles at close to the speed of light in order to study what happened at the beginning of the universe. Recently, famous figures from the Japanese entertainment world have joined together as the #ILCSupporters in order to raise awareness among the general public. One of those is U Kimura, whose work as a voice actress (and more importantly, an ambassador of “kawaii” culture) has been gaining in popularity across the globe.
English translation by Amanda Wayama with some clarification added. The original Japanese article can be found at the ILC Supporters official website. Pictures courtesy of the ILC Supporters. Please do not reproduce or take without permission.
Nice to meet you! This student ILC Supporter Nagami!
This time, I’ve interviewed U Kimura, an ambassador of Japan’s kawaii style and member of the ILC Supporters!
I asked her a lot about how she felt about the ILC, which I’ve put together below.
KAWAII Content Creator/Voice actress
Kimura has visited many countries around the world since being appointed to represent Harajuku fashion as an “Ambassador of Kawaii” by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). She started the fashion brand “KawaiiHolic.” and has held fashion shows at Chinese international film festivals and “Cool Japan” events held in the United States. In recent years, she has voiced a supporting character in the anime series “Idol Memories.” She has also done character designs for NHK’s “Kawaii Domo-kun,” and designed the costumes for the idol group “Wa-suta.” She is one of the leaders in sharing Japan’s kawaii culture, anime, and other pop culture with the world.
・Kawaii – “cute,” in particular, a very Japanese-style of cute that involves lots of bright colors, adorable characters, and a little bit of weirdness
・Anime – Japanese animation
・Manga – Japanese comics
・Luffy – The main character of ONE PIECE, a hugely popular manga. He’s sometimes used as a model of leadership, as he uses the power of friendship to lead a huge cast of characters.
Myself as a content creator, and as a model
Nagami: “What are you working on most of the time?”
Kimura: “I’m in charge of designing for my brand ‘KawaiiHolic.’, drawing illustrations, and designing the costumes for the idol group ‘Wa-suta.’”
Nagami: “Basically, a content creator.”
Kimura: “I used to be an amateur model in KERA, a magazine for Harajuku-style fashion. I still do modeling today, but in the beginning, I didn’t have the money to buy cute clothing, so I had to make them myself. And then, magazine and tv would introduce me, like, look at these interesting clothes! That led to MOFA appointing me the face of Harajuku fashion in their Ambassador of Kawaii program, which got me doing fashion shows of my own clothing around the world.”
What changes will science bring?
Nagami: “Why did you become an ILC Supporter?”
Kimura: “I was invited by Takeuchi-san [Hiroaki Takeuchi, an anime producer], who has been my mentor for my anime work. I could never refuse Takeuchi-san (laughs). But coincidentally, I actually really got interested in particle physics three months ago. I watched YouTube videos on physics theories every day, which is why I felt it was like fate (when Takeuchi-san asked me.) That’s why I became an ILC Supporter!”
Nagami: “Why did you get interested in particle physics?”
Kimura: “In the world of physics, everything is possible. There could be parallel worlds or time warps out there. If you can’t prove scientifically that something does not exist, then there’s nothing ruling out that it could exist. When I heard that, I thought, that’s more anime than anime! It makes me pretty excited to think that the real world around us is more miraculous than any anime.”
My work is tied to the ILC
Nagami: “You’re got a Harajuku fashion brand, and you’ve done voice acting. Your career thus far has been a pretty different genre from ILC particle physics, so what ties all that together?”
Kimura: “You’re right! It may seem like the stuff I’m working on has no relation, but I actually have a manga I’m working on called ‘Pista and Chio’ that I’d like to make into an anime someday. It’s about a parallel world to our Japan, so it’s actually quite connected to particle physics. It’s a parallel world where Japan’s prime minister is originally a business person from a pharmaceutical company, and uses a genetics ethology to take over the government.”
Nagami: “That’s amazing that your work just ended up connecting to the world of particle physics by chance.”
Kimura: “Yeah. Actually, I realized that the act of creating a story as you write a script can all be explained with particle physics. If you ignore the laws of physics and try to exert complete control when creating your own story, your story ends up being weak. I call this just letting things go how they’re going to go (lit. ‘the theory of following one’s heart’). Even the creator can’t completely their characters. But if you let the character appear in the story in their own natural way, the surrounding characters will react to that and your story will continue to develop. For example, Luffy in ONE PIECE is a character that is allowed to act in his own natural way, and he ends up getting all the other characters to follow him. I think this is physics – a ‘resonance’ on a quantum level. If I was to ignore all that and just force the story I want to make as a creator, it starts getting all incoherent. If you don’t follow the laws of natural physics, your story becomes a lie. Anime is truly real in that way. It’s like learning physics from anime, and making anime from physics.”
You have to talk about the ILC from a place of excitement
Nagami: “What sorts of things do you want to do as an ILC Supporter?”
Kimura: “In any case, I want to talk about the ILC from a place of excitement! I don’t want to just dryly share information – I want to convey how excited I am for the project. That is the only way to resonate with people, and bring them along for the ride. We have to be like Luffy from ONE PIECE. I wasn’t interested in physics when I was in school, but it was easy for me to learn about it on YouTube, where its condensed into easy-to-understand, fun videos. It made it easy to get interested and study it with excitement.”
Nagami: “It’s important to get everyone excited.”
Kimura: “That’s why it’s most important for us ILC Supporters to talk to people, one by one, and get them excited for the project. I think the ILC itself is really interesting! Recreating the Big Bang means learning about the origins of the universe. Maybe that will lead to answering questions like “Why do we exist?” “What are we living for?” “What is our world for?” I want to know those answers at all costs! It’s not just me – I think that’s something all of humanity wants to know at a cellular level. I want to convey that excitement and wonder, and make the ILC a reality!”
A video message from U Kimura – please take a look! (in Japanese only)
Translation ends here.
If you’d like to learn more about the ILC, please check out an explainer here.
Keep track of all the developments on the ground by following our Twitter, Iwate & the ILC: @IwateILC