This interview is from the BBM website in March, when they released the BBM True Heart cards. It was split into two parts, this is the first half:
She changed course from wanting to be a vet to being an actor
With experience on many different stages
Why did she decide to become a pro wrestler?
BBM: You’re from Sennan-gun in Osaka Prefecture, but whereabouts in Osaka Prefecture is that?
Takase: It’s in the south, right next to Wakayama. I was there until high school.
BBM: What were you like as a child?
Takase: When I was in junior school, I feel like I was the girl who was getting messy and playing soccer with the boys. I was active, I had a strong sense of what was right, and I was serious (haha).
BBM: I think I understand what you mean (haha). Did you play lots of sports?
Takase: I took swimming classes for six years. I think I was a good athlete. I was the anchor for the relay team. I have an older brother and a younger brother and we would run in the hills, so I was fast. In middle school I was in the volleyball club, and in high school I was in the dance club.
BBM: When I think of Osaka I have the image of a big city, but is the south different?
Takase: It’s really rural. It’s a port town, but right behind are the mountains. Even now the streets around my family home don’t have a convenience store (haha). The other day I went home, and they’d even removed the vending machines.
BBM: Oh, that’s really surprising (haha).
Takase: The supermarket and convenience stores area about five minutes’ drive away, so people don’t walk to go shopping, they drive.
BBM: When you were a kid, did you have a dream job that you wanted to do?
Takase: At first not really, just something like working at a cake shop or a florists. And then from the time I was in middle school – from when I was little we had pet birds and parakeets, and I would get really sad when they died and there was nothing I could do, so I decided I wanted to be a vet. So the high school that I chose, it was in order to become a vet.
BBM: So that’s why…
Takase: I finished high school, but then I ended up coming to Tokyo, almost like I was running away from home. While I was at high school I wanted to get into the world of show business, but my parents were opposed to it. If I think about it, I’m the type to act impulsively, so I came to Tokyo to try and go to auditions.
BBM: Even though your aim was to be a vet.
Takase: If you study really hard you can become a vet at any age, but if I thought about getting into show business I already thought I was late. I thought if I didn’t take that step then I would use age as a reason to never do it, so I had to go. So I signed up for auditions at will. But even when I was successful, since I was under age they had to contact my parents. I had so many arguments with my parents about them not giving me permission (haha).
BBM: Was there something that inspired you?
Takase: When I was in high school, I was scouted when I was walking around Osaka Station. But my parents weren’t having any of it (haha). Because I was brought up in a really rural place, we never thought about the idea of going into show business. But when I thought about it I realised that there was the possibility of doing anything. So when I realised that, I couldn’t help but want to try and get into show business.
BBM: You had your eyes opened.
Takase: As far as the genre goes, I wanted to be an actor. As a child I loved picture books, and from there I got into films. I wanted to make films, to be involved in some way. I’m not particularly good at singing, I don’t have much skill at writing verses. I wasn’t really interested in modelling or fashion, my aim was to be an actor.
BBM: Your dynamism and determination are amazing. So what was your life like once you came to Tokyo?
Takase: At first I was an amateur model for fashion magazines and an extra. At first being an extra felt fresh. So I registered with an agency for extras. And from there I got into a better agency. At that time there were lots of jobs on stage and in magazines. Like doing “eye” pictures in magazines…
BBM: Ah, you were a model who showed off the different types of makeup in magazine shoots.
Takase: That’s right!
BBM: The next turning point was when you went to Kagawa [a prefecture in Shikoku]?
Takase: That’s right. Before that I actually quite being an actor. I didn’t have confidence in myself, the lifestyle in Tokyo was different to Osaka, and I was naïve. Without realising it I had become unable to laugh and be happy. But at the time I didn’t realise it. When I laughed for the first time in a long time I thought, “I forgot how to laugh until now.” But I didn’t realise until it was already late, and I didn’t know what I should do. Luckily, in my case in about a year I returned to my old self. So at that time, I spent half the month doing part time work to earn the bare minimum to survive, and the rest of the month back in Osaka replenishing my Kansai energy.
BBM: You managed to recover thanks to Kansai energy.
Takase: Yes. So I thought I would start from scratch again, and I joined a training school. And someone I met there said “you should come to study as an actor,” and recommended that I get a job in Kagawa Prefecture.
BBM: What sort of job was it?
Takase: As part of the prefecture’s tourism PR job, at that time actors playing historical warriors were very popular. I played Taira no Kiyomori [a twelfth century warrior, one of the protagonists in the Tale of the Heike]. In the setting that he had come back from the past, for a year I played Taira no Kiyomori in public and in private performances. The fight scene was about twenty to thirty minutes, and there were songs and dances that used Kagawa Prefecture as their theme, in the interval there was an MC talk that included tourism PR, altogether it was a performance that took between thirty minutes and an hour.
BBM: How long did you work there?
Takase: For two years. Basically, on Saturdays and Sundays we went on stage in Yashiwa in Kagawa, and other times we went to tourist spots in Kagawa like Ritsurin Garden. Also, we went to other prefecture’s events. I also came to Kanto, to a big shopping mall in Saitama. In just one year we performed around 290 times.
BBM: That’s quite a number.
Takase: In one day we would perform three times. So I shifted my home registration, I felt like I was a resident of Kagawa. There was a separate group of historical reenactors at Marugame Castle in Kagawa, and we did a collaboration with them at Takamatsu Station.
BBM: You grew up in rural Osaka, but I guess that’s where you acquired your current cool nature (Haha).
Takase: Yeah, I grew up a lot at that time (haha).
BBM: After spending two years in Kagawa, what was next?
Takase: I really wanted to go back to Osaka (haha). But when I told my boss who had got me my job in Kagawa that I was going to quit, he invited me to come to his agency. That was in Tokyo, so I came back to Tokyo. That was in 2015.
BBM: We’re coming closer to the present. What sort of job did you do then?
Takase: Lots of films. And since it was originally a theatrical agency, I also appeared on stage. Also I’m good with computers so I helped other actors with their profiles, I sold myself as a “player manager”. So at that time I was all about working in show business.
BBM: Whatever time of your life we talk about, it’s interesting isn’t it. Your life was really interesting even before “Miyuki Takase, the pro wrestler” was born. I want to get further into that, but we can’t forget the main topic of this interview. So, why did you end up getting into a wrestling ring?
Takase: Someone I knew in Kagawa was friendly with Actwres Girl’z representative Keiji Sakaguchi, and originally the representative invited a different girl. And then she said that we could both go, but in the end I was the only one who started pro wrestling (haha).
BBM: That sort of pattern! Did you know much about pro wrestling…
Takase: I didn’t know anything. I didn’t know the differences between moves or anything. I think in pro wrestling entertainers are often referenced. So I knew that it existed, but I didn’t know how it’s different from boxing, or what the rules were.
BBM: Even so you were accepted?
Takase: Actually, I turned them down. It’s kind of a long story but when I came back from Kagawa the boss who had helped me out knew Sakura Hirota, and had performed with her. I had also seen her from time to time, and they’d said “Takase, do you want to have a go at a match?” Of course I said “no way”. At that time that was the end of it, but after a bit of time I was invited formally. Representative Sakaguchi said, “If you see wrestling once your impression will change,” and I went to an AWG show, because I’m the type that likes new experiences (haha).
BBM: Curiosity got the better of you.
Takase: That’s right, but I ended up turning them down. At the time I’d just started as a YouTuber, and I was involved with that 24/7, so I thought that I didn’t have time to spend on joshi pro wrestling.
BBM: It didn’t sound like something you would do…
Takase: Yeah, it didn’t resonate with me. But then after about six months, rather than being invited by a friend I got another direct invitation from Representative Sakaguchi, who said “come and watch”. While thinking “I’ve already watched a match!”, in the end I gave in. But when I went it was totally different to the previous time six months before! The wrestlers who had seemed kind of weak, after half a year they were flying off the top rope to the outside of the ring, they looked amazing.
BBM: They’d really improved.
Takase: That’s what I thought. Those people were doing it seriously. If they weren’t, they would have been able to change in such a short amount of time. So I felt moved by pro wrestling, and more than wanting to try it out because I liked it, I thought that I wanted to work with these people who were taking it so seriously. I always care more about the people that I’m with rather than what I’m doing. Being with people who try really hard for an aim that’s in front of them, it also motivates me to try hard, so I wanted to be with these women. I didn’t know if I’d be able to debut, and I don’t like pain or exhaustion, but I asked if I could just train with them.
BBM: You were straightforward on the third time you went there. Was that in the autumn of 2016?
Takase: That’s right. And if I’d been in my teens it would have been fine. I trained with my volleyball club, my body fat percentage was down to 8%, but at that time it wasn’t like that (haha). But every day we did harsh training, to the point that I could barely walk due to muscle pain, and even though I felt like I was going to throw up, gradually the things I could do increased.
BBM: That’s because you had trained in the past.
Takase: When I was a student I used to think “I’m invincible” (haha). If I thought about it there was nothing I couldn’t do, I was a good athlete to the point where I didn’t lose to anyone, but then I spent all my time as an actor and doing part time jobs as a sales person. So it was a time when my muscles had totally disappeared.
BBM: It sounds very tough.
Takase: At first taking bumps hurt. But slowly I realised that if I did a certain way it didn’t hurt, and I developed confidence. In the midst of developing my skills… before I knew it I made my debut, that’s how it felt. I really thought it was going to be impossible though (haha).
BBM: Not only did you have athletic ability, you hate to lose, so that’s probably why you were successful.
Takase: That’s what I think (haha).