Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Tackles English Language In Children’s TV Show

Courtesy of NHK
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

Pop culture icon Kyary Pamyu Pamyu plays one of the main characters in the newest iteration of NHK’s English-learning program for children, titled “Eigo de Asobo Meets the World.” The program airs on NHK Educational TV at 8:35 a.m. on Tuesdays, 3:35 p.m. on Wednesdays, 5 p.m. on Fridays, and 6:50 a.m. on Saturdays.

“Many families come to my concerts, so I’ve always been interested in doing work where I can be involved with kids,” Kyary said. “This show has given me the opportunity to share and learn with kids.”

Kyary used to watch the program, which has been running since 1990, as a child.

In past iterations, native speakers played a central role, teaching various skills, such as accurate pronunciation.

In this newest version, however, guests from various countries around the world come to visit Kyary, who plays a novice wizard, and her friends. They learn English while happily conversing with one another. One point that might draw viewers is that the songs are produced by Yasutaka Nakata, a leading music producer, and have English lyrics that are sung by Kyary.

“At first, I worried whether I would be a good fit for the program,” she said. “I decided to accept the offer after finding out that we’d learn by having fun and chatting with guests from different countries — and that we didn’t need to speak perfect English.”

As a singer leading Japan’s “kawaii” culture, Kyary has fans around the world. She already put her experience from the program to good use during her most recent world tour, which ended in early June.

Courtesy of NHK
A promotional image of “Eigo de Asobo Meets the World”

While at a venue in the United States, she used a key phrase from the program and asked her fans, “What color do you like?” The audience got very excited and responded in unison, “Pink!”— which was the theme color for her tour.

In previous tours, Kyary said she had prepared greetings in the local language in advance. But in this latest tour, her English came out naturally. “Just by speaking [to the audience] based on the emotions I felt in that moment, I felt as though the distance between us grew smaller.”

Many of her overseas fans study Japanese, and they often voice their affection to her, saying, “Daisuki,” which means “I like you a lot” in Japanese.

“My fans have taught me about the warmth of direct communication,” Kyary said. “I think it’s very important to focus on the feeling of wanting to get close to someone when you speak with them, rather than worrying about difficult grammar.”

The following is excerpted from an interview with Kyary Pamyu Pamyu:

The Yomiuri Shimbun: Your costume and stage sets [in this program] represent a world unique to you. Which one is your favorite?

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu: My costume is very eye-catching, showing lots of hearts from different angles. I always ask my costume designer to create costumes that are easy to draw and replicate.

I would love it if people dressed up in costumes similar to mine for Halloween or other occasions.

Yomiuri: Do you have any tips for interacting with children?

Kyary: When we’re taking a break while other performers are recording, I make up little games, like “Who can be the quietest?”

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu was born in Tokyo on Jan. 29, 1993. She made her debut as a singer in 2011, with her songs produced by Yasutaka Nakata. In 2022, Kyary performed at Coachella, a major music festival in the United States.