I want to communicate the attraction of my home island and have many people come to visit.
People call me Tane-chan because I am from Tanegashima. When I was the kid, the natural surroundings of Tanegashima were my playground and I would swim in the ocean and roam through the hills. I guess I was a bit of a tomboy. I grew up on the island until I was in high school, then when I graduated, I moved to Tokyo because I placed as the runner-up in an audition. While working part-time, I had other auditions, but over the course of several years, didn't make any major breaks. I wasn't dead set on coming back, but I did miss my family, friends, and hometown at times.
Five years after coming to Tokyo, I won the grand prix in an open audition that was looking for an idol (a young star) employee for an IT company. After I won, I heard that a lot of votes had been sent in from Tanegashima. I was really impressed at the pull that the island had, and I was really flattered as well. As an "idol employee," my role was to appear at events, participate in audience-targeted activities, shoot commercials, make media appearances, and release a CD.
After leaving the island, I have been reminded of how wonderful this place is and I feel grateful. The ocean, the sky, and the air are clear, there's nature and history, and all the people who live here are vibrant and energetic. I want to fulfill my role as ambassador so that people around the world learn about the Tanegashima that I love and more tourists and new residents come to the island. In the future, I think it would be wonderful if I could return to Tanegashima myself and raise a family here.
■ Favorite places on Tanegashima
Without a doubt, the Otatsu-Metatsu Rocks, which I grew up around and have admired since I was a child. After I moved to Tokyo, any time I look at pictures of Otatsu-Metatsu, it makes me feel relaxed. It is a very special place for me.