She says she has always liked older men, and has gone out with a number of them. Right now she is going out with someone about ten years older than she is.
She likes men who are experienced and on whom she can depend. She doesn't like men who are dependent.
She has never gone out with someone she just thought was a good man. Only with people she actually felt something for.
Who usually breaks up a relationship? Usually they do, she said, because I'm too selfish, and don't want to be controlled, and say so. Does that bother her? Not really, since she's an observer type, and just observes what happened and goes on.
The interviewer called her a "strong woman." Aya said that she had decided from early on in her career, which began when she was ten, not to get married. Work comes first, she has to make her own life herself, and become a "terrific woman" who can life her own life. She can't imagine just becoming a housewife.
Here is the first part of the interview, from YouTube:
She was being interviewed with actress/idol Kurashina Kana by Esumi Makiko, a young-looking actress and essayist in her forties who was devastated to learn that Kana's parents were younger than she herself.
Kana had many of the same opinions as Aya -- preferring older men herself -- but was gentler about it. She agreed, though, that she couldn't imagine getting married at this point.
None of this comes as much of a surprise to me. Aya once said she preferred men who looked good in a suit, which clearly meant older men. There were rumors about her going with older rocker/seiyuu Taniyama Kishou. And her preference for harder rock music made me think she is not at all the pristine doll her longer-time fans wanted to imagine.
And she said years ago that she never planned to get married, but would live with someone if she wanted to do that.
I think her fragile mental state shows that these may not be the best choices she could make, but I can understand her making them, especially in the context of Japanese society, where wives are still supposed to be subservient to their husbands. My own opinion is that life is difficult, and hard for anyone to face alone, without a partner of one gender or the other. But it may not seem quite that way to a successful young entertainer who probably has her choice of dashing men in the thirties to go out with.
She says she was very much in love with her first boyfriend, but broke it off because he wouldn't allow her the freedom she wanted.
Was anyone ever unfaithful? Yes. He said: "I'm sorry, I'm in love with someone else." She was surprised, but thought there was nothing that could be done about it and just let him go. She would never try to drag someone back.
Can you imagine going with someone younger? "Maybe when I'm thirty."
She feels all these experiences have helped her in her acting. For instance, when she was doing a scene, she remembered an argument, and thought: "This scene is just like that."
These revelations -- probably even just admitting that she has gone out with people over the years -- have thrown some of her fans into a frenzy of rejection. Sankaku Complex has articles quoting posters to 2channel telling her to just die, and burning their collections of her work and photos. "She’s turned and become defiant. It’ll be war from here on. Who will die first, us or Hirano? It won’t end until one does." NOTE: Much of the other content on Sankaku is NSFW.
Her blog is currently unavailable, but she apparently responded:
"...all of these romantic experiences helped support me, and I don’t want to continue this shallow, unreal façade.She wants to be an adult, not the plaything of children. Unfortunately, popularity in the entertainment world has little to do with reality, and much to do with fulfilling the fantasies of some group of consumers. We shall see how things go for her from now on, and if there are enough people who want to hear about the real her, perhaps as an exemplar of an independent woman.
I don’t want to write songs about some fantasy love. I should be able to show the real me.
Stop making Tweets telling me to “die!” or saying you hate me.
And after we just made a lifeline to each other....
Even someone as strong as me is reeling under this.
So, from here on I hope you wish me well!"
However, if otaku can be vicious, I'd say they are nothing compared to the leering invasiveness and cold put-downs of mainstream Japanese TV. I hope things work out.
It would be truly amazing if she didn't realize the kind of reaction these admissions/claims would cause among her otaku fans and enemies. Sankaku, by the way, is one of her attackers, so take what is written there in that light.
But I give her credit for actually wanting to be honest. It would have been so much easier just to keep up the facade. I have always had the sense from her blog of a real person being as honest as she could be, within the limits of her professional situation.
Sankaku directs us to an interesting Japanese page that points out that she began her career at the age of ten as an idol and actress in TV commercials, and that her agency, Spacecraft, is mainly a actress and idol agency, not a seiyuu agency. Moreover, her personal manager is apparently now someone less connected to seiyuu work than to the other areas she is active in.
Sankaku suggests she is withdrawing from seiyuu work, but I see her in one major role every couple of seasons: Fairy Tail began last fall and is continuing, and Nurarihyon no Mago began this summer and continues to the end of the year. Neither of those could be thought of as real otaku anime. They are more mainstream.
It has been clear for years that Nakagawa Shouko, with whom Aya performed in Eyeshield 21, is someone she wants to emulate. Shouko-tan began as a seiyuu, but is now mainly a singer and TV personality, just taking the odd anime role. Aya is a better and more successful seiyuu than Shouko-tan, so I expect her to do more.
But clearly she is moving toward making singing and TV work her main source of income: and a far more lucrative source it can be than seiyuu work. But now she has to again create an audience for herself, having blown up a significant part of her past audience with these tales. And her tough approach to romance may or may not find much resonance in the more adult TV audience.
Finally, here is the second part of the interview: