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life in tokyo

Japanese idols – my advice for the ‘girl next door’

Having once been in an alternative pop branch of the entertainment business in Japan, I still follow the business news, and I had a mildly disgusted reaction to a Nikkei Asian Review article about Japanese idols:

The captivating ‘girl next door’

Mild because, well, who am I to tell these young ladies and gentlemen that what they’re doing isn’t admirable, that their fans are misguided, pathetic and sometimes creepy, and that their management are exploiting them to gain power.

I struggle with trying to be fair here. None of these people give a damn about my opinion – most of them probably don’t even read English. So the likelihood of inspiring anyone to break free of the system is nil.

But it galls me nonetheless.

I admit that I am a music snob, and that Japanese idols’ ‘art’ is one of the issues. The vapid, soulless pop, awkward dopey dance moves and overall superficiality are hard to take.

Yeah, I know, I don’t have to pay attention. But I’m thinking out loud about why I have such disdain for the whole enterprise. As above, it’s not just the music.