Spreading the Hello!Project love PLUS my idol theories

October 4, 2014 at 2:49 PM Leave a comment

Some time ago I tweeted about me making a panel about Hello!Project at a Polish Manga/Anime/Fantasy convention. I was excited but at the same time quite anxious. There aren’t many Polish fans out there and it isn’t considered “cool” or “trendy” to listen to Japanese idols in general. I bet it’s similar in your country, isn’t it? It’s silly but even people who are considered by majority (the so called mainstream) to be childish and weird (like Manga&Anime lovers, or fantasy readers) think that YOU are stupid for listening to jpop. I just don’t get it. When you’re a fan of something or somebody, especially of something that isn’t mainstream, you’re supposed to be a little but more understanding of other fans.

From where I stand it must be something in our human condition (woah, it’s getting deep guys) to enjoy one thing and hate people who enjoy something else. How can you explain that a girl squealing at a naked chest of another Korean boysband member is belittling a fan squealing at a nearly naked chest of Kikkawa Yuu in her new photobook?

yuuOh, hello there, Kikka. What a coincidence.

Move along ppl, there’s nothing here to see.

ย I don’t think I will ever truly understand it. But that’s how it is. And this particular convention already has some tensions between its own members that is the Manga&Anime fans and the fantasy fans. Both groups think they are by far superior. With the hatred and misunderstandings in the air I thought it was the perfect place to share the love for kawaii idols bouncing around in frilly skirts and singing about love, dreams and the fact that earth is a fucking dangerous planet (thanks EcoMoni!). You can imagine how scared I was but knew I at least have to try to make them understand the appeal. After long conversations with Morningtime I felt a bit more equipped with arguments against such statements as:

– idols are just products manufactured by greedy managers

– they don’t have a talent and many of them (if not all) can’t sing

– their songs are stupid and weird

– fans of idols are morons

I’ll tell you how it went in a moment. There were many aspects of the panel I needed to settle. Firstly, the main topic of my panel. Talking just about Hello!Project (although tempting) was out of the question since there are so many fascinating aspects of Japanese idols I would have to omit. I decided to have two panels. The first one would be about Japanese idols in general and the second one specifically about Morning Musume as the flag group of Hello!Project.

Wearing my Berikyuu concert T-shirt from Japan Expo, I entered the room bearing the merchandise I now happily own, a pendrive with lots of PVs, concert clips and a Power Point presentation. I was relieved to see that there were people waiting for me. About 16 of them. It might seem like a small number but compared to the size of the whole convention that was BIG for me. It turned out that only two people there had no idea what idols in Japan looked like. The rest at least saw an idol once and some of them even considered themselves to be fans so YAY for me ๐Ÿ™‚ One of them was actually a freshly made Morning Musume fan so double YAY for me. Unfortunately there were also two (totally convinced of their greatness) fans of AKB48 as well. Don’t get me wrong, I just think that those two weren’t the best representatives of an idol fan. I’m at least tolerant against different fans. Let’s just say that at the end of the panel they were deeply disappointed and angry with me ๐Ÿ˜€

I talked for nearly an hour so let me summarise some points I made (which are my own opinions and I don’t see myself as an expert on the matter):

– idols are products manufactured by greedy managers and their fans are fully aware of it. It’s the matter of embracing is as an idea. In Western countries we value individuality, indie records and independence in public but at the same time listen to singer/bands being the very opposite of that. Sometimes, we try to defend them by saying : Well, yea she does sing about her ass but she’s a very intelligent and artistic soul that writes her own music so GTFO.ย  Japanese idols aren’t pretending to be something that they’re not. So why not enjoy the perfect product?

I think that was a ground-breaking idea for ppl in the crowd at the panel. The deflation of arguments was almost tangible ๐Ÿ˜€ย  They all went : oooh when I said it.

idols– idols are supposed to be cute, pure and entertaining. It seems obvious to us but non-fans tend to forget the fact that idols are about entertainment. Not as much about music. It’s quite shocking isn’t it? It doesn’t mean that music isn’t important but many idol songs (most of them) are made as crowd pleasers. They have silly lyrics, strong hook and easy to follow chants and arm movements. You don’t go to an idol concert to enjoy the brilliant notes. You go there to have fun and boy what fun it is.

– idol groups have many members specifically to appeal to as many people as possible. An idol will adopt an “idol chara” to make herself different from her fellow idols. Nobody in the right brain will think that they are like that everyday in their free time. It’s just a role they take for entertainment of their fans. It doesn’t mean that this role has to be completely different from their own personality. On the contrary, they just emphasise they’re own charms. Sometimes it can get a tiny bit annoying …..


…. but after meeting her live I get to say she’s just freaking great at being an idol. When some other girls where sitting there and smiling she took the initiative to interact with us and that was the best thing ever. Respect helium princess. Respect.

It leads me to the next point

– idols are supposed to make their fans happy because the industry understood that the “I’m too good for you” attitude won’t give them moneyz. Okay, we’ll complain that the companies are just too good at taking our money but at the same time they give us plenty opportunities to meet/touch/talk/shout at/interact with them. Can you do that with Beyonce? When was the last time Beyonce stood at the table and let her fans give her a handshake and speak to her? I love it about idols and I think my audience was pretty impressed by it. Well handshakes are great for fans. Not so sure about the idols’ true feelings…

handshake thoughtsJust kidding, they love it ๐Ÿ˜€

It’s just a summary of the things I mentioned but it’s the most important stuff we established there. And they understood. They really did and it was amazing. You might want to argue that it’s a generalization because: not all idols are like that, many songs are just amazing and I listen to them constantly so fuck you etc. And I agree but at the same time the very bottom of idol industry (IMO) consists of those points I mentioned. It was important to establish that so we can appreciate the variety, the music, the talents of individual girls without false assumptions about them. That’s how I feel and that’s what I’ll stand for. It’s merely a tip of an iceberg in an idol industry discussion (there are many great articles out there ppl and I recommend reading them) so this was my small input in it.

There’s not much I can say about the other panel because it was late and my audience consisted of non-fans that were really reluctant to attend my panel. They weren’t the people from my previous panel so I didn’t have the time or energy to explain my idol theories once again. I focused on Morning Musume/Hello!Project trivia to keep them interested plus I tried to appeal to them with modern Momusu electro sound (which wasn’t so successful ==”). It was a fun panel but nothing more and nothing less.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with myself and can’t wait for more possibilities to spread the love.

Next time, I’ll bring more idol nudity.



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Japan Expo PART 9 the concert My personal firsts of 2014

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