Owing to Akihabara’s pop juggernaut, AKB48, localities all over Japan have been rushing to create their own homespun idol groups. Some places, however, should have probably not rushed as much.
A group in Kashiwa City, Chiba released a casting-call for an all-girl pop group through a local information website called Maipure on 16 January. Things soon turned ugly as people began taking offence to the name of the group, Hot☆Spots.
At first you might think this is a simple poor choice of words in an area that must deal with the issue of nuclear radiation daily. The English phrase “hot spot” is often used in Japanese to refer to isolated spaces that have very high levels of radiation following the Fukushima incident. Kashiwa city has been rumored to be dealing with an unusually large number of hotspots recently considering their location.
However, reading further into the online notice we find the proposed group’s name, Hot☆Spots, had more deliberate connections to radiation.
“Through song and dance, we want to improve the way people think about radioactive hotspots in the area!” announced the web posting. It went on to explain that this new group planned to make their debut in April with their first single; 1 Millisievert Fever.
Having first gotten some support in the first two days of posting things began to sour for the creators as word of the group grew. The head of the selection committee took to Twitter to defend himself typing, “I thought there might be some controversy over this matter… but I had no idea it would be so strong.
Some people are claiming the radiation is dangerous, others say it’s safe, and both groups tend call each other names like “stupid”. The best way to move forward is for these groups to respect each other. So, in a way, I am hoping to let them both call me “stupid” and help them to find some common ground.”
In spite of this sound logic, Kashiwa City officials got involved and voiced their disapproval of the Hot☆Spots. While attempting to compromise by changing the name to the infinitely innocuous (and possibly triple jump themed) Hop☆Steps the creators had – much too late – begun to see the full effect their plan had on local businesses like farming and real estate.
The committee head announced auditions were cancelled and sent apology emails to applicants on February 2nd. He tweeted, “When I go on Twitter, all I can see is doom and gloom about radiation. I wanted to make something more cheerful to give people hope. I was deadly serious about this goal. However the name was just too blunt. Some people were amused, but others were offended. Seeing as the city also disapproves, we have decided to abandon our plans.”
On the bright side the committee reported that over the short span they were accepting applicants, they had found seven or eight girls willing to help their cause.
“These ordinary girls were coming to us full of optimism saying that they wanted to help people deal with the radiation problems in their areas. We have learned that using a radiation theme and name was a bad idea. We should instead make a theme promoting the local area and everything that’s great about it. When things die down we may try one more time to create an idol group everyone can enjoy” they said.
It seems that the people who came up with this idea had their hearts in the right place. Unfortunately, none of their heads seemed to be in the right place if they didn’t expect this kind of backlash. Luckily, this experience has taught me to put more thought into crafting my boy band aimed at improving our perception of viruses, ‘N Fluenza.
Original Story: J Cast News