idol

BABYMETAL releases full album, metalheads and idol fans headbang in unison

BABYMETAL releases full album, metalheads and idol fans headbang in unison

After years of boggling the minds of metalheads and J-pop fans around the world with their idiosyncratic music videos, BABYMETAL have finally released their first full-length album. Of course, we got our hands on a copy as soon as we could, and we are happy to report that it is everything we’d expected it to be!

With the album now available world-wide, you too can turn your day from “average” to “dangerously kawaii” with this soundtrack to the adorable apocalypse. And if you’re on the fence about picking the album up, check out some of these reviews found on the Japanese side of the Internet.

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Take a glimpse into the natural habitats of female Japanese otaku 【Photos】

Take a glimpse into the natural habitats of female Japanese otaku 【Photos】

While we here at RocketNews24 have no shortage of stories on geeky men in Japan, it should be noted that there are plenty of women that fulfill the otaku stereotype of being obsessed with anime, manga and video games. The recently published photo book Corrupted Rooms gives readers a peek inside the cramped living quarters of 50 self-professed otaku and shows the extreme level of dedication these women have to their hobbies. From rooms packed with action figures to racks of cosplay outfits, click below to catch a glimpse into the world of the female otaku!

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Fresh-faced teen idol Hatsume captures Japanese netizens’ hearts

Fresh-faced teen idol Hatsume captures Japanese netizens’ hearts

The world of idols is a fast-paced one: A performer may achieve success in a matter of months and lose it in a fraction the time. New faces appear every day, but not all of them have the impact they might have hoped for.

Hatsume Motomiya, however, doesn’t have to worry about getting catching the attention of the online masses–it seems like half of the Japanese Internet is already in love with her!

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We buy a pair of glasses from up and coming idol Kanna Hashimoto

We buy a pair of glasses from up and coming idol Kanna Hashimoto

Recently, computer glasses have become quite popular and are sold in shops everywhere in Japan. I never really bought into the concept even though my work requires painfully long hours in front of a computer screen. However, a couple of days ago we announced that up-and-coming idol Kanna Hashimoto would be appearing at two ALOOK glasses stores in Tokyo and Osaka.

After wrapping up that article I wiped the usual blood from my tired eyes and thought maybe it’s time to try out a pair. And what better way to do it than by meeting this future star while I’m at it!

We headed down to the grand opening of ALOOK in Shinsaibashi, Osaka to meet the starlet and see what all the fuss is about.

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“Once-in-a-thousand-year” idol Kanna Hashimoto visiting ALOOK Tokyo and Osaka on the same day

“Once-in-a-thousand-year” idol Kanna Hashimoto visiting ALOOK Tokyo and Osaka on the same day

A month ago, Japanese people all over the country woke up to this photo of Fukuoka-based idol Kanna Hashimoto of the group Rev. From DVL all over the internet. And just like that, her modest level of local fame on stage has been skyrocketing. Some are calling her an idol that you’d find once in a thousand years.

We’re not sure who came up with that title or how it was calculated, but certainly no idol has caught the nation’s attention without any gimmicks or PR stunts like Hashimoto has from simply a photograph.

Thanks to this new-found fame Kanna Hashimoto will be making appearances all over Japan. In fact, tomorrow those living in Tokyo or Osaka will have a chance to buy some glasses from her at the grand opening of ALOOK stores in each city.

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Trio busted for forging 3,700 idol group autographs

Trio busted for forging 3,700 idol group autographs

Diehard fans of popular Japanese idol groups like Arashi, Hey! Say! Jump! and AKB48 may want to double-check that signed poster they bought online. Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun reported that Chiba prefectural police arrested three people last week for an elaborate idol merchandise scam. It seems that the scheming trio forged signatures of eight popular idol groups onto merchandise, put the fake goods on online auctions, then defrauded the winning bidder. Police believe that the three made about 3,700 of these items, which duped people out of 6,700,000 yen (US$67,000)!

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Elitism divides otaku culture as the popularity of Japanese pop idols expands

Elitism divides otaku culture as the popularity of Japanese pop idols expands

Japan’s idol industry is a unique beast of a moneymaker. The girls who succeed on this cut-throat career path are supported entirely by their fanbase. While they may sing and dance, their live shows have more to do with their idol image than their actual talents, and it is ultimately their popularity which determines their level of success. These girls are famous for their popularity, rather than popular as a result of their fame and talents.

Supporting this industry at its core are the idol otaku, men and women who are obsessed with the girls in idol groups. Functioning as a sub-set of otaku culture, which is already criticized by greater Japanese society, one might expect these idol fans to band together tightly, and share in harmony their mutual love for miniskirts. But, this has not been the case. In fact, a large rift has apparently formed between long-time supporters of the idol industry and newcomers to the scene. According to the old-timers, it would appear that these fresh, new fans don’t understand what it really means to be an idol otaku. Just look at what they had to say about these newbies infringing on their turf!

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Local Fukuoka idol already breaking big across Japanese internet

Local Fukuoka idol already breaking big across Japanese internet

This morning Japanese websites all over lit up with pictures of Fukuoka-based idol Kanna Hashimoto. After images including the one above broke on message boards, idol fans across the nation tipped Hashimoto as their choice for the next superstar calling her “seriously, an angel” and admitting “I hate idols, but she’s cute…”

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“Idol addiction” ruining your life? Call this hotline to take control!

“Idol addiction” ruining your life? Call this hotline to take control!

While making a hobby out of adoring Japanese idols is a perfectly acceptable pastime, we here at RocketNews24 know that with so many ways to indulge, from plumbing to college courses to ramen, some idol enthusiasts may find themselves with a full-blown case of “idol addiction.” Luckily, there is a hotline for those wanting to find out how to enjoy their idol worship in moderation!

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Coffee mascot event with cosplaying idols proves to be too much for some fans to handle

Coffee mascot event with cosplaying idols proves to be too much for some fans to handle

Tea is the first beverage that comes to mind for most people when they think of Japan, followed closely by sake, beer, chu-hi, and a plethora of other alcoholic beverages for those who spent time at a Japanese university. There are plenty of coffee drinkers in the country too though, with Yuki Jirushi (“Snow Mark”) Coffee’s café au lait being a steady seller in supermarkets and convenience stores for 50 years.

With such a long history, however, the company thought the product’s image could use an updating, and they asked artists to submit their designs for a new mascot to be called Yukiko-tan (-tan being an even cuter version of the already cute Japanese name suffix –chan). Six finalists remain in the contest, and Yuki Jirushi recently held a promotional event to help the undecided pick a favorite by utilizing the tentpole that seemingly all major Japanese marketing campaigns are built around: cute girls.

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Akasaka’s totally non-creepy android maid cafe

Akasaka’s totally non-creepy android maid cafe

Business district by day, at night Akasaka in Tokyo transforms into an area of dazzling nightlife, a hip and happening place where the local execs can easily spend their hefty paychecks. But among the trendy neon-lit clubs, there’s one café that doesn’t quite fit in: The Android Idol Caffe.

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Put your kitsune up! BABYMETAL is set to dominate the world with ‘dangerous kawaii’【Interview】

Put your kitsune up! BABYMETAL is set to dominate the world with ‘dangerous kawaii’【Interview】

In 2011, the world was first baffled and then enthralled by the release of BABYMETAL’s “Doki Doki☆Morning” music video.

Not quite metal, not quite idol music, the video of three “dangerous kawaii” Japanese middle school girls singing and dancing to heavy metal music was difficult for some to comprehend. Were they for real? Was it okay for us to like them? And why couldn’t we stop listening to this song?

Two years later, the group has proved themselves to be anything but a joke, with legions of fans both in Japan and abroad. This Wednesday (June 19), they released their second major-label single, titled “Megitsune,” so we sat down with the group for an exclusive interview to learn more about them.

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Mr. Sato goes on a date with an idol, unleashes his secret weapon: canned rum

Mr. Sato goes on a date with an idol, unleashes his secret weapon: canned rum

Summer is almost here, and in Japan that means two things. First, high humidity and the profuse sweating that comes with it. But second, summer is also the season of hot, passionate, romance.

Unfortunately, this spring has again found our intrepid reporter Mr. Sato unable to find a girlfriend, but he’s ready to wipe the slate clean and give it his all this summer. We decided it was best to get Mr. Sato a little practice, so he’d have a good running start before the season of love gets fully underway. To that end, he asked out idol singer Sayaka Shiotani from vocal unit Pureful. Like all women, she is powerless to resist the charms of a RocketNews24 writer, and so of course said yes.

“Honestly though, I don’t have much experience with girls, and I’m not even really sure how to talk to them,” he tells us. Well, as a wise man once said, when you’re trying to pick up girls, use humor. And if you’re not funny, use alcohol. Read More

Taiwanese Weather Reporting Idol Group to Take Japan’s Grueling National Weather Forecasting License Exam

Taiwanese Weather Reporting Idol Group to Take Japan’s Grueling National Weather Forecasting License Exam

From their humble beginnings on Taiwan’s video series Weather Girls, a seven-girl idol group by the same name that specializes in bringing you the week’s weather, have been building a solid fan base in their new home of Japan.

Though a variety of theme months and a constantly improving grasp of the Japanese language, these girls have steadily shown that they are willing to work hard for their place in the spotlight.  However, the next step is a doozy.

It has come to light that all seven girls (one for each day of the week) are studying hard to take the extremely strict National Weather Forecaster Exam next year. The test, which was established in 1994, reportedly has a 5 percent pass rate.  However, if the girls succeed they will become full-fledged weather forecasters.

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As Stocks Rise, so do the Hem Lines: Japan’s New Incentive for Economic Growth

As Stocks Rise, so do the Hem Lines: Japan’s New Incentive for Economic Growth

In the face of our global economy’s seemingly never-ending nosedive, Japan has come up with a hip, new way to stimulate growth in its local communities: by starting up a band!

Machikado Keiki☆JAPAN, a group name that roughly translates to “Street Corner Conditions JAPAN,” is the latest and greatest four-girl idol group to hit the media. I know it sounds a bit like a band full of hookers, but just wait until you hear their pitch! Basically, the better the nation’s stocks are doing, the shorter their skirts get! Clearly, the idea of having enough money for food and rent is not enough of an incentive to get some economic stimulus going; what the country really needs is more half-naked women! Read More

Cursed Japanese Model Thought to Be Responsible for Boeing 787 Troubles

Cursed Japanese Model Thought to Be Responsible for Boeing 787 Troubles

When Japanese TV personality and model Aki Higashihara blogs, bad things happen.

Higashihara’s blog has been dubbed “Death Blog” by the Japanese internet, a reference to Death Note, a popular manga about a supernatural notebook that possess the power to kill whoever’s name is written in it. Similar to the fictional “Death Note”, internet legend has it that whatever Higashihara writes about in her “Death Blog” is destined to meet an unfortunate fate.

For example, in 2010, Higashihara blogged about her visit to a famous shrine in Kamakura, mentioning: “I wanted to eat ginko nuts!” Two months later, a 1000-year-old sacred ginko tree located in the shrine was completely uprooted and severely damaged.

In 2012, she wrote a post about the hardships of raising children, saying: “My kids were fast asleep at 8:30 tonight. This is completely unrelated, but it makes me feel a little better when I think that even pandas neglect their kids.” The next day, the first baby giant panda to be born in Japan in 24 years was found dead — at 8:30 am.

Still not convinced? On January 16, 2013, All Nippon Airways (ANA) grounded 17 of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes for inspection after one had to make an emergency landing due to smoke suddenly appearing in the cockpit. Japan Airlines similarly grounded their Dreamliner fleet following the incident.

You’ll never guess what Aki Higashihara blogged about last month.

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Clogged Toilet? Just Hire an Idol from Yahoo! Auctions to Take Care of It

Clogged Toilet? Just Hire an Idol from Yahoo! Auctions to Take Care of It

After the entame (entertainment) section of Japan’s Yahoo! Auction opened, the innovative “heavy-metal idols” Alice Juban almost immediately put themselves under the hammer for a live performance to an audience of one winning bidder.

It looks like other idol groups are following suit and making use of the online auction site as a way to promote themselves.  As a result, the entame section is beginning to look more like Craig’s List since you can now rent a member of five-piece girl group BiS (Brand-new idol Society) to clean your home for 3 hours.

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【Video Magic】 Hatsune Miku in 3-D, Minus Glasses or Fancy Screens!!!

【Video Magic】 Hatsune Miku in 3-D, Minus Glasses or Fancy Screens!!!

A video released on NicoNico Video by a group going by the name of Shichoukaku iinkai “The Audiovisual committee” has wowed Japanese internet users this week by managing to create a pseudo 3-D effect on 2-D monitors.

The video has since gone viral and, as of this afternoon, has reached more than 100,000 views.

Of course, it probably helps that digital idol Hatsune Miku is the star of the video, which sees the character dancing around while surrounded by thousands of (3-D!) shards of glass.

With a little concentration, the video’s 3-D effect actually works, even if it does require the user to look faintly ridiculous to see it…

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A Sure-fire Domain for Advertising: Where the Eye Goes, the Ad Goes

A Sure-fire Domain for Advertising: Where the Eye Goes, the Ad Goes

Ads should be placed where the eyes naturally go.   Take the exposed thighs of young women in mini skirts, for example, which happen to be the landing point for many a wandering eye in Japan.  In theory, if you were to paste an advertisement on such a thigh, there’s a high chance that advertisement would be noticed.  If the girl is wearing knee-high socks, even better as it creates a sort of erotic frame around the ad. In fact, we would go so far as to say the space on a girl’s thigh between her mini skirt and socks is the perfect advertising space!

Japan actually has a name for this premium space zettai ryouiki, or “absolute territory”  and there is actually an advertising service that allows women to rent out their own “absolute territory” to advertisers.  It’s called Absolute Territory PR, and the number of women participating in it are increasing by the day.

So what’s the attraction for young women to bare their thighs in the name of advertising? Read More

“Heavy Metal Idols” Perform for Audience of One Lucky Yahoo Auction Winner, Not a Dry Eye in the House

“Heavy Metal Idols” Perform for Audience of One Lucky Yahoo Auction Winner, Not a Dry Eye in the House

This photo might make you think that times are tough for the “heavy metal idols” in Alice Juban, oft referred to as the “sisters of rock.” Actually, it was an unprecedented promotion for the innovative idol group.

This September, major auction site Yahoo Auction opened a new category, Knowledge and Skills. Tucked away in there was a very special item up for bid: the girls of Alice Juban.

That didn’t sound right.  I didn’t mean the girls were selling themselves. They were selling the rights to an exclusive live performance for the winning bid in Shibaura, Tokyo on 10 October.

It turned out to be a really surreal event, and I don’t mean because of the usual hockey masks, chainsaws, and stage diving. It was a surprisingly touching performance that moved everyone in the room to tears.

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