Wotagei, Japan’s unusual form of otaku dancing, is spreading across the seas and capturing the hearts of foreign idol and anime fans, causing them to contort their bodies in strange but rhythmic formations. Read on for more about this unique performance art and watch some videos of afficionados in action.
Oct 10, 2014
Hatsune Miku made her American TV debut on Wednesday night, performing on none other than the Late Show with David Letterman. Miku, of course, is a vocaloid, a super-famous Japanese idol who just happens to be virtual. The turquoise-haired star surprised viewers by performing an English song, “Sharing the World”.
Mr. Letterman, meanwhile, looked a little nonplussed.
Sep 30, 2014
Japanese idol group la BIG 3 are the latest manifestation of this year’s chubby trend, which has seen the phrase “marshmallow girl” embraced (by some, anyway) as an alternative to other, less complimentary names for bigger girls. The trio released their first music video last week, an upbeat little number called “Pochative ~ Body mo Heart mo Glamorous”, a celebration of chubbiness that encourages women everywhere to – wait for it – “be positive!”
It’d be nice if the video wasn’t all about food, though. Was it really necessary for them to be gazing at fried chicken, and using ice-cream cones and sausages as microphones?!
Sep 26, 2014
Debt is a major problem facing people of all ages today. Many young graduates head out into the world already handicapped by a shrinking job market and crippling student loans while their parents have to deal with drying pensions and stagnant real-estate market. It’s a heavy burden that requires a combination of luck and hard work to pull oneself out of, but with some sensible fiscal planning it is possible.
Or, you could do what the nine young women in The Margarines did and pursue a career in the pop idol industry. Their mission is to sing and dance their way out of a combined 127.7M yen (US$1.17M) of debt in an already heavily over-saturated entertainment industry. How could it possibly fail?
Pop idols exist in this strange space between reality and fantasy. While they are living, breathing individuals, they are set on a pedestal and rarely get to interact with people one on one. While groups like AKB48 may be tied to a certain location to serve as a symbol of pride for one area’s people, outside of meet and greet events, fans cannot really get to know them. Of course, the biggest taboo of all is for a pop idol and a fan to begin dating. But one brave group has decided to step forth from the binds of their image. Meet the members of the idol group Happening Girls. These four lovely ladies depicted here are unique in the idol community because they are allowed to foster relationships, date, and even marry their fans.
Sep 12, 2014
It’s a long-standing rule in the pop idol industry in Japan: performers should never become involved in romantic relationships. Doing so would, apparently, tarnish the reputations carefully designed to make these entertainers appear “accessible,” reducing them to the status of “regular people.” And that’s no life for an idol.
We’ve seen this rule lead to instances of head-shaving and weird YouTubers before in Japan. However, one idol management company is taking this rule to a new level and demanding compensation for damages as a result of performers fraternizing with fans–to the order of US$75,000.
We’ve seen plenty about virtual girlfriends, fun little apps that provide you with all the charms of an attractive girl (well, almost all) without the inconvenience of having to deal with a real person. Well, what if you’ve been waiting for the crossdressing male version…?!
In Dolly Kanon, the newly announced Nintendo 3DS game from Happinet, you can take on the role of musical producer as you manage your secret cross-dressing boyfriend’s career as a music idol!
Dancing is an important element of an idol’s performance even though choreography can be quite a task, especially when a group has so many members and the stage is small. One of the charms of Japanese idols is that fans can watch them develop; even if they aren’t the most talented, they’re still cute and fun to watch.
However, this doesn’t mean that all girl groups in Japan are like that! This is not to say that one is better than the other as they are both fun to watch, depending on the situation. We compiled a short list of a few groups that dance like they own the stage every time they’re on it.
Jul 12, 2014
Japan is known, fairly or unfairly, for weird music. We’ve introduced plenty of bands that simply produce great music and other groups that are a bit out there. And make no mistake–we love them all! Sometimes “weird” is just part of the music–after all, David Bowie wouldn’t be David Bowie if he didn’t leave us wondering what planet he was really born on.
Namakopuri, an “art idol” group that consists of two young artists dressed in nurse costumes, is certainly on the weird end of the spectrum. In fact, we might even go so far as to say that their new video, “Namakopuri’s Trap,” is the weirdest thing we’ve seen all week. It’s also insanely catchy; we promise you’ll be hearing it in your dreams–or maybe nightmares–tonight!
Japanese TV has a tendency to be pretty ridiculous. Japanese commercials are even known to be some of the most ridiculous out there. Think Superbowl-esque non sequiturs, used to peddle the most mundane things! But you will never guess what this new commercial is promoting, even after the big reveal!
May 29, 2014
In the wake of the saw attack on two members of AKB48 and one man working with the venue, many readers of the news couldn’t help but think, “It was just a matter of time before something like this happened.”
Handshake and high-five events give fans and idols a daring level of closeness compared to pop stars in other countries. However, for years they have gone on relatively incident-free, which is surprising considering the thousands and thousands of people who participate around the country.
Despite the nagging feeling that something could go very wrong, these promotional events were hugely lucrative in an otherwise stale music industry. But now the company behind AKB48, as well as those handling other idol units who rely heavily on these events, have to find a way to ensure their stars’ safety without losing the sense of intimacy they’ve had with their fan-bases.
Feb 27, 2014
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.
Scott R Dixon
Feb 17, 2014
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!
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!
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.
Dec 5, 2013
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.
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)!
Nov 6, 2013
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!
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…”
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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