IDOL CULTURE pt 1
September 18, 2016 [category:Japanese Subcultures]
Japan is home to a unique premise that has somewhat spread across all of Asia, and that is Idol Culture.
But before we talk about that, we first must examine what exactly and idol is.
For the record, we'll be talking about female idols, but there are male idols as well.
Idols are girls that are that are put in front of the public to be ogled.
There are many different facets to idols, and as many genres as there are tastes.
I would almost think it impossible to name them all.
One of the most well-known idol genres is that of idol singers (or idol groups); but please don't confuse an idol group with a band or someone
who excels at singing such as the popular Lady Ga Ga, or Madonna, or Katy Perry, or the like.
Idols are most popular when they're young and cute; in fact it's very common for most idols to get the boot once they reach a certain age.
They aren't celebrated for their singing, but rather how they look and how they make people feel.
It's said that idol culture started in the late 1960's with groups like the Peanuts, and then in the 70's things really hit a frenzy when the group Candies hit the scene.
They were the first massive idol group to really sweep Japan. From there, idols became more popular.
The duo Pink Lady even attempted success in America in the early 1980's, being given a prime time TV show in the States called Pink Lady & Jeff,
only these Japanese idols couldn't speak any English and the show failed quickly.
Later in the 80's Onyanko Club emerged as a sensation, an idol group made up of 52 different everyday-looking girls that would sing and dance,
sometime a bit provocatively for their age. There were so many members of the group that sub-groups were formed, and thus the template for modern Japanese pop idol groups was established.
The 1990's saw emergence of the group Morning Musume, which streamlined and modernized the Onyanko Club template.
Then came AKB48 (Akihabara 48), the modern day behemoth of idol groups in Japan.
AKB48 was actually formed by the same exact guy behind Onyanko Club, and though their name might lead you to believe that there are 48 members of the group,
in reality there are actually only 130 girls who make up that particular group.
As I said earlier, being able to sing is not a prerequisite to being a Japanese musical idol, and you'll notice that a great many groups don't sing live. They lip-synch.
That's because they can't sing to save their life. This wasn't true of idols in the past.
Sure, there were some in the 80's that had some questionable singing skills, but modern day idols are there for they eyes, not the ears.