Tag Archives: j-pop

Reactions and Counter-Reactions

From killerbethy:

I think it’s hilarious how many people are taking offense to a review that doesn’t even say it’s bad. The point of the review is that if you aren’t into the whole idol thing, you probably won’t like the show. On the other hand if you do, then they actually did a good job with it. If you don’t know about AKB48 or don’t like them, the storyline of the anime probably won’t make it into your favorites.

On a side note… I lived in Japan for a good portion of my life, spent part of high school there and college (as well as several years in China and one in South Korea). That being said, I’m no stranger to idol culture, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to hop on the AKB48 bandwagon either. And, yes, I’ve seen Macross. Hell, I’ve been to the Macross Cafe in Japan. I wouldn’t jump to saying I’m “too American” just because my picture shows that I’m white. Racism goes both ways, buddy. 

So, thank you. Please insert 25 cents to try again.

Beth: I’m sorry if I underestimated you, there are things that you may be correct about, but then if the objective of the anime is to earn additional profit for its creators/managers at the expense of supposed art and good taste, then it could be true in case with other forms of pop music, not just j-pop; it’s too easy for me to recall rock musicians who were in conflict with their managers, or rap musicians arguing with record executives, but their music is still there despite the behind-the-scenes strife.

The point is, the reason why I said “you’re too American” is that there are those Westerners who can’t adjust themselves to Japan, and usually they whine most of the time about everything because they couldn’t adjust to a largely alien culture, and indeed on an online daily like Japan Today, whenever AKB is mentioned in an article they screech and find them annoying.

If they can’t get along, they shouldn’t have come in the first place.

The other day I sought to find out why those girls want to be an idol, even with the supposed dark side of that industry lingering like a dark miasma (Perfect Blue comes into mind), and so I read the members’ personal blogs and mementos of their daily lives, until I realized they were sharing the same motivations as that of the geisha a century ago; like nuns or monks they were willing to sacrifice bits and pieces of themselves in exchange for a higher calling they think would bring themselves happiness.

And then I finally understood; it is a difficult life those idols have to bear and they couldn’t please everyone but they’re right up there; they feel it is their ultimate life-changing reward, having fought their way to the top together and made sacrifices to become what they really wanted to be, no matter how much they’re earning everyday… and from there they feel they could make it anywhere — as actresses, singers, voice actors, etc. — after a period of time.

Now in AKB’s case, if any of its members feel that the management is shafting them, they’re not afraid to air their objections in public and thus force the management to address their problems.

As much as some people express their dislike towards those idols, the management behind them, and the system as a whole, respect still has to be given because those girls feel that it’s their duty in society to make their audience happy, no matter how hard it is to perform, to sing and dance.

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