entertainment

Cool Japan Project to fund AKB48 sister group in Philippines

33 Comments
By RocketNews24

It’s been recently announced that AKB Group, the idol conglomerate responsible for AKB48, NMB48, SKE48, HKT48, NGT48, JKT48 and SNH48, will be adding another serial number to the roster in the form of MNL48, which is planned to operate out of Manila in the Philippines.

This new group will be formed through a project by the publicly funded Cool Japan initiative which, contrary to what Gackt may think, appears to be doing something tangible with all their funding after all. In fact, this is especially tangible as yet another source of revenue for Yasushi Akimoto, the head of AKB Group who also just happens to be the chairman of the Cool Japan Council.

■ Cool Japan Mall The concept of MNL48 is actually rather reasonable in the context of the entire Cool Japan funded project. Sometime in 2017, in the Metropolitan Manila area, a theme park named the Cool Japan Mall will be constructed to celebrate and share the many cultural wonders of Japan with the people of the Philippines.

As a part of the overall theme park, a theatre for an “authentic” AKB Group, MNL48, will be provided. I use quotation marks as several people have questioned how involved the producers of AKB48 would actually be with these girls and speculated that this will simply be a name licensing agreement.

For this reason and more, comments on social media and other websites have been rather harsh regarding Cool Japan’s backing of an AKB Group act.

“But they’re not even that popular in Japan.” “It’s not ‘Cool Japan’ but ‘Fool Japan.'” “Can they really keep churning these things out?” “Will Cool Japan ever stop embarrassing us?” “Everyone in the Philippines, sorry! Sorry! SORRY!” “Another name loan. It’s probably just letting them use the name if they pay money.”

■ TAX48 Critics were neatly organized into two camps this time around. Beyond the opinion that groups such as AKB48 were a representation of the worst Japan had to offer culturally, others suspect that something may have been up with Cool Japan Council chair and AKB Group General Producer Yasushi Akimoto.

“Don’t use taxes without permission, jerk.” “Are they making stupid crap with taxes again?” “Akimoto’s playing with our taxes.” “I think using tax money is fine. But what kind of return are the people going to get from this?” “Japanese tax will make an idol group of foreigners in a foreign country…”

Of course, there is no evidence that Akimoto abused his position to push through yet another group of AKB idols. If an amusement center were to be built encapsulating all of Japanese pop culture, of course idols would have to be represented in one way or another, and among them AKB would certainly be front-runners. So, it’s not outlandish to assume that MNL48 was a decision made by general consensus within Cool Japan. I mean, stranger things have happened.

Whatever the case may be, both Cool Japan and groups like AKB48 are always lightning rods for resentment in Japan, and at this point we can perhaps include the Tokyo Olympics (of which Akimoto is also an organizing committee member) in the mix. Despite the variety of specific complaints people have against these three entities, the underlying message is the same: “We can do better.”

Source: Infoseek News

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Japan’s tax agency considers protected designation for Japanese sake -- Got a cell phone? Soon, you might get a tax bill from the Japanese government too -- Osaka man wipes away millions in owed taxes by deducting losing horse race tickets

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33 Comments
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In fact, this is especially tangible as yet another source of revenue for Yasushi Akimoto, the head of AKB Group who also just happens to be the chairman of the Cool Japan Council.

Oh, how utterly convenient.

““It’s not ‘Cool Japan’ but ‘Fool Japan.’”

Need we say more?

12 ( +12 / -0 )

i love japan and its culture, but like all cultures, no one is perfect. and the worst of japan cultute has a simple name: a-kay-be pharty eight

6 ( +7 / -1 )

No way!!!! Blatant corruption!!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Thanks god this "fine" piece of "culture" is restrained to Asia only.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Don't do it!!!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Every society can use a good dose of cuteness. Lightens the mood, and makes everyone happy, happy.

-15 ( +0 / -15 )

Whether you like AKB48 or not, it is a cultural phenomena, it represents a segment of society. You think it's bad or represents the country negatively; well that's a matter of opinion and a debatable question. Though in some way this could bring benefits expanding the campaign, I do consider it a bad idea. AKB48 related business should stay privately funded, not using government assigned resources.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I called this out years ago. Akimoto got (paid off) his way onto the Olympic board with a vested interest in other government-funded enterprises - this being one of them. Next up - AKB at the opening / closing ceremonies. What a joke.

Cool Japan slogan? "Japan - run by old men".

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Reminds me of when Taro Aso tried to use public money to build a manga museum because he loves manga so much. Sure, Akimoto didn't use any influence to get public funds for this little project he stands to make money from. Sure. Because everything related to business/government here is run completely above board and with scrupulous honesty and nothing at all of an "old boy" network looking out for itself.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

What a shame that a great nation like Japan should be represented in this way, organised by someone who just wants to line his own pockets. This is far from Cool

11 ( +12 / -1 )

This AINT cool, its pathetic! That Japan lets this peddler of pedo pop run "cool Japan" is bad enough, the guy is clearly out for himself.

This stuff DOES NOT make Japan look cool, it makes Japan look BAD! PERIOD!

Stop this embarrassing non sense!

10 ( +10 / -0 )

is that what is called by women promotion , Shame shame shame

1 ( +3 / -2 )

This is wonderful news for everyone who understands what AKB48 is all about. I really hope Manila becomes a full blown operation, similar to Jakarta and Shanghai, and helps expand the reach of AKB. Also, just a reality check for some people who are being super critical of this move by Cool Japan... whether you like it or not, AKB is embraced by people of all ages and sexes in Japan. It's easy to not like them, especially given the fact that they are so widespread in Japan and you literally can't walk ten feet in Japan without seeing AKB somewhere in something. For a wota like me, it just makes me smile so much. And I think if people really took five seconds out of their lives to stop being judgmental and instead do their research on what they are criticizing, they'll see that AKB continues to visit the Tsunami stricken areas and offer FREE concerts there to the afflicted there every since the tsunami happened. They've gone up there more than any other pop group or famous person and most government agencies. Why is this important to bring up? Because maybe now the government of Japan is finally giving back to one of their largest charitable givers of what has now become an almost embarrassed spot in Japan's history of trying to cover up what really happened in Fukushima. Maybe now people will realize that last year alone, AKB put 1 BILLION dollars in Japan's economy. Can Japan do better? Me thinks not. My only hope is that AKB critics will realize that AKB is a positive force in Japan, and now hopefully, in the Phillipines as well. YOSH IKUSHO!!!

-11 ( +5 / -16 )

The spread of AKB48 State, somebody save us please!?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Our tax money at work?

10 ( +10 / -0 )

@djv124 - Thanks for the great post and welcome to the JT board Mr. Yatsushi Akimoto , nice to have you with us.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

First J-Pop, then K-Pop, now P-pop?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So who is paying for this?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

no no no no no no no no noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo !

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This project will fail in the Philippines because they have plenty of talented singers who can actually sing well. There is no need for a bunch of cute girls who can only lip sync.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

the Cool Japan Mall will be constructed to celebrate and share the many cultural wonders of Japan with the people of the Philippines.

Won't exactly look "Japanese" with security guards walking around with machine guns. I went to a couple malls in Manila and was wondering if I had entered a war zone after seeing them walk by.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Rina Nakanishi was the best AKB48 member.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Cool Japan Project to fund AKB48 sister group in Philippines

This whole "cool japan" thing needs to take a chill pill. Who are they fooling? Now they go off to (poor) Philippines and poison those gals for a some kind of musical/cultural "influence"?

The biggest export of the PI are the people themselves, going abroad and thriving. Cool Japan has got it all wrong.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Vernie Jefferies- You are actually wrong there by saying the girls lip sync. Only some of them do, and usually it's during high intensity dance routines. It's pretty commonplace and normal to do lip syncing during songs where dancing would make the songs sound terrible because the girls are out of breath. FYI, there are TONS of amazing singers in AKB. Sayanee comes to mind in this regard. For what it's worth, I think AKB going to Manila is a really good thing, not a bad thing. AKB is positive and fun, and they are promoting positivity, which is more than I can say for people who do nothing but criticize them because they don't really know anything about AKB or understand them at all.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

It's pretty commonplace and normal to do lip syncing during songs where dancing would make the songs sound terrible because the girls are out of breath.

Perhaps they should make up their mind. Do they want to be singers or dancers? 30or 40 wannabe talentless singers/dancers out of breath & lip syncing, while the rest are actually sing? What a gimmick.

You don't see real talent like Ariana Grande, T. Swift or K. Perry going through such strife in the industry. But then, they're actually "real" women. Not 48 talentless youths who are constantly being replaced from a pool of more brainless youths who've managed to climb up in the agency.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@djv124 I am not one of the bashers. I don't mind them at all because I have been living in Tokyo for quite some time. I was just saying the Filipinos will turn against those groups who lips sync too much. Their taste in music is a little more sophisticated because of the high talent level in the Philippines. Besides they prefer American style of music (such as Pop, R&B, and Hip Hop). I would only expect them to make a tiny ripple in the music industry there, because I doubt anyone over 18 will follow AKB style of entertainment.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It would be wise not to hold ones breath on another regurgitated 'fairy tale' from RocketNews24......

Let start by separating fact from fiction, not a single Yen of taxpayers/public funds, would be directly invested in a project of this nature by any Government department let alone METI, to quote, 'the final investment decision is made by the ‘Investment Committee’, in accordance to the ‘Investment Guideline’. A clear management system in place whose Chairman Kazunobu Iijima and CEO Nobuyuki Ota are statutorily accountable.

The Cool Japan Initiative (cool Japan fund) details clear process and governance. The latest June 17, 2015 Cool Japan Strategy Promotion Council briefing below, Shunichi Yamaguchi (Chair) is Minister in charge of the Cool Japan Strategy along with a detailed list of Private-Sector Experts.

So let be crystal clear Yasushi Akimoto, the 'head' of AKB Group, would never be in a position to deliberate over any aspect of Cool Japan funding model. it would amount to a serious conflict of interests. i.e. the process that ensures the integrity of government decision-making the disbursement of public funds is not compromised public officials and private interests.

So, it’s not outlandish to assume that MNL48 was a decision made by general consensus within Cool Japan. I mean, stranger things have happened..........This one sentence contradicts the premise behind the entire article. An outlandish assumption acting as a click magnet.

Cool Japan Strategy Public-Private Collaboration Initiative

http://www.cas.go.jp/jp/seisaku/cool_japan/pdf/20150617_initiative_honbun_e.pdf

http://www.cas.go.jp/jp/seisaku/cool_japan/pdf/20150617_initiative_gaiyou_e.pdf

Cool Japan Movement Promotion Council.......

http://www.cas.go.jp/jp/seisaku/cool_japan/pdf/teigen_e.pdf

Cool Japan Initiative (Cool Japan Fund).......

http://www.meti.go.jp/english/policy/mono_info_service/creative_industries/pdf/20131010_01a.pdf

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This project will fail in the Philippines because they have plenty of talented singers who can actually sing well.

While I agree that the PI has plenty of talent, I doubt this will fail because there are plenty of very poor who would love the chance.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Please make it stop!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I was just saying the Filipinos will turn against those groups who lips sync too much.

I think the opposite.. Imagine a REAL AKB group with REAL 48 or so talents that can really SING and DANCE.... I'd wish for them to over-throne the Japanese hahaha!!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@JoiceRojo. Good point.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Akimoto should not use Cool Japan funds for this. Another idol group in Filipina might be a good business venture for Akimoto, but using Cool Japan funds for that is a bit unethical.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

AKB48 should fund money to the people of Fukushima instead.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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