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Over 1,000 idol singers to gather in Tokyo for massive fan event at Budokan

By Casey Baseel, RocketNews24

This is really the golden age of Japanese idol singers. Yes, Japan’s appreciation for perky vocalists in frilly skirts stretches back to at least the 1970s. The current otaku culture boom, though, mixed with the opportunities modern Internet technology offers for promoting brand-new performers who’re still in the earliest phases of building a fanbase means that never before have there been so many listening options for fans of idol music.

Of course, the whole idol singer industry is built on the understanding that fans aren’t buying CDs just because they like how the music sounds. An equally important part of the performers’ appeal is their projected personality and public image, which prompt the most passionate supporters to buy multiple copies of the same releases for the chance at special prizes like seeing their favorite idols in-person at fan appreciation events.

But even if your love for idols is limitless, your time isn’t. So to maximize the amount of idols fans can see in a single day, next month the Budokan Idol Expo 2017 will be held at Tokyo’s Budokan arena.

Originally built for martial arts competitions at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the Budokan has since become one of Japan’s most prestigious music venues, and during next month’s Golden Week vacation period some 200 idol singer groups will gather for the Idol Expo. Billed by organizers as “Comiket for idol fans,” roughly 130 participating idol units have already been announced, with the total turnout promised to exceed 1,000 idols.

The current guest list can be viewed here.

It’s unclear exactly what sort of activities the event will include. With so many idols all in one place, large-scale musical performances seem like a logistic improbability, but face-to-face fan greetings are likely to be a major part of the festivities.

Budokan Idol Expo 2017 takes place on May 6. The gates open at 10 a.m., but ticket sales start an hour earlier. Tickets can be purchased for a single three-hour block (either 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., or 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.) for 1,500 yen, while tossing down 3,000 yen gets you admission for all three time blocks. Considering that 3,000 yen is also the standard price of a CD album in Japan, odds are most fans will be opting for the all-day pass.

Event information Budokan Idol Expo 2017 / 武道館アイドル博2017 (at Nippon Budokan / 日本武道館) Address: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Kita no Maru Koen 2-3 東京都千代田区北の丸公園2−3 Website

Sources: Oricon News, Budokan Idol Expo 2017 official website

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Japanese idols cut to the chase, charge fans 10,000 yen to talk to them for three minutes -- Japanese idol placed in safe house after rape threat, official website still lists bust size -- Idol singer dating bans are unnecessary, say majority of Japanese college men in survey

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Seiko-chan !

0 ( +1 / -1 )

FluffyBomb? hahaha

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Notice that the linked website looks like it was built in 2001.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I hope they have good security. It'd be very easy for one or more of the many crazed otaku to do some serious harm to an "idol" who spurned his advances

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's so good to know that there are ONE THOUSAND "idol singers" -- just imagine! How fantastic that is. All of them cute and young and ready to be taken advantage of by the cruel Japanese music industry. Ready to be sexualized, tormented, imprisoned, taken advantage of, turned into robots and so much more! And, just think... they are already idols! By virtue of being called "idols"! As long as they stay "virginal" and only submit to their cruel managers/agents/producers, and don't gain an ounce, don't have boyfriends, don't do or say anything wrong and never, ever change, or really learn how to sing or dance or show that they MIGHT have real talent, everything is perfect in their world for about 18 months, after which they will be thrown away like snotty tissues, because their shelf life has expired.

I have seen the J-pop industry up close. I thought I knew what cruel was until I encountered it. I encourage anyone who has talent to take charge of their own destinies, post their videos on youtube and FB and go the Justin Bieber route. By becoming one of Johnny's Boys or a member of AKB48, young pop singers in Japan MIGHT succeed, as long as they put out for whoever controls their sex organs. The whole business is SICK.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

@Avalon57 - All of them cute and young and ready to be taken advantage of by the cruel Japanese music industry. Ready to be sexualized, tormented, imprisoned, taken advantage of, turned into robots and so much more! - By becoming one of Johnny's Boys or a member of AKB48, young pop singers in Japan MIGHT succeed, as long as they put out for whoever controls their sex organs. The whole business is SICK.


-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I would LOVE to see results of a survey showing how many of these girls are suffering sexual abuse at the hands of their "management".

No matter what, you just know a lot of these girls will be funnelled into the porn industry

0 ( +0 / -0 )


Your comment brought tears to my eyes from laughing so hard at it. I've seen the idol industry up close as well. I've worked in the idol industry in Japan too. I've seen absolutely nothing that you've described. It simply is the biggest lie that people who do not know any better try to establish. When you say idols don't have talent... really? You apparently never heard Iwasa Misaki sing enka. You don't think idols can dance? You have apparently never seen Koko destroy a dance floor. Idols are going to be "imprisoned?" Have you gone to a Guso Drop concert, by any chance? I am fairly sure any of those girls would whip somebody's butt who tried to "imprison" them. I mean, it's completely unfair and biased to say all the things you said, then mention AKB and say that those members all succeed as long as they put out, a statement that is horrendously defamatory to the idols in AKB who work very hard and take being an idol very seriously. And so does the staff around them and their management. Nobody is trying to take advantage of a 12 year old HKT48 member, or I think we would all have heard about it by now. And in fact, not once has a single story ever come out of AKB's 11 year history that any manager molested or touched one of the girls inappropriately. Not. One. Single. Time.

That doesn't mean it can't happen or has happened, but if it did, it's a very, very small incident that it did. The idol industry does have some slimy creeps in it, as I've also seen that with my own eyes as well, but the majority of it is pretty harmless and innocent. At the end of the day, idols like AKB are there to put money into the economy of Japan by making men and women, teenagers and children, all smile at their songs and dances. And the lack of "talent" is kind of the point of many idol groups too. The joy of an idol fan is to watch a girl grow up and become amazing. If they entered an idol group perfect, well, you would not be experiencing an idol but a musician who is already perfect and doesn't need fan support to get anywhere else in her career.

I watch idols almost everyday. I talk about them every day. I'm a highly educated, very normal person who sees the good and bad in the idol industry. But there is good and bad in any business, and the good far, far outweighs the bad. Can the idol industry improve? What industry doesn't need to improve? But to say all the idol girls are nothing more than prostitutes in training who can only advance their careers by going through what equates to heck on earth... it's hysterical that somebody would actually believe that. You've been watching too much fake news my friend.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Sexual abuse of minors is rampant in this horrible industry. Worst kept secret in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@djv124: I'm so glad that your experience has been such a rosy, happy, innocent lovefest. I am not saying EVERY singer in Japan does not have talent. I am saying that most "talent" in Japan is created. And if you think for one minute that these youngsters are not being sexually exploited, then I guess it must be nice to live in your clean, rainbow prism magic land.

There are MANY stories about abuse of idol singers in Japan, but most of them are silenced. I was referring to the INSANITY of having ONE THOUSAND IDOL SINGERS show up for a gig. "Idol singers" are created in Japan. Why do they call them "idols" before they become them? I am not talking about ICONS like Michael Jackson or Lady Gaga. And I have seen/heard SOME incredibly talented Japanese singers, songwriters and dancers. And I am probably Ryuichi Sakamoto's biggest fan, and on my short list of favorite songs is "Hello Again" "Hana" (Okinawan song) and "The Island Song" (Okinawan song).

You made assumptions about what I said. I never said they were nothing ore than "prostitutes in training." That is your interpretation of what I said. And I don't care about "other industries" because we're talking about the music industry, especially the one in Japan.

I saw how one girl's life was essentially destroyed because of stupidity, mismanagement, greed, and more stupidity. She had a bright future ahead of her until a bunch of "music professionals" decided to turn her into an "idol singer."

I don't mean to demean you or what you do. I was involved in the J-pop industry for almost 20 years. I don't like what it does to young people. I encourage them to follow their dreams and not try to be robots for someone else. Yes, there are hardworking girls in AKB48 who take it very seriously. I understand that. But there are freaks on the fringes who can make life hell for them. Same with Johnny's Boys. There are many stories that have been silenced. There is too much money at stake and scandal has to be avoided.

At any rate, you sound like an interesting person and if we weren't discussing this article, we would probably have a good conversation.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Avalon, I appreciate the measured response you just gave. It wasn't offensive, except maybe the part where you think my experience with the idol industry has been all rosy. There have been some difficulties, but my point is that this is true anywhere and in every industry. The idol industry is no different, and honestly, what I hate the most is how people who aren't informed make these incredible assumptions about the idol industry and those who work in it as a whole. It's like calling an entire race a certain racial word just because you have had bad experiences with one or two members of that race. It's just not an intelligent thing to do, you know?

I have heard horror stories too in the idol industry, but, again, they are very few and very far between. Now, the Johnny's, well, that is a whole other world I can't even begin to comment on. What I do know is that if it weren't for J-POP, my life would not be as cheerful. I have enjoyed so much of it, especially idol music. I like watching somebody like Maeda Atsuko go from a nobody who didn't even want to be the center of AKB to the very face of AKB and the center of that world. It was an amazing story and trajectory, full of emotional ups and downs, lots of heartache, tons of joy. And Acchan's story is one of hundreds that AKB alone has produced. You can follow other idol groups and see the same thing. I live for those kind of stories. They are beyond amazing to me. A girl is an idol the second she decides to step on stage and give it her all. She earns the title of idol through her very act of being there for us all to smile with and enjoy. That is what idol music is all about. That is why a girl is an idol before she ever becomes a super talented singer/dancer, if she ever does. Some don't, and that's okay too.

By the way, because you said you like Ryuichi Sakamoto, I simply can't hate you now lol. The song "Hana" is sooooo beautiful! You have good taste, and yes, I agree, we probably could have a very interesting conversation, minus this article discussion. Maybe someday we will.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Quality over quantity. I can't see how any of these girls are making a living wage

1 ( +2 / -1 )

You know, nobody who doesn’t relate to J-pop, or idols, has a clue as to the incredible joy they bring to millions of people. I am a wealthy, intelligent, educated 73-year-old American man, and it would probably sound strange to the clueless that I declare that AKB and its sister groups have brought more joy to me than anything other than my wife of 51 years. So if an idol is occasionally abused by some creep, I think it is similar to a police officer getting hurt, or even killed, in the line of devoted service to others. It’s a risk worth taking. And for the clueless who say the girls don’t have talent, when AKB girls, for example, are selected from thousands of applicants by entertainment experts, because they have talent, I say dream on.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Hicoway: none of them have talent.... they have "marketable" qualities...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Excellent. I hope they will be providing lots of proper rest room and other facilities for the guests to get a little privacy.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

1,000 idols ... that's a lot of people. If they perform one after another end on end an hour each, it will take 1,000 hours just to see everyone perform. And even if they are given a cubicle for each individual or group, it would take lots of time to see everyone. Sounds like an idol/fan jam headed toward the Budokan. Anyway, let's see if the sponsors can figure out how to please everyone ...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Exploitation at its finest. Idols on a salary of 50,000yen/month. modern day slavery.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Even Yasushi Akimoto admits the idols couldn't compare to the talents of artists in the West

But he also says it's about the growth, not whether or not they end up with the same level of talent

Take that idea as you wish

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I've never been to Japan and I don't speak the language, but nevertheless I like the music. So what if it's manufactured? Real musicians compose the songs and write the music, it's wonderful, and besides it's all musical theater anyway. You don't criticize the cast of Hairspray because they don't play the instruments, do you?

As for Avalon57's comment, there are over 200 idol groups performing at the Budokan Idol Expo, so to say they're all abused you'd have to know what's going on with each and every one of them. I seriously doubt that is the case. What I've heard consistently is that some agencies treat their idols well, and others not so much. When it comes to exploitation and abuse, I suspect there's about as much of that going on as is in Western music industry groups. In other words...too much.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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