Japan Today

Project kicks off to promote Japanese idol culture

By Ran Matsugi

Tokyo Idol project began on Tuesday at Fuji TV's headquarters in Tokyo's Odaiba area. The goal of the project is to promote Japanese idol culture to audiences around the world.

Numerous groups from around Japan will take part in the project.

"We have witnessed great passion and energy from idol groups and fans," said the project manager. "We hope to continue seeing that passion throughout the year, so that Japanese pop culture will spread all over the world."

Here are several ways to enjoy the idol culture.

TOKYO IDOL PROJECT LIVE Monthly live performances will take place in several locations in Japan as one of the core programs. Three volumes are scheduled as follows.

LIVE Vol. 1: April 18 Program 1 15:00- / Program 2 19:00- LIVE Vol. 2: May 9 Program 1 15:00- / Program 2 18:00- LIVE Vol. 3: May 23 Program 1 15:00- / Program 2 18:00- All take place in "nicofarre" Roppongi

Tickets: ¥3,500 for each program on site Available from Rakuten Ticket (http://r-t.jp/tip) Two full programs via Internet LIVE Nicovideo ¥1,200 Available from Nicovideo (http://live.nicovideo.jp/)

TOKYO IDOL FESTIVAL The world's largest idol festival which last year attracted 138 idol groups and 42,000 fans will be held Aug 1-2 in the Odaiba area. Performers include Idolling!, Up Up Girls, "Dorothy Little Happy, Negicco and Babyraids JAPAN. Tickets will be available from mid-April, through Rakuten Ticket.

TOKYO IDOL PROJECT TV Three TV programs on topical idol groups will be streamed on Channel 8, BSFuji and CS Fuji from 24:35, March 30. Performances of HKT48, Idoling!!!, Negicco, Dempagumi. Inc, Babyraids JAPAN will kick off the event. Internet streaming will also be available from Fuji On Demand (http://fod.fujitv.co.jp/s/) and Rakuten SHOWTIME (http://video.rakuten.co.jp)

TOKYO IDOL WEB Overseas audiences can enjoy web streaming of idol news, interviews, articles and features. Interviewees include Idoling!!!, ℃-ute, Dempagumi.Inc with some backstage stories of Vanila Beans, PASSPO☆ etc. Visit the official website (http://tokyoidol.jp/)

More information is available at http://www.live/tokyoidol.jp

© Japan Today

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0 ( +0 / -0 )

Of all the available options of Japanese pop culture items I am not sure that Idols are a good choice, economically maybe on the short term, but the "dark side" of Idol culture is likely to bring a lot of criticism overseas.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

Somehow I really don't think it matters how they try and promote it overseas. They certainly aren't going to be able to tap into the middle aged men audience overseas, as being fans of underage girls is not acceptable there. Maybe they can aim for elementary and jr high girls, but then again I doubt they have much interest in listening to music that they don't understand the lyrics of. Good luck getting the majority of high school students and up to be interested in happy-go-lucky music with girls in cutesy outfits dancing as there is no edge like current popular artists in the West.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

@chikv the fans really won't care about that. Every anime freak like myself I know also loves j-pop and idols, and I like the cute songs made by bands like akb48

Plus, just look at the popularity of anime like Love Live! School idol Project! It´s (almost) THE most popular show around right now amonst fans of Japanese pop culture, both in and outside of Japan. At least me and all my friends love it, and you can´t go to an anime convention around here without being drained in it. XD

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I don't see this having any effect. People who are going to like 'idols', will already like them. The rest of us are not going to be swayed by any campaign.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

It's as pointless as America trying to make the UK or the world love NFL football.

You'll have people come out for the events out of fascination I'm sure, but you're not going to get mass converts to J-idol culture as permanent fans. Spending millions of dollars to shove something down their throats is a waste of time and money.

Ghibli is loved worldwide but they barely ever crack the top ten in overseas box office despite having loyal followers and its Ghibli for god's sake! If Ghibli can't get mainstream appeal what makes them think 14-21 yr old girls in french maid costumes will ever be accepted in a religious society?

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Gosh! She can't sing or dance and gave up a chance at education and personal growth so she could sign an exploitive contract held by a bunch of creeps who will control every aspect of her life and pocket most of her earnings. Her shelf life is two years if she's very lucky and maybe she'll manage to avoid drug addiction and sexual abuse by her employers and somehow manage to carve a life for herself outside the "entertainment" industry and some TV show will do a follow-up on her in 20 years to show us she hasn't committed suicide in the meantime. Yes, the world is simply panting for the chance to adore Japanese idol culture!

4 ( +8 / -4 )

The only group having real "success" is BABYMETAL. (and thats not saying a whole lot) They've managed to penetrate the metal scene in America & Europe. Soon they will be a staple @ large rock events worldwide. Which is more than any of those talentless j-pop dance mobs can hope for.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The only group having real "success" is BABYMETAL.

I don't think that's a reasonable assessment.

Perfume plays a LOT overseas, mostly in Asia. The *48 groups are also popular in Asia, as was Morning Musume before them.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

So how does having concerts in Japan help promote idol culture abroad? I know they are available on the Internet, but wouldn't it make more sense to have concerts abroad? Not that they would get any interest, apart from nerdy types and dirty old men.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Not unless they portray girls of age. Sexualizing girls of age is seen acceptable, but sexualizing girls portrayed to be under age (regardless of their true age) for adult folks who have the money to buy multiple copies of CDs - would give folks abroad the heebie-jeebies and a bad rep. Or they can just significantly tone down the sexualizing and portrayed instead to look more respectable - that would cut down the heebie-jeebies factor.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

For Japanese pop culture to spread all over the world, its going to have to come with subtitles. I personally love AKB48, but get so frustrated that I can only watch their programs like AKBingo, when they have been subbed by fans. Why not offer these shows with official subtitles, and broadcast them online to the world.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Idoling Stop!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"Idols" are supposed to be different from "stars".

"Stars" are these untouchable, ultra-popular people who have perfect skills, appear on TV and who you never meet.

"Idols" aren't ultra-popular, generally you do get chances to interact with them but their dancing and singing can be less than perfect, but your support encourages them to grow as a performer.

Maybe I'm over-romanticising it. I'm not even an idol fan. 3dpd.

But my point is, if you're not going to take the shows, or at least the promotional events, overseas, then the fans can't interact with your performers, so you're not promoting them as idols, you're promoting them as stars.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The only j-pop groups known where i am (Australia) is Baby-Metal and Arashi. I total agree with subtitling their T.V shows. I think more overseas people would watch them and tell others about the shows. Concerts need to be held in other countries also and not just in Asia.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

BabyMetal is the only Idol group that is making any real news. I don't really think the other groups... save Arashi, are truly "Idol groups". they would like to be... but, they are not!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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