@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 )
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 )
How pathetically sad. People cannot appreciate the beauty of the cherry blossoms without obliterating themselves with booze. Nobody learns anything, ever.
-2 ( +2 / -4 )
I have lived with my Japanese husband in Japan for 21 years. In that time, I was able to tolerate one soap opera about a group of people in Hokkaido and a few scattered entertainment programs where old pop stars sing their hits. Other than those, I have had to leave the room, as my temperature rises within nanoseconds at the incredible stupidity, manipulating, blatant nationalism, and every possible effort to keep foreign faces off Japanese TV unless they're black singers (preferably with Asian blood), stupid gaijin clowns or evil gaijins from historical eras where Japan was "the victim" (oh, I'm sorry... was there ever a time when Japan wasn't a victim?).
In addition, Japanese TV is FIXATED on putting cameras on people's faces while they're eating or drinking so we can get their "gut reaction" to what they're eating or drinking... which is ALWAYS the same. "Oishii!!!" ("Delicious!!!!").
As for their "dramas," someone is always running hysterically, crying hysterically, or dying in a hospital. Also, in Japan, producers apparently believe that SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS makes things more "dramatic."
I love my husband, but I HATE Japanese TV. It makes me nauseous. That is NOT to say that Japan cannot create riveting drama or doesn't have some kick-ass movies or animated films. But TV is, as someone said, about cooking (how many times can we watch someone swirl udon noodles in a strainer?), celebrities (and there are so few who have ANY talent), or same celebrities "acting" or eating or appearing in commercials. In between there are dramas about men who scream, women who cry, men racing down beaches screaming out women's names, and so much fakery and stupidity and manipulation that short of having a lobotomy, the only thing I can do is walk away. Yes. I agree with HaraldBloodaxe: "Yes it bloody is, it's sodding dreadful." Except I would have put DREADFUL in caps.
Talk about dreck!!!
0 ( +0 / -0 )
Insane, stupid, pointless. Another indication of the fantasy-mind set that is so prevalent here. So, when the "cute 'n cuddly" alpaca decides to take a huge dump while Hiroko-chan and Taro-kun are marching towards their fabulous future, will every body be thinking the fluffy-four-legged friend is still "adorable," or will they all be pinching their noses and running for the hills?
0 ( +3 / -3 )
This is what I would call a "sweet" article. It does not include the heavy-handed criticism, Japan-bashing and fury that accompany a lot of the comments I've heard (and probably made) during my time here. The one thing the writer gets absolutely right is how apparently there are only two words to describe food in Japan: "Oishii!" and "Umai!" and each one is said as if the speaker were either on the verge of having an orgasm or in the midst of one. It drives me insane.
I have a Japanese husband and I have struggled to the point of tears to tolerate what I can only call baffling programming. First, men run all the networks, that's obvious--if a woman has a voice at any network in Japan, I am sure it is silenced, insulted or laughed at, much as it is on the insipid "wide shows." As for NHK, it constantly paints a picture of Japan that only exists in the mind of the men who run it, mainly how great Japan was, how it is a victim of foreign powers, and that, apparently, no foreigners exist, except as part of historical dramas--they cannot be included in a single modern-day drama (why not??); except for one anchorwoman, the rest have to be under 30, preferably much younger; most Japanese dramas include someone dying in a hospital, someone running hysterically, someone crying, with cameras landing on the actor's eyes so we can really see that they are crying... and of course, any time there is an election, seeing a politician screaming himself hoarse to prove how "impassioned" he is. The list goes on and on. I let my husband watch TV for an hour each night, after which we go to HULU and choose a Western film, which he loves. In fact, I have to force him to watch old Japanese films (there were some incredible ones).
It's the current crop of Japanese TV shows that consistently display a lack of diversity, a lack of ideas, and a lack of talent. Japan Inc. has written into its by-laws that chirpy AKB48 creatures will forever dominate the airwaves and they, plus "Johnny's Boys" will determine who gets to star in a show, what songs we get to hear, and what dramas we get to see. They are revealing in a way, but not in a good way.
Japanese TV has been on life support for so long it does not know how to breathe on its own anymore.
-1 ( +0 / -1 )
An incredibly stupid idea. So, some dumb woman is going to pay this service so she can have a "fake boyfriend" to make her "real boyfriend" jealous? Okay, one: if your "real boyfriend" isn't paying enough attention to you, that might be a sign that "he's just not that into you." Or, two: let's say it works. And then let's say your "real boyfriend" goes postal on the fake boyfriend, and smashes his face in. Or worse, goes after you because you "cheated" on him, and smashes your face in.
What a childish, stupid, pointless, sad commentary on "adult" relationships.
1 ( +1 / -0 )
To "Enawatanabe": What does his having "any children" have to do with the "rumor" that he's gay? Lots of gay people have children. One has nothing to do with the other.
0 ( +0 / -0 )
Dear "Beat": Let me break it down for you, since you are apparently too stupid to understand. Two human beings are two human beings. A human being and an animal are a human being and an animal. What part of that don't you understand? (Oh, that's right; you're stupid to understand... as such, why don't you learn something before you open your stupid mouth?)
You do not have to like gay people, you do not have to have anything to do with gay people. No one is asking you to. But, if two adults want to make a lifetime commitment to each other, a commitment that is protected under the laws of the country they live in, and if those two adults do their bit (i.e. work, pay their taxes, contribute to society, be kind to children, animals and the elderly)... then, really, "Beat," what's it to you whether their sum private parts are male or female? Why the eff do you care?
And... set me straight, Beatster... why is there a persistent rumor about you being gay? I'm not making that up. Ask around, honey. 'Cause that's the word I've heard on the street.
0 ( +6 / -5 )
Do not under any circumstances do jobs like this. There is NO protection for foreigners in the Japanese entertainment industry. NONE. And the Japanese themselves are treated just as bad. Been there, done that. I appreciate the gutsiness of this author to post this, because most people in this town keep their mouths shut. Nothing will ever change by remaining silent. Thank you for writing and posting, but, remember, do NOT do this kind of work. You have nothing to fight back with here. If you're going to do any work at all, get hired to do a key part with lines or get hired as one of a small group of people in a commercial. Be VERY specific with your agent about what you will do. If they start making noises, say "Thank you, but this is what I am willing to do." I had to do a job with a MONKEY on my back. LITERALLY. I had to tell them to give me double gloves in case the monkey decided he didn't like me. And on that job, we started at 6:30pm, and they didn't call me to makeup until 12:30am!!! And then we stood around for FOUR HOURS and then they FINALLY decided I could do my job... which was to walk BACKWARDS, delivering dialogue, step on to a column that LIFTED me to the ceiling, all while delivering dialogue and all with the monkey on my back!!! We finished at 11am. I had enough time to go home, shower, stuff food in my face, and go to my proofing job and my music job that night. 24 hours of hell. I got paid 300,000 yen, so I kept my mouth shut. (I was NOT an extra; I was "featured"). NONETHELESS, there are NO RULES here governing how ANYBODY is treated, and if there are, I'd like to know where the hell they are. It is UNBELIEVABLE how they will treat talent in this country, and I mean, foreign or Japanese. Sad, sad, sad commentary on a greedy industry who throws "talent" away like they were the second of three layers of plastic wrapping on any single food item you buy in a department store in Japan. FIGHT BACK people!
0 ( +0 / -0 )