COVID-19 INFORMATION What you need to know about the coronavirus if you are living in Japan or planning a visit.

djv124 comments

Posted in: Japan records 503 coronavirus infections on Wednesday; biggest daily jump since start of pandemic See in context

Late to the comment party here, but figured I would just add this, for better or for worse, and maybe ease some troubled minds here: My dear friend, who is a scientist that works with viruses on a daily basis, told me to not panic over the rate of infection. That number does not mean half or nearly anywhere near as much as the death rate. He told me that until Japan or any country sees their death rate start to double and triple in a single day, then and only then should the public really become seriously worried. Because the death rate is the true indicator of what this virus could do to Japan.

Here's another statistic to consider: 95% of the world's population who are infected with Covid-19 have minor symptoms or no symptoms at all. Some 3 percent are in critical condition. Only a tiny percentage are dying from this virus, and they are dying usually because of many other factors besides the virus itself (like being in inadequate medical care facilities, having several other complications that actually was what killed them, etc.).

I'm not saying we should ignore social distancing rules and go back to pretending like we all wash our hands all the time when none of really do, but I have to at least consider the idea that the media has kind of spread their own virus that has infected everybody lately - The virus of sensationalism, and turning us all into zombies watching the news all the time to see what terrible tragic rate of infection numbers are going to pop up next.

Stay home if you can. But if you cannot because you have a family to feed and bills to pay, do not be ashamed to go out and support yourself. Just be careful when you do it.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: 'Little idols': Japan's dark obsession with young girls See in context

I'm not even going to bother responding to what I'm sure will be a backlash to my comments, but I felt the need to say three things about this article:

It must have been a real slow day at the office for JT to actually take this article and put it on their site, given that they only seem to drum up idol talk (usually about AKB) in order to drive their viewership and comments up on their site. I really do not understand how something this... one-sided can be considered fair reporting or even news. It's pure sensationalism.

None of you probably have ever been to an actual idol show. If you had been to them, you would notice a few things. First... there are plenty of female fans who attend these shows. The average demographic of the fans that come to these show is nowhere near the middle-age or older age men. It's young dudes and college kids. Also, the majority of the idols in the underground idol scene and even the mainstream are over the age of 16. I have been to probably 200 idols shows in the past three years, and I can not name you one time there was an idol I saw who was six years old performing. This article basically emulates that horrible documentary made by that Japanese lady last year that focused on the absolute extreme demographic numbers and made it seem like it is the majority. It is not even close, and I speak from personal experience.

This article is damaging to the idol industry as a whole because it is equating it with child porn in Japan, things like JK, and all the other dark spots on the underbelly of Japan. Of course when you mention "idols" in the same sentence as "pedophiles," your mind is going to make that connection. But the problem is that it's simply not there in reality. Again, in all the shows I've been to, and heck, for the overwhelming majority of shows for idols, not once have I ever seen an idol dis-respected or molested or touched inappropriately. The majority of the idols wear clothes that aren't even remotely tantalizing. Those that do are old enough to flaunt their skin any way they choose (and by old enough, I'm talking over the age of 18). And also, you are all making gigantic assumptions about the people who attend these shows, that somehow they are pervs trying to be tantalized by young girls dancing on the stage. Come to an actual idol show sometime... you'll see it's polar opposite of this. The girls are treated with total care and grace. And I'm not saying there aren't bad apples, both in the idol fandom or even in the management of idols. Of course there are, and to say there isn't is being as untruthful as this article. However, that is not the majority, and perhaps I could argue it's such a tiny statistic to consider that it only serves to weakly boost what the close-minded narrative is here, i.e., you think the idol world sexualizes these girls, and the real experience is that these girls are given encouragement and support to develop and grow into actors, dancers, singers, entrepreneurs, and superstars. Many of them have, all thanks to what they learned as idols.

Again, I'm not going to respond to comments. I'm not even going to look at this page after I post this because I'm used to the kind of stuff like this here on JT and am only looking at this because a distressed idol that I know saw this and was very upset that people actually think what she does is somehow connected to Japan's porn industry and her shows are meeting places for old pervy man. So I'll put an exclamation point on my points by saying that when my half-Japanese daughter grows up, both me and her mother fully and totally will support her if she wants to become an idol. I look forward to it, because I know the real idol world, not the one that's being literally made up in articles like this, is a beautiful place to escape and feel safe inside.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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

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 )

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


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 )

Posted in: World Order’s 'Singularity' raises profile of singular girls group See in context

SKE did an absolutely fantastic job showing off their impeccable dance skills, which they needed to keep up with World Order. Easily one of my favorite MV's of this year so far, and a catchy song too. Thank you World Order for allowing SKE to work with you. As their senpais, I know you probably have improved their dancing ten fold, though SKE is by far the strongest group in terms of the AKB groups and dancing skills. Definitely a fun time for all. Yosshhhhh Ikussshhhoooo!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Two halves of a whole: Japan’s habitual ‘labeling’ of bicultural kids See in context

@Pidestroika: ,br> I think the moment you show a Japanese person you speak the language proficiently, understand the manners and customs of Japan, and you demonstrate that you know your place in the social structure of Japan, there will be no problems working for Japanese and living in places that are rented only to Japanese. I mean, I certainly have never had any issues, and I'm 100% white, but when I'm in Japan, I respect the Japanese and assimilate to their culture. And it doesn't hurt I can speak Japanese well enough to have anyone thinking about treating me in a racist way change their mind pretty quick about doing so. As such, I fully expect my haafu daughter, who already can speak both Japanese and English and understands both languages very well, to have zero problems getting by in Japan, should she choose at 18 to be a Japanese citizen, or should she choose to visit Japan as an American citizen. I'm hopeful, and sure, there are always going to be racist people in Japan who won't care that she can do all of the aforementioned and will only look at her as a mixed individual, but I personally feel those types of people are fast fading from Japan. Again, only speaking from personal experience, not from a set of facts sitting in front of me based on a poll or anything of the sort. Take it as you will.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Posted in: Two halves of a whole: Japan’s habitual ‘labeling’ of bicultural kids See in context

As the parent of a gorgeous 2 year old Haafu girl, I have zero problem with the term and I will teach my daughter to not have a problem with it either. The reason? It's simple: The intent of this word being used has never once been derogatory in the hundreds of conversations I've had with Japanese folk who meet my daughter and use that term while they are smiling and waving and petting the top of my daughter's head. It's just an old expression that never has been traded in for something more P.C. If anything, it's said with such adoration and praise always that I've always looked at it as a point of pride and even use the term myself with Japanese people I meet in explaining both my daughter and the mixed race children of others. Nobody ever bats an eye or blinks at this term within my social circle of Japanese friends and family. There are so many haafus who are famous in Japan and beloved that I see no overall problem either with Japan as a whole somehow... advocating prejudice towards anyone who isn't pure Japanese blood. I mean, sure, there are some old, old laws still around to remind foreigners they are foreigners if they are living in Japan (me not being allowed to be buried in my wife's family plot because I don't share her Japanese last name is a personal favorite, lol), but mostly I'm treated very well by Japanese people. I guess to each their own, yeah?

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Posted in: Piko Taro dances with candy, beetles, lemons and Japanese idols in new versions of 'PPAP' See in context

@Kobe White Bar Owner:

Once again, only on JT can somebody actually think ppap is responsible for the degradation of youth. Wow.

You are acting like PPAP is responsible for the end of the world. It isn't. Moreover, if you want to complain about total trash being drip fed into the ears of the youth, well, isn't that really a very subjective standpoint? What one person calls "trash," another person calls "art." You know what else was called the lowest common denominator in music years ago? The Clash. The Sex Pistols. Metallica. And on. And on. And on.

Maybe you are too young to remember this, or maybe you're too old to allow yourself to see the fun in ppap, but the way I see it, this song isn't promoting violence and can't even remotely be considered profane. It's one guy using English in a very tongue-in-cheek sort of way to be silly, and that's it. No need, in my opinion, to attach this song to the overall reason why the youth of today are bad. That's like saying because a teenager enjoys watching silly cat videos he's gotta be a really dumb person who couldn't possibly have any intelligence. Your'e forgetting that even genius kids need a break from being so majime all the time. I think we all need a break in this regard, and I'm happy to see ppap give that to us.

Phew rant over.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: Piko Taro dances with candy, beetles, lemons and Japanese idols in new versions of 'PPAP' See in context

Only on JT would people actually think to criticize something that is obviously harmless fun which happens to have went viral. I bet the same people criticizing PPAP also sit and watch silly memes that get posted on FB walls and share those memes with their friends. Oh, the hypocrisy!

@HollisBrown: Becky can barely speak English, certainly not at a native level enough to do translation. Just a friendly FYI.

On a completely unrelated note, wow, the Nogi girls are getting down! Always good to see part of the AKB family spreading happiness like this and doing it looking fine as all heck!

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Posted in: 'Ghost in the Shell' makers defend Johansson casting See in context

I know I'm supposed to see all these dazzling colors and visual effects and ScarJo's brilliantly lush looking lips, but all I see is WHITE. It's truly sad that Hollywood chose to deny a Japanese woman the lead of a lifetime, all in the name of attaching a familiar WHITE face to sell the film. As the daughter of a Half-Japanese girl, I hope she can grow up someday not worrying that the color of her skin won't land her a role in a live action movie celebrating one of the greatest Japanese animes of all time, simply because she's the wrong COLOR.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Posted in: Japanese idol singer placed in safe house after rape threat See in context

Really happy to hear that something is actually being done, for once, to protect idols like Riripom. What happened to Mayu Tomita was horrific, and I hope nothing like that happens to Riripom. Now, if we could just get the management companies for idols to hire these really wonderful people called "Bodyguards" for their idols....

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: Japanese idols charge fans Y10,000 to talk to them for three minutes See in context

@moonraker: Have you actually ever listened to Iris? I think you might want to fact-check your criticism of them as being incapable of sounding good and having melodies. Sure, they aren't on the level of, say, Utada Hikaru or anything, but all in all, their music is pretty catchy and fun. But again, as I said, to each their own.

Also, I think addiction can happen in any kind of medium or form of escape a person chooses, but saying or suggesting that management/producers of idol groups seek to exploit when somebody gets addicted to said idol groups is a far stretch of assumption of knowing the intentions of these managers/producers. As somebody else said already on this thread, charging this kind of money is very, very common in all forms of fan-related events for JPOP musicians and singers. Even in enka too. And it's all part of what makes Japan so... Japanese. If you think about it, is it really any more crazier than all the millions of Americans who will tune in to watch The Walking Dead this Sunday to see who got their head bashed in by a barbed wire baseball bat? Think about it... if you are a fan of that show, you've waited over half a year to see somebody get brutally murdered. I would think to the rest of the world, that's a little more screwed up, the idea of wanting to see somebody die horribly, than paying money to talk to idol girls who are all about spreading happiness and joy.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Japanese idols charge fans Y10,000 to talk to them for three minutes See in context

I think to Westerners and perhaps those living in Japan who don't "get" Japanese culture or the Japanese mindset, this of course seems really ridiculous. And maybe on some level, it is, especially when you consider that it's very likely the girls will see only a tiny fraction of this money (though I don't know how anyone can say on this comment thread for sure what the girls get at all, unless you somehow have a copy of the contracts these girls signed to be idols). However, I think if you wake up everyday, love an idol group and consider it your most favorite passion and hobby, and have the money to spend on talking to them at this kind of extraordinary level, nobody should really have the right to criticize you for doing so. The only thing getting hurt by this is your wallet. I seem to recall a few years back there was the other group of boy idols from England (ahem..cough..cough, the Beatles) that people did a lot more crazier acts of devotion for, and nobody seemed to think that was a bad idea or hated people who were die hard fans of that group. So really, to each their own I say.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Posted in: 'Game of Thrones' and the rise of prime-time violence See in context

As a writer who writes graphic, horrific violent stories, I think the one thing this article leaves out is how violence, when used correctly, can vastly impact the reader's reaction on many emotional levels. Same with tv shows, and especially true for tv shows that get it right when they adapt a series of novel that is a complete world for tv. I think hbo is incredible for showing the GoT world as George Martin has given it to us, complete with all the gore and nudity. That's the world he created, and every single thing that happens in that world happens for a very good reason. To call any of it gratuitous means only one thing: The person who wrote this article obviously hasn't read the books or seen the entire tv series. If they had, they would realize that all the violence depicted also has is shown with the consequences of that violence. This is storytelling for adults, not for children, and definitely not for article writers who obviously want to promote the idea that we should all go back to the Hays Code Era of television where even showing a bellybutton on television was considered beyond immoral and wrong. Because look how well our society turned out with that kind of censorship in place, right? Long live GoT, and kudos to George Martin for giving us all a great, beautiful story that is full of unexpected emotional storylines bathed in blood and sex. I've loved every minute of it!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo Olympics is looking for volunteers, but may have a hard time finding them See in context

I treasure the Olympics and have watched every single one of them since I was a little kid. I would give up a lot to volunteer for the Olympics, and I very well may do this considering my daughter is Half-Japanese and my family lives in Tokyo. This would be a dream come true to say I was part of something so special to the world's history.

That being said, I have to give a lot of respect to Heather, who commented earlier, and also the guy who has helped out as a volunteer in his's people like you and Heather's father who are heroes to me. This isn't about money, and to answer the question as to why anyone on earth would donate their time for free to a company making money, it's really simple: It's what the Olympics represent that is worth donating your time too. Just like people all over the world donate hundreds if not thousands of volunteer hours to churches, who also make's because of what the churches represent. Believe it or not people, there are some things more important to be part of than earning a paycheck.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Posted in: AKB48 to hold concerts at Universal Studios Japan every day starting in July See in context

AKB's days are doing absolutely amazing. They are stronger than ever and show no signs of slowing down. There are almost 500 members, three new sister group expansions overseas, and over a million cds sold for this year's upcoming sousenkyo election. Their latest single broke the million sales mark easily, and their members are dominating magazine covers, variety shows, their own programs, and they are still a powerful musical force in the music industry. They are the only group who can do 100 concerts at USJ and not even break a sweat and still send their other members to do stadium concerts, daily shows, and anything else they want to do. How is that for numbers? Ha ha. These girls are unstoppable!

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

Posted in: AKB48 to hold concerts at Universal Studios Japan every day starting in July See in context


Show me the actual statistics you are pulling from by saying this, because I can tell you from attending several concerts, handshake events, and owning almost their entire library of concert dvds, I've seen nothing but a balance of teenagers, girls, families, children, and only the occasional ojisan or 30-something guy who looks like your classic otaku. I think what you said might have been true only in the beginning of AKB's ten year history, but it certainly hasn't been the case for the past six years or so. AKB attracts all types of people, which is exactly why they are doing the performances at USJ. If people just watch them, they'll realize they aren't lascivious or suggestive and their fans are normal people who enjoy happy, positive music, that is sometimes flirty, but always fun.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

Posted in: AKB48 to hold concerts at Universal Studios Japan every day starting in July See in context


Did you watch the videos? By all means, check them out yourself. I'm not "seeing what I want to see," not at all, and don't appreciate the implication of this kind of statement either.

Peter's comment isn't accurate in the least. I've been following AKB for many years now, and honestly, it's the biggest misconception the general public has about the group. It's simply not true, and also, it's rather offensive to imply an entire fanbase of a musical idol group are "pervs" or sociall awkward. What's more, USJ is doing a great, great thing by having AKB there on a daily basis. I am happy for AKB and USJ's partnership, and I think that is the issue that should be focused on.

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

Posted in: AKB48 to hold concerts at Universal Studios Japan every day starting in July See in context

Peter, I think it's a very huge misconception that AKB draws that kind of demographic you are implying. If you would take a few minutes and watch the USJ promo video for AKB's recent visit, you'll see in the audience that the overwhelming majority of the people there to see AKB were young teenage girls, families, and of course, your teenage boys. The only ojisans I saw there were with their kids, looking bored out of their mind.

I think AKB performing there is a really good thing. The girls work very hard and do their best to put on a great performance that is all about being positive. I think that positivity will be really good for USJ. I just hope the girls don't get too tired from so many concert performances all in a row. Ganbatte AKB!

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Posted in: AKB48 to hold concerts at Universal Studios Japan every day starting in July See in context

This is the best news I've heard all week! I am very excited to see AKB contribute to Universal Studios and offer such an incredible, taxing performance schedule for anyone visiting USJ! Good for them, and lucky for all the people who go there and want to see great idol music and smart, intelligent girls spreading positivity and not negativity through their music. It's girls like them that make other people who just want to say negative things about them look really immature, especially considering all they are doing is showing love to all the people who come to watch them play. A lot of who, I might add, are YOUNG GIRLS, CHILDREN, and FAMILIES. YOOOOSH IKUSSHOOO!!!!

-20 ( +5 / -25 )

Posted in: China says Nanjing more worthy of remembrance than Hiroshima See in context

The problem with the world is what China just did by issuing this statement about comparing brutal wartime situations: Instead of China praising Obama for being the first American President to visit Hiroshima, they took this as an opportunity to remind Americans that our President should remember China's Nanking massacre as well. China could've taken the high road and improved relations perhaps a little bit with both the Japanese and America by saying something positive about this situation, but instead, it chose to be provocative and increase tensions all around. Unbelievable.

My ma always used to point out to me that if I don't have anything good to say, then don't say nothing at all. Maybe China could take that simple life lesson and apply it next time a world leader decides to try and do something in the name of peace and goodwill?

13 ( +15 / -2 )

Posted in: Upcoming Godzilla movie to feature largest cast in Japanese film history See in context

I actually liked the trailer, thought it was kind of nostalgic looking. I wonder if that is what the director is going for with this new addition to the Godzilla movie catalogue?

I am beyond happy to see Maeda Atsuko in this! And Satomi Ishihara! Very, very cool! Oh, and for all the critics out there, remember, movies are a subjective experience, meaning what one person will love, another person will hate. Be nice to these people, as they are humans just like me and you, trying to make a living.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: 3 reasons Japanese movies today suck, according to distributor and producer Adam Torel See in context

Isn’t it? It’s all crap tied in with AKB, Johnnys and Exile.

This article just HAD to bring in AKB, didn't they?

For the record, I thought that the majority of movie documentaries, if we are to count them among the "terrible" films this article is claiming Japan can only hope to produce, have been all exceptional, particularly all the AKB docs that have come out over the past several years. "THE SHOW MUST GO ON," for example, is not only a revealing and poignant study of what it means to be in an idol group like AKB, but it also was a very thoughtful commentary about the Tsunami disaster.

Sion Sono is making absolutely incredible films consistently. Anytime Miike makes something, for better or worse, it's going to be somewhat provocative or at least engaging enough to make you wonder what you just watched. Beat Takeshi... I mean, Outrage anyone? Hello? And those are just the bigger names I can think of. Just because Attack on Titan didn't do well at the box office doesn't mean there are scores of other great films to find and love and enjoy in Japan.

I found that the fact somebody actually referred to AKB and Exile as "crap" when they are massively successful idol groups, only goes to show that the negative opinion one may have about Japanese movies might stem from the fact that so many of these idol groups like AKB and Exile or Johnny's are in movies made in Japan today. So by extension, a person may not automatically like the film they are watching because of their biases towards these music groups. And that's just sad, especially when a lot of the girls in AKB, for instance, who really aspire to become actors, do so in exceptional ways. Just ask Yuko Oshima... didn't she just win a MAJOR award in Japan for her recent acting in Japanese film? Or all these people who recognized Yuko's achievements just have no idea what they are talking about, being that they, you know, work in film for a living. Meh. I actually like Adam and respect him for doing such hard work in bringing Japanese films to Western audiences, but I really think that the problems aren't with these films being bad, it's with the people who watch these films either not being open-minded enough to enjoy what they are watching, or have been way too spoiled by Western cinema production to realize not everybody wants to spend a zillion dollars on CGI, or just aren't watching all that Japan has to offer in terms of movies. Or they just don't like somebody who is in the movie and that sets them up to not like the movie before it even starts. For the record, I think Japanese films are right up there with everyone else in the world, and it's a shame that Adam could even come out and say something like this at all, as it means now that maybe the people he's worked with to help get their movies distributed won't want to do that anymore, and somebody like me who thrives on Japanese films coming to my shores will be the one to suffer as a result.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Posted in: Fallen idol Nori-P emerges as survivor of 'bullying' culture See in context

@lostrune2: I was being facetious with that comment, though at the same time, the agencies can't exist without the idols, and the idols are very well aware of this fact. Many of them are in control of their own destinies. Agencies exist to cultivate talent, foster and care for them while they become superstars or whatever it is they want to become. Do they fail at this sometimes? Yes, of course. It's not a perfect business. But to say it's all exploitation is just plain wrong. And for that reason, you COULD argue very well that the girls are in control after they've reached a certain level of fame and success. Then again, who knows? None of us are really privvy to how the idols are guided behind the scenes. Maybe someday we'll get a tell all from an ex member of an idol group as big as AKB, or even from AKB, but until then, it's all speculation.

@TigersTokyoDome: Your sarcasm is not lost on me, but maybe you should put things in the past tense... Norko Sakai may or may not be still into drugs. I doubt she is now, but I don't know her so I can't say. However, she clearly had a problem when she got caught. Her behavior leading up to her capture was definitely the actions of a drug user. I know because I used to counsel drug users like her every day. And AKB is very much thriving, thanks for making my point. Becky still is a millionaire, thanks for making my point. And both will continue to make way more money than any of us will long after we're all done trolling JT's forum lol.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Fallen idol Nori-P emerges as survivor of 'bullying' culture See in context

@TigersTokyoDome: Oh, here we go...

First, to say that Becky's career is over because of the things you mentioned is really pretending you have some kind of see into the future looking glass ball, when in reality, all you mentioned was the immediate backlash. Becky was LOVED by Japan, and still is, I imagine, and it's only a matter of time before she springs back. You watch. Everybody loves a good comeback story, and the Japanese perhaps more than anyone else (I mean, look at this article, for example).

Second, where I live has no real effect on my ability to look at a situation and understand it, though it would be helpful, sure, to live in Japan. For the record, I live in BOTH Japan and the US, but I guess the half I spend in the US disqualifies me from making any kind of statement as to what I see and know in Japan, which is completely the opposite of what this article is implying? Opinions are subjective, and I can give you my personal experience and state that in the world of idols and cosplayers and those that basically call Akihabara their home address, girls are employed by men who know how to organize stuff, and they get paid, and they become superstars. Some do, I should say, while others don't, but guess what? That's called CAPITALISM.

Speaking of Capitalism, you really don't know your facts, do you? AKB is headed by a management AGENCY, and sure AKI-P is rich beyond words, but he SHOULD BE, considering what he's built with AKB. You make it out like it's a bad thing that he's profited off giving females major careers in music, movies, CM's, and the whole nine. Again, capitalism my friend. You can argue all the garbage you want about how it's not fair to the girls and this and that, but MANY of the girls in AKB would highly disagree with you. I say this speculatively, of course, but look at the major movie award Yuko Oshima just won. Look at how well Maeda Atsuko has done since being part of AKB. And my God, Rena Matsui has been cast in everything these days! All of these girls wouldn't have potentially done any of this were it not for their time seemingly getting "exploited" in AKB. Yeah, right.

Oh, and Miichan? She's doing JUUUST fine. She just got cast in an A-Movie thriller mystery called Joshiko. So for all the horrible blah blah blah about what happened with her teenage outburst to having a photographer invade her privacy, she seems to have bounced back THIRTY TIMES OVER. She's also the CAPTAIN of TEAM K, by the way, in AKB. SO yeah, it's just soooooo horrible what happens to these girls!

Also, the top senbatsu girls in AKB are VERY VERY WELL OFF financially. And the girls that have graduated and used AKB as a springboard for their careers are now making MILLIONS. Just ask Mariko Shinoda. Or Yuko, or Acchan. Again, all of this would not have been possible without AKB.

One last point because this is getting off topic of the article, AKI-P has donated MILLIONS to the Tsunami Relief efforts, and every single MONTH since the disaster happened, AKB has gone up to the Sendai regions and played in every city affected by the tsunami, for FREE. They go there to spread their idol cheerfulness. I'm so sick and tired of hearing people make out AKB and idols like AKB to be bad guys dominated by male sukebes who sit in a back office and act as evil masterminds manipulating young girls. Look at the FACTS, and you'll see that AKB and idols like them should just be left out of the media when mentioning DRUG ADDICTS like Noriko Sakai (how do you think she only ended up getting caught with a minimal amount of drugs? It's because she had just got done USING THE REST OF HER STASH!). AKB is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and articles like this serve to only splash more negativity at them undeservedly.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Posted in: Fallen idol Nori-P emerges as survivor of 'bullying' culture See in context

I hate that this article HAD to bring up a member of AKB. So let me put some FACTS into this article, since it seems, as per usual, information about AKB is incorrect here:

Miichan spent the night with Alan Shirahama, a member of the boyband Generations. They never once mentioned or stated that they were dating. It could be implied that they were, sure, but that was pure speculation. Also, Miichan never explicitly came out and said she had sex with him that night either. For all we know, the two could've watched old reruns of AKBINGO all night. She shaved her head because she was so upset about her photo being published and what she knew would be the inevitable fallout from it. She was afraid of losing her position in AKB, and that makes sense given her attention seeking chara she has within AKB.

The idol world is not for everyone. It's rules aren't understood by most people, and that's okay. It's a sub-culture that thrives and does extremely well, despite the occasional hiccups. What happened to Noriko Sakai shouldn't even have AKB mentioned in the same sentence as her, being that she became a drug addict and got busted for that. NO Member of AKB has ever been busted for drugs, and for that matter, you can't really even begin to say that about ANY idol group in Japan. Personally, I think they are role models in that sense, much more than Norko was and ever will be, due to her tragic fall from grace. On the other hand, I'm happy to see her springing back up. I always did like her.

Another note that is speculative and not fact and should be corrected in this article: Saying Becky's career is over. That's yet to be determined, and kind of ironic to even be mentioned in this article, considering the subject matter, don't you thing?

One final thing... before everyone goes crying about how male dominated the Japanese pop industry is, lets not forget the FACTS: The fact is that the largest pop idol EVER in Japan who has dominated all record sales was and STILL IS a woman. Does the name Ayumi Hamasaki ring a bell? Also, AKB, an ALL FEMALE group, is the most successful idol group in history to date, in every single category, from singles sold to overall concerts sales, and attendance at shows. They employ over 250 FEMALES and give them work. AND who do you see has toured America a few years back and seems to be gearing up to do it again this year? PERFUME? And how is PERFUME? An all female JPOP GROUP. And who has toured the WORLD continuously and is known everywhere for years now? KYARY PAMYU PAMYU? And who is Japan's entry into the metal world and who has seen INCREDIBLE fame and popularity and success? BABYMETAL. And who are they? THREE YOUNG GIRLS FROM JAPAN.

So yeah, for all the horrible "suppression" females have in Japan, it sure seems like they are running things.

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

Posted in: Review: Rock rocks with Oscars monologue; show's a snooze See in context

Louie C.K. should've been the host. He was the best part of the entire night besides Leo finally winning and Oscar. I thought Chris Rock did what he had to do, but man, if I wanted to watch a bunch of comedians get onstage and get all political, I could tune into CNN every single night of the week and watch the absolute clowns running for President.

Racism sucks, and we all know it, but I also have to think that the Oscars doesn't define black actors anymore than it does white actors, or Asian actors. TALENT defines actors, and TALENT alone. Honestly, who cares if black people weren't nominated at all this year? Did anyone ever stop to realize that the Academy is made up of people who are expressing their opinions? I mean, at the end of the night, that is all the Oscars are: A place where academy award voters say what they personally liked and didn't like. If you want to fix the Oscars in a real fashion, you need to do two very simple things:

Make sure the people who are voting represent all races and genders and sexual orientations. This is an absolute must.

Don't forget the Oscars awards ceremony should be FUN for the viewers who watch it, or else why should we all care at all to sit through a ton of statues being given out to people with way more money than any of us ever will make? If you make it funny, and exciting, and interesting, then the Oscars are Primetime Gold. If you don't, The Walking Dead is what I'll be watching when the Oscars come on next year. That's saying something when people dressed up in zombie gear go around eating people is more entertaining than a room full of actors and actresses whose only job is to ACT. So yeah, less on the preachin and more on the fun component of why we go to the movies in the first place.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: J-pop idol fans run amuck, drop their pants at Tokyo concert See in context

@rainyday: "children"? As the article even states, the age range of Maneki Kecha is between 16 and 20. 20 is considered to be an "adult' in Japan. So yeah, hardly little kids were onstage, but that's beside the point. Nobody is defending this at all. It's wrong what those fans did, and who knows if they were adult men or not? Were you there? It might have been ten teenagers who went a little nuts for all we know. I think it's a huge assumption to assume it's just grown men that were in the audience.

What I'm most interested in is defending intellectual honesty when it comes to reading articles like this, and not making gross assumptions based on biases. And for the record, my heart goes out to the performers. I don't care what age they were, that's uncalled for what happened on any level.

but anyway, everyone please feel free to indirectly attack people who comment on this forum and state an opinion that is hardly offensive, much like you always do whenever somebody opposite your paradigm comments on stories like this that appear on JT.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Posted in: J-pop idol fans run amuck, drop their pants at Tokyo concert See in context

@sensei258: 20 idol groups is too many? As compared to countless other musical groups in other genres? There's a quota on idol groups because, why, exactly?

I found this article to be hysterical and well written. Kudos to JP for getting this one right. And shame on the fans for acting so immature in front of the idols they are supposedly trying to support. I wonder if they were even fans?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Posted in: NHK announces lineup for 'Kohaku Uta Gassen' on New Year's Eve See in context

@Ernst Schirmer:

As a former pro singer, I think it's really sad that you choose to critique other musical artists. Saying that AKB is just a bunch of girls making noise shows not only a lack of respect for what AKB has done, but also shows that you obviously haven't taken the time to actually listen to their music. Don't think AKB has talent? Watch when NMB hits the stage this year at Kohaku and listen to Sayanee, their Captain, belt it out without relying on lip syncing. That girl has an incredible voice. Or what about Wasamin? She's practically a pro enka singer!

I'm a musician as well, and I honestly would never want to get onto some comment section of some website like Japan Today and bash other musicians and use my musical background as a qualifier to do so. AKB ARE musical artists, just unfortunately very misunderstood, and I'm proud of NHK for inviting acts like AKB on these past few years. It's been REALLY wonderful seeing them make people smile, which at the end of the day, isn't that what music is all about?

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

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