Is Yamapi following Bakanishi’s footsteps? Is Crayon Pop the rookie debut of 2012? Is Hikki overworking her teddy bear? Find out all this and more!
Thennary Nak’s Picks
YamaPi Following Jin Akanishi’s Footsteps? – Musings of Delilah
I would assume that Yamapi would at least be smart enough not to follow Jin in career suicide.
[Music Station ranking] IDOL ★ Total Single sales TOP30 Showa Vs Heisei – aramatheydidnt
The solo idols rule in Showa but the idols groups dominate Heisei.
Yamada Ryosuke and Kento Nakajima Rumored to be Dating Someone from Momoiro Clover Z – Musings of Delilah
Wow, this rumor sounds like it could totally
bstrue. Congrats Yamada and Nakaken, you’re considered popular enough to boost interest in other idols now.
‘First generation’ idol Kim E-Z of Baby V.O.X. reveals how idols dated back in the day – allkpop
Looks like something worth checking out for those interested in the pre-Hallyu wave idols.
Over 7,000 Japanese fans attend ’2012 JYJ Membership Week’ in Korea – allkpop
JYJ set to give back to their fans who have supported them, even those abroad.
Utada Hikaru is now on Instagram (oh, and in a recording studio) – aramatheydidnt
Hikki’s certainly giving the impression of being busy, thanks to social media.
~「TGIF!」Idol♥’s unzipped on way back Fridays~ (volume 27) – モーニングBerryz48
MB goes back to June 1998’s BOMB magazine for some Fukada Kyoko love.
Crayon POP! “Bing Bing” – Konno’s Story
Are they really the rookie debut of the year? Judge for yourself!
H!P Kids in 2008 – Berryz Kobo International
A little bit of H!P Kids nostalgia.
Celebrating 20 years of “Sailor Moon” + Momoiro Clover Z – aramatheydidnt
I’d say odds are very high that Momoiro Clover Z will cosplay as the Sailor Scouts for this event.
Beat Laments the World lists the fifty most progressive idol songs! Denpa Gumi Inc. cover the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage”! Johnny’s idols cast in new productions! And more!
Thennary Nak’s Picks
Kanjani8′s Ryuhei Maruyama beats former pro boxer at boxing game – MomoEdgewood’s Mediawatch
Or just figures out how to cheat the system by watching it done properly a couple of times.
Taisuke Fujigaya (Kis-My-Ft2) in his first drama series lead role – MomoEdgewood’s Mediawatch
Fujigaya wants his fans to see him get beat up. I guess this confirms him as a masochist.
V6 announces new single “kEEP oN.” – aramatheydidnt
I sometimes feel they only release these things to remind people that they are still together as a group.
Kamenashi Kazuya is Back for [DREAM BOYS 2012] – Musings of Delilah
Another year, another Dream Boys with flying boxers.
HamaKisu 2012.06.27 Review – J-Everything
Miyata continues to try to live on a tiny budget and is covered in bees.
My Pure·Viewing of NMB48 no Teens Hakusho Episode 13 – pure·fuwa – nmbingo!
It’s hard to screw up pretty girls in kimono.
Top 50 Progressive Idol Songs – Beat Laments the World
An intriguing list, which is no surprise given Krv’s critical approach.
Have a Tweet Dream with Fairies in a ‘Tweet Dream’ PV! – Okay! Musume Time
Chiima’s liking the Vision Factory idols more but isn’t sure if she wants to.
PURETTY clinches advertisement deals before their debut – allkpop
Given their potential audience, I assume adult diapers and erectile dysfunction meds are part of the product line.
News: Nana’s First Commercial Session with ‘Juvis’ Took 15 Hours – AfterSchool ❤
Thank God for the winners of the genetics lottery.
Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou ep. 11 review – Never Ending Music Power
Thennary anticipates the series’ end with this penultimate episode.
～鈴木愛理最新写真集「この風が好き」 – モーニングBerryz48
MB does her usual, lovingly thorough job in this review of Airi’s latest photobook.
After School discusses their concept, Kahi, and their goal for “Flashback” – allkpop
Some illuminating interview answers here.
The Potential Future Senbatsu and Centers of AKB48 – Wota (in training)
Mina shares some thoughts on who AKB’s centers would be, post-Oshima.
Teen Top – “To You” – Konno’s Story
If Sonic Youth can kep their name well into middle age, Teen Top should be fine in their twenties. (Besides, the name could refer to the sexual position of underage groupies…)
Watarirouka Hashiritai 7 – Shounen yo Uso wo Tsuke – Selective Hearing
Greg enjoyed this enough that he’s decided to check out their back catalog.
S/mileage 11th Single To Be Titled “Suki yo, Junjou Hankouki” & Details Released – Hello! SayuNii
Maybe it’s just me, but I’m getting a whiff of Station♪ here.
S/mileage Announced As The Image Representative For Akihabara Electric Town Summer 2012 Campaign – Hello! SayuNii
Congratulations to the group on being selected!
Denpa Gumi Inc. cover Beastie Boys “Sabotage” (Audio Clip) Yikes! – Neaux Clicked on It
It’s horribly conceived and executed… but Neaux is right, “it’s something that must be heard to be believed”. I’d be interested in hearing Scandal do a version, though.
Cleopatra no Onnatachi – HamsapSukebe
Akiramike is surprised to enjoy this quirky plastic surgery drama.
Impressions: Song for the DATE – New School Kaidan
Dae is seeing Manoeri in a new light, while Anthony is pleased with the 90s feel of the single.
[IV] Mikie Hara ~ My Angel – Jappydolls
A perennial favorite in the gravure department.
Photo – Idols and Hollywood
It’s reminiscent of the prologue in the long form PV for “Love Machine”.
Thennary Nak debuts her new monthly column!
I have often wondered what exactly makes a group an idol group compared to a performance group, two common labels assigned to the music and dance groups in Japan. How is Happiness and Flower different than Tokyo Girls Style and Passpo? What makes EXILE so different from the Johnny’s groups even though they do a lot of the same things? Why did Morning Musume have graduations and member changes while SPEED did not? Are they just labels used for marketing purposes or something more?
Why the mix up?
Before contrasting the two, it is probably best to look at why there would be confusion in the first place. Part of it stems from the fact that the Japanese entertainment industry is so interwoven: it is common for singers to do acting or actors to venture into singing and the like. Celebrities of all trades have different expectations on how they present themselves to the public than in other countries. Having singers cross over on a regular basis to other media platforms, such as acting and the like is a staple of the Japanese entertainment industry. However, this is a pretty foreign concept for countries like the United States.
Then there is Japanese TV. Using the United States as an example, the way an artist typically becomes popular is tied to radio play, though things have been changing with the advent of the internet and the mp3. In Japan, if radio is not dead yet, it at least has already picked out its urn for the ashes. Television is the way to reach out to new fans, which is why getting a song as a tie-in to a commercial, TV program or drama is an important thing and why most big artists will not release a single without such a tie-in.
It also means that performing on TV is an important part of promotion, something Western artists can sidestep if they want. To make it big in Japan you need to get on the music programs, with Music Station being the most coveted, and you have to have the audience like you. So while in the West artists can snub TV appearances believing it would be beneath them, in Japan it is vital to get on these shows so people will know who you are in the first place.
There are exceptions, like Mr. Children and Amuro Namie, but they can only skip doing the TV rounds because they already did them earlier in their careers and built a strong enough name for themselves that they do not need to do as much anymore. Their tie-ins and fan base are enough to carry them.
What it all means is that both idols and performance groups vie for the same tie-ins and TV appearances as such promotions are equally important to them. Therefore, the stereotype that idols are the ones that act and appear in variety programs is not useful. Instead you have to look at other aspects to notice what sets them apart from performance groups.
The big draw for me and plenty of other Japanese idol fans is the fact that you can potentially be able to follow a group or a member from their early days and watch them grow and, hopefully, improve. This gives you an emotional connection to a group or member that you may not have if you were following someone who had finished their training and debuted already.
Looking at the major idol groups/agencies, Hello! Project, Johnny’s & Associates and AKS, they all have something in common with the fact that they put support behind their trainees. So those who are a part of the agency but not in a debuted group are still able to do just about everything their debuted counterparts can do outside of regularly having media releases in the form of CDs, DVD/BDs and the ilk. Depending on the company they can do even that, though normally only with the intention that they will be debuting in the near future.
What this does is allow fans to find favorites among the up and coming talents of these agencies and create that emotional bond. So when they improve over time you can feel proud for them and if something bad happens to them you can share in the sadness. And for some there is the inspiration to be like them, feeling confident that even if they do not possess a great amount of skill it does not mean they cannot try just like others who have gone on to become popular idols have.
There also tends to be a focus on the personalities of the members to gain interest in them. That is something that helps explain why sometimes the most popular member is someone who may be lacking in singing and/or dance skills when compared to others in their group. The more cutesy image tends to go with an idol group over a performance group. So the groups that highlight youth and cuteness together tend to be idol groups.
Another thing common with female idol groups are graduations, where members leave the group for various reasons. It is not uncommon for members to also be added to these groups as well but not always. In fact with AKS and their various groups it has been stated that the girls’ time as an idol is to prepare them for future careers in entertainment, so for these groups that rotate members this is just a phase of their careers, not their career in and of itself.
These groups probably have more in common with Korean idol groups as both have their members in trainee status largely out of sight until debut, when they are considered skilled enough to perform on a professional level. Because of this, the public emphasis on the growth of the members is not so strong and there is an emphasis on their ability. Trainees do not get to do everything that their debuted counterparts can do, like perform on TV programs or headline tours. Most of the time they are almost completely unknown until they debut, though there are exceptions.
It is telling that with performance groups there are no graduations, as they debuted on their merits at a professional level what would they be graduating to? SPEED is the best group to look at this with as they broke up and focused on different careers for themselves but also have done reunions as SPEED since. For them SPEED is the four of them together and no one else can take that name and they can use it even when they are much older without worry of a new generation of members using it. In contrast, the former members of Morning Musume had to go under the Dream Musume name for their reunion activities.
When performance groups debut, that group will most likely be their career for as long as they want to stay together. A major exception to this is EXILE absorbing J Soul Brothers Sandaime to double their size.
These groups gain interest for their performances, whether singing and/or dancing. They also tend to go for the cool look, even the younger groups, over a cute appearance. And the girls that tend to be the most popular are those who are stronger performers, which in most cases are the lead vocalists.
In the end the main thing that makes a group an idol group or a performance group seems to be the level of professionalism the group is expected to have upon debut. Idol groups focus on starting their groups from the ground up while the performance groups focus more on strong performances from the start, so the members must have a good deal of prior training to match that standard.
I would not say one is better than the other and that idol groups cannot be strong performers or that performance groups are always the best trained groups as there are always going to be exceptions. But the two types of groups give people some diversity when it comes to male and female groups so if you do not care for one type the other kind may be more up your alley. Or you could be like me and enjoy both for what they both have to offer.
In either case I am sure the gals and guys would welcome your support as they all work hard to achieve their dreams together.
Former H!P Egg comes back with Sakura Girls! MB reviews Atsuko Maeda’s new single! UFA open Facebook page! And more!
Thennary Nak’s Picks
dwango reveals half-year ranking for music downloads – aramatheydidnt
Johnny’s make a good show and dominate these digital charts.
Upcoming Releases – July 2012 – J-Everything
A look at the more prominent upcoming releases in the world of Jpop.
June 28th ♥ 石垣大祐 (Ishigaki Daisuke) – JE Anniversaries
Happy birthday to one of the few remaining band Juniors.
Events Added To Morning Musume’s FC Tour In Hawaii 2012 – Hello! SayuNii
I’m looking forward to eventually watching Eripon’s antics for her event.
Up Front International FC Facebook Page Opened – Hello! SayuNii
I see that UFA are still figuring out the mechanics of Facebook… But seriously, where is Morning Musume’s FB?
Mano Friends Bus Party vol.3 in Nasu Kogen Announced – Hello! SayuNii
Okay, I wish I could go and see Mano, then fawn all over her!
Official Site For Nagasawa Wakana’s New Group “Sakura Girls” Opened – Hello! SayuNii
Further proof that there is life after H!P.
Sakura Girls – “You & I LONDON” Info Released – Hello! SayuNii
The cover’s use of Beatles motifs is quite… striking.
A Hypothesis on the U-Kiss Conundrum and the “Nugu” Idol – seoulbeats
This must-read article of the day explores how a company’s reputation influences their idol groups’ success, and can be applied to Jpop as easily as Kpop.
Morning Musume Rokkies “Watashi no Jidai/Our Era!” & Morning Musume Ten-ki “Seishundo Mannaka” Previews Released – Hello! SayuNii
Ayuchii looks at the generation songs for the old ladies and the noobs of MM.
Cross-dressing group Hoshikuzu SCAT holds PR event for debut single – aramatheydidnt
Not quite the Kpop divas of Lady, but this is of great interest to me.
～鍋子 – モーニングBerryz48
MB has chosen Maeda Atsuko’s latest solo single as her favorite song of the year so far, and explains why.
The Shounen Club 17 November 2002 review – Never Ending Music Power
A whole lotta KAT-TUN in this one.
Pic of the Day – Your Opinion Doesn’t Count
Mami and Tomomi Making Dollars.
Berryz Kobo in New York – Berryz Kobo International
Turns out they were all in the Big Apple!
The Deal with Lucky Seven – In Which Isilie Reviews
Isilie discusses recent rumors about Matsujun’s drama, as well as the broader issue of restrictions idols face when acting.
Berryz reveal the costumes for their new single! Amuro Namie releases another PV! Kpop rip-offs from around the world! And more!
Thennary Nak’s Picks
Arashi unveil what’ll be in this year’s 24Hr TV – MomoEdgewood’s Mediawatch
Arashi unveil the theme and T-shirt design for this year’s 24Hr TV.
Weekly Oricon Rankings (Ending 06-24) – J-Everything
A look at AKS and Johnny’s Oricon rankings for the past week.
Takuya Kimura Wants His Daughters to be Violinists? – Musings of Delilah
Maybe they can become the first violin idol group.
Pretty Costumes for Berryz Single – PON-dering
Mamba loves the costumes – especially the blue ones – and goes through each girl and how they all look.
HOLY SH*T – PON-dering
An older post from Mamba, however it includes her reaction to Nakazawa Yuko’s pregnancy news, a contest and a bet… with me.
～Weeklyプレイボーイ「前田敦子」July 2nd 2012 – モーニングBerryz48
A good dose of Maeda Atsuko eyecandy, with a dash of Koike Rina and Saaya as well!
After School’s Nana and Hello Venus’s Nara go tropical for ‘InStyle’ – allkpop
They’re both quite pretty, but where’s that most gorgeous of Pledis idols, Ren?
Namie in Kyoto and Osaka (2012.06.26) – Namie News Network
It’s great to see the crowds showing up for their Queen of Hip Pop.
Namie Amuro- “Let’s Go” (short clip) – Neaux Clicked on It
Another great song from Amuro. No wonder she still brings in the crowds!
First day sales…did Namie disappoint? – aramatheydidnt
And the first day sales back this adoration up.
Akimoto Yasushi Endorses First Official AKB48 Cover Song – MELOS no Michi
You think maybe Aki-P will try to acquire Gille for one of his 48s?
I Just Had A “Flashback”~ – Konno’s Story
KonnoAsami questions the group’s version of sexiness in the MV, but otherwise enjoys this release.
The Rookie Card – Plastic Candy
Alvy considers how fans attach themselves to newcomer talent and applies it to some familiar divas.
JKT48 – “Heavy Rotation” – Konno’s Story
Liking the song but finding the video only adequate.
Idols You Should Meet 014 – New School Kaidan
Every time I read her name, I find myself humming the “Ave Maria” to myself…
Hump Day Eye Candy Extravaganza – Your Opinion Doesn’t Count
The two old ladies of Morning Musume.
Rina Aizawa ~ YS Web Vol.497 – Jappydolls
Beautiful, beautiful pics.
The Best (or Worst) Cases of Wannabe K-pop – seoulbeats
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? Well… maybe not here.
Our Favorite Pop Divas’ Vocal Ranges! – Plastic Candy
A bit of music theory here, which Alvy explains quite well.
Wonder Girls – Wonder Party – Selective Hearing
Greg is wishing there was more of what was found on this mini-album.
48tmvrks: Manatsu no Sounds Good – Team K I’m not sure… – Idols and Hollywood
Some nice eyecandy, as well as a now-common observation on being in such a large group.
Jmovie review: Kisaragi – HamsapSukebe
An idol murder mystery? This definitely sounds like a movie I’ve got to watch. (And here it is!)
Prizmmy☆ announce their first DVD! KAT-TUN release full version of their new PV! AKB covered by another Western newspaper! And more!
Thennary Nak’s Picks
KAT-TUN- ‘TO THE LIMIT’ FULL PV – aramatheydidnt
If they keep making PVs like this one I just might have a reason to be a fan of theirs again.
NEWS Releases PV Preview of “Chankapaana” – aramatheydidnt
I really hope the little girl knows no Japanese as this song is not for children’s ears.
Shiritsu Bakarea Koukou Ep 11 Review – J-Everything
The episode suffers some from being the setup for the season finale.
 The One Where Melissa Talks to Herself – JEP Cast
A bit late but always entertaining to listen to.
Bashing on Japanese Idols Appearance – Musings of Delilah
Nothing new for netizens and this batch covers a wide variety of idols.
Prizmmy☆’s First DVD! – I ♥ Miyoshi Ayaka’s Idol Musings
Very cute Avex idol group is going to release their first choreography DVD!
Every Vote Counts for Japanese Band – Star Tribune
An article about the senbatsu election in my local newspaper! And it’s a good one, too!
It May Cost You 2 Million Yen ($25,000) to Back-Up a CD or DVD In Japan – Wota (in Training)
Mina’s take on the new anti-piracy laws coming into effect soon in Japan.
StylipS「Choose me♡ダーリン」PV （Short Ver.）-aramatheydidnt
Here’s another cute summery PV! Very adorable.
Stacys Shoujo Saisatsu Kageki – Bikkuri Project
Celestia provides a well-detailed look at this H!P zombie musical.
Wonder Girls release concept images for Japanese ‘Nobody for Everybody’ – allkpop
I like this look on them! Even their Hitoe looks good here.
I love you Johnny’s! (costume department) – Never Ending Music Power
Thennary reviews the Kis-My-Ft2 DVD… and yes, pays attention to the wheels, as well.
AKB48♥ Member Ranking (6.25.12) – モーニングBerryz48
MB gives us her top thirty from our pop overlords.
Kikkawa Yuu Invited To Perform at Tokyo Idol Festival 2012 – Hello! SayuNii
Kikka makes a welcome addition to the festival.
Pic of the Day – Your Opinion Doesn’t Count
Happy Birthday Ayaya! (Is it me, or is she… uneven in that GIF?)
Namie Amuro- “In the Spotlight (TOKYO)” (short clip) – Neaux Clicked on It
I’m loving this song a whole lot more, and of course she looks incredible.
The Oxymoron that is After School’s “Flashback” – seoulbeats
First pointing out a seeming contradiction of the new AS, then moving to a solid review of their latest.
Okay! Musume Digest! #5 – Okay! Musume Time
A lot of H!P news here, but Chiima also covers Station♪ and Fairies!
The Method Behind The Madness – Selective Hearing
Greg provides a well detailed personal history of how he got where he is today. As a wota, that is.
Impressions: Headbanger!! – New School Kaidan
Mixed reactions from the NSK gang on the metal idols’ latest.