PHOTO: Hanako Oku meets with AKB48 member Mariya Suzuki for the FUYU HANABI music video.
“MATTER VERSUS ANTI-MATTER”
I love the music of Hanako Oku. I also love the songs and music videos of AKB48. Hanako Oku writes emotional piano ballads that touch the soul. She has become one of my favorite artists. Although I do not understand Japanese, her emotional music transcends the language barrier.
AKB48 perform all kinds of music, but they are famous as a “pop” group. I greatly respect Yasushi Akimoto and the AKB48 family of Idol groups. I think that AKB48 music videos are probably the most FUN things in popular culture! They are also much more popular than Hanako Oku, and rack up greater sales. Hanako Oku has critical acclaim, and has what we might call in America a “cult” following of dedicated listeners. AKB48 has mass appeal, and produces a lot of mass media. Hanako Oku is famous in Japan for writing commercial jingles, AKB48 is arguably famous for BEING commercial. I do not believe however, that these two musical acts are worlds apart. Broadly speaking, both Hanako Oku and AKB48 are part of the Jpop spectrum. They are just on opposite sides of that spectrum. They are both great … just different from each other. There is no reason one cannot like both … in fact you SHOULD!
I have been enjoying my new Hanako Oku CD + DVD “Kimi to Boku no Michi” this week. On the DVD, in addition to other things, there is a “making of” documentary (in Japanese) for the “Fuyu Hanabi” music video. The music video features AKB48 member Mariya Suzuki in an acting role. (Here is the YouTube link if you have not seen it.)
I will describe the actual music video in a later post, but I wanted to call attention to something in the bonus DVD. As part of a “the making of” documentary, there is video of Oku-san and the AKB Idol Suzuki-san meeting each other.
Did my world’s collide? Did the continents divide? Seeing this might even be better than the Flintstones-meet-the-Jetsons cross-over episode!
The two ladies have what looks like a nice conversation. Each is very respectful of the other. (There are also some photos of this meeting on the official Hanako Oku website.) I cannot say exactly what Mariya-chan says, but at one point — as she was talking (in Japanese) I heard Mariya say the word “AKB” a couple of times. That is when Oku-san got that shocked look on her face (see photo above!). Here Oku-san looks like she is exclaiming “REALLY?” (only not saying “really” in English, but maybe the Japanese version of saying “REALLY?”).
I think that given this context, the only thing this could possibly be – to get that reaction — is that Mariya Suzuki said “A lot of the AKB girls are big fans of yours”.
Even though it may be like mixing matter and anti-matter together — I’m going to continue to experience the joys of emotive Hanako Oku songs. At the same time (maybe in the same time-space continuum?), I will continue to enjoy the “J-fun-tastic” songs and music videos by Yasushi Akimoto and the AKB48 girls.
My universe explodes …