There is always a line isn’t there? That is OK, let me tell you about some of my thoughts on this while we wait for our sandwiches. Been thinking about this one for a long time …
I am a fan of the Japanese Idol genre in general, and specifically I love AKB48 and their sister groups. My waiting-in-line rant today is NOT about “Why I like the Japanese Idol genre” … that will have to be the touchy subject of another lunch.
No, I am trying to think “outside the box” here, Yukirin!
When I scan Internet blogs, including the WordPress tags under Jpop and the like, I have found that most of the time when AKB48 is referenced it is because the blogger has a negative opinion. Usually a poorly researched opinion to boot. (The “Big Butts” as I have said before.) One item almost always criticized is the “No Dating” rule common to many Japanese idol groups.
I am also NOT going to re-hash the various “SCANDALS” regarding those members who broke the rules. Those have already been discussed on other fan sites.
Many (American) foreigners do not understand or like the rule. Furthermore, it is usually non-fans of the genre who most disagree with the rule. True, some dedicated AKB48 fans support the idea that girls should be free to pursue romantic relationships while under contract, but I want to make the case here that this rule – is not such a bad thing, and in fact may help the girls creatively.
The point must be made that Japanese Idol culture is a different culture from anything in America. People should be allowed to have a different way of doing things in their own country. I will admit that you could never have an organization with such a rule in the USA. It would never work in America, and maybe couldn’t.
I might take some of the spinach knish home.
The most common explanation of the policy is that it fuels male fans fantasies about the members. The femi-nazis will say that it appeases insecure, delusional, misogynistic fantasies … but they are just jealous because they are not cute. (cough) … Ahem … For example, if I were a Japanese high school or college student I might fantasize that I will someday meet and marry Yuki Kashiwagi (or Haruka Kodama, Sayaka Yamamoto, etc.) Ahem … you see …
… Denny going into a young man’s reverie: … yes, when I earn my degree, I will land that big job, get that big promotion, sell that new game design, make that critically acclaimed film, write that big hit song, etc.
What if Yuki were a typical American actress/singer? By her mid-twenties she would be too skanky with the stink of a series of celebrity boyfriends. Hey you Jerkwads — hands off Yuki!!! … Yuki’s karma is pure. In fact, her name means “snow”!
She is so incredibly sweet, I love her face and her personality. We will meet someday … Yuki will still be a virgin … we will meet … and since she would have recently graduated AKB, (I’m not sure what year this fantasy is) she will now be free to pursue romance – with me. And the best thing? She has never had a boyfriend before.
Still a virgin, at her age, with that BODY she has,– that is just built for lovin’ … Jesus H. Christ … er … I mean, Siddhartha B. Gautama! … I will be her one and only. Mine, all mine …
There is something special about that.
Me, the young, newly famous inventor/singer/film actor/director will marry Yukirin … and we will be happy ever after!
OF COURSE IT IS STUPID!!! What mashugana goyim thinks that way?
So whats the harm with a little fantasy?
Fueling this unspoken fantasy is good for marketing however. Male fans might care less, and thus spend less — if Idols were just regular singers with regular lives. Those would be some foolish fantasies for a guy to have.
But ask yourself: Aren’t your own unspoken, everyday fleeting fantasies also just a little bit foolish? Ask around.
I’m NOT a delusional putz, …What, a fellow can’t dream?
Still, this is NOT my argument in favor of the rule however. I will get to my reasons later.
I think that you can also read the male fantasy factor as a male fan jealousy factor. A lot of guys would be disappointed if their favorite idol started dating the Japanese version of Justin Bieber. Also, since the girls cannot date, they only have each other to turn to. (cough) You know what I mean. This fuels the OTHER male fantasy. Look, I did not make the world, but it is just the way it is. Guys like the yuri idea.
A good number of the “No Dating” critics are American, most often lady writers coming from the “sophomore political science major” school of thought. Nothing against them, I have known many in college, but they are not exactly the open-minded type. They are “liberal” but only if you agree with them. I may have fallen asleep in my beer a few times. To them, the “No Dating” rule is another example of the “patriarchal society” that Japan has, and “the women are being exploited by this”, wanka, wanka, wanka, etc.
Actually, these writers should wake up to the fact that in this case it is the young Idols who are in the power position. The late American comic Richard Pryor used to tell a story of growing up in his old neighborhood where the girls had the attitude (Pryor using his sing-songy voice): “I’ve got the pussy, and you can’t have any …”. Similarly, the Idol has the upper hand in this fan hierarchy.The no-dating rule puts the Idol in control, not the fan. Odd that so many cannot see that.
My central argument however is that the “No Dating” rule helps the girls by making them focus on career development. Remember your Star Wars studies: Jedi Knights were not allowed to get married. Well, one did … and look what happened to him! As Yoda said, “A Jedi must have the deepest commitment.” Idols to need commit completely for a few short years.
It is not like they are taking a vow that will last forever. It is at best for a few years in the teen and early twenties at most. Keeping busy might not allow for a lot of time to pursue relationships. They will have fewer worries, they can focus on developing their talents.
There are time constraints. The girls are kept pretty busy. Look at the large volume of media AKB produce. The girls are always performing, modeling, recording, acting, etc. They only get one day off a week anyway. A guy trying to date one of them would always be in the position of “I never get to see you”. There would also be a lot of jealous guys. “Listen you, take your hands from her hair!”
The AKB family is large and difficult enough to manage as it is. Now throw in boyfriends and their problems. If the girls had boyfriends there would be all this infighting and jealousy. The young women may end up stealing each other’s boyfriends, or changing boyfriends. There would be a lot of hurt feelings. Likely, they would be competing for the same Japanese actor/rock star boyfriends.
One of the things that grinds-my-gears is that there all these Japanese actors/singers who STILL ask the AKB girls out on dates, even though they know damn well they can’t do it. Their big egos must think that they will be the exception.
Boyfriends might wreck the group! Even AKB48 leader Minami Takahashi has stated that (quotes) “the world would stop spinning” if the rule were abandoned. The haters know that boyfriends could destroy the group, so they make some stupid arguement, like “it is slavery!” I do believe that the rule will indeed be rescinded or modified sometime, due to pressure from AKB fans who support the change. However, I think that it will mark “the beginning of the end”, and interest in Idol groups as we know them may slowly fade. All trends have their peak, and I predict this is how the Idol genre will end.
Very importantly, the girls AGREE to abstain when they sign on. No one drafted them into an Idol army. They volunteer knowing full well they will have to give up dating for a few years. The young women know what they are getting into. If they do not want to commit themselves to be part of the organization, then they should not audition to become part of the system. The policy clearly violates Japanese labor laws, thus all active members must be in agreement in order for the rule to exist.
Let me give you another example how giving up dating for a few years might help creatively and force them to focus. Did you ever see that episode of Seinfeld where the George character found out that his Girlfriend had infectious mono, and so he would not be able to be intimate with her for several days.
He found that when sex was taken off the table, a large part of his brain function that was formerly only obsessed about sex – actually began to be used. He got smarter and smarter everyday. By being celibate, he was able to think and concentrate, eventually developing his intellect in physics.
Well, the AKB girls can do that to. Don’t worry about it. Develop your skills instead.
(Denny is not making this up): Allow me to digress a little here regarding something in my own experience. When I was a single, mid-twenties aged graduate student I had an opportunity. I was informed that I could do research at the American research station at the South Pole. Yes, Antarctica. I did not apply for it, but it would have meant living for about a year at the South Pole. Now let me ask you this: Had I taken that isolated research position researching oxygen isotopes in Antarctica … would I have been able to date?
OK, you made your little joke, now answer seriously. I would know that I would not be able to date for about a year. I would have to forget about it (you know) completely, bear down, and focus on research. The idea being I would be enriched from the scientific experience. I would also have burned an estimated 8,000 calories a day — which is actually a pretty good selling point for a tour of duty at the South Pole.
There are many people worldwide who — because of circumstance — are not able to date for a time. Idols should not have to worry so much. Sometimes people have to make a sacrifice. There is sometimes a need to let go of something to be able to progress into a better future. True, when you are young, five years seems like a long time.
Some Deli Wisdom: Ladies, take it from me … and your father too … focus on your career, the right one will come along when you graduate. Also, your father and I have agreed that if a guy wants you to break your vows, he is not the one for you. If he really likes you, he will wait : )
Better those girls should not be schlepping around until they are married.
I do believe that the rule will indeed be rescinded sometime, due to pressure from AKB fans who do not care or support the change. The funny thing is, when an Idol has a dating scandal, support for that Idol evaporates. Even from fans who will proclaim that they really don’t care.
That some fans would be in favor of lifting the rule is also not hard to understand. Take Haruna Kojima for example. She is one of the world’s sexiest women. She is now in her late twenties. Just look at her. It almost seems A SHAME that the best years of her life are going by without a boyfriend. Yes, you could say “what a waste of fertile volcanic soil.” The only lover she has had has been Yuko Oshima (gulp). Now, I am NOT spreading rumors here. (cough) It is all fairly well documented on YouTube and elsewhere that Yuko-chan was all over KojiHaru.
At least there was no chance of a pregnancy scandal.
Yes, we all know that Yuko Oshima will indeed marry a man someday … some rich dude or actor, I guess. It is just that when she had to follow the AKB rules, she maintained this loving relationship with Kojima-san. Um, … I forget ..I’m not sure if I arguing in favor or against the rule right now …
Even though many disagree with management maintaining control of a employee’s private life, I think that in the case of the “love ban” it works to stabilize or “ground” the young idols in reality. Think of all the young artists who rocketed to fame in a short period of time, and then could not handle it. Too many singers, actors, etc burned themselves out quickly, or turned to alcohol, drugs and a series of bad relationships. Idols have to be part of a team, live by the rules, and stay humble. The rule keeps the cocaine and the bad boyfriends off of an idols nose.
Likely, enough fans will eventually not care about the rule, and it will be dropped. However, I think that juncture will also mark “the beginning of the end”. Interest in Idol groups will slowly fade, and the public will not be able to put a finger on why exactly. All trends have their peak, and eventually end. It will not happen all of a sudden. When enough of the fantasy disappears, the intensity of the interest will slowly but surely drop off. I predict that is how the Idol genre will end. Idol music will be just a quaint curiosity. I mean even more than now.
Starlight: Look, it is another culture. I’m just having a corned beef sandwich. You?
Good evening gentlemen. Thank you for inviting me, and for including my paper at this conference. I will have to put it bluntly, even though some of you may not agree. Theories often die a hard death. HARUNA KOJIMA IS NOT SEXY !
Our current fanboy paradigm theory states that AKB48 member, singer, model, actress and “photobook” author Haruna Kojima has obtained the status of being a “sexy” lady. I am here tonight to refute that claim, using inferential statistics, stochastic modeling and good old fashioned eye rubbing.
First let me lay out what is known as a “Null” hypothesis: My null hypothesis states that Miss Kojima is NOT sexy. Can you reject this hypothesis? Yes? … you say? Well, how about with 90% certainty? … what about with 95% certainty … what about with 99% certainty?
Would you still reject this hypothesis if it were a one-tailed test? … oh yeah? … what say you to a two-tailed test?
How may “degrees of freedom” does one need to reject this hypothesis? I ask you to calculate the “z” statistic for yourself if you find me in a TYPE II error.
Ok, time for the “Calculations” … please watch the slideshow … while I scribble …
Yes, when I calculate I will not forget to “carry the one” Kojima-san!
(Denny making marker whiteboard squeaking sounds here)
CONCLUSION: The Null Hypothesis CANNOT be rejected. In fact, I can’t remember what it was … statistics … something … something … it has actually been rather hard to concentrate on stats lately … forget my paper, I have a slide show instead …
I am also wishing Kojima-san a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY on April 19th.
Will this be her last birthday with AKB48? Please enjoy my special Haruna Kojima “Retrospective” of some of her great modeling moments!
… talk about your stochastic modelling!
Kojima History: Remember the time Haruna dressed up like Johnny Depp (“Jack Kojima”) and tried to kiss Yuko? Here is Kojima-san as you have never seen her in an old “Danso” sketch from AKBINGO.
Starlight: KojiHaru — born April 19, 1988 in Saitama Prefecture, Japan.
KojiHaru is great in this PeachJohn ad. HD is available (duh).
When will AKB48 member Haruna Kojima graduate? 2015 may be her year. She is one of the group’s founding members, and is now 28 years old. Kojima-san has always been an integral part of the group, and was great along with Takamina and Miichan in the “No Sleeves” sub-unit. (What with Takahashi-san announcing her graduation for later this year, we have to wonder how long Kojima-san will remain.)
She is a much more talented singer than she is gets credit for. She looks so good, that a lot of fans just admire her body. She is actually a darn good comedian, although she has always just “played herself” or at least what we think of as KojiHaru being herself.
I doubt if she will starve when she graduates. Haruna is already a successful underwear model for the “Peach John” women’s apparel company. Underwear model? … more like “underwear actress” because her 1 minute commercials are better than most Hollywood movies.
I will also include Part 2 and Part 3 of the PeachJohn “Selfies” contest there. Peach John has encouraged fans to post selfie pics in their latest campaign. (Sorry, you may have to sign in for the second one.)
The commercials, follow the Haruna and her friends Maggie and Kana on their daily selfie routine. I know you see the girls romping around in campy, lingerie poses, but the commercial actually encouraged customers to take simple and natural photos throughout the day. The last segement shows “real” customers in everyday Peach John attire.
No Doubt, Kojima-san has a smoking-hot body, but that is not why I like her. You can STOP laughing now, thank you! Have a look at this amazing white dress Kojima-sama wears in this live performance!
I am a little troubled hoever by news that Miss Kojima is to appear nude in the next issue of Anan Magazine. My friends over at Nihongogo have posted an article here.
I don’t think that Kojima-san should do nudes while she is a member of AKB48. If she does them after graduation, then that would be her choice, but for the most part it is just something that the group does not do. Now I am not a prude … and no one would like to see KojiHaru naked more than I (only for a second, then I would look away). I also do not want to be one of those people who CRITISIZE THINGS THEY HAVE NOT SEEN! I am against self-righteous censorship. I have not “read” …er , I mean seen the photos, for all I know she might be “nude” but you might not “see anything” … if you know what I mean. When a magazine says that a celebrity “bares all”, they often do not. Nihongogo does attest that these photos show “the best breasts that Japan has to offer” …
Maybe this is a step to her graduation this year. Kojima! You made a liar out of me!
I do enjoy good landscape photography!
… and don’t try buying a copy at the newsstand. I already bought them all.
Luvdisc (in Japanese: ラブカス “Lovecus”) is a WATER-type Pokémon. Unless we get a Mega-evolution, Luvdisc does not evolve. Luvdisc is known as the Rendezvous Pokémon.
I am so glad that you can now have 12 letters for a nickname. I can name a female Luvdisc “HarunaKojima” after Miss Haruna Kojima. Kojima-san is a Japanese actress, underwear model and beloved member of AKB48. No, I am not going to show a slide show of Haruna Kojima wearing pink underwear just because pink is Luvdisc related. Well, maybe just one photo.
Kojima, if you are cold GET BACK IN YOUR POKEBALL!
The name “KojiHaru” might also be used if you are a fan, as that is her real nickname.
Another possible nickname might be “Valentine” or for a male “Valentino” after Rudolf Valentino, a famous actor and HEARTHROB in the silent movie era. In the 1920s, women would swoon and pass out when they saw him on screen. When I make the nickname Valentino, I always make the “o” the “male symbol for extra potency.
Valentino used “Charm” !
In general, I only like female Luvdiscs. If I catch a male, I just take the Heart Scale from it (if it holds one) then release it or put it on the Wondertrade.
Sorry dude, you are going out on the Wondertrade.
I sometimes name Luvdisc after old girlfriends.
If you can suggest a good nickname, please comment!
Miss Miyuki Watanabe (aka “Milky”) has won the 2014 AKB48 family Janken Tournament. The Janken Taikai — a Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament, was held on September 17 at Nippon Budoukan. Milky defeated Haruna Kojima in the final round. Now Wantanabe-san will be given her first AKB48 solo!
AKB48 member Haruna Kojima will never have to worry about a second career after graduating AKB48. Kojima-san is one of the few remaining members of the original team that started in 2005, and there are rumors that she will graduate in 2014. She is now almost 27 years old, which is getting a little “long-in-the-tooth” to be a Japanese idol. Haruna has been a professional model for years. Her work with the Peach John company is especially notable. I doubt if she will starve when-if she graduates AKB. I love her photo-shoots of course, and I especially liked the kimono magazine work that she has done. Do you know how difficult it is to find photos of Kojima-san in kimono?
Haruna Kojima caught looking lovely, as she waits for the morning train in a beautiful kimono. Japanese painters: Please capture this moment!
KojiHaru is a professional “underwear model” so if you do a Google or Bing search for “Haruna Kojima” you get millions of photos of her in her underwear. The results are usually images of her in sexy lingerie, or if not that, then wearing a bikinis, or short miniskirts. There are all these magazine ads showing her dressing, undressing, doing the laundry, etc. that you have to wade through. You get the idea. Try to find a photo of Kojima-san that is NOT sexy. I dare you. I do wish I had all the scans of that kimono magazine shoot she did. I must have had to look at a million detailed photos of Haruna in her underwear in order to find these kimonos. Now, even my toenails are sweating, and I did not know that they could. Please enjoy this short slide show of Haruna and friends in kimono.
PS: I may be the first blogger to ever describe Ms. Kojima as getting “long-in-the-tooth”.
AKB48 would not be the same without Haruna Kojima. This is a great YouTube video, subtitled in English (720 HD available) which examines what it would be like to work in an office with Kojima-san. If Haruna never became an “Idol” would she be working a regular job in a regular office? Would she be fun to work with?
If you are a fan, this skit is super funny. A critic may say that she is just “being herself” here. She is certainly acting the part of her “airhead” persona, as seen on such shows as AKBINGO. I doubt if Kojima-san is an “airhead” in real life. She is an accomplished young woman; singer, dancer, actress, model,etc. I especially like the interaction between Haruna and her Boss. At time 2:50 she gets yelled at, and it is hysterical. I also like that side conversation between the two company-men watching the whole thing through the conference room window. KojiHaru is super cute of course, with that lovely face, great smile and those big “Dumbo ears” of hers. The video is a lot of fun to watch, and you can even learn something about the use of “honorifics” in Japanese business. If I worked with Kojima-san, she would be one of those ladies that can just do no wrong.
“I will excuse myself first”.
If Haruna Kojima never became a singer, she could certainly be a professional model. Here on this next YouTube link, Haruna-chan is featured in a “Peach John” ad. Watch it in 1080 HD.
This is a great ad. Although it is a French ad, it made many critics “top ten” lists of the best commercials of 2013. Haruna only has two lines. I am not sure if she is the one doing the voice over however. I like that little French guy as the driver. He’s great in the role. You have to feel sorry for him, having caused Koji-Haru to loose her gown like that.
One more Haruna Kojima underwear ad for Peach John. Watch it in the available HD.Duh.
In this one, Haruna is having a dream where she is running through France in her underwear. We’ve all been there. The little French guy makes an appearance in this as well. Watching this, I kept wanting Haruna to wake up! I did not want her to be embarrassed. What a nightmare, to be out in public in your underwear! Psychologists say this is a common dream.
This ad also reminds me of an old “schoolyard rhyme”. I obtained it from author Kurt Vonnegut: whenever a classmate would accidentally expose their underwear on the playground, the kids would all chime:
“I see England,
I see France,
I see Kojima’s UNDERPANTS!”
You may also like my Haruna Kojima board on Pinterest:
It only took 26 days for this starlight to reach my world.
Likes: Pop Culture, Humor, Japanese Culture, Iwasa Misaki, Hanako Oku, AKB48 History, Kurosawa films, Kimonos, Anime, Lolita fashion, Buddhist philosophy, and finding the perfect nicknames for my Pokemon.
A fansite; for old and new fans of AKB48 and all their domestic and international sister groups: (SKE48, NMB48, HKT48, NGT48, STU48, JKT48, BNK48, MNL48, AKB48 Team SH, SGO48, AKB48 Team TP, and CGM48)
on April 18, 2015