The other day, I happened to meet a member of AKB48, a popular Japanese girls unit that Yasushi Akimoto, a big time planner, produced. I didn’t have any interest in the unit until then because I thought it only catered to young anime and game geeks who are hanging around in Akihabara.
However, the following day, I knew that Tsunku, another successful music producer announced that he would rollout his new project “Akihabara back stage pass” in coming November. Besides, the concept of the project is quite similar to AKB48.
Now that two major produces just about to battle with each other in this Akihabara based entertaining business, I started feeling very curious about it.
As far as I know, the differences between them are like this.
concept: Idols you can go to see everyday
home: AKB48 theatre
style: You’ll have opportunities to meet idols in person, shake hands, and get to vote in the poll for making your go-for-idol stand in the center position on the stage if you buy their CDs.
【Akihabara Back stage pass】
concept: you are the producer
home: a café with a stage
style: It’s you that may discover promising talents among girls who are working in a café and help them to grow as top idols.
Comparing with Yasushi Akimoto’s project, Tsunku’s one seems to have a narrower and deeper contact point with wanna-be idol girls. And it looks like a idol training simulation game. Once amateur producers hooked on girls, I think they might spend a lot of money.
By the way, I found an interesting article on how Tsunku referred to J-pop industry some month ago. it says: “we need to have some competitor units with AKB48 to catch up with K-pop.”
He has envisioned being even with K-pop and more. I hope that two producers’ synergy effect would boost the J-pop and widen its market world widely.
It’s that time of year again.
For some of you, it might be Halloween but for me, it’s a local autumn festival in my hometown. Instead of putting on a spooky and sinister costume, I wore a “hanten” attire for the festival in Sawara.
Sawara is called“Koedo,” or little Edo and there still remain some old houses and warehouses that were built about 200 years ago. There is Edo like atmosphere in the air and you can easily feel it by walking along the Ono River that runs in the middle of the city.
This year’s festival was very special for local residents. The 311’s earthquake gave a lot of damages on a row of historical old houses along the river and the tiles of their roofs came off. People were wondering if they should have pulled off the festival in this situation.
However, I knew all along that they would hold the festival no matter what may happen because the festival means a lot to them and they can’t live without it.
The local festival is an uplifting event that has been rooted in people’s mind. We’ve realized that its power becomes evident especially in bad times.
For more information about Sawara, May Lee’s website “sushiwong” is very helpful.
Slide show of old buildings in Sawara, from May Lee’s website
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“Art comes from an explosion!” 芸術は爆発だ！
Taro Okamoto, a Japanese artist, is known for this famous phrase of his and a unique looking sculpture “Tower of the sun” for the Expo’70 in Osaka. Even if you don’t go for art, you may probably know at least one of both.
In his late days, he often appeared on TV variety shows and commercial films and said that phrase a lot like his slogan. It made him very popular but on the other hand, he ended up being recognized as an eccentric artist. I feel a bit sorry that his popularity hid away some of his great achievements, especially his writings and criticism.
Recently, I read a book about him and found some of his interesting remarks. He insisted; “Art should not be skillfully-made, beautiful and comfortable.”
芸術はうまくあってはいけない、きれいであってはならない、心地よくあってはならない。In another word, art should not be orchestrated.
What he meant to say in his phases is to avoid following already-existing value and your production should be made with your instinct.
It reminds me of another words of a Japanese theatre director. He said;
“You can only go so far after you’ve mastered acting.” うまいの先にそんなに広い世界はありません。
Taro’s words give us great warning and encouragement at the same time.
Photos: ©Taro Okamoto memorial museum