Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Why is the girl group, AKB48, popular in Japan?

In my previous post (click here), I wrote about a popular girl group called AKB48, which is produced by Yasushi Akimoto. Today, I'll talk about the reasons for its popularity.

According to a TV show I watched recently, AKB48, like Disneyland, always offers an original world in a single place. The group has an exclusive theater in Akihabara, Tokyo and puts on shows there almost every day. The members always wear the same original costumes. Because of this, if you go there, you can be part of their special world. In addition, since the group consists of over sixty girls, you might be able to find a favorite among them - just like you have a favorite Disney character.

The members' stage positions, the main vocal and so on are decided based on a fan ballot called "総選挙/the general election”. I guess that since the phrase 総選挙 is very popular in our society due to the recent political fuss, the phrase was chosen intentionally. The members announce their platforms for the so-called general election. You can get one vote for each CD you buy, although there are other ways to obtain votes as well. As you can easily imagine, some fans buy many CDs so that they can vote many times for their favorite girl to make her stand on the center of the stage.

All in all, this system enables the fans to feel as if they, themselves, could produce an idol. It's said that this has helped the group become popular. The members, on the other hand, need to improve their various skills and impress people to acquire more fans.

In my opinion, in Japan, men more or less like women who are dependent, immature, indecisive, dutiful or reserved because these women make them feel that they, the men, are superior. So, women often affect this kind of personality in front of men. This is one reason that girl groups like AKB48 are able to become popular. Give the fact that many wives wear the pants at home in Japan, girl groups like AKB48 make young men feel happy before they have to deal with the harsh realities of married life.