Speaking for Academic Purposes AKB48 and Idol Fan Culture And their Effect on Social Change

In 2013, what are the things we should concentrate on to improve society? Here in Japan, we are already blessed with a peaceful, stable society, but is it operating as well as it might? Are we living in a fully working democracy where people able to fulfill their potential without ‘barriers of prevention’? Foreigners who live here often voice a wish for more ‘individual thinking’ or ‘more spontaneity; the Japanese I am closest to will retort: ‘our system brings peace and we are far happier than people in other countries.’ Maybe so. There is little way to argue against this: especially when the education system and social structure is structured around rank, social position and the maintenance of harmony. Structured against change: “出る杭は打たれる” - Deru kui wa utareru. Nobody wants to be hammered down, but if part of a system does not work, and there are needs for improvement, then some will want to take a chance. While it is true, as Fearn (2013) recently noted, that “Japanese society (is) based on a culture of hierarchy and respect for authority, (which) precludes any genuine consultation for fear of causing offence”, there are many activists already are calling for change in the field of business, energy consumption, gender issues and workers’ rights. The institutionalized barriers that reduce the possibility of change do not solve the problems, and Japanese people have all wondered about issues such as Gender Equality, Globalization, the Destruction of Traditional Culture and the Infantilizing of Pop Culture. More importantly there is the Nuclear issue too. Covering all the above are Economic Matters. The Job market too. To prepare the ground for change though, artists and public figures need to speak out about ways to change society. Nothing will change unless the ‘suffering’ do something about it. But do most women today talk about the inequalities of employment in the present economy? Do men talk about how the superficiality of women who live in a ‘Disney Princess’ mindset rather a ‘Real World’ mindset? Do we talk about how ‘male’ and ‘female’ identities are constructed by commerce? Just look at the influence of Kimura Takuya on the style of boys and Pretty Cure in ‘naturalising’ girls to dress themselves in a wardrobe of pink, yellow and peace-love-hai-cheezu clothing. Celebrities and cultural icons often signify desired personalities and provide ‘expectations’ of behavior and images that the young inadvertently step into. Is this a ‘natural’ process where boys and girls decide for themselves, or are commercial forces doing much of the thinking for them? We live in a patriarchal society: Has Kitty becomes an idealized ‘girl’ because she has no mouth to use? Quiet, subservient, yielding….

the message is that women should behave and construct themselves as Objects of Male Desire Be Pink. The brains behind 80s sensations The Onyanko Club. am I complaining? Maybe not much. and as a lover of women and a father of an infant girl: Definitely. But whereas Older Generations would not package this in Overt Sexual Wrapping. Sharp Sensations of Pleasure to young and old and promote us to put our hands in our pocket to ‘connect’ with their beauty! It is no coincidence that you see AKB48 and Chocolate Bars in convenience stores. but like the birth of The Monkees or X Factor Contestants around the globe. Their genesis. In doing so many have believed he promotes damaging ‘behavioural expectations’ for women and has promoted ‘ready-made perceptions’ for men about how desirable women should be. That’s the Way it is. Their pleasing faces and unfailing smiles give Short.The Arguments that AKB48 and Idol Fan Culture Reduce Chance for Social Change. It’s been going on for about a Million Years!” (Laurence from Go Kart Mozart. the Product known as AKB48 is. is it? They Are The Same. The Southern All Stars or Yellow Magic Orchestra. Products of this Age of Convenience! Of Quick Shallow Consumerism! Of Paying for Instant Pleasure! You are never fully satisfied. Yasushi Akimoto knows this only too well. Like with Onyanko Club. we must think about their birth. a Overt Sexualized Entity. but as a music lover: yes I am. As a man. at least partially. and other ‘idols’ (both male and female) created by the Big Fish in the Culture Industry may help prevent change in Japan. “Men look at Women. Akimoto has assembled a group of Girl-Women with no real talent and made them stars with his Magic Wand. 2012). Fluffy and Pretty for the gaze of men. To entertain the idea that groups like AKB48. AKB48 are a creation of a Master Puppeteer: via the hands of business genius. Yasushi Akimoto (who is far more effective that British equivalent Simon Cowell). Unlike the likes of The Beatles. Akimoto is a man who has unashamedly created Pop Bands that have a Chocolate Bar Effect through their influence on fans and consumers who see AKB48 images in products they daily purchase. you will want more – and more! And more… . He knows that Youth is prized highly by many men too.

. The danger is of this fantasy creeping out more widely into society: Japan currently ranks at 101 in the world gender-equality rankings (79 places below the United States. While listening to AKB48 might satisfy all 3 functions.It’s a good job there are many images of AKB through a multitude of consumer products. but they are Singing the Same Tune and to the Same Master. AKB48 takes this a step further by allowing its (largely male) fans to sit in annual judgment. voting members up or down in the group’s hierarchy. SKE48. AKB48 legitimate the status quo in the following ways i) they ‘normalise’ the role of woman as subservient. They allowed her (Minami Minegishi) to humiliate herself on social networks. when NOBODY (really) wants to go to school. Plenty of Product to Purchase and Candy to Chew. Ian Martin(2013): "The deeper truth is that idol fan culture.. endless tearful displays of gratitude. anyway? Gillian Rose (1978). is institutionally incapable of dealing with independence in young women. 32 below China. anime and manga fan culture. and complete control over their sexual independence. Middle Aged ‘men’ writes lyrics which have sexually inappropriate readings and are often sang by 13 and 14 year olds ( + ‘Teacher’ by the Nyan-nyan Club. (and) . and two below Azerbaijan . Akimoto as ‘image creator’ of 52 member Onyanko Club and 48+ AKB made sure Girls follow their Male Master. above all. iii) they act to ‘sexualise’ the image of schoolgirls and uniform – making life difficult for girls who wish to grow and not be groped. iv) v) they promote Sameness through Sister Groups . . it demands submissiveness. BUT do they Add to the Life of the Mind? To a discovery of deeper meaning and deeper thought? I’ll leave you to answer that.. talking about Theodor Adorno’s theory on the function of music. a hope for the future and to legitimate of the status quo. As Ivan Illich (1971) in Deschooling Society noted. vi) they give the ‘appearance’ of being Individuals.. listed 3: a longing for the past. Plenty of Sister Bands and Body Parts to Shake. It seeks out and fetishizes weaknesses and vulnerabilities and calls it moé. school makes people rely on teachers instead of learning by themselves. a lack of confidence. ii) they make wearing School Uniform ‘cool’ and ‘cute’.. NMB48 and SDN48 + more. they legitimate the status quo and the society they run.. vi) The management punished a member and pushed her to humiliate herself on youtube for the crime of seeing her boyfriend. cute and meek. What is music for.

It is not a bad thing! Academics are people who read too many books and invent abstract ideas to write their own. ⑩ Why do we ignore the fact that the YOUNG make the older feel younger. Good for men! Why attack a group who promote Japan all over the world? Why attacking the ‘elections’? It gets fans interested in politics? Why attack the ordinary/plain who become stars? It’s wonderful Why is it bad to follow girls from 1st Grade to Graduation? It ’s Real Life ⑨ Why is it bad for AKB48 to provide a ‘fantasy’ narrative for fans? Harry Potter. and others. In the ‘real world’ PEOPLE LOVE AKB! They can promote Economic change and already make Millions of people HAPPY! . the OLD can help the young with their experience. Beyonce. I can’t hear them – Could it be that they are not as fed up as Westerners want them to be? ① Why do women want to be cute? beautiful! ② ③ ④ ⑤ ⑥ ⑦ ⑧ All women want to be Why is it bad to wear uniform? It’s a part of life we like! Why is it bad to sing about ‘sex’? We will all do it! Why was the Candy Ad bad? Funny for women. They increase the likelihood of change: economic change! AKB48 have not sexualised teens in the eyes of adults anymore than the 17 year old Britney Spears did in the US at the same age. Do Japanese women voice their desire for change? Well. The fact that Minegishi was sorry for breaking a rule was noble: we all follow rules in life and the fact that Japanese are happier than Other Nationalities in doing this is not something to be ashamed about. There is little crime and the only thing which needs to improve is the ability for us to make money! AKB48 help ‘Japan’ to make money and their Sister Groups are doing the same – with a smile on their face. Talk about sexualised imagery? Look at Rihanna. AKB48’s lead members are over 18. making the ‘average age’ the same age as Britney when she debuted. Pinky Blonde or Manga characters do. The demotion and retirement of AKB48 members is not shocking when we realize that ‘celebrity sex/gossip’ fill mainstream media in the West.The Argument that AKB48 and Related Groups Do NOT Reduce the Chance for Social Change Why does Japan need to change? We live in a country where people are happy and are not starving.

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