Idols and Celebrity in Japanese Media Culture

Idols and Celebrity in Japanese Media Culture - Patrick Galbraith, Jason Karlin The subject is very interesting if you are fan of J-pop or J-culture, but the way it was presented -the way it was written- made it hard to enjoy it at full. It seems like this was the thesis of the author, with lots of quotations from other authors, lots of notes and a conclusion at the end of each chapter. There are plenty of boring facts in full detail. As much curious as I am for virtual idols and old past idols and the gay community rooting for X idol, it dragged a bit. Honestly I am not a fan of girl idols, like AKB48 but I found very interesting the fact that a virtual idol with parts of the AKB48. I did not read it before (since I don't follow the group) and I was surprised and a little bit in awe.

Mostly I've read this for the Johnnys chapter, which was hilarious. Almost all the facts are based on Arashi (90%) and SMAP (10%). The little conversation transcribed between Nino and Ohno was so amusing. I knew they love to fanservice, but I wasn't aware that it was so much. It cracked me up.

So basically this book tells that idols are normal people without a talent (dancing nor singing nor acting) but they have that "something" that is, merely, charisma. We fans know that they are hopeless and we still love them. Since I am into J&A I could relate to most of the text: buying CD/DVD to support the idol, cheering for them even if they can't sing (Nakai), loving their CM and thinking "they are totally like that". It is funny.

Also funny and so over-the-top is how far some fans will go for their idols. As in, buying 10, 20 CDs to make them on the Top Charts! Buying 10, 20 CDs to shake their hands! Now I am constantly wondering if XX idol, just because they are on the top, means they are popular.... Is Arashi really that popular? Or are there enough crazy fans that buy and buy their stuff so their sales numbers are high? I wonder.

If you are a fan, read it. Most facts maybe will sound familiar, since as a fan, you are in that environment. In spite of the bad presentation, it was an interesting book. Some chapters. Others I would have skimmed (I kinda did, the last chapter ^_^)