boy band

You know it’s cherry blossom time, when boy bands practice their dance moves in the park

Lest you think spring brings out only positive feelings of joy and choreography, most of the over-heard comments by passers-by failed to appreciate the effort and artistry of these earnest teens. Dance on, boys!

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SMAP should “aid” themselves & disappear

This SMAP poster has been up for a while now. The faux “aid” message and the band-aid graphic are as insipid and uninspired as Japan’s oldest boy band. I wonder why these aging botoxed no-talents keep performing even when they show no interest in being on stage or with each other. In all those years of shilling cup of noodles, magazines, CDs, variety shows, etc, didn’t they make enough yen to enjoy retirement or a new career? Or have they made a life-time pact with Johnny-san, the evil boy band producer? Seeing them triggers an involuntary cringe each time.

Sakurai Sho & the making of an Ozzie fan girl

Lovely story by Project Me’s Kathryn about how she went from an Ozzie indie rock chick to a Japanese fan girl. I love how she hates when people call Arashi a “boy band.” They are IDOLS, she reminds us. Glad to know that super-vain Japanese boys are spreading happiness to the furthest corners of the Earth. And attracting new energy and life to Japan by inspiring immigrants!

Sui Sui!

Is SMAP entering a creepy Michael Jackson phase?

I feel alternate disgust and pity for SMAP, Japan’s original boy band from the early 1990s. Each year, they release new CDs, sell stuff in ads, and hog a lot of TV time. But it’s increasingly clear that with each year, the band members are desperately trying to subtract a year from their appearances. It’s unsettling to see these 40 year olds posing as teenagers.

In their recent appearance on the New Years Eve Kouhaku show, they did not dance, sang very poorly, and basically showed no interest in performing. Does evil Johnny prevent them from just retiring? At least they are keeping the Photoshop jockeys in business.

JR sells Aomori dreams

JR is spreading the “moe” with its latest campaign to visit Aomori on its new bullet train (shinkansen) line. I love how they are reaching out to their feminine customers with an offer that their “first Aomori” can be a boy band star in a train uniform. Can he really be all of our “first Aomori”? Does he salute before or after the act? I think demand will be excessive.

Fudanjuku, Rotten Cram School, promotes Kiddy Land

Have you ever heard of a boy idol group called Fudanjuku, or Rotten Cram School? Apparently they promote Kiddy Land, its Harajuku flagship and 44 directly owned shops and 33 franchised shops.

They were in the news because the Kiddy Land flagship is being remodeled and is temporarily relocated. I love how the Japan Times reports that the band’s “stated ages are 16 and 17.” That’s journalistic integrity. Oh, and they also are providing their advice to the shop manager and Kiddy Land’s president.

Mr Johnny is always thinking

Warning: this music and dancing might hurt your head! I must give full creative credit to Mr Johnnys, the creator of generations of J-pop boy bands. With EastWest Boys, he’s assembled a group of hip-gyrating, overly coiffed, and ridiculously choreographed white boys (“from Los Angeles) to appeal to Japanese teen girls. And, in a departure from decades of standard practice, he’s using the internet to get some free buzz. He’s even added a little emo to add some foreign “flavor” while sticking to the formula that has made Mr Johnny a very very rich, old man.

I found this video and story from Mutantfrog’s blog. I love how s/he captions their photo with “every girl’s fantasy English teacher.” Is it me, or does this Western version of J-pop seem even gay-er than the standard Japanese boy band? Have I gotten used to ridiculously vain Japanese pseudo-celebrities and their ability to feminize themselves in order to appeal to their fangirls? What do you think??

Sho shows (almost) all on an・an

Arashi’s Sakurai Sho bares (almost) all in anan magazine’s special “male body” issue. Sho is one of the most popular members of the Johnny’s boy band Arashi, a Keio graduate from a wealthy family, and now a night-time newscaster on Zero presenting serious news, including the current state and history of Japan-US relations. The husband thinks Sho aspires to become Prime Minister one day, which would be a great triumph for the boy band creator Johnny.

anan is a young Japanese woman’s version of Cosmo. The magazine focuses on sexuality, appearance, polls, and men, men, men. This must be one of their sluttiest issues ever. There are taxonomies of the 8 male body types portrayed by comics and tarentos (all variations of skinny and boyish, except the normal sized “Big Boy” and the one fatty), photos of athletes and professional wrestlers, and a pictorial about how you might imagine young men at work without their clothes.

Dear readers, do you think Sho showing his skin will help or hinder his political aspirations? And, before I get any complaints, despite the fact that Sho is made up, waxed, and air-brushed to look barely legal (or younger), he is in fact 27 years old. I think he looks a bit like a Ken doll, plastic and a bit sexless.

What do you say? Should I post more images from this pictorial?