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.

Ground zero for fan girls in Harajuku

I have a sixth sense for fan girl devotion. Approaching a restaurant for a work lunch, I realized that I was at ground zero for Japanese and Japanophile fangirls, the official store of Johnny’s, the mastermind of dozens of boy bands, some now in their 40s, others barely 10 years old.

Thanks to Kathryn from Australia for telling me about its central role in fan girl culture back in December.

What’s amazing is how closely Johnny’s controls images of their male stars. They have somehow kept it off the internet, except for illegal sharing by Chinese fans. And so fan girls come to this store in a back alley of Harajuku to get their fix. Apparently the line up super early in the morning to get a number and time to return later in the day. That’s devotion!

(If you’re waiting for your appointed time, I highly recommend the chic Japanese restaurant upstairs. Lunch is very reasonable and tasty).

UPDATE: I forgot to add this funny detail. The afternoon I was there, unbeknownst to me, there was a “mass panic and crushing incident.” Initial media reports and Twitter accounts said that a rumor of a Hey! Say! Jump! appearance or impromptu concert propelled swarms of teen girls on Takeshita-dori. According to cnnGo, the media quickly changed the story to blame an Akihabara-type otaku women’s band AKB48. The change is again attributed to the enormous power of Johnny as a media shaper.