I orignally wanted this to be part of my Taiwan48 post, but this post was way too long to be included. So, here we are a whole new post dedicated to the possibility of other global 48 groups. XD
It seems a majority of fans have been responding negatively to the idea of foreign 48 groups since day one. But I have been absolutely excited. Despite not being a fan of AKB48 2 years ago, I was all for the idea of World48 when I heard about it. Since I am a Japanese music fan, I was thrilled about anything that would spread Japanese music and/or style around the world. Especially if it might happen here in the US.
Most fans have been shooting down the possibility of a global franchise for 3 reasons. (You know I have to overanalyze this and write more in more depth about this because I’m such a nerd.) Also, This is an EXTREMELY long post. So, stop reading if you don’t feel like reading for a good 10 minutes give or take.
The first reason being they won’t like it because they prefer things that are Japanese. Now, before I start my explanation of this let me say that I DO NOT personally know fans like this. But after years of reading forums, blogs, youtube comments, and having actual conversations, I assure you these types of fans DO exist. Please don’t take offense in this. I am not suggesting that the people who read this blog or are reading this blog now are like this.
There, was that warning PC enough? XD
They would much prefer if Japanese music was a sub culture. Having the music spread would completely defeat the purpose. That way if they are the only person who knows about the ultra cool Japabese things can they feel superior. Which deals with the whole elitism in the Japanese music community. And don’t tell me it doesn’t exist. Try joining a Jrock LJ community or Jrock forum (which is how I found out) and see how elitist the Jrock fandom is. I had a friend who literally looked down on me because I didn’t know absolutely everything about anime and anime music, and she did so that made her so much better than me. Which, I might add I wasn’t even that into. I liked Japanese music not JUST anime music. Which she only liked anime music. I will never forget the first thing I said to her. “You like Japanese music?! Do you like Morning Musume,” she responded she didn’t know who they were so I almost angrily said, “How can you like Japanese music and not know who Morning Musume are?!” Ah, good times. XD
Also, I have heard fans who literally do not want their Japanese or Asian singers known worldwide. I have no idea why. I guess they treat it as something precious and amazing, that only they like. And if the whole world suddenly learned about it would lose all it’s appeal. Which would makes those fans elites, who only like it too feel superior and trendy.
The other reason is only liking Japanese things because they are Japanese. The absolutely first second I started liking Japanese music I was labeled a weebo and a Japanophile. That I liked absolutely ANYTHING just because it was Japanese. Regardless of how terrible it actually was. One of my sister’s friends even called me an Egg. Which made me completely angry! Which was never true for me. I still listen to American music. I do not wish I was Japanese nor do I wish I lived in Japan. I am 100% happy being American. I am completely consumed in everything American and can’t imagine living anywhere else. But a vast majority of Japanese fans are like that. How do I know? Practically every friend I ever made friends with because they liked Japanese music also, where straight up Japanophiles. Case and point, I was at Japanese restaurant. Where my friends go to ALL the time. My and my friends literally go there like 2 or 3 times a week, I might add. It was my first time there and first time eating Japanese food. But, I knew I wouldn’t like it. I don’t like rice, fish, beans, or most vegetables, so it was pretty obvious. I tried some of my friends miso soup because there was no way I was going to buy something I most likely wasn’t going to like. So, I had a spoonful. And no offence to anyone, it was the most disgusting thing I have ever eaten. And I will never forget her response. “I knew you weren’t going to like it. Miso soup is an acquired taste.” And of course my response was. “There’s no such thing as an acquired taste. That just means you’re forcing yourself to like it because it’s Japanese” Which she completely was. (This was also anime girl btw. XD) And this has to be why a lot of fans WILL NOT accept international 48 groups. And as hard as it is for people to accept that, this is a much bigger reason that people do or want to realize. There are people out there who only like Japanese things. Only eat Japanese food. Only listen to Japanese music. Only wear Japanese like clothes. And think Japan is the best country in the world. Believe me they exist, I know a few. Thankfully not to such and obsessive annoying degree, but they are like that. So, with that mind set, the global 48 groups would, no matter what, automatically be worse than the Japanese one. It would be a horrible rip off that should never exist, because it’s very existence is brining down the original Japanese one. Which is absolutely ludicrous!
The second reason of course being, that 48 groups would never last in the west. Of course that out come is possible. But honestly, with the right producing and promotion anything could happen. Yes, Japanese idol culture does not exist in any shape or form in the US. It’s closest equivalent, Dinsey artists, aren’t anything near what an idol is. But obvious if the music was altered from idol music, and transformed into what is popular in that country they’d have a real shot. Such as the US would have a hip hop, autotuned, sexy, vibe. Where as a country in Europe would have a more techno infused dance song.
But not even that, there are some US artists that are making essentially cutesy “idol” music. Katy Perry released the relatively cute sounding song, California Gurls, with an even cuter youthful almost idol looking music video. And a song like Teenage Dream with lyrics about teenage love, that lyrically sounds like something AKB48 would release. Yet, she’s a legit artist. How about Taylor Swift? Despite being 20 her music is mostly poorly written songs geared toward teenage girls. I mean, try and tell me You Belong With Me, Fifteen, and Love Story aren’t written like and for a fourteen year old girl. And how about the Jonas Brothers? Yes, they are disney stars, but they were still able to break away from that a bit. But listen to songs like Hello Beautiful, Got Me Going Crazy, Infatuation, Lovebug, Pushing Me Away don’t sound like they could be JE songs? I mean lyrically they are the same caliber that Johnny’s songs are. And if you can’t see that, you’re obviously really biased. The Jonas Brother’s idol-esque lyrics are the main reason I got into them in the first place.
Another reason people think they might fail is because of the whole school girl uniform type outfits. Which is completely true in a sense. I don’t know about any other country, but here in the US school uniforms aren’t really that common. In the US only catholic schools and prep schools wear uniforms. So that’s only about half the country, if not less. In Japan they are a big deal socially since every student in every school wears uniforms. But any outfit could become accepted. Remember Gwen Stefani’s whole Harajuku Girls phase? That was weird and Japanese but accepted. And if people accept Lady Gaga wearing dresses made out of meat and condoms, I think school uniforms could become accepted. It could also become a fashion trend. If military, navy, and freaking beige can be popular trends in fashion now, why can’t school girl outfits? However, since it is the US the only way school girl outfits would fly is if they were sexy or at least a little bit flirty. Remember a few months back when that Mexican group used the music for AKB48’s Beginner? Remember how sexy and revealing their outfits were? Yeah, that’s almost what USA48 would look like.
The 3rd reason obviously being they are teenage girls. 48 groups, minus SDN48, are teenage girls, and regardless of the country they would stay teenage girls. It might fly in Japan for teenage girls too dances around in bikinis, run around in lingerie, take photo shoots wearing bra and panties, and sometimes singing about having sex with adult, it definitely won’t fly in the US. People would be up in arms in no time. Looking sexually at anyone under the age of 18 is extremely frowned upon. And AKB48’s whole appeal is sexualizing their school girl image, which would not be allowed to be done. Do you remember how much heat Miley Cyrus got for pole dancing at the Teen Choice Awards when she did? For USA48 to even be allowed to happen it would have to be completely reformatted, or it would have to be based off of SDN48 instead of AKB48.
Even though global 48 groups would have to be intricately designed to appeal to their specific country, I actually think they could in fact be popular. But much like any artist or group, it’s all about selling it correctly. And I can see things like janken tournaments and senbatsu elections being really popular. As well as the idols you can meet concept being a huge fan favorite. And who knows, if all goes well we could see sister groups. Such as NYC48, LSA48, ATL48, CGO48, etc.