Next: “Girls Train in Temple To Be Pop Idols”

Filed in Cult Of Pop 2.0

Apparently, there’s been some buzz in America again about Morning Musume outside of the usual Jpop circles – this apparently started by Boing Boing and spreading across several blogs including this one, this one, and this one. (And also making it to CNN, according to some claims.) Like the clip from Fun where they got the bejesus scared out of them while watching The Ring, this involves old Momusu footage: specifically, the 13-nin Christmas special soon after fifth gen were added, where the girls strapped pork chops to their heads and were assaulted by lizards.

I can definitely see the amusement value of this if you hadn’t seen it before – but it’s even older than the Ring clip, which itself was pretty dated. At the rate the general public – or the general blogosphere, at least – is becoming aware of Morning Musume, we’re going to see a bunch of blogs discussing Asayan footage from when the group first formed…

So what other Jpop footage is left to amuse and entertain non-fans? For pure screaming fun, the competitions where Momusu are blindfolded and stuff is dropped on their head. Gackt’s discussion of his guitar and underwear collection would be good. Early SweetS PVs, especially "Lolita Strawberry in Summer" and "Love Raspberry Juice" would probably fry some brains and bring out the usual complaints against the pedolicious aspects of Japanese culture (cf. Irie Saaya). Orange Range’s PV of "Locolotion" – one of the bizarrest uses of a black actor I’ve ever seen this side of Utaban. W’s lesbian teen wedding.

Though I must admit, none of these have the same immediate kick as "screaming girl + pork chop strapped to head + lizard".

Oh! And I remember a very old clip I used to have on VHS – back before the new millenium, actually. It shows Downtown (Matsumoto and Hamada) with some male friends, and they each had to recite a tongue twister while standing with their legs spread over a contraption. If they got the tongue twister wrong, the contraption would snap, sending a paper fan right into the poor bastard’s crotch, causing much testicular pain. Then they switched the paper fan to a sporty leather strap, which was apparently even more painful… Matsumoto initially escaped the leather whip, but was forced to redo the tongue twister and got hit particularly hard – he was practically pounding the set down from the pain.

The weirdest part was, after the crotch-smashing machine, they switched to hitting each other with pies if the person mispronounced the tongue twister. Like, after getting banged up in the balls, I’d care if someone hit me in the face with a freakin’ pie.

Anyway. Many years later, when I got into Jpop and saw Downtown on Hey Hey Hey, I immediately recognized them. It obviously had a deep impact on me.

Now, if anybody had a clip of this – and I lost my copy when I moved to Hawaii, unfortunately – I’m sure it’d be a huge hit in the blogosphere.

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9 Responses to “Next: “Girls Train in Temple To Be Pop Idols””
  1. niji says:

    CNN should’ve reported about Ishibashi kicking a dodgeball dead-straight into Yasuda’s block instead. That was even funnier than the lizard thing and definitely much more attention-spiking.

    Although, “she sells seashells by the sheesho … *oof* ~~ mo–mmie …” sounds particularly hilarious too. ROTFL XD

  2. Alice says:

    I’ve been watching the coverage of the Momusu christmas special clip and wondering if it’s a good thing or not for Jpop fandom in the US. I mean, sure a few more people have now heard the name “Morning Musume” but they immediately associate it with the “lol japan” line of thought. Plus when I say “I’m a morning musume fan” people are going to picture girls with porkchops on their heads, and what does that say me?

  3. Sabaku Ika says:

    Why should MM be taken seriously? Pork hats seem like as good a reason as any to pay attention to them. Good music will be found eventually, but the LOLosity is one of their best features.

  4. Chris~ says:

    Maybe I’m just opposing the choice of words, but…
    Why shouldn’t MM be taken seriously? (Hello Project is, in general, great pop culture)
    Sometimes I even feel that is exactely what Ray’s “Cult of Pop” is about (a serious approach to pop culture/and the appreciation of cute girls and sexy women).

    My point is that the style (and theme/depth) of a show should not decide wether or not it should be considered (=taken) serious(ly) – Hello Morning is serious because there’s a lot of work/feeling/thought/expertise/etc involved in making it (and because the final ‘product’ is great – it’s all very well planned and executed : thus; it’s a serious [professional] production).
    The show does, just like any other similar show, have a quite fixed formula, and I’d guess there are people who have done deeper analyzes on this (atleast I know they have on other tv shows).
    Hm… maybe even Ray has done a few? can’t remember…

    MM shouldn’t be considered unserious because it’s a group that consists of cute girls and/or that their show features playful segments. Making such a statement is elitistic (as if only certain styles/content [or sophisticated entertainment/art] could be considered serious) and a bit like looking down on the show and the people behind it (to me, saying something is ‘unserious’ implies that it could be improved if the people involved in the creation of it would take a more serious approach to it).

    I personally think HM is great as it is.
    It’s playful – yes – but playful is not the same as unserious (and as I wrote above, it has a quite fixed formula).
    Hello Morning may seem more shallow compared to shows dealing with e.g. more obvious social criticism, but the quality or seriousnes of art or pop entertainment is not decided by depth (nor by how sophisticated something is – e.g. think of how popular minimalistic art always is).

    Am I making any sense? (I hope so, this took quite some time to write! 😉

    If the goal of Morning Musume is to entertain and to spread positive vibes; love and energy,
    then the members of Morning Musume and the people working behind them, are taking their goal seriously, and most of the time suceeding very well.
    Their show may not be very sophisticated – but then, it never tries to be, and it is so moving and entertaining on its level that I (= a person who enjoys this kind of entertainment/art) never really wish for it to entertain me on another level (I can watch something else for that).

    This comment might just be a mess and the cause of a misinterpretion, sorry (but atleast now I got a chance to express some kind of opinion in english!)

    Peace and love everyone!

  5. Sabaku Ika says:

    I agree. What I said wasn’t meant to disrespect H!P. I don’t think they should be looked down upon, but as you said, their goal is to entertain. If confused Internet bloggers laugh at them, they are helping the goal.

  6. niji:

    The best part isn’t Ishibashi hitting Kei’s head, but actually thanking God afterwards. It’s what made the moment move from “America’s Funniest Home Videos” fodder to pure Utaban genius.

    Alice:

    That’s certainly part of my ambivalence about this whole porkchop lizard thing… Though given my behavior and stated tastes in Jpop, a strong interest in girls who wear porkchops on their heads doesn’t seem all THAT scandalous or strange.

    Sabaku Ika and Chris:

    Very good points from both of you, though I guess part of my concern does stem from the pitfalls of having one’s work misunderstood, no matter how good-naturedly. (On the extreme end, I find myself thinking of Robert Crumb’s satires on racism being adopted by racists for their own purposes.) If it DOES pique a potential fan’s interest and results in a convert, that’d be cool.

    My main complaint, odd as it may seem, is how OLD the clip is. To me, if the main blogstream is going to notice Momusu, it’d be nice if they were looking at more recent stuff. What stuff, I’m not sure – the recent sumo fights would be noteworthy, now that I think of it. (Though again, even that doesn’t have the immediate kick of porkchop hat + lizard + screaming girl…)

    Oh, and Chris, I’ve looked at a few episodes of Hello! Morning but not in recent months.

  7. niji says:

    Alice:

    Plus when I say “I’m a morning musume fan” people are going to picture girls with porkchops on their heads, and what does that say me?

    Just imagine how us MoMusu AND Berryz Koubou fans must feel. XD

    Sabaku Ika:

    Pork hats seem like as good a reason as any to pay attention to them.

    How did I know you were thinking that? ROTFL

    Ray:

    The best part isn’t Ishibashi hitting Kei’s head, but actually thanking God afterwards.

    Probably, but the Soccer Torpedo Headbasher move alone already sold it to me. LOL

  8. Sabaku Ika says:

    “Girls Train in Temple To Be Pop Idols” would definitely bother me. I’ll agree with that.