The Koharu Effect

Filed in Cult Of Pop 2.0

More preview shots are circulating of Koharu’s debut solo photobook… which has me thinking of what I’d call the Koharu Effect for U15 Idols. That’s right, another hare-brained theory!

The Koharu Effect goes something like this… “If Koharu can do y then x should be able to do y as well.” x is something Koharu does that most U15 idols don’t do – bikini shots in a photobook or a solo career come to mind immediately as the most relevant examples. y is any U15 idol who is older than Koharu.

The supposition, of course, is that if Koharu has the maturity to do certain things, then naturally older girls should also have that maturity. Never mind that different individuals mature at very different rates, and that some are early bloomers while others are late bloomers.

We can stack the deck even further and state that most all of these other U15 idols I’m thinking of have more actual idol experience than Koharu, who’s only been doing it for a year.

Of course, we could cite any and all of Garo Aida’s models to similar effect – most notably, Irie Saaya, who’s younger than just about everybody this side of Chisato. But unfortunately, the Saaya Effect has connotations of a kind of photography that I don’t want my pop idols to do. It’s one thing to be racier and more mature, it’s another to be in one’s underwear posing on a bed in a picture that not only screams “rorikon” at you but shoves the scented underwear right in your face.

And yeah, I know there’s a semantic distinction here that will be lost on non-fans. But the thought of Momoko or Haruna in a Garo Aida-style photoshoot not only doesn’t appeal to me, I think it’s beneath their abilities given what they’ve already established in their career.

Anyway, who would benefit under the Koharu Effect? All of SweetS are older than Koharu, as are all of the members of Paradise Go!! Go!!, even youngsters Rika and Misaki. Of Hinoi Team, only Keika is younger than Koharu, by roughly one month. And of her fellow Hello! Project members, those who count themselves older than the Miracle Ace include Saki, Maimi, Momoko (o Momoko!), Chinami, Megumi, and Maasa. It should also be noted that all of them have more experience as idols as well.

Even my tentative new U15 interest, 9 nine, has only two members younger than Koharu, neither of which is the Megumi-alike cutie.

Of course, regular readers know what I’m getting at. I want Aya of SweetS to do solo work, and maybe Haruna and Megumi. I want solo bikini photobooks for most all of them, including Mai and Haruna and Hinochi’sRIna and Saki and Momoko and Megumi and especially Maasa. Actually, I’d just be happy to see solo photobooks for most of the idols I’ve listed, bikinis or not – solo photobooks of Berryz or SweetS would be a sure way to part me from huge chunks of cash.

But… as I look at these photos of Koharu, I’m struck by how uninteresting the bikini shots are of her. Do I really need to see cute young Japanese things in bikinis if there’s not much there there? It’s not like I hang out at the beaches of Waikiki very much, where I can get an eyeful live and in person…

If anything, it’s the photos of her fully clothed and looking thoughtful that are strikingly good. She has something going for her, that je ne sais quoi, and I have to be honest… I’m not sure how many of the other U15s can indeed do this. All of these idols know how to strike dramatic poses, but can they carry it off as convincingly, as beautifully, as Koharu does in a couple of these photos? Can they project the right mix of intelligence, dramatic power, and individual will / strength that Koharu masters here? Can they do it without immediately screaming “pedolicious” at me the way a Garo Aida photo would?

Maybe… but probably not.

If I had to think about it some, I’d say Aya would have a good chance, Haruna maybe but I wouldn’t bet on it, Misaki of Parago… and that’s it. (I’d include Asuka of Hinochi, but she’s already fifteen so irrelevant to the Koharu Effect as it’s sketched out in my bizarre little world.) And really, none of the H!P Kids would be able to match what Koharu achieves in these indoor shots, much as I’d like to think otherwise. Perhaps Koharu is just naturally more mature, or perhaps being with Momusu has sped her up; either way, she’s got some skills and a charisma that the H!P Kids still need to develop.

So the Koharu Effect is really just a nice rhetorical trick to pull out whenever I want something that probably won’t happen any time soon. The reality may be that Koharu’s getting the special attention because, dammit, Tsunku knew exactly what he was doing when he chose her as his Miracle Ace.

Imagine that.


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7 Responses to “The Koharu Effect”
  1. CJ Marsicano says:

    That first Koharu pic… :0

  2. Alice says:

    I truly do believe it when they say that Koharu is a miracle. Seriously. Morning Musume is still interesting in some fashion after all the interesting members (ie: Rika, Iida, Yaguchi) graduated and whether or not that’s all Koharu I don’t know.

  3. Steve Harrison says:

    The funny thing is that we all know Koharu is 13..but in the pics I’ve seen so far, she could pass for 18 easy…maybe even 20 if you stretch a bit…
    My point…do we feel a “special” thrill just knowing Koharu and the other U-15 idols are underage, because they sure aren’t lacking in the “maturety” dept. at least physically.
    I don’t see why everyone (not here, but on the other MM boards) are so up in arms at the bikini shots (which are not erotic in anyway, say when compared to(like I mentioned in another post) Shihono Ryo, who at 13 was marketed as a “Sexy” idol, with pics that would make a customs agent call for re-enforcements.
    My point is, I wouldn’t buy the Koharu photo book unless I liked the fact that she was a “real” idol, in the sense that she DOES have some talent, and is part of H!P. There are muxch more “racy” PBs and media out there in Japanland if one wants to seek and find….
    One blk from my where I was staying in Shinjuku a summer ago, there was a small video store, almost hidden between TULLY’S and other mundane shops. If you took the elevator up several flights, there were tons of bootleg, and reg. videos and dvds of American movies, HK kung Fu stuff, and obscure biker films. However, take the elevator down a few flights, and you were in Lolicon heaven. The DVD boxes PROUDLY stated Hard Core U-16, U-14 models….I stayed about 10 mins thinking of how life in jail would be for 25 years if I even “thought” of buying one of those….so, I consoled myself with picking up at a Maruen books across the street, the new Berryz Seazons PB….try to confiscate THAT…Mr. Customs Man !!

  4. jordi says:

    I feel so dirty after looking at that. : However I quite like the last image. It’s a bit interesting – her looks aren’t the traditional idol look. But there is something in there.

  5. Slackius says:

    So if the first part of the Koharu effect is:

    “If Koharu can do y…”
    “y is any U15 idol who is older than Koharu.”

    then by substitution, are you meaning to say:
    “If Koharu can do any U15 idol who is older than Koharu…”

  6. Slackius:

    Oh my God,I got the x and the y backwards!

    This is why I was an English major and not a Math major…

    And I’d edit it, but perhaps it’s best to just to let my shameful sloppiness remain there to be ridiculed.

    Besides, it probably exposes some sick, twisted, perverse wish of mine, doesn’t it?

  7. Kenia says:

    i don’t really think Koharu is a miracle or anything like that….but i’m not saying she has no talent or looks….most of the great things that have been put on her r mostly b/c of Tsunku making her in a miracle “ace” member of morning musume.

    i mean, think about it….of course you are going to think very highly of a cute girl that got into a popular large group that usaully picks new members in 3’s or 4’s….(especially after the first supposed “Lucky 7” audition) and then all of a sudden Tsunku picks a cute girl like koharu and everybody’s like “wow, he picked HER as the ace? wow….she doesn’t SEEM like much but SOMETHING has got to be special about her to be the ACE!” Plus, when u are the ONLY new member to be picked everybody’s going to look at u like you’re special regardless of that “ace” title.

    Look at Maki….in her audition 2 girls were to be picked…but Tsunku chose just her and everybody looked at her like she was something special (and luckily she really was b/c she had more talent and that special “something” about her compared to the other members at that time….despite the fact she was no Namie Amuro of the Super Monkeys….but i guess close enough for the kind of talent they use in H!P)….and that’s why today many ppl see Maki as the girl who changed Morning Musume into a huge success. The only difference is that i don’t think Tsunku had THAT big of a plan for Maki other than the fact that she had talent and looks to replace Asuka. I think for Maki it all came out more naturally b/c ppl loved her for her determined personality.