How Will Tsunku’s Marriage Affect Hello! Project?

Filed in Cult Of Pop 2.0

Most of you have heard the news about Tsunku’s upcoming marriage to a 25-year-old former model named Kanako.

I was mildly surprised upong hearing this, since all along I was under the assumption that Tsunku is gay. Why or how I came to this conclusion, I’m not sure. Perhaps because of his flamboyant stage persona with Sharan Q, perhaps because of his reclusive and at times odd behavior as the mastermind of Hello! Project, perhaps because that male sign he adds at the end of his name is a tad too insistent. Perhaps because he was surrounded by so many attractive young women – both over and under the eighteen-year-old marker – but never seemed tempted in any way. (Though really, that seems more like a sound business decision than anything else.)

As it turns out, he was just waiting all along for the right opportunity with the right girl. (Or, if you’re a cynic, for the right beard. Though why he’d care about it at this point is beyond me.) I wish him and his bride all the luck and happiness in the world, I’m sure their summer wedding will be as happy as the song he wrote, and I’m sure the event will be worth watching for all Jpop fans, considering his stature in the industry.


The one thing that I’ve been trying to figure out, the one thing that concerns me more than anything else, is the impact Tsunku’s marriage may have on Hello! Project. I’d been holding off writing about this event because I really had no grasp of the possible reprercussions – no scenarios came to mind, nothing that seemed more likely than any other random scenario.

And I still haven’t come to any conclusions.

On the one hand, a major life event such as a marriage is a good time to re-assess what one has accomplished and set off in a new direction. Following from that idea, Tsunku may distance himself somewhat from H!P – not a bad thing, there are capable songwriters and producers that can fill the gap. Or he may simply dissolve H!P altogether – less likely, since it still makes him money, but what if management decides Tsunku is too integral to H!P and if he’s gone then they’re gone?

On the other hand, marriage is one of the events where you start to worry about the future more and providing for more than yourself. Following that idea, he may decide that H!P is past its prime and try investing his efforts in other ideas, such as the reunited Sharan Q or some other musical projects he thinks will break big. On the other hand, he may figure that H!P is his safest bet financially and do his best to reinvigorate the collective so it reaps more profits. Under that scenario, maybe he’d even go so far as re-uniting the Golden Age Musume line-up – after all, Kouhaku and that Utaban appearance can’t possibly be coincidences, it has to be building up to something…

And when I savor that idea, I realize: all these suppositions are just wishes or fears of one kind or another, that most likely the status quo of H!P will be preserved and that the marriage won’t significantly influence the course of Jpop. Yoko Ono was the exception, not the rule.

Perhaps because it’s been a year since Mari quit Morning Musume and the Alo-Hello shop closed,  and Kago remains suspended (with a recent tabloid article so disturbing, I’m guessing it’s scurrilous lies) that I’m in a mild state of anticipatory dread. My otaku nerves aren’t frazzled the way they were last year at this time, but it’s like I’m steeling myself in case I do need to be that frazzled, if that makes any sense. Tom Petty’s right, the waiting is the hardest part – and it’s even worse when you don’t know what you’re waiting for.


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7 Responses to “How Will Tsunku’s Marriage Affect Hello! Project?”
  1. Sir Mix-A-Little says:

    I always kind of wondered if Tsunku was doing Takahashi. He seemed to give her an inordinate amount of attention.

    By the way, what lies did the tabloids write about Kago? I missed that.

  2. Here’s a picture of the tabloid page. Discussion of what the article says can be found on the MM-BBS here. Basically, it dredges up all these horrible things about Kago’s family life which may or may not be true and strikes an alarmist tone about how she’s been emotionally since the suspension.

    If I didn’t care about Aibon, I’d find it boring celebrity mudslinging and not worth my attention. As I do care for her, I find it reprehensible. It’s worth noting that none of this seems to be picked up by other media sources, so the veracity of any of this is questionable. (And also why I didn’t do a blog entry on it.)

  3. CJ Marsicano says:

    It’s already affected H!P in one positive way long before this engagement was announced: I forget on which Feed Of Pop blog I read this, but apparently Iroppoi Jirettai is about Tsunku’s girlfriend, and the “sexy island” is where she’s from.

    Tsnuku finds muse, we get more righteous tunage from the H!P camp. Sounds good to me.

  4. jordi says:

    Hey – some marriages have happened even when the guy is gay – though the gay thing usually comes afterwards.

  5. Alice says:

    Tsunku cannot be gay. I’ve been having his babies for years now. Seriously though, I think he’s a total pimp with a ton of class based on everything I’ve seen of him and I’m happy he can marry someone he is in love with.

  6. Steve Harrison says:

    (quote)Basically, it dredges up all these horrible things about Kago’s family life which may or may not be true and strikes an alarmist tone about how she’s been emotionally since the suspension.(quote)

    First, if Japanese tabloids are like the one’s in the West, then next they will be saying Kago is having an alien baby !

    Even if partially true, Kago having a dad (real or step-dad?) who “might” have a drinking or substance prob. and not finding out about her “new” dad not being her bio-dad may be upsetting, but not earthshattering in this day and age.

    now..if thephoto WAS turneed in by her best friend..THAT could be devestating, but we will just have to wait and see…

  7. Garamond says:

    I have sort of a quasi-psychological theory about Tsunku and his relationship with Hello!Project, which I hope is not true…

    I read somewhere that when Tsunku went to highschool or something, he was in love with a girl. Then the girl tragically died. Ever since that he couldn’t forget her, and has been more or less mourning her ever since. This is what I read.

    Now here’s my theory:
    Tsunku has been writing all those beautiful songs, and surrounding himself with beautiful young girls, because it’s been his way of keeping (the memory of) his lost love “alive”.
    He’s done this because his unconsciousness has motivated him to do so.

    Now he’s found a new love, so he has probably gotten over the loss of his old one. Therefore his reason for “keeping his old love alive” has disappeared.
    His emotional need for continuing with Hello!Project is no longer there, or at least it’s significance has greatly diminished. On the other hand, he might just love his job so much that he’ll want to continue because of that.
    He might also have other reasons to continue though, e.g. financial ones.

    As I said I hope this theory is not true, but if it is then I really hope he continues with Hello!Project anyway.

    Of course I wouldn’t want Tsunku to go around with an everlasting heartache, I like him too much for that – but maybe he could keep just a little bit of it, if that’s what it takes to make him continue providing us with the jpop that we love.