Sunday Blog Roundup: Auld Lang Syne, DJ Ozma’s Wardrobe Malfunction, and The Problem With U15

Filed in American Wota 1.0

The new year always feels refreshing, a chance to start anew and recalibrate oneself, to find a new sense of direction and let hope spring eternal once more. In the Jpop blogosphere, that sense of moving forward is also balanced with the inevitable desire to look back, to weigh what’s happened to help figure out what may happen next.

2007 already started off with a bang, as a scandal closed 2006 with DJ Ozma’s use of naked-looking bodysuits for their Kouhaku performance. Tsuji has some general thoughts on this year’s Kouhaku Utagassen, while Japan Probe covers the DJ Ozma faux-uncovering scandal, and uzugaku also notes the incident. Back at YODC, Tsuji Eriku then posts a YouTube clip of the offending performance. It’s like Fear playing on Saturday Night Live – what did you freaking expect from DJ Ozma? Karakui reveals the winner of Kouhaku this year, if you don’t already know. What really sucks is that DJ Ozma was the act I most anticipated – yes, even more than Morning Musume – and they didn’t play his performance on Kouhaku at our local station, KIKU – though they did play the explanation about the outfits the women wore for DJ Ozma’s performance, which must have puzzled people who weren’t keeping track of the ruckus.

Ikimasshoi starts the new year with a change in leadership – farewell and good luck, Mark! – as well as a promise of French translations. There’s New Year’s wishes from Johnny of The Mind, Thea of Made in Paradise and Béné of Meganekko. We can read some resolutions from Gail of Himitsu, while lolitron discusses New Year’s resolutions before making a questionable one of his own. MorningBerryz ends 2006 with Koha-chan in Seifuku and Nascar and begins 2007 with three new H!P calendars for his walls, though Tom at Hello!Blog settles for only one.

Of course, the end of the year means a look back on what happened in 2006. At Stuck in a Pagoda with Motoko Aoyama, CJ Marsicano lists in his continuing Top Ten Albums list: NOFX’s Wolves in Wolves Clothing, Yukki’s Sotsugyou, the New York Dolls’ One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This, Fergie’s The Dutchess, Puffy AmiYumi’s Splurge, Neil Young’s Living with War, Akiakane’s Kasumisou… and an unexpected turn of events for the number one spot. Meanwhile, Santos gives out his Jpop Idol Music Of The Year awards for 2006, with Perfume coming out the big winner, while Swifty of The Great Swifty Speaketh! lists his Top 10 Most Disappointing Films of 2006.

Kd of Iroiro Aru Sa closes her Happy End Story series with close-up shots of some H!P images from the past year. What’s surprising isn’t the fun in guessing what the pictures are of, but the emotions some of them provoke. For my part, I can’t believe how cute Aika is, now that I’m noticing her in that schoolgirl outfit. Angela of Sakuranbo! found 2006 boring musically, while Julia of Satsumaimo reminisces on how she became a Jpop fan this past year. Madara of the indefatigable Madara Blog ponders how Morning Musume and Jpop in general has made him re-evaluate his life. As he states quite eloquently, “Discovering Morning Musume has started, or simply reawakened, a whole internal process that has taken me down new, unexpected roads and will continue to do so.” I feel the same way – Lord knows, if it wasn’t for Momusu, I wouldn’t have literally gigabytes’ worth of underage Japanese girls on my computer.

Looking ahead, Kd also makes makes some very bold predictions for 2007, with the first prediction being the most troublesome – but after all this time, has a stronger ring of truth. Also looking forward to 2007, Johnny makes some observations on his blogging.

There were many other great articles the last week of 2006 worth noting: Julia of Satsumaimo is inadvertantly reminded by me that there was no H!P shuffles last year and has a great blog entry about figuring out what songs make it at her local karaoke place and why. Having basked in the glory of Perfume’s Christmas concert, Santos of Idolizing St. Anna asks, Why should I go back to Girl’s Box? It’s an interesting and revelatory read, though one line in particular – “it is true that a smartest person doesn’t masturbate everyday…” – had me imagining the exact opposite of Socrates, Nietzsche, Confucius and many other wise men holding a daily circle jerk in the afterlife. Pata of Irresponsible Pictures takes a detailed look at how Tezuka’s Ribon no Kishi is handled in its translation to a Hello! Project musical. It’s a well-informed piece that makes me look forward to finally getting around to watching the HPS translation…

siaoliao of Heavenly Psycho shares scans from the magazine Kid’s Walker featuring H!P Kids Airi, Iyabi, and Risako – here’s the second part of the series. They’re all adorable but Airi is definitely the star cutie in this set – and still is. And in a move that strikes me as more boldly insane than irreverently literary, Craig of YODC decides to provide a running commentary as he reads Tanizaki Junichiro’s pedoriffic classic novel Naomi, already providing parts one, two, and three. The first part was great in its own magnificent bastard Craig way – enough to make me want to read the book myself, so I’ll be waiting to read the other parts of Craig’s review afterwards.

Angela of Sakuranbo! is feeling very alone in the Jpop blogosphere, as she doesn’t think it’s right for any girl under fifteen to be doing bikini photobooks. I’m actually pretty sure she’s not the only one who feels this way, though the ones who enjoy their U15 eyecandy – and that’s definitely counting me among the pedolicious fans – are quite vocal in their enjoyment. While my own preferences mean I take a very different stance from Angela, it doesn’t mean there’s no validity to her position or that I don’t respect what she believes. I’m not sure if it’s any kind of a consolation, but I know that it took me a while to come to terms and articulate my own fondness for underage idols – some of it is expressed and mulled over in the Why Jpop series I wrote a year and a half ago, while other aspects will likely be written about in the future. Craig at YODC may not have been as articulate in his own struggle, but he had been strikingly – sometimes even embarrassingly – candid about his opinions in this matter, and I respect the struggle he’d gone through as well.

For me, there’s at least two major, inter-related concerns that have to be considered: cultural (as well as individual) attitudes towards pre-adult sexuality, and cultural attitudes towards what is acceptable as marketed entertainment. American society and Japanese society have different tolerance levels, and while U15 – even U10 – gravure models are allowed (if not widely condoned) by Japanese society, it would raise a national outcry in the United States. Beyond that, I find it interesting that Angela has chosen 15 as the cut-off point for acceptability. There are many who’d think that anyone under 18 shouldn’t be objectified as a bikini model, while still others think any kind of objectification of women is wrong. Which isn’t to fault Angela with slippery slope reasoning, but rather to point out just how complex the issue is, if studied closely enough and taken seriously. I’m glad Angela takes it seriously and has come to her conclusions from careful thought. Craig had done the same and came to very different conclusions. I think the potential for serious dialogue is there, if anyone wants it.

So…

On the Hello! Project front, MorningBerryz generously shares more of his H!P collection, including some great collectibles from the early days of the now long-gone H!P Information Village in Waikiki and the now-legendary Fan Club Solo CDs. He also reviews C-Ute’s concert DVD, Berryz Koubo’s “Munasawagi Scarlet” Single V, and speculates that eighth gen finalist Masuda Ayami may join H!P after all.

Craig of YODC shares a “21ji no Made” era shot of Berryz Chinami and Miyabi which is pretty darn adorable. Fellow mag-bast Langdon Alger posts some pictures from Reina’s upcoming AloHello DVD with a closing shot that will be the source of many dead kittens. At MySpace, samipiggy does a nicely screencapped, song-by-song review of the new Morning Musume concert DVD. Jinryuichi of Hello Non-Pro Hour is excited by the Morning Musume 10th Anniversary single and speculates on why this line-up was chosen, while Tom of Hello!Blog has pictures of the H!P girls appearing in the latest issue of Up to Boy. J-Pop CD Cover Art presents the latest in a long line of ugly Petit Best covers, while J-MuNet covers Viyuden’s “Aisucream to My Purin” single.

Stop the presses! Wait, this is the interwebs – no presses. Anyway, on the Avex Trax front, Thea of Made in Paradise announces the first official Michi Saito merchandise! Get it while you can! They may run out! No, really. They could. From Langdon Alger, YODC’s J-Music Clip of the Week Classic Edition features Hinoi Asuka’s “Wanna Be Your Girlfriend”, while Dainmymi of J-MuNet shares Amuro Namie’s magnificent Queen of Hip Pop album. Ikimasshoi has news of Hamasaki Ayumi’s A Best 2 collection, coming in Black (ballads) and White (upbeat) versions with two CDs each, and Gail of Himitsu is generally bored with AAA’s new album, mostly because she heard most all of it before.

At his solo blog Tsuji no Uchi, Tsuji Eriku writes about his plan to visit his favorite city, Tokyo, and shares some Judy and Mary videos. Kimitsu of let it beat! discusses ger twenty favorite Japanese music artists, following a Last.fm meme, while Heaven has a track-by-track review of Tamaki Nami’s Graduation ~Singles~ album. Intriguing enough to make me try her out finally. J-MuNet’s Dainmymi likes Yuna Ito as Reira’s “Truth” despite not being into slow Jpop, while Thea of Made in Paradise is excited at Lead’s next single and giant poster calendar

And is it a coincidence or is she the real Jpop Nostradamus? Samipiggy gets a package of three CDs she ordered… all of which feature somebody who’s since left the group! Is that eerie, or what? She also looks at the news of NewS coming back as a 6-nin group with the two suspended members demoted to “pre-Junior” status, something that also catches the attention of imolestjyanniz and Ikimasshoi. In an unexpected move, HANABI.1984 of J-Pop CD Cver Art posts a whole lot of Exile covers. Not being a fan of the group, I’ll pick some random coversw that caught my eye: I like the top hat on “Fly Away”, the red sneakers in “Breezin’ ~Together~”, as well as the strange but distinctly manly acton figures that first appear on “Choo Choo TRAIN” and apear on several covers after that. Béné has news of new additions to AKB48 – now making them 54 members. What the heck? At any rate, Béné also notices a pattern in her reaction to AKB48 singles which is highly amusing.

The big news on the jrock front is still not quite confirmed in terms of who’s and whats. Go of jrocknyc wonders if the rumors of a re-united monsters of VK version of X Japan are true, if it can actually rock as hard as the old days? Aural Candy then has news that miyavi may be entering the mix. What the hell? The strangest part, perhaps, is that it all still holds the ring of plausibility to it, that the gossip and conjecture has not reached a point where it can be dismissed out-of-hand as sheer fan wishfulness. In effect, it may well be the case that we’re witnessing the messy birth of 2007’s great event in Japanese music…

Go also has reviews of releases by Nogod, Gazelle, and Lynch and another hilariously screencapped review of a PV, this time setting unsraw’s “Warai Oni” in his sights. Meanwhile, Aural Candy gives a helpful overview of new band 176BIZ, who seem to bear strong resemblances to lots of other bands… She also finds D’s “Ultimate Lover” single “a surprisingly gorgeous, moving song”. pengie of unchained is thrilled by the PVs for High and Mighty Color’s two new ballads, and Gail of the impressive Himitsu shares her scans from the latest Neo Genesis.

Closing off the first SBR of 2007, we have the ever-reliable drama blogging from Akiramike of the mighty HampsapSukebe. He looks at the last episode of Boku no Aruku Michi and praises it highly, noting, “this show proves that the Japanese should stay far away from fatal disease shows and stick to shows about disabled ppl”. Maybe some producer is taking notes?

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5 Responses to “Sunday Blog Roundup: Auld Lang Syne, DJ Ozma’s Wardrobe Malfunction, and The Problem With U15”
  1. Angela says:

    I’m glad you can see where I’m coming from. And as for 15 being the cut off; ocne you’re 15, you’re through puberty, ect. It just seems more “right” to me, once you’re basically a woman anyway, atleast, genetically.

  2. Craig says:

    What?! They didn’t play Ozmas perf. in your local area?! That is censoring going too far, way too far.

    *Happy that Ray liked something of my book review* 😀

    I’m not sure but I think here in the UK (even though 16 is the legal age of consent for sex) porn with 17 year olds is still illegal! (I would have to check though and the government doesn’t exactley make it easy to find out.)

    LOL about NewS I’d hate 2 b demoted to “pre-junior” status X)

    Miss Angela, ooh Miss, Miss* is 15 really the other side of puberty?

    If so: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! T_T *sobs uncontrolably* WHAT ABOUT SAKI?! WHAT ABOUT MY GROWTH SPURT?!! ROFL

    * My science teacher 😉

  3. CJ Marsicano says:

    Yeah, my pick(s) for Top Album(s) of 2006 was an unexpected turn of events, wasn’t it?

    Nice comparison of the DJ Ozma incident to Fear on SNL, BTW. I can definitely tell that we’re the same generation, bro.

  4. Aural Candy says:

    Just a small clarification…

    The X Japan revival and the YOSHIKI/Gackt/SUGIZO superband project are two separate events. The X Japan revival isn’t even set in stones and thus far, is still unconfirmed. YOSHIKI is said to be involved in the revival AND is confirmed to be part of the superband, while Gackt and SUGIZO are only confirmed to be participating in superband project. In my blog post about miyavi, I was talking about the superband, not the X revival.

    So…

    X Japan revival: rumored
    Participants: YOSHIKI, the 3 remaining X Japan members

    Superband 2007 project: confirmed
    Participants: YOSHIKI, Gackt, SUGIZO

  5. go says:

    hey, i like this site! me being linked to makes me feel like a respected member of the international community. 😀