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BOOKDOL UNION #6: ‘Introduction to Idols from the 50’s’ Publication Anniversary

BOOKDOL UNION #6: おじさんはいかにしてアイドルオタクとなりにしやーー 大森望『50代からのアイドル入門』刊行記念
| Culture | Posted
BOOKDOL UNION #6: ‘Introduction to Idols from the 50’s’ Publication Anniversary

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Bookdol Union, sponsored by Book Union” is an idol, music, and book collaboration event. Under idol expert writer Shinshi Okajima’s direction, this event features books that have garnered attention in the idol scene and conducts enjoyable talk shows with guests.

The 6th Bookdol Union that took place on March 17th featured “Introduction to Idols from the 50’s,” which began trending after its publication in February of this year because of its spectacular binding. Author Nozomi Omori, Yufu Terashima, and popular member of Fudanjuku, Erika Ura (also known as Uramasa Seimyouji) were invited as guests for the show. Yufu and Erika were invited as guests because they are idols who can talk about idols according to Okajima, and just as he said, they are known to be passionate fans of Hello! Project idols.

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From left to right : Erika Ura, Yufu Terashima, Nozomi Oomori, and Shinshi Okajima

Before entering the core content of the talk show, here’s a little information about “Introduction to Idols from the 50’s.” Nozomi Omori is a famous writer in the literary world of Japan who is also a sci-fi critic and translator. He has introduced many overseas sci-fi novels and is one of the current generation’s sci-fi gurus. The impact was huge in the literary world when there was a rumor that this sci-fi guru was at an idol concert.

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Nozomi Oomori

“Introduction to Idols from the 50’s” is an “idol introductory book for adults” and describes his experience from “a little over 2 years ago, when he suddenly became obsessed with idols and changed his life at the age of 52.”

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The book cover of “Introduction to Idols from the 50’s”

His interest began with Nogizaka46, and fell deeper into the idol scene, becoming a full-on idol otaku when met Sayumi Michishige. This book provides courage to the “at home” middle aged idol fans through his descriptions of his beginning stage of the period he was fearful of approaching the idol district leading up to wanting to catch a glimpse of the local idols. The concert report, beginning on page 58, about his time at Sayumi Michishige’s graduation concert about getting hit by a pink ray of light and deciding to become a “Sayu-wota” from that day on is especially difficult to read without tearing up.

When everyone thought the talk show would begin with the guests’ impressions of the book, Erika Ura caught everyone’s attention when she said “Before we begin, that’s my dad in the front row!” Erika’s father, who became a Hello! Wota (Hello! Project fan) through her, was a perfect example of an idol fan in his 50’s. We realized that it wasn’t just her father, but music critic Akimasa Munekata (who also writes for TGU) was sitting in the front row. That’s how much attention the event and “newbie” idol writer Nozomi Omori had gathered.

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Erika Ura

After some talk about Erika’s father, the conversation transitioned to the contents of the book. When Okajima was asked about his impressions of the book, Yufu answered, “I hope more middle aged men come to the venues after reading this book. I’m sure there are many old stay-at-home fans. This is just my situation, but I like to push the phrase ‘it came from the good old days,’ I don’t do anything bad, so there should be more of them at the shows but the fan base is surprisingly young. Of course I’m happy about that, but I often think it would be nice if older fans would think of me too. I hope the older male fans come enjoy TIF (Tokyo Idol Festival) and shows after reading Omori-san’s book.” Fans in their 50’s are likely to be acknowledged by Yufu Terashima so it might be fun to take a trip to a show.

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Yufu Terashima

The conversation continued with the topic of idol otakus and social media culture. As Omori told Yufu that she “skillfully uses business favorites on Twitter, Yufu replied “Yes, but for the most part everyone uses favorites for marketing. There are many people who are surprised when idols favorite tweets. I look at these people and think ‘wow, how easy!’ (laughs) and the venue fills with laughter. “Business favorite” is kind of a risky word, but it is a unique part of the current idol culture. Indie idols and underground idols are usually seen making use of it. It’s possible that it’s their “weapon” to be recognized by people outside of the venues.

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As the topic switched over to the etiquette of otakus on the Internet, Erika got heated up. She argued: “there are many otakus who tweet using slashes (Example: Yu/fu/ii). It doesn’t make sense. I’ve been saying this the whole time, but there are still people who do this. I just want them to get it already. At events like handshake events, I read tweets of fans who may come in advance and they get excited when we talk about it. I do a lot of research on Twitter to find out what everyone is saying. Even if it’s locked, I’ll used Fudanjuku’s account instead of my own to look.” And to close, she said “Don’t look at the
Internet too lightly!!” Okajima joked “This is Erika’s idol 101. It seems like fans should be cautious if this is how much idols look at what’s posted online.

The conversation transitioned into a heated discussion of the current trend of how it has become easier for idols to talk about how they like other idols.

Erika: It’s become a time when idols can easily talk about their interest in other idols. It feels like it was just recently when it was taboo for idols to be idol otakus.
Omori: Even in Hello! Project, it was about when Kanon Fukuda was there when it became normal to talk about being an idol otaku.
Yufu: It was revolutionary.
Okajima: Hello! Project made a sudden change out of the blue.
Erika: I feel like around the time Maki Goto was around, people were more focused on becoming a solo artist rather than an idol. It was one of the goals to audition on ASAYSAN (an audition show). I don’t think being an idol was the biggest commitment. It was around the 4th and 5th generation when people wanted to join Morning Musume. I think that was when the change started. That’s when there was a growth in the number of girls who wanted to become an idol.

And that’s exactly it. ASAYSAN’s “Morning Musume Audition” was formally called “Female Rock Vocalist Audition.” It was more for girls who wanted to be an artist and those who passed the auditions became the first generation of Morning Musume. Maybe it was just as Erika said and the number of girls who wanted to become idols grew after the end of the show.

So, what about the strange pink shirt Omori is wearing? This is actually related to Hello! Project. Hello! Project trainees wear shirts with their names printed on them for lessons. In case the trainees had the same last name as their older members, their names were in parenthesis. Omori says his shirt is designed Omori (Nozomi) as a way to acknowledge that Seiko Omori, who is also a Sayumi fan, already wore an Omori shirt. We can’t help but nod in understanding for Omori’s Hello! Project love.

Lastly, Okajima asked Yufu and Erika for their suggestions for non-Hello! Project idols. Yufu suggested Dorothy Little Happy and Idol Renaissance. After Erika suggested Sakura Gakuin, the talk show came to a close. Yufu Terashima performed for a mini-live after soon after. After performing popular songs “Suki Ga Hajimaru,” “Fuhehehehehehehe Daisakusen,” and “Daisuki,” she covered Morning Musume’s “Aruiteru” for the event and especially for Nozomi Omori. Even though it was her first time performing this song for a concert, she sang it with as much passion as she would for her own song and the excitement in the venue was high. She continued her performance with “Suki Ga Koboreru,” “Bokura no Nichiyoubi,” and “Zenzen,” closing the performance with a total of 7 songs.

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Aside from the story mentioned above, Omori’s “Introduction to Idols from the 50’s” has plenty of content for everyone from people who don’t know much about idols to hardcore fans. It includes talk with Ikuo Minewaki, President and CEO of Tower Records, a review of “Budokan,” a story about an idol group who aims to perform in Budokan by Ryo Asami. You don’t have to be a fan in your 50‘s to enjoy reading this book. You can enjoy reading it as a young fan who doesn’t have access to concerts.

Related links
Nozomi Oomori Twitter : https://twitter.com/nzm
Yufu Terashima Twitter : https://twitter.com/yufu_0708
Erika Ura Twitter : https://twitter.com/erika_ura

BUY ITEM
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Introduction to Idols from the 50’s

 

Translated by Misato
Photo by Fuchizaki

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Author
KAI NAGASE
KAI NAGASE

Writer, Book Reviewer. Having the degree of MA. (Japanese Literature) I love Japanese Girl's Popular Music, such as YUKI, Chara, Makoto Kawamoto, and Seiko Oomori.

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