Following Seiko Matsuda, Idols Come Programmed with Cuteness : The “Kawaii 2.0” Theory vol.8

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Following Seiko Matsuda, Idols Come Programmed with Cuteness : The “Kawaii 2.0” Theory vol.8

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In this series, we’ve referred to the “kawaii” (“cute”) revolution born from Japanese consumerist society in the 70s as the first wave of the “kawaii” revolution. Finally this revolution, with the aid of girls appearing on screen, tightens its hold on Japanese society. And so, the power of “cuteness” plants itself among idols. In order to explore the relationship between idols and “kawaii” culture, both in the previous volume and this one, I’d like to take the time to consider the differences between 70s and 80s idols. I have a hunch that the “kawaii” revolution first began to idols in the 80s, giving rise to the question of how they differed from each other during this time.

Read the previous volume/

Just Who Exactly Was Momoe Yamaguchi, the Popular Idol Who “Sang” Realistic Stories About Everyday People? —— The “Kawaii Theory 2.0” #7

Read older posts
vol.1 : Finding Where “Cuteness” Currently Lies
vol.2 : What is the Exact Origin of “Kawaii”?
vol.3 : Kawaii Culture Didn’t Exist at the Beginning of the Modern Age?!
vol.4 : Consumerist Society and the Birth of “Kawaii” Culture
vol.5 : The Word “Kawaii” Becomes Just for Girls, to Re-affirm Their Girliness
Vol.6 : The Magazine “Olive” Made Japanese Girls Aware of The Rare Value of Girlhood and Maidenhood

To answer this, last time we took a look at Momoe Yamaguchi, who represented idols of the 70s. In this installment, I’d like to focus on Seiko Matsuda, who arrived on the scene at the heels of Yamaguchi’s retirement, and stood at the top of the idol-on-idol entertainment industry

Seiko Matsuda, or idols who came after her, would play the role symmetrically opposite to Momoe Yamaguchi’s. After debuting in 1980 with “Kaze wa Akiiro”, Seiko Matsuda would go on to represent idols from the 80s in both literally and figuratively, with 24 number-one singles on the Oricon chart over the following eight years. Without any gap, Seiko Matsuda soon filled the shoes Momoe Yamaguchi had left behind in the eyes of Japanese society.


One reason for Matsuda’s popularity was her “burikko” (overly cute and innocent) character. Her too-cute, “burikko” character was one that really appealed to young women. This is because, unlike Yamaguchi’s real, yet raw story, anyone (to a various extent) could copy Matsuda’s “burikko”. Later, girls would be also be unable to sustain from copying her hairstyle, called the “Seiko-chan cut”.

…to continue reading

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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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