TokyoGirls'Update

The Potential of Pop Culture That is Neither Beautiful Nor Pretty Seen at the “Abandoned Hospital Party”

「廃病院パーティー」で見た、美しくもなくキレイでもないポップカルチャーの可能性
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The Potential of Pop Culture That is Neither Beautiful Nor Pretty Seen at the “Abandoned Hospital Party”

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On September 6, Haibyouin Party VOL.3 (Abandoned Hospital Party VOL.3) took place where a highway intersects in Hatsudai, out of Shinjuku, in Tamai Hospital.

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The event sounds extremely suspicious, but the venue is as it’s name states: an abandoned hospital. From one event to another during the party, it felt a bit uneasy with idols flashing their usual smiles in an unusual location…

The event took place on the third floor and underground, where it was hot and humid and the atmosphere was unpleasant. Tickets were sold out and the hospital was crammed with sick patients. When we thought the live performances were the main events, we were wrong. As we walked around the hospital, we saw body painting performances, suspicious food stands (they even sold fried bugs), storytelling, an illustration exhibit, and a screeching old lady… which was unknown if she was another performance or a customer. Anyway, all we can say is that it was chaotic. Confusion. We thought that describing everything would make the writer sick, so we will introduce some of the things Tokyo Girls’ Update found interesting.

First is the live performances taking place in the “Secret Meeting Stage in the Basement.” On this stage, Yurumerumo! (You’ll Melt More!) and rock band Hakoniwa no Shitsunaigaku opened with a Hakoniwa no Shitsunaigaku x Yurumerumo! performance. Fans flooded the space so narrow that it was to the point where half of the people weren’t even in the room. It has been said the basement was originally used to enclose bodies. The ventilation was bad while the heat and humidity felt stagnant, causing a strange odor to drift. At first we questioned if idols should be performing at an Abandoned Hospital Party, but the combination of the tired performance of ennui-style subculture idol group Yurumerumo! and Hakoniwa no Shitsunaigaku’s edgy rock sound provided a decadent atmosphere suitable for the Abandoned Hospital Party.

And there was Seiko Oomori’s performance (Oomori Seiko & THE PINK TOKAREV. While she is known for her passonate lyrics and performances, her charm was especially eminent. She wore a nurse cosplay with the Kanji for “final” (終) was written on her back, performing on a stage where the sound and lighting were not perfected. It sounded like she was yelling rather than singing sometimes. The impact of hitting the ceiling caused powder and fluorescent lights to fall, she would touch and mess up fans’ hair….. overall it was a mess. In response to her, fans were enthusiastic, and before we knew it, they were surrounding Oomori as if she were a guru. It was as if it were some kind of bad religion, but in a good way.

As we walked around, we found a room very vivid with the color pink. It was an exhibit called Shimokitazawa Museum created by female illustrators. The exhibit showed the work of three illustrators, but one illustration by Saiaku Nana-chan stood out. The illustration of the girl was sparkly like an anime character, but the use of color, the touch, and the words used (“hate,” “madness,” “instability,” “mental illness,” and such) felt ailing. For some reason, this edgy style put us at ease. In a time where the popularity of idols is constantly rising, it’s not like all girls are always cute, sparkly, and smiley. If someone doesn’t express this, equilibrium cannot be reached, and there will be people who will feel out of place. We hope to see Saiaku Nana-chan gain more success in the future.

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There were many cosplays and performances taking place, but one in particular attracted attention, an that was FEMM. FEMM stands for Far East Mention Mannequins and it consists of Lula and RiRi, two mannequins with feelings, making music. From their overwhelming quality of music and concept of “mannequins with feelings,” they have been and incredible amount of gathering attention. They only sell their music digitally, rather than physically on CDs. All of their lyrics are in English, so they are more popular overseas than in Japan. FEMM mostly performs on Saturdays in cities like Shibuya and Harajuku. On this day, they said they were distributed out to the Abandoned Hospital Party. They walked around with inhuman, robotic movements, making them seem unreal. They didn’t speak a word, and their behavior was not human-like at all, so it was a little creepy, but it really added to the feeling of the party.

This Abandoned Hospital Party was the third and final one, but a comment on the official Facebook page says “We want to do another evil plan soon.” This event’s tickets sold out and was a huge success. Once you label it as an underground subculture, it is the end of it. But having the ability to have fun at an event as crazy and chaotic like the Abandoned Hospital Party might be a part of Japanese pop culture. Cultures shouldn’t just be evaluated of how good or bad they are just by beauty.

Translated by Misato

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Related Artists : Seiko Oomori FEMM
Author
Ayaya
Ayaya

Been working in girls’ fashion magazines for a long time and am now the chief editor of Tokyo Girls’ Update. I have more expertise in Japanese teen fashion than anyone else (probably)! I’m a huge fan of the Revolutionary Girl Utena and Bakemonogatari animes.

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