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What can be Read from Tama Himeno’s “Incognito”: Understanding People in the “Underground Idol” World

姫乃たま『潜行』から読み解く、「地下アイドル」文化の精神構造
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What can be Read from Tama Himeno’s “Incognito”: Understanding People in the “Underground Idol” World

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For our readers abroad reading this article, you may have heard what is known as an “Underground Idol” before, but I think many of you have not actually seen one in person. This is the same apart from the idol culture, and applies to most Japanese people as well. What is an “Underground Idol”? Until now, you had to go to the scene itself to find out. .

However, there is now a book that honestly talks about the reality of “underground idols”, and it’s becoming a hot topic both within and outside of Japan’s subculture world. The book is by Tama Himeno, and is called “Senkou Chika Aidoru no Hito ni Ienai Seikatsu”, (or Incognito: The Lifestyle You Can’t Talk About to Underground Idols) [Saizo Magazine]. In the book, the author, who, since debuting as an “underground idol” at the age of 16, cleverly writes about her sharp investigations regarding the lifestyles she has seen and heard other “underground idols” live, as well as the subculture around it.

Tama Himeno’s reason for debuting is rather trivial. She was invited into the “underground idol” world when, as a first year in high school, she went to an event out of curiosity, and became close with an older “underground girl”. For a while after that, her life became a repetition of performing live performances at small venues, whenever school was over. Tama Himeno says that, in this way, it is almost like an after-school club, in that it is extremely easy to end up starting the life of an “underground idol”.

However, even if the entrance is there and open for anybody, it does not mean the path is a smooth one. Inside her book, Tama Himeno writes again and again about her own hardships she experienced as an “underground idol” as she moved up. Although she may have begun her debut nonchalantly, before she was aware of it, she found herself in a “deep ocean” surrounded by darkness, where she had to swim around all by herself.

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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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