The World of Idol Events and its Many Varieties
One of the greatest joys and dreams of an idol fan must certainly be to watch their favorite idols perform in person. Most of the time we simply watch them on screen or read their updates on social media, but ultimately their presence is felt the most on stage where they belong. And there’s a lot more to that! Idol events are a big part of both the idols and fans—it’s a space where everyone can come together and enjoy the community that grows from these idol groups. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here are some of the types of events you may encounter as an idol fan.
One of the most common type of events, this is likely the closest you can get to idols. AKB48 popularized the handshake event back when they were building their reputation on the concept of “idols you can meet”. As the name suggests, handshake events allow fans to shake the members’ hands while getting in a few words. Since these events draw hundreds of fans at a time, there is little room for conversation in the few seconds you share the same space before time is up and you’re escorted out to make way for the next person. Fans often have to think carefully about what they want to say to their favorite idol in such a short amount of time. It sounds like a lot of pressure, but there’s also the excitement that comes with the thrill of meeting them at such close range!
If you want a tangible way to preserve the memory of meeting idols, polaroid events are the way to go. There’s nothing more special than taking a picture with your idol herself, and taking home that photo as a memento. The polaroid camera comes in handy on occasions like that this instantly capture this rare moment. Fans usually get to request a pose they would like to do together, so it’s a great opportunity to have some creative fun with idols. If you can’t think of a good pose, you can also leave it to the members to think of one!
In order to promote new releases, idols typically hold events to commemorate their new singles and albums. It’s a chance for them to raise hype and connect with the audience in person at the same time. The press is often present to cover the release events, so it’s also an important platform for publicity. These events include tickets with the purchase of the new releases, encouraging fans to buy them so they can meet the idols themselves (a win-win for both parties)! One popular venue is the atrium at Sunshine City in Ikebukuro, where the public can watch from around the stage.
Live house tour
One of the milestones in an idol group’s career is to have their own solo tour. Many idols start out with live houses, a common venue in the music scene where performers can stand on their own stage in front of an audience. While one of the smaller types of venues, it’s a space that’s small yet substantial enough for the idols’ energy to reverberate around the audience. There’s a sense of intimacy to be felt at live houses, and perhaps one of nostalgia for idols who have their roots in these lives. The live house may not be the grandest in scale, but they are an important stage for one-man lives.
To be able to perform in a hall is a great achievement, and a big mark of progress in idols’ history. Compared to live houses halls have a much larger capacity for people in the audience, making it a significantly larger production. Many idols work towards performing in these bigger venues; the more prominent groups are often able to hold regular tours at concert halls. Here the fan community comes out in full force, from gathering before the concert starts to waving penlights in perfect synchronization throughout the performances.
The pinnacle of idol lives is arguably the arena concert. These are the biggest, grandest venues and invite fans to be part of a spectacle. Reserved for major groups and events, it’s the dream of many idols to reach this stage. Some of the most well-known arenas include Yokohama Arena, Saitama Super Arena, Tokyo Dome and Nippon Budokan. Although not the biggest in size, Nippon Budokan is famous as the holy grail of many idol groups. Graduations, anniversaries, tour finales—the most special of occasions are always worthy of this massive stage. Wherever the arena, it’s a sight to behold when you’re a part of this majestic atmosphere and watching these idols perform on the stage they worked so hard to earn.
Apart from the typical events, there are also other interesting events out of the norm that you might find fun. From drawing events (where the idols sketch portraits of the fans) to mini crane games (where fans earn random rewards to interact with the idols), there are many other opportunities apart from regular concerts to watch idols shine.
There is a plethora of idol events to go to and no matter which form they’re in, you’re guaranteed a memorable time to see the idols you admire. Of course there is a business aspect at play here—events are important for idols to gain new fans and establish a connection with existing ones. Live performances are a staple, but having special events on the side helps to elevate their presence and be accessible to their fans.
Nevertheless, they work hard to put on their best performance and show appreciation for the people who support them, so you know there’s nothing but sincerity and good energy in all of these events.
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