The Past and Present of Japanese Idols: Shōwa Idol Archives SPECIAL

The Past and Present of Japanese Idols:  Shōwa Idol Archives SPECIAL

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Idols from the present and past gathered at TOKYO CULTURE CULTURE in Shibuya on June 26, 2017 for “Shōwa Idol Archives SPECIAL”, the 10th in the series of events celebrating the “golden age of Japanese idols”. In addition of nostalgic discussion by current idols about their favorite artists and covers of beloved songs, this event was too big to be contained by its usual venue Gaki cafe in Jimbōchō.

Kazuko Utsumi and Rika Tatsumi, former members of the legendary 1980’s idol group Onyanko Club appeared at special guests.

Not just limited to “Shōwa Idol Archives”, legendary idols have been returning to the spotlight to appear with current idols as Miyuki Kousaka, Minayo Watanabe, and Yu Hayami did for Sunmyu~’s regularly scheduled concert ”LIVE PARADE”. Music festivals like YATSUI FESTIVAL! is another example of this trend. Yoko Minamino appeared in 2016 and Noriko Sakai did in 2017.

One of the reasons for their increased exposure is that many of them are celebrating the 30th or 35th anniversary from their debut. The exposure actually contains the promotion of the memorial album. Memorial concerts were held and their fans from that time gathered and got to relive their younger days together. The 30th anniversary concert of Yoko Minamino, which I have already introduced in this series, was awesome!

25-Year Old Promises Kept! 80s and 90s Idols Who Fulfill the Dreams of Their Fans Through Mutual Trust!

Returning to the collaboration between legendary idols and current idols, I think that the difference between each “idol’s way” became quite clear during this event. Rika Tatsumi’s response to the question, “What is the difference between the current idol and the old idol?”, was representative of this.

“At that time a script was rarely provided and it depended how things went. Nobody knew what would happen, so personal magnetism was important.”

Well, I thought that personal magnetism was part of the ability to make good on the spot judgements since people did not offer something decided on beforehand. That’s why I think their talk became interesting.

Their sense of ad-libbing and ability to make people enjoy were put on display. Of course they have learnt a lot from experience, but still they have stayed out of the spotlight as an idol for almost 30 years. Even so their sense of presence was overwhelming.

This can be applied to their stage performance too. Of course the current idols are superior to them in dance ability but, understanding the moments that they must put themselves forward is where they truly shine. By doing that, their movements and singing will remain forever in my thoughts.

To the question, “What is the difference between the present-day idol and past-day idol?”, Kazuko Utsumi answered, “The current idols are very good at dancing and singing compared to the old ones.” While the skills of dancing and singing is nice to have, I witnessed the nature of idol from them. The enthrallment on the stage requires a skill different from just performance.

ShōwaIdol- Archives-SP-1

Kazuko Utsumi and Rika Tatsumi, former members of Onyanko Club appeared Shōwa Idol Archives Special to have a discussion with current active idols./「昭和アイドルアーカイブス スペシャル」では、元おニャン子クラブの内海和子さんと立見里歌さんをゲストに迎え、現役アイドルとのクロストークを展開した。

Kazuko Utsumi and Rika Tatsumi, former members of Onyanko Club appeared Shōwa Idol Archives Special to have a discussion with current active idols.

Utsumi and Tstsumi asked the current idols, “The main activity of current idols is to interact with fans directly but what do you think about it?”

In the 80’s and 90’s idols became known through the media like TV, radio, and magazines. The activity of idols was mainly related to the media. There exist countless media but the main activity of idols has now been replaced by social media, concerts, and events where idol fans are more able to get know them directly.

One of the members of Hakoiri♡Musume answered that the distance between them and their fans are close, which makes for a kind atmosphere.

Through this event, I realized that legendary idols have a charm to make all people enjoy while current idols have a charm to make a warm atmosphere together with their fans. This difference comes from the difference of ages, but what I felt is that only idols with the character suitable for the era have survived. This difference among ages seemed to inspire each other.

The number of opportunities where legendary idols can collaborate with current idols will probably increase more and more. Then, I am interested how it makes an synergetic effect.

Shōwa Idol Archives vol.11
Date : July 24, 2017 (Monday)
Time : Open – 7:00pm Start – 7:30pm
Venue : Gakki Cafe
Appearance:Hiroyuki Suzuki、Mikio Takashima、Toshiro Arai
Facilitator:Haruka Tachibana (Ange☆Reve)
Guests:Sunmyu~ Misuzu Nishizono・Sena Nihara(Nishihara-san)

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Toshiro Arai

A producer of website "TOKYO IDOL NET", which "photography" and "idol" is its concept. He also writes for Tokyo Idol Project, and so on.

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