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Like a Diamond in the Rough: Female University Students Shine Bright at UNIDOL Summer 2014

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Like a Diamond in the Rough: Female University Students Shine Bright at UNIDOL Summer 2014

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Becoming an idol is a dream that thousands of girls in Japan grow up having, but the reality is that few of them will actually become one. Some may keep trying while others will concentrate on getting into a good university and put those dreams aside, until now. UNIDOL (a combination of the words university and idol) is an idol copy dance competition open to female university students in Japan and on July 9th, several lucky young women will be able to perform on the same stage as their beloved idols. On that evening, 21 of the best university idol dance circles from all over Japan will gather at Shinagawa Stellar Ball and sweat it out to see who will be crowned number one.

Contrary to the stereotype of idols being ditzy, several of the teams in UNIDOL come from the most famous universities in Japan: SPH mellmuse (Sophia University), Wako~! Project (Waseda University) and Copia (Meiji University). While Japanese universities have had a long history of beauty contests among their female students, those focused on one individual per school. With UNIDOL, a group of girls are given a chance to express their love of idols and represent their school. In addition to copying their idols on stage with their dance moves and outfits, a majority of these teams also maintain blogs and Twitter accounts in order to keep their friends and fans updated with upcoming performances and glimpses into their school life.

UNIDOL has grown bigger and bigger with each successive event since it was first held on September 26, 2012. This year’s event had 2 days of preliminaries for the Kanto region and its first Kansai preliminary back in May. Out of the record 28 teams that entered, 8 teams from Kanto and 1 from Kansai advanced to the finals. An additional 12 teams which just missed qualifying will compete for the remaining 3 spots in the finals.

Results will be determined by votes cast by audience members and a panel of judges from talent agencies, television stations, and choreographers. Hosting the event will be singer Yuu Kikkawa and the comedy duo Summit Club. There will also be a “surprise guest”; last year’s surprise guest was SUPER☆GIRLS.

Groups with good chances of winning include: Wako! Project from Waseda University (UNIDOL Winter 2013 1st place), SPH mellmuse from Sophia University (UNIDOL Spring and Winter 2nd place, UNIDOL 2012 3rd place), LolliPop from Musashi University (UNIDOL 2012 1st place, UNIDOL Spring 2013 3rd place), and Copia from Meiji University (UNIDOL Spring 2013 1st place).

Even if you can’t make it down to Shinagawa Stellar Ball on July 9, check out the teams competing! Based on the growing popularity of this event, there will probably be another one held this winter. For those of you out there thinking about studying abroad in Japan, this might be another factor to consider when selecting a school whether you end up being a supporter or a member of one of these groups.

UNIDOL 2014 Summer
July 9, 2014
Doors Open: 4:00pm
Preliminary Qualifying: 4:30pm
Finals: 6:15pm
Location: Shinagawa Stellar Ball, Epson Shinagawa Aqua Stadium Takanawa 4-10-30, Minato Ward, Tokyo
Tickets: Pre-sale: 2500円 Student: 3000円 General: 3500円
Website (Japanese): unidol.jp
Facebook (Japanese): https://www.facebook.com/unidol7
Twitter: @UNIDOL_EXCO

written by Okkun

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Author
Kai Okudara
Kai Okudara

Writer, researcher, photographer, foodie, KSDD

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