Tag Archives: girl group

Who is Aimi Eguchi?

I wanted to briefly mention a case about a Japanese girl group whose marketing is thoroughly impressive, as an addition to my last article. If you’re not familiar with AKB48, then you must not be living in Japan. They are the most popular girl group here, and they are managed by marketing experts who make sure they have constant and widespread exposure. The group has 48 regular members (with over 20 trainee members, perhaps soon-to-be regulars), giving them the world record for the most number of members in a music group. Like the longer-running “Morning Musume,” the girls in this group also change from year to year, “graduating” onto new endeavors as they get older. They are plastered all over Japan on billboards, buildings, posters, etc. There’s a lot to mention about AKB48, but the real reason I wanted to write this post was because of their “newest member.” Watch the following video and see if anything looks suspicious…

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How Girl Groups Make it Big in Japan

Girl groups in Japan largely exemplify the genius of Japanese marketing. In fact, becoming an idol or “tarento” (“talent”) in Japan is less about actually having talent than it is about having a “presence.” The late 1990’s saw the beginning of girl groups with a huge number of performers. People liked seeing the cutesy girls bounce around on TV shows and sing and dance in their music videos. With these mega-groups, hopefuls are now required to do competitive rehearsals in order to become a new member. The youngest in such a group (℃-ute) joined at age 11. To make it big in the East-Asian pop scene, it seems like the main thing is not just to be young and cute, though that is certainly a big part of their appeal. No, it is more about the marketing of “talented mediocrity,” wrapped in a pretty pink package.

Posted in Culture, Japan | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments