Def Tech = Soka Gakkai?

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Lately I’ve been bemoaning the soft, feel-good rhymes of a two-man reggae/hip-pop unit called Def Tech — featuring a real foreigner! But I’m a hardened music snob and tend to automatically hate everything in this new youth culture of Japanese punk/hip-hop/reggae/dance music. Despite what I think, the Def Tech bros — Micro and Shen — are currently breaking into the big time, and the industry rumor mill thinks it knows why they are suddenly selling a billion records from an indie label called “Tensai Baka Records”: They’re a Soka Gakkai conspiracy!

The evidence for the SG plot seems to be that both young men are members of the Soka Gakkai organization, their original logo used the red, yellow, and blue SG flag colors, and the lyrics seem to drop mad-philosophical bombs coming straight out of SG promotional pamphlets. (Nothing gets the party pumping like the word “価値創造” [value creation].)

My friend at a major label suggested the following: The bar for record sales is so low now that if SG members were to sponsor the band through some aggressive group buying, the Def Tech messengers would certainly make it into the top rankings. This certainly worked for Scientologists and all those terrible, terrible L. Ron Hubbard books that always seemed to be in full-stock at Waldenbooks in my local shopping mall.

I’m not particularly interested in getting bogged down in Ikeda Daisaku-bashing nor do I really think that the religious organization was really that key to their success, but I now like Def Tech even less for essentially being Japan’s answer to Jars of Clay. So goes the Christian Rock Paradox: It’s cool when non-Christian Rock bands discuss God and Jesus and the Bible in their songs, but it’s totally creepy when Christian Rock bands sing about non-religious themes. Same goes for any religion.

Marxy wrote a lot of essays back on his old site Néomarxisme. This is one of them.

5 Responses

  1. Chris_B Says:

    Man you crack me up! (I mean in a good way) I love these little nuggets. Also I cant wait for lil’ ol’ Momus to chime in on this “conspiracy”.

  2. Jrim Says:

    the bar for record sales is so low now that if SG members were to sponsor the band through some aggressive group buying, the Def Tech messengers would certainly make it into the top rankings.

    Yeah, but if the bar is already so low, why bother to bulk-buy so many copies? Def Tech have sold somewhere in the region of a million copies now, and you can get to the top of the charts (and stay there) for much less than that these days.

    Agreed that the band are pretty lame, though.

  3. trevor Says:

    unrelated. but i had heard of the reason some artists, namly more “indie” one’s. release singles. lets say.. yukari rotten, and kahimi karie [nana]. is then they the label buys up the 500¥ singles to make it look like high sales and move the artist up the tower ot HMV chart. making seem like something to have. pretty good trick. to bad those single were actually really damn good. wonder if they do they same game on shitter stuff..

  4. marxy Says:

    Yeah, but if the bar is already so low, why bother to bulk-buy so many copies

    It’s definitely not all rigged, but if you can get a mad push for the band at the beginning of the release, then the real market forces take over. So, an unknown indie band comes out with no fanfare, but then sells 25,000 or so in the first week; well, then the media picks up on it, which just gives it more exposure and more sales.

    I’m not sure I believe that SG rigged the whole thing, seeing that these guys are buds with RIZE (another well-selling band) and could have gotten attention for that. Are they trying to spread the value-creation gospel? Seems possible.

  5. Otsu Says:

    Haha – Conspiracy. They are as much an SG conspiracy as Linkin Park is a Christian conspiracy. Religious guys make good music and it’s a religious conspiracy. IMHO, Linkin Park is great and so is Def-Tech.