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I have been thinking about breasts a lot these days. No, not in a sexual way.

This all started with Hoshino Aki — a horribly annoying ex-young woman who has become a variety TV regular solely because of her enormous breasts. I wrote an entire column for OK Fred on the topic, so I don’t want to explicate my tirade here. But that essay did not placate me. Now I can’t be so surprised that a no-talent, nobody gravia idol had a boob job (the unconvinced can check the not-so-old picture here), but I am royally annoyed that her handlers make such a big deal about her “perfect” breasts and no one bats an eye.

These days, the same thing is happening with the marketing of Fukada Kyoko. In some weird twist of fate, I actually met her back in 1998 via my Kodansha internship. All I remember is that she had terrible skin as a youth, but she has grown out of this in recent years. She also, apparently, grew H-cup-sized breasts while no one was watching. Japanese gossip sites are suddenly required to describe her as “H-cup Fukada Kyoko.” In the past, she had just been an actress with a storied sex life. Now she is cup-coded.

Starting any day now, she will be seen each week in the subtly-titled Fuji TV drama Mountain Girl, Wall Girl 「山おんな壁おんあ」. Her mysteriously new H-sized breasts won themselves a starring role as the mountains in “mountain girl.” Just in case you did not catch the metaphor, the entire plot of the manga-based series revolves around breast size. Ito Misaki plays a woman with a complex about being a surfboard. From the first two paragraphs of the show’s website

Aoyanagi Emi boasts the good-looks of a Paris Collection model. But she’s got one single complex: Her bust is as flat as a “wall.” Emi is an employee of the Marukoshi Department Store. She is in charge of the bag-sales section of the first floor that is seen as the “star of the department store.”

One day on her way to work, Emi is swayed in a crowded train and feels big soft breasts against her back. She sees a girl with giant breasts through the reflection in the glass. This is the first time she meets her [Fukada Kyoko’s character].

This is Fuji TV prime-time Thursday night show, mind you — not some late-night noir with unrealistic lesbian subplots. Casting this over at Ryoichi Sasakawa’s Kenon must have been fun: Hey, Ito Misaki, you have tiny breasts! You’d be great in this role.

Now call me cynical, but photographic evidence (even some secret illegal onsen shots) points to Fukada recently “taking up a new set of skills” to fill this role. Either that or famous Japanese women have evolved some amazing ability to grow two or three cup sizes way after the last pangs of puberty. If they could figure out how to bottle this natural genetic power, they could make millions.

Breast augmentation surgery is so common in countries like Korea and the U.S. that the audacious claims of publicists would be a punchline akin to Paris Hilton’s “I never did drugs” on Larry King. But in Japan, there is this creepy radio silence about the regularity of plastic surgery. This combines with a general media hesitancy in criticizing celebrities to create an odd situation where everyone has to play along that Fukada Kyoko’s breasts are real and that she is “finally going to show us fans in the new show what she has been hiding all these years.” As if, all the swimsuit shots from 1997 to 2006 had been conspiratorial work of deceit and lies — suppressing her supple curves from proper viewing.

Although Weekly Playboy-style patriarchy may not be 100% responsible for Japanese womens’ manifold breast-complexes, I am not sure it helps to have these stars secretly gain enormous breasts and then have no real public dialogue about whether such plastic surgery exists. (This reminds me of the fact that Japanese TV also seems to be the only global media force uninterested in debunking Uri Geller.) Questions of bodily alterations are relegated to the ghettos of spam-financed internet sites.

Okay, okay, I am too easily outraged by the entire Japanese entertainment world, but if you are going to add bags of plastic to women, don’t expect me to bow down to such plastic as miraculous gifts from God. Barry Bonds may hit regrettable home runs with his chemically-induced arm girth, but at least they don’t introduce Barry Bonds as the guy with the “Huge Arms.”

Reference: Previous Neomarxisme essay on Japanese breast obsession “Magazine Rack”

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

61 Responses

  1. Don Says:

    I’ve been thinking about breasts a lot too. Only in a sexual way, mind.

    Some stories have actually mentioned (in admittedly hushed tones) that Fukada’s funbags have only been inflated temporarily for the purpose of the show.

    http://www.sanspo.com/geino/top/gt200706/gt2007062616.html

    Thus she doesn’t really fit into your argument, although I don’t disagree with it.

    I would like to hear details and see video evidence of her “insane obsession with sex” though. I’ve never heard her mentioned in such a context.

  2. Duffy Says:

    The “I’ve got huge boobs” thing with Hoshino Aki used to annoy me, but it’s so over-the-top — and knowingly so — that it kind of amuses me now. But I must say I’m surprised to learn that they aren’t “real,” as they struck me as having a pleasantly sloppy — and thus real — appearance.

    I use sloppy here in the same way that I would characterize a cocker spaniel’s ears as sloppy — not overly bound by rigid cartilaginous or other constraints.

    Maybe floppy is a better way to put it. No, sloppy is more fun to say.

  3. Duffy Says:

    Forget about sloppy, I meant to say “unruly.”

    Please substitute unruly for sloppy.

  4. marxy Says:

    Imperfection only leads to verisimilitude.

    Totally annoying Hoshino Aki here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwLu4xF4aNA

    She shows up at the 4:30 mark. My guess is that only Burning-aligned talents are allowed to interrupt Amuro Namie interviews.

  5. Duffy Says:

    “Imperfection only leads to verisimilitude.”

    Whoa, that’s totally what my basketball coach used to say!

  6. marxy Says:

    Yeah, I stole it from Tothero in “Rabbit, Run.”

    Not really.

  7. Aceface Says:

    過去の記事でモーマスとマルクシーが仲良しなのには驚き。

  8. alin Says:

    this and the linked old discussion read somewhat funny (moreso to someone who’s been on a long holiday from the www mostly on topless beaches).

    marxy, again you seem to be railing big way against japanese culture, sub-, and counter-culture. (a breakdown of the aki hoshino phenomenon into categories before jumping to the the boring old +/- pseudo-feminism would be good).
    the interesting thing here (as in every reference to pleiboi etc) is the very faint trace of your own libidinal investment/denial.

  9. lauren Says:

    I’m not typing that into my calculator, thnx.

  10. neogeisha Says:

    again, the declining japanese birth rate rears its hentai little head. as any lactivist will tell you, during the three decades [60/70/80’s] that formula companies and their lobbies used to eradicate breastfeeding from the acceptable end of the social spectrum in the US, japan “lagged behind”, still teaching mandatory breastfeeding classes in maternity wards to new mothers. as j-society careens toward its Dark Age, and having children is viewed more and more as a prison sentence for young women, breasts get:
    1. de-functionalized
    2. (hyper-) eroticized, seen as scarce
    3. commodified
    and so, enter the Implant, the americanization of breast-viewing, and all the alienation that accompanies it.

  11. alin Says:

    wow, sharp and poignant.

  12. Mulboyne Says:

    It’s not as if people in Japan are ignorant about breast augmentation. There is working assumption that many girls in the AV industry have had surgery so it came as no surprise to anyone when Iijama Ai said that she had implants. Who really thinks the Kano sisters have their natural breasts? A greater “public dialogue” might not be a bad thing but would it really add much to the greater good when the private dialogue is so well-informed?

  13. marxy Says:

    I think there is still enough of a mix between the kind of plump real “I-cup” centerfolds that it’s not as clear-cut as you think. Yes, the Kano Sisters are clearly half-plastic, but they are an exception. The AV world is not like the American porn universe where everyone has these ridiculously spherical gravity-defying fake breasts.

    Those who do get the boob job try much harder to make them real, and whether it’s “Shinto” or media-suppression or whatever, there is clearly a stigma against celebrities who have had any sort of facial or body surgery.

    Why, then, make such a big deal on Japanese TV about the veracity of Hoshino Aki’s breasts that they would and actually fake CAT scan results etc.? In other words, they tried to use semi-objective and scientific sources to make sure no one in public or private doubted Hoshino Aki’s chest.

    “Who really thinks the Kano sisters have their natural breasts? ”

    No one probably, but they don’t make a big deal about it either. My problem is with these younger girls who are doing it and then are SOLD directly as having natural huge breasts.

  14. alin Says:

    oh, marxy! could we clarify. is the problem the fact that they’re not natural or that they’re pakuri of american breasts ? or neither of the above but simply the fact that the public is being lied (in which case your own stand in regards to comodification appears damn über-dubious) ?

  15. marxy Says:

    You clarify first. I very rarely understand how to respond to your beat poetry.

  16. Aceface Says:

    About Hoshino Aki,Don’t you all know the woman is fighting against the impossible odds,other than just gravity?
    She is 30 years old this year,for god sakes!

    We can be just a little more nice to Aki if we see things from her angle, For her struggle for the longevity of the gravure idol could change the career of not just an individual but beyond.Think of all the livelihood of those girls being treated like expendable mannequins and have nothing but the pair of bikinis and their own flesh.

    African Americans had Rosa Parks.Japanese idols have Hoshino Aki.Peace.

    By the way,I want to repeat what Don had said about your blasphemous report on Fuka-kyon,Marxy.You better have a good reason to call The Japanese sweetheart,a nymphomania.

    and I also want some more detailed report on “long holiday,mostly on topless beaches”either here or on your blog,alin.

  17. marxy Says:

    “You better have a good reason to call The Japanese sweetheart,a nymphomania.”

    I thought this was the standard gossip line about her. I dunno if this is slander or some kind of Hori Pro maneuvering.

    “African Americans had Rosa Parks.Japanese idols have Hoshino Aki.Peace.”

    Umm…. Rosa Parks wasn’t in the keiretsu of the biggest and baddest jimusho in Japan (i.e. バー***). The thing about Hoshino Aki (or any other “popular” celebrity in Japan) is that she was going to be a star whether we liked it or not. Her breasts just probably helped convinced the cabal to put her on the A-list. More thoughts on this later…

  18. Laotree Says:

    “Casting this over at R. Sasakawa’s Kenon” How I hoped you weren’t talking about THAT R. Sasakawa.
    I can’t even enjoy a seemingly innocuous post about breasts without fascists and Moonies making cameos. I’m a little wiser for it…

    “there is clearly a stigma against celebrities who have had any sort of facial or body surgery”
    Well at least open discussion of it is taboo, but it’s rather difficult to find any female Japanese celebs (and a fair number of males) who haven’t had some プチ整形. (My wife is a connoisseur of such knowledge, “顔は前と全然ちゃうやん!”) Hamasaki’s allegedly had 30 or 40 procedures, but is it any wonder that none of this gets discussed on keiretsu-dominated airwaves?
    So Aki’s (artificially unruly) breasts are overrated, okay. Marxy, I’ve gotten the impression from other posts that you don’t watch much TV, so how is it that you get so livid about a gravure girl’s extended career on quiz and variety shows?

  19. randomcommenter Says:

    Marxy, you ask:

    “Why, then, make such a big deal on Japanese TV about the veracity of Hoshino Aki’s breasts that they would and actually fake CAT scan results etc.?”

    I think the answer is “precisely BECAUSE there are so many people who assume (correctly) that they are the result of plastic surgery”. That is, the TV industry may be very _active_ in hiding plastic surgery, but that doesn’t mean that they’re very _effective_ in hiding it.

  20. Bad at Making Up Names Says:

    I don’t know much about Japan other than what I read in this blog and see in thirty second clips on YouTube (my qualifications are impressive) but I think the point of Marxy’s post is that the media is lying and everyone is pretending that they’re not.

    I know this lie is about is something trivial, but there is something deeply disconcerting about the people on television lying–obviously, apparently–and everyone taking it at face value, or at least not fussing over it. In fact, that it is a trivial subject and still no one points out that they’re lying is perhaps even more jarring than if the lie were about something of gravity.

    Naturally, since this is Neomarxisme, this all comes back around to the sinister jimusho controlling the media. Also, since this is Neomarxisme, we are perhaps a post or two away from someone pointing out that the notion that the media are a public good and for the public to control is a Western notion and it is the height, the absolute apex I say, of colonialist thought to assign it to the Japanese people.

    While I’m all out of my depth here, could someone speculate for me on why plastic surgery is so frowned upon in Japan? I am honestly astonished since, from my perspective (see above) it seems rather incongruous with the rest of their popular culture.

  21. marxy Says:

    “I am honestly astonished since, from my perspective (see above) it seems rather incongruous with the rest of their popular culture.”

    Shinto?

    “That is, the TV industry may be very _active_ in hiding plastic surgery, but that doesn’t mean that they’re very _effective_ in hiding it.”

    Which I guess is saying, you can’t fault someone for lying to you if they are bad at it.

    “Marxy, I’ve gotten the impression from other posts that you don’t watch much TV, so how is it that you get so livid about a gravure girl’s extended career on quiz and variety shows?”

    Principles.

  22. marxy Says:

    “I can’t even enjoy a seemingly innocuous post about breasts without fascists and Moonies making cameos. ”

    Follow the money.

  23. Duffy Says:

    “You clarify first. I very rarely understand how to respond to your beat poetry.”

    Wow, sharp and poignant.

  24. Adamu Says:

    In a sort of related note, has anyone else noticed that cleavage among regular Japanese girls (and even moreso among gyaru) is all the rage these days?

  25. Laotree Says:

    “has anyone else noticed that cleavage among regular Japanese girls (and even moreso among gyaru) is all the rage these days?”
    Yeah, dude, spring really sprung this year…
    “Follow the money.” Indeed.
    Have you guys heard about the Unification Church dominating the American sushi industry? When I did a stint as a fish monger for a while before coming to Japan, my store was always engaged in a rivalry with a big distributor called True World, turns out that’s one of the Rev’s schemes to take over the world one slice of fatty tuna at a time. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/specials/chi-0604sushi-1-story,0,3736876.story
    Since that has nothing to do with breasts I’ll conclude this comment with my favorite 週刊誌 big booby euphemism: すいカップ

  26. Laotree Says:

    Oh, and I’m not complaining about you mentioning ol’ Ryoichi, that made this post a lot more relevant to me…
    Just dismayed that every rock you turn over has one of these bastards under it.

  27. Brown Says:

    For my money, Neogeisha nailed all the salient (not saline) points early. Very well said.

    If you don’t mind me derailing things a bit, I’m wondering what you all think of Studio Voice’s new “politics” issue (on stands now)?

  28. Brown Says:

    … I mean, I guess it is pretty far off-topic, but the cover does have a beefcake painting of every naive Westener’s favorite Japanese fascist as- who else- St. Sebastian.

  29. marxy Says:

    I’ll have to check it out.

  30. Bob Says:

    Marxy is the only person who could actually complain at more breasts being on TV. How any TV show about breasts can be considered anything but wonderful confounds me…

  31. Aceface Says:

    ” but the cover does have a beefcake painting of every naive Westener’s favorite Japanese fascist as- who else- St. Sebastian.”

    If Mishima Yukio is a fascist,then Paris hilton is an anarchist.

  32. marxy Says:

    “How any TV show about breasts can be considered anything but wonderful confounds me…”

    Have you heard of a wonderful website called F****d Gaijin? I think you will like it.

  33. Brown Says:

    Well, I heard she was reading Bakunin and Proudhon in jail, so who knows what “propaganda of the (dirty?) deed” she may have in store for us!

    But seriously, Aceface, I think the burden of proof is on you. What was Mishima if not a fascist? I’m not saying it simply to put him down (though I am admittedly no fan of his, nor of fascism), but I really do think it describes his politics at the time of his death pretty accurately. What else would you propose to call him?

    Also, what do you make of Karin Amamiya’s right-to-left ideological conversion? Do people take her seriously? She was one of the organizers of the Akiba MayDay demo discussed a few threads back. She came off seeming a bit ignorant of history in her chat with Oguma Eiji in the new SV (though maybe she was just being polite and giving Oguma room to speak), but still, she does talk about turning her loathing away from herself and towards the system- just the sort of otaku/freeter/neet/hikikomori/wrist-cutter politicization I’ve been hoping for for the last two years (commenting as “guest” back then):

    http://www.pliink.com/mt/marxy/archives/2005/08/on-that-otak-ot.html

    http://www.pliink.com/mt/marxy/archives/000802.html

    To the barricades, NEETs!

    (Sorry to take the conversation so far off-topic, Marxy.)

  34. nate Says:

    funny that paying 2000 bucks (or maybe it costs a lot more these days) for getting your face, chest, whatever fixed is something you keep secret. whereas paying thousands of dollars a month on chemical scrubs and fake machinery to maintain or “naturally develop” great skin, boobs or whatever is something to brag about.

    it’s like the proscription against durable housing.

  35. alin Says:

    >What was Mishima if not a fascist?

    brown, you’d have to explain that. surely there is something that can be called fascist to the act of suicide itself (moreso i’d say to ‘artist suicide’ be it kurt cobain or paul celan) but beyond that .. how can you call something that’s ambivalence and contradiction incarnate fascist ? (or would you call Kenneth Anger fascist etc ) (you realy sound like marxy himself here)

  36. Aceface Says:

    He is a hipster,Brown.Nothing more,Nothing less.

    In the beginning of his career,Mishima acted as a homosexual of which in reality he was not.The disguise was to get attention from the conservative media.Then Ishihara Shintaro wrote “The Season in the Sun” and broght sensation in post-war Japan,that might of the flesh is stronger than the logic of words,even for the bookworm writers.and Mishima suddenly starts to pump up the iron from ’55.Coincidence?I think not.

    He forgot all about his supposed sexuality until he gets interest in Nobel lit award in the 60’s.Then he realized he needs a good translator so that outside world can read his work and found out almost all the American translators of Japanese are gay.So he brought back his old sexual habit.
    By that time the society was pretty much left leaning and the best way to hated by everyone(thus getting everyone’s attention)was to become fanatic right winger.He become one quite easily by establishing group of boy scouts calling themselves a private army and starts debating radical students at Todai.

    These are not the act of those who want to influence the lives of millions by seizing political power which fascists usually are.There are too many side shows and Mishima’s motivations for actions are all too much from self interest and narcissism.Curzio Malaparte was a fascist writer and so was Ernst Junger.But Mishima…
    I think that he just wanted everyone to notice that he is there all the time.Just like Paris Hilton.
    He did commit suicide and by doing so, tried to tell the rest of the world some kind of message I don’t know what,But hey, this is Japan.Everybody does that all the time in here.

    The best analysis of japanese attitude on Mishima Yukio I think, is found in short essay in “The Missionary and The Liberteine” by Ian Buruma on the man.

    “The thing about Hoshino Aki (or any other “popular” celebrity in Japan) is that she was going to be a star whether we liked it or not.”
    Marxy,I’m becoming increasingly skeptical about your Opus-dei/Freemason/Johnny’s jimusho/and the Central Intelligence Agency taking-hands-in-hands-and- ruling-the-world-order like conspiracy theory applied to this case.Not this.Not with the comsumption of the gravure idol.
    What do you make of Kawamura Yukie and her miracle comeback from almost on the verge of being sold to AV world.She is now in NHK’S morning drama!

  37. tomojiro Says:

    Aceface, in which world are you living?
    Kawamura Yukie? Almost sold to AV?

    Curzio Malaparte?? Ernst Junger?

    I thought to begin with Ernst Junger. In english (and in some Japanese sources) he is referred as a fashist writer. But the Germans says that he is more than that (actually some mentioned him that he is only comarable to Martin Heidegger. Well he was a fashist,too it seems).

    Astounding the range of your knowledge…(AV’s and other things included).

  38. alin Says:

    >ambivalence and contradiction incarnate

    aceface , hehe i think i got a bit carried away with the wording there. guess i’ve watched that movie with the phillip glass soundtrack one time too many in my formative years. i do think though the whole mishima thing, maybe better than anything else, shows that overlap between performance and ‘rockist’ reality which perceived from different points has been one of the main reasons for quarrel here over the years.

  39. marxy Says:

    “Marxy,I’m becoming increasingly skeptical about your Opus-dei/Freemason/Johnny’s jimusho/and the Central Intelligence Agency taking-hands-in-hands-and- ruling-the-world-order”

    Ya know, you can have a conspiracy without having an “unbelievable” conspiracy involving the CIA and religious cults.

    You can just have one single jimusho – Burning – running the entertainment industry and deciding internally who gets their push. Cabals do exist in certain industries.

  40. Don Says:

    First Marxy alleges Fukada Kyoko’s a nympho, and now we have Aceface making claims about Kawamura Yukie’s stick flick near-miss. I don’t know if you guys are getting your info from some Dentsu Deep Throat in a parking lot or just making shit up, but at the very lease don’t relegate this stuff to unsubstantiated throwaway asides. It’s starting to sound like Gendai net around here.

  41. marxy Says:

    I can’t find why I think that about FK. I may have to recant.

  42. Aceface Says:

    Marxy,Don:

    I’ve read about KY on various syukanshi….
    She was (as I told from a guy working in a bookshop)the top selling gravure idol of the nation in 2005,but could’nt show up on any media for a year due to the problem with jimusyo.
    From Japanese wikipedia:
    グラビアアイドルのトップを走っていた[2]2005年、ラグスタープロモーションから10-POINTへ所属事務所を移籍するが、その後、芸能活動を1年余りにわたって停止した。理由については具体的に公表されていないが、移籍をめぐる両事務所間の法的なトラブルを指摘する報道もあった。

    2006年7月に株式会社ジャパン・アート内プロダクションJへと所属事務所を移籍し、活動を再開。同年12月には映画『気球クラブ、その後』で女優デビューし、2007年4月より放映が開始された連続テレビ小説『どんど晴れ』(NHK)で初の連続ドラマ出演を果たした。

    Now in my opinion her case pretty much refutes what Marxy had said about the existence of a powerful operator running the whole show.
    Top girl suddenly disappears from the centerfold by changing jimusyo and come back?If there is such one big jimusyo deciding the rule of the game.The girl may be able to change her jimusyo,but she would probably never seen again in R18 sphere.But Yukie did and not only just getting a role in Sonoko On film,she got the role for nation wide televised morning drama of NHK.

    Since I have no deepthroat with in Dentsu,I’m just assuming this,but the gravure idol market seems to me more consumer oriented market than
    singers and other idols which is the realm of Burning et al.In the grabure world,the sales of certain magazines would be heavily influenced by who would be the cover girl(Those various “Young”manga magazine like Young Jump,Young Magazine and Big Comic Spirits).So editors may bent to the offer from Dentsu sometimes,but usually have to listen to the demand of people.No?

    Brown:
    Karin Amamiya’s right-to-left conversion was predictable.Her boyfriend,independent film maker,Tsuchiya Yutaka is a liberal.I’ve been to his band’s concert and talk sessions about 12 years ago and knew him briefly before he filmed “新しい神様”a documentary featuring Amamiya.He was organizing a movement called WITHOUT TELEVISION and the first thing he did was asking Hirohito’s war responsibility to walk-bys in Yasukuni on August 15th.I first found that video in Shinjyuku’s zine and underground magazine shop called UNITA.Tsuchiya’s video was burried among various left wing sects publications.I was interested and called him up.

    I don’t have a real psychological nor political reasoning for Amamiya’s change,but she is not exactly an interesting person politically.Either her acts was stage direction from Tsuchiya(that’s what I instantly thought when I first see the film) or she was influenced by her boy friend.Perhaps she was simply practicing Mishima-Hilton shock strategy to have media coverage.But then again these I’m also just assuming.

  43. Don Says:

    Sorry to doubt you Aceface: this would certainly seem to support your Kawamura Yukie comment…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0LG-rkm0cc&mode=related&search=

    A similar fate recently befell another gravure idol named Kawamura: four or five years ago, Kawamura Aki was one of mammary merchants Yellow Cab’s big three along with Koike Eiko and Sato Eriko during that agency’s heyday. One day she simply disappeared from magazines and screens without a discernible reason, the company’s cryptic explanation being that they had deemed her as “not cut out for the industry” and consequently put her on indefinite leave. A couple of years later she popped up at a small, relatively clout-less talent agency and began appearing in a few low-budget indie films, subsequently focusing on her acting career as well as doing the occasional gravure shoot. Like the resurgent Yukie, her example shows there is life after being dumped by an all-powerful agency, but also that fan power alone isn’t enough to maintain an idol’s popularity.

    Incidentally, a movie’s been made about the life of former Yellow Cab president Noda Yoshiharu entitled (loose translation) “The Man Who Made a Business Out of Big Tits”. Starring Miike Takashi regular Endo Kenichi!

  44. marxy Says:

    “Like the resurgent Yukie, her example shows there is life after being dumped by an all-powerful agency, but also that fan power alone isn’t enough to maintain an idol’s popularity.”

    The Suzuki Ami example is the most vivid. #1 idol at the time totally disappears, tries it on her own and is completely 150% blacklisted from the industry.

  45. Aceface Says:

    And Suzuki Ami is not a gravure idol.She is a singer and that means she lives exactly in the industry with the motto of “one jimusyo to rule them all,One jimusyo to bring them all”.In there what Marxy said could be true and I’m not objecting.

    Bur I see that there are more entrepreneurship seen in the world of gravure idols as seen in Don’s post mentioning the Yellowcab case,thus there are slightly more personal freedom than Suzuki Ami’s J-pop world.

  46. marxy Says:

    I will agree to agree here, but I think the music world and the general “entertainment” world (芸能界) are pretty tied up. Johnny’s wouldn’t take up all those spaces on music shows if they weren’t needed elsewhere on network productions. Barter killed domestic music. Barter wouldn’t do much to gravia.

  47. Brown Says:

    Aceface, I’m indebted to you as always! I really appreciate you generously offering such detailed and fascinating responses to my comments. Your analysis of Amamiya’s conversion sounds highly plausible.

    About Mishima… well, it sounds even worse than I had thought at first! I mean, a *hipster* with a private army? This is truly the stuff of nightmares! I think I’d vastly prefer an intellectually honest, authentic fascist to a hipster just playing one to get attention.

    And though I understand what their reasoning might have been, from my perspective, it certainly doesn’t speak well for the folks that let them train with the SDF- that they didn’t care if Mishima was a “real” fascist or not, as long as he acted like one (which begs the question of whether behaving as X is enough to qualify you as X, or if you also need to have some mysterious quality of authenticity to “really” be X). Are we back at orthopraxy vs. orthodoxy again?

    Anyway, thanks again for the inside scoop!

  48. Aceface Says:

    Brown:

    Mishima was worried about two things.One is indirect invasion from communist bloc through leftist mass movement and the other was Japan ends up as the American satellite and losing identities.So he founded 盾の会,The order of the shield.It is not exactly an “army”,because they were never equipped with fire arms or anyother form of explosives nor trained to use them.(the only weapon used to take over the SDF HQ in Ichigaya in 1970 was a few Japanese sword)
    Their primary intention was to gather and study civil defense like in Switzerland and counter security measures,like in France and the U.S,two countries using Germanderie and national guard to student radicals demonstrations.

    There are lots of conspiracy theory around Mishima and SDF.
    SDF has been opening some of there training course to public and many companies use the occasion to kick their employee into boot camp.
    I think this is american idea and it was good PR for SDF,telling the whole nation that they are no Imperial Army,where slap in the face and lynching was usual practice.
    Back in those days SDF had little or no public support.Then Nobel laureate Oe Kenzaburo openly called the graduates of the national defense university,”The shame of my generation”.Mishima was the only celebrity who was sympathetic and SDF couldn’t take the risk of shutting door to the man.

    Another reason is there were certain group of LDP politicians and SDF who wanted to use SDF for anti-riot containment.
    Abe Shinzo’s grandpa,Kishi Nobusuke was ready to give green light to SDF in 1960 AMPO struggle when the diet was surrounded by the demonstrators.The director of the defense agency at the time,Akagi Munenori refused this saying he’ll resign if Kishi insists the order.
    (There is an irony of history here.Right now,Akagi’s grand son,the current agricultural minister Akagi Norihiko is demanded to resign by the opposition for making false record of using his resident(built by the grand father)as office and gets tax evasion,and Abe is protecting him at the cost of falling public support before election.)
    Anyway there were people in LDP and SDF who didn’t want get caught their pants down in 1970,when security treaty with the U.S is reissued.So they needed some vocal support from public intellectual like Mishima(who was at the time seen as a wierdo,but not dangerous)for their idea of expansion of the mission for SDF.
    and for this again,they could’nt say no to the man.SDF just didn’t think he was that stupid.

    If you are interested in the portrait of “an intellectually honest, authentic fascist”,you might want to try a movie by Yoshida Yoshishige(Kijyu)吉田喜重 called “Coup d’etat戒厳令”.It is a film about life and death of Showa fascist and organizer of feburary 26 th coup,Kita Ikki北一輝.

  49. Brown Says:

    “SDF has been opening some of there training course to public and many companies use the occasion to kick their employee into boot camp.”

    I’ve probably mentioned it on here before, but this practice really disgusts me (as does the corporate Zen “training”), and it speaks volumes about what is expected of new employees. I remember hearing about a new hire somewhere who quit when they heard that they were going to be sent to the SDF to be broken in. Can’t recall if it was someone I knew, or something I read somewhere. Well, whoever it was, good for them…

    Thanks for the movie recommendation! 2.26 certainly fits the bill for an authentically fascist action.

  50. passerby Says:

    “The Suzuki Ami example is the most vivid. #1 idol at the time totally disappears, tries it on her own and is completely 150% blacklisted from the industry.”

    Suzuki Ami was the #1 idol of her time? In which alternate universe?

    Surely you do realize that Suzuki was blacklisted because her parents *sued* her jimusho.

  51. marxy Says:

    “Suzuki Ami was the #1 idol of her time? In which alternate universe?”

    At least #2. She wasn’t B-list. She had Oricon #1s etc. She was the winner of the most memorable Asayan segment ever – a show like American Idol, for those who did not enjoy that paegent of faked-contests.

    “Surely you do realize that Suzuki was blacklisted because her parents *sued* her jimusho.”

    And they WON in the court of law, because her boss was arrested and jailed for tax evasion.

    And once her parents LEGALLY set up her own jimusho, TV stations, media companies, and clients – which are not subsidiary corporations of her jimusho jimusho and can nominally make decision on their own – all decided together to make sure that she never again appeared in any media for the next few years. The fact that not a single major company defected from this cabal means that the penalties of defection were much greater than the rewards. I am not sure this happens in other countries – unless maybe you piss offf the CCP in Beijing.

  52. Mulboyne Says:

    This could be a comment for almost any of your entries but I was drawn to the breasts.

    Today’s English Asahi has a comment you might like:

    http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200707170518.html

    “In the decade starting in 1955, companies operated by senior yakuza members penetrated the show-biz world, as well as the construction and other lucrative industries.”

  53. Mulboyne Says:

    This could be a comment for almost any of your entries but I was drawn to the breasts.

    Today’s English Asahi has a comment you might like:

    http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200707170518.html

    “In the decade starting in 1955, companies operated by senior yakuza members penetrated the show-biz world, as well as the construction and other lucrative industries.”

  54. Aceface Says:

    Now that’s a news…

  55. marxy Says:

    You know, the showbiz connection is always mentioned in passing, but besides Misora Hibari’s super obvious link to the Yamaguchi-gumi, I have yet to seen any mainstream media digging into the real stories. Seems like a massively fertile area for investigative journalism and scoops – oh, wait, journalists do neither of those here.

  56. Aceface Says:

    If it’s this obvious than they are not the target of neither investigation nor scoops,marxy.

  57. Aceface Says:

    There are both in the Japanese journalism,Mr.Marxy.
    Perhaps you should conduct some investigation yourself.
    That can be counted as a scoop,you know.

  58. Aceface Says:

    Ooops.

  59. marxy Says:

    “If it’s this obvious than they are not the target of neither investigation nor scoops,marxy.”

    Name some names, Aceface. You work in the industry.

    I could go investigate, or the people who protect the open secret in their everyday normal work lives could just start talking publicly. Most of the info I have is just from them anyway.

  60. Aceface Says:

    “Name some names, Aceface. You work in the industry.”

    ひとつ挑発に乗ってやるとするか。
    Lots of big names come up instantly.

    Ishihara Yujiro石原裕次郎:
    actor,Shintaro’s brother.His yakuza buddy wrote two memoir inpast three years.

    Katsu Shintaro勝新太郎:
    zatoichi actor,busted for smuggling pot and coke from Hawaii back in 1990.He is well connected.

    Kitajima Saburo北島三郎:
    Singer,rejected from NHK’s Kouhaku Utagassen 紅白歌合戦of ’86 for having concert in Yamaguchi gumi party was uncovered.

    Matsuyama Chiharu松山千春
    Singer,also had concert in Yakuza clan in Kyoto.

    Not exactly a big shot but ongoing in main stream news.
    Haga Kenji羽賀健二model,ex-boyfriend of 90’s JJ-model Umemiya Anna梅宮アンナ got busted for blackmailing his investor with Yakuza.

    Nakata Kaus中田カウス
    Manzai comedian and special advisory to CEO of Yoshimoto Entertainment,the comedy industry powerhouse.Banned from NHK for Yakuza connection unearthed by investigative report of Syukan Gendai.

  61. marxy Says:

    Interesting, but these links only incriminate individuals. I think the real story is the organizational links. Everyone knows that B***ing Production is heavily mob-linked, but when their office windows get shot up, that doesn’t make the news. And it’s not like any of the super-mob-backed companies’ talents are not allowed to be on NHK. There would be no TV if you started banning them.

    At his trial, Rising Production CEO Taira did admit that “ura-shakai (read: yakuza) funding is necessary for the entertainment business” but I have yet to see a book on the market that really writes out who funds who. There’s just a lot of circumstantial evidence that most of these CEOs are probably not so clean.