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Gossip is Hard to Read


Rumor has it that Japan’s most beloved female singer Koda Kumi is dating Japan’s most talented dance group vocalist Nakai Masahiro from Japan’s most lovable replacement for Hikaru Genji — SMAP.

Now this confuses me a bit, since I was operating on the gossip that Koda Kumi was determined to get married by the age of 25 and had a long-term “non-celebrity” boyfriend who manages some sort of drinking establishment. If I had set myself a date for marriage at 25 and had only a few months left to go, I would probably stick with the boyfriend of four years and not switch over to a slave to an entertainment agency that does not let any of its employees get married (unless, of course, they knock up someone famous. Retirement and death are also acceptable excuses for matrimony.)

Not to mention that the timing on the Koda-Nakai romance is suspicious when viewed from the angle of organizational relations. Here again, Avex and Johnny’s Jimusho have come together to make a model romance and thrust their stars into the pages of gossip weeklies. Last time they tried this, they got seven whole years out of the relationship between Hamasaki Ayumi and TOKIO heartthrob Nagase Tomoya. This ended about a month ago, so in my delusional paranoid understanding, a meeting was called, two candidates were chosen and the management companies sealed the deal with a handshake: Kuu-tan, meet your new fictional beau. Nakai, go ahead and tell your friends about this.

The great thing about these mock relationships is that they don’t get in the way of real sexual priorities. Even if Nakai goes off and does what he wants, it’s not like magazines would dare write a story about the girlfriends of SMAP members. If Johnny’s Jimusho Youth Brigades get photographed at a wild sex party, the press will graciously black the eyes out to secure deniability. I mean, Hamasaki Ayumi didn’t let her faux relationship to Nagase get in the way of her real engagement to Futura 2000’s son back in 2004.

With so much of this celebrity gossip being a mix between press releases on one side and completely unreliable sensationalism on the other, I find it very difficult to tell which stories I am supposed to believe for the artist’s sake and which I am supposed to ignore. Long story short, we public have no real allies in this information war. For a long time, there has been a defense of the Japanese news system that important investigative stories do come out, just not in the newspapers or on TV. Most famously, a weekly shukanshi broke the Lockheed Scandal rather than the mainstream media. Great: Information cannot be completely controlled, but if I was an elite trying to keep reigns on power, I would be overjoyed that any non-approved, non-press club information could only find a home in totally unreliable magazines that mix investigative reporting, intentionally leaked stories, naked women and pure fiction.

So I guess I am going to keep believing that this Koda-Nakai thing is a total hoax, because that is equally believable as the alternative.

Bonus Topic: Did anyone ever see the MTV show about Misono — Koda Kumi’s little sister? The premise was that she had gotten so fat that her management company refused to promote her music, so she went on a diet to lose weight to win her career back. Turning lemons into lemonade, that management company helped make the humiliating exercise of forced dieting into an extremely dignified reality TV show. She apparently gained all the weight back, because just maybe, she has naturally has an endomorphic body type and the weight wasn’t a problem to start with. But may I suggest that she has no real hereditary claims to automatic pop success anyway? Her equivalent in the world of homicide would be the little brother of the guy who claimed he killed Jon Benet.

W. David MARX (Marxy)
August 21, 2007

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

13 Responses

  1. Don Says:

    How could he do such a thing to poor sweet Nakamii? And with that Jon Benet-murdering hussy of all people?

    p.s. Heil Hitler!

  2. neogeisha Says:

    oh marxy, you’re even more adorable when you riff on ersatz baby killers.

  3. Matt Says:

    Two words: Marriage blue.

    Do you think that Kumi and misono fight about whether it’s OK to use the real spelling of their last name?

  4. Mulboyne Says:

    Time for the Timers or, more properly, Taimas:

    “FM Tokyo” from 2:15.

  5. Mulboyne Says:

    Fansub version of “FM Tokyo” here:

  6. marxy Says:

    Oh “Timers.” What a hilarious pun.

    Yeah, we watched that clip a few months ago and commented how not excited the crowd was about the cursing.

  7. marxy Says:

    Okay, maybe they look a little excited.

    I seriously doubt anyone would pull that shit again, nor are TV stations going to go live with controversial singers anyway. I guess Kiyoshiro beat the system, but to what ends???

  8. Adamu Says:

    Speaking of rumors, is the reign of Ebihara over?

    “”Last year we were selling over 600,000 copies, but this year sales have dipped below half a million. We got a new chief editor in July and figured it was a good time to re-start the magazine. One of the features of those changes will be Maki Nishiyama appearing on the next cover,” a source from Can Cam publisher Shogakkan tells Shukan Gendai. “Ebichan is going to be 28 in October. CanCam targets women in their early 20s, so we want to make the magazine a whole lot younger all around.”

  9. marxy Says:

    I think I am in denial about this, but I find it odd that they would just drop her cold turkey. Rinka is on the cover of Nonno – a magazine for the same age range as CanCam – and she is 35. I don’t know what’s going on.

  10. Laotree Says:

    Shrimp is extremely dangerous when it’s expired…

    “beloved female singer Koda Kumi is dating Japan’s most talented dance group vocalist Nakai”
    Not only did I automatically think “jimusho-arranged お見合い” when I first heard this, but I almost felt sorry for both of them. The famously-talentless and unphotogenic SMAP vocalist (although it’s a toss up between Nakai and ol’ Ichabod Kusanagi for looks) and the famously busaiku pop queen (I still think of marxy’s term “butternut squash” everytime I see her). So bad they deserve each other, the record companies seem to say. Let’s all give thanks for being so beautiful and talented…

  11. Adamu Says:

    I suspect that Ebihara’s handlers were as repulsed as I was when I saw that Ketsumeishi video which is 5 minutes of creepy close-ups of her ghostly white complexion, too-average body, and near-expressionless face (Does she ever pose in bikinis for CanCam??? Shes no Koda Kumi but still… and yes I know I am not the intended audience, but again still!). Rip Slyme (“熱帯夜 Tropical Night”) knows how it’s done and uses actual porn stars for its latest video.

    Yet another unrelated topic:

    I was flipping through a copy of Cyzo the other day and came across an article on the decline of Morning Musume. The argument essentially went: Lax management by Hello Productions (explosion of MM members to 35, myriad spinoff groups) diluted their ability to tightly police the behavior of members (Ai Kago’s sinful smoking, pregnancies, etc.) have resulted in the erosion of their fanbase of older men (as evidenced by, among other things, lagging concert attendance and the “fire sale prices” of Kago-related merchandise in Akihabara).

    I am not exactly sure where my question is here, but I was a little surprised that older men (who apparently drive Momusu-decaled cars around during pre-show rallies) are such a driving force behind their popularity (I had assumed that Morning Musume at least was chiefly for elementary school kids but just happened to catch an oyaji following). And if that’s the case, it’s not hard to see why they are losing out to competition from groups that more directly target the pedophile-chic market (AKB48, Saaya)

  12. marxy Says:

    “And if that’s the case, it’s not hard to see why they are losing out to competition from groups that more directly target the pedophile-chic market (AKB48, Saaya)”

    Yeah, Morning Musume are like the Coca Cola Zero of pedophilia – for people not willing to go all the way.

    Also, Ebichan is all over the new CanCam so I don’t see her going away that soon. Maybe they will gradually fade her out, but she IS the magazine. You think Maki-chan can pick up her slack??? Yeah, right.

  13. Endi Says:

    I believe in Ayumi Hamasaki and the Tokio-boy romance.

    And I heard in her 1Love PV the tatoo also appears briefly…