2010: K-Idols vs. J-Idols

K-pop idols

In the last half-decade, Tokyo shopping building Shibuya 109 has slowly but steadily taken back its place as the most central site of Japanese female culture. But in its recent reincarnation, Shibuya 109 has become the primary clubhouse for delinquent provincial girls to celebrate their own culture in the middle of the capital rather than a place to for the bridge-and-tunnel set to breathe in metropolitan values. And in general, the stereotypical 109 girl has always been obsessed with extremely local culture over anything with a hint of international flavor.

So how odd is it that in late November the giant poster for gyaru style bible Popteen gracing Shibuya 109 was taken down and replaced with a Christmas-themed illuminated advertisement for the Korean pop group Girls Generation (SNSD, 少女時代). This music group’s explosive rise over the last three months has become national news in both Japan and Korea and signaled the start of a second hanryu (韓流) boom for Korean pop culture. The first hanryu, of course, involved lonely 50 year-old Japanese women fawning over the idealized Korean gentlemen in Winter Sonata and boy bands like Toho Shinki (aka TVXQ). This time, however, it’s young Japanese girls flocking to formerly consumer-unfriendly, Korean-ethnic neighborhood Shin-Okubo to buy Girls Generation CDs and posters.

While the Shibuya 109 takeover is meaningful in terms of pop cultural hierarchy, we should note that the Japan-obsessed gyaru have not suddenly abandoned their heroes Hamasaki Ayumi and Nishino Kana to bow down to Korean goddesses who look nothing like them. From what I have seen, the core Japanese fans of Girls Generation have been “normal” girls without much subcultural leaning (black hair over chapatsu), and at least in my immediate circles, the Korean group has also attracted a few post-hipster girls looking for something to replace their semi-ironic appreciation of Arashi.

The Japanese idol factory, although subdued in recent days from the music market’s staggering decline, still manages to launch dozens of new young female singers and girl groups. So why have Japanese girls suddenly gone crazy for a nine-girl Korean act? The nationality aspect of Girls Generation’s success is certainly unprecedented, but that is not where the distinction ends. The Japanese industry has always told us that consumers like barely-trained, not-too-good-looking, off-pitch idols, but it turns out Japanese consumers may have wanted something completely different the entire time.

SNSD members sing and dance with a military precision. Their latest singles — produced mostly by European producers like DEEKAY and Alex James from Blur — sound slick and modern in comparison to the stagnant and repetitive J-Pop idol sound. Unlike sexy rivals KARA or hip-hoppers with ‘tude 2NE1, the Girls Generation girls are sweet and un-threatening, yet style icons with slender legs up to here. And some of the girls, especially Yoona, can be said to be more attractive than the average female, which used to be the reason these singers were called “idols.”

So with all these rare gifts, Girls Generation have worked to tap a latent demand in young Japanese consumers, finally providing the aspirational superwomen who have long been buried under the needs of gyaru’s “just like me” icons and the otaku’s desire for helpless — and intentionally not too attractive — little girls.

In Korea, Girls Generation were originally marketed to men. This may seem unbelievable, but Korean males have evidently have fallen pray to the weird fetish of enjoying attractive, slender, and sexy women in contemporary outfits and chic haircuts.

The new dominance of idol collective AKB48 on the music market suggests that the Japanese male music consumer has been infected with a quite different disease. This giant 48-girl group, formed in 2005 but reaching peak popularity this year, is the latest brainchild of pop Svengali Akimoto Yasushi. This is the man who brought you the ’80s spectacle of mass girl group The Onyanko Club — a huge number of wholly uncharismatic young women whom he had sing unabashedly dirty lyrics for a snickering male audience. So Onyanko started the “idol collective” trend, but we didn’t hear much from the concept until Morning Musume and all its various spinoffs in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Yet Musume’s producer Tsunku’s spin on it was to take out the direct sexuality and make it infantile and creepy, theoretically to make it marketable to a young female audience. The idea of very average looking girls, however, stayed core. (Or more likely, a truly exceptional looking idol becomes a model and solo artist, and all the agency leftovers are formed into collectives to provide the management company a paycheck.)

The Morning Musume empire flamed out at some point after monopolizing the charts for a few years, but AKB48 has worked to bring the idol collective into the 21st century by targeting it almost exclusively to the otaku male. The genius marketing idea of AKB48 was to take the girls directly into the heart of Japan’s last remaining dependable consumer group — the otaku in Akihabara — and through daily shows at the theater there, make the men fall in love with them (and just maybe, then buy several dozen of the same CD single to boost sales.) AKB48 thus had to tone down the high-school sexcapade lyrics “I want to have sex before my friends do” and “we really shouldn’t be doing this before class, teacher” of Onyanko, but compared to Morning Musume, Akimoto pulled the lever marked “Eroticism” up a few notches on the mixing board when no one was looking.

The end result is that there is not very much content in the AKB48 oeuvre beyond the super-deformed sexuality. In order for the otaku to not get too confused, the songs had to stay close to the highly-synthesized and bouncy anime theme song genre. And the girls had to fit the stereotypical “little sister” mold of modern day moé. The music is a casualty of the process: the songs are a zombie rehash of J-Pop conventions without any distinguishing characteristics.

The AKB48 videos — recently freed up for wide viewing on YouTube — do not work hard to cover up the “let’s seduce 37 year-old nerds with diminutive young girls” angle. The video for “Ponytail to Shushu” has a two-minute, music-free Austin Powers inspired preamble with the girls stripping off their clothes but miraculously saved from exposure to the audience by camera-blocking props. Finally a chihuahua comes in and chases them into the shower, where they all get drenched — in slow motion. Then a song starts, and the male viewers rewind and watch the locker room scene frame by frame to see if they can’t catch a stray sliver of a breast somewhere. Oddly parts are filmed at a direct low angle (“dog’s eye view”) — a kind of anti-Kubrick vertical squashing to emphasis the girls’ stocky legs and miniature frames.

Likely by accident, the girls of AKB48 have turned out to be much better looking than those of Morning Musume. Maeda Atsuko probably was never in the running for a solo career but passable as the “cute one.” The nerd blogs, however, have been confused that AKB’s Itano Tomomi has turned into a full-scale babe. It must be plastic surgery, they exclaim, not understanding the basic biology that 19 year-old women just tend to be more attractive than 12 year-olds. This just happens to go against their entire dogma that women over the legal age “smell bad” and “become hideous monsters” after their teen years.

The Chosun Ilbo took note of the J-idols vs. K-idols battle in its September article “Why Japanese Girls Go Mad for Korean Girl Bands”. No one can resist explaining the entire thing through the widening gulf between Japanese men and women’s sexual idealization.

Girls Generation’s all-powerful management company SM Entertainment suggests, “Japanese girls who’ve had enough of Japanese girl bands that strictly appeal to men’s protective instincts seem to take bolder Korean girl groups as a role model.”

There should be no doubt that AKB48′s primary audience is Japanese otaku men (the high-earning salaryman has little time for this dilly-dallying). Yet as the group grew in popularity, they did attract a base of 12 year-old girls who look up to the group as peers. The same thing happened with Onyanko. In classic Japanese style “patriarchy marketing,” you first sell to men’s libidos and then young women will eventually figure out that they are also required to follow. Girls Generation messes up this whole process, however, by offering an alternative that appeals directly to young women — and also, scares the living daylights out of otaku. (I can imagine an otaku nightmare where those Korean Rockette legs chase them through Akihabara and kick them into submission.)

Whatever the case, we now have (at least) four parallel tracks of J-Pop, none of which intersect nor come together to form informal conglomerations of “mass market hits.” Otaku and elementary school girls have their S/mileage, AKB48s, and SKE48s; gyaru have their one-step-from-mizu-shobai “trauma-kei” Eurobeat Avex stars; backwater teen girls have their Johnny’s idols; and so-called “normal girls” in their late teens and 20s have awoken as consumers to embrace Girls Generation. Needless to say, none of these acts are “musicians,” and creating “good songs” is not really part of the business plan. Sexual longing has always played a big part in pop music, of course, but it seems now that it’s the only remaining reason why someone would shell out ¥3000 for a CD. Good at least to see the market opening up a bit to offer a diversity of options for aspiration.

W. David MARX
December 9, 2010

W. David Marx (Marxy) — Tokyo-based writer and musician — is the founder and chief editor of Néojaponisme.

79 Responses

  1. Dave Says:

    Ah, so you seen the FNS Kayousai thing haven’t you? :D

    But I think you miss out a few things though.
    AKB48 and Kpop idol are now working together. Why? Coz Dentsu is representing both of them. Remember Dentsu?
    Hell, outside Don Quijote there is a Visit Korea screen playing.
    And SDN48 label is Universal Records which is also the label of almost all the Kpop idols. (This is due to TVXQ fight with their Korean label and getting implicit support from Avex). A lot of synergy between AKS and Kpop right now.

    And AKB48 fanbase are 30+ year old men? That so 2009. When I went to Don Quijote it is now mostly teen males and early 20′s guys. And oddly enough a 30% female fanbase.

    IMHO, it is still Japanese companies trying to control a trend instead of really responding in a competitive manner. AKS was probably thinking, “Hey Kpop is big. Lets get them to work together instead of making better music!”.

    PS.
    Morning Musume is still kicking. Their Yokohama Arena concert on the 15.12.2010 is almost sold out and going to be broadcasted live on TV.

  2. subdee Says:

    Girls Generation. Creepy in a Stepford-Wives-ish way. I think it’s the way they are made to dress alike, perform dance routines “with military precision”, and all have the same nose thanks to plastic surgery.

    Did you see the debate on whether Korean guys consider Girls Generation sexy or not? Apparently, since they started out as 13 or 14 year old idols-in-training, it’s kind of taboo to mention that you like them because you are sexually attracted to them. Maybe Japan isn’t moving closer to Korea, but Korea is moving closer to Japan.

    For explicit (bad girl) sex appeal, see Korean girl-groups Miss A and Brown Eyed Girls – though there’s that Miss A song “Bad Girl, Good Girl” that is a critique of the idea that all girls with sex appeal are “bad” girls.

    (Also, it is strange to me that censorship laws in Korean mean that the girls in Brown Eyed Girl can’t be shown kissing, but full-on boob groping is okay??? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofwFr8o8p0Y )

  3. randomcommenter Says:

    AKB48′s fanbase is now far more diversified, but its purchasing base is primarily otaku.

    In other words, for example (numbers made up to illustrate the concept, not to represent actual percentages), if 10 AKB48 CDs are sold at a random Tsutaya, 6 will be bought by a single otaku, and the other 4 by 4 different individuals. That means 20% (1 out of 5 people) of AKB’s fans are otaku, but 60% (6 out of 10 CDs) of sales are from otaku.

  4. W. David MARX Says:

    AKB48 and Kpop idol are now working together

    Yes, I agree. They both target different groups and just get more people engaged with music. It does show however that AKB48 was not necessarily appealing to most women older than 12. They wanted something else.

  5. Dave Says:

    @Marxy

    Since you stay in Japan, and interact with more Japanese, i won’t argue what comprises the AKB48 fanbase.

    This my theory on why they are working together.

    AKB wants/craves the female fanbase that Shoujo Jidai have.
    At the end of the day, AKB is pretty much nothing more than the masturbation fantasy of their fanbase. By hooking with Kpop, AKB is looking for legitimacy.

    Shojou Jidai on the other hand……have nothing much to lose or gain with this partnership. So its a mystery why they are partnering with AKB. If they are targeting different groups then why work together? The chances of spillover is slim to none.

  6. W. David MARX Says:

    I don’t think they are actually “working together” beyond being on the same TV shows. I just think we’re in a musical ecosystem that can sustain both.

  7. Mr Waffle Says:

    I have to disagree with the assessment of AKB48′s current fanbase. They used to sell ~20,000 CDs a single; now their last single almost sold a million. Given that morning musume and their sister groups sell <50,000 a single nowadays, I think it's pretty clear that the otaku fanbase isn't nearly big enough to buy almost a million CDs. Those 900,000 sales don't magically appear out of nowhere.

  8. Dave Says:

    has the musical ecosystem really diversified in Japan ?
    Well, more people are buying singles so maybe this year the music retail market might actually post some growth. But since it still the usual suspects + Kpop dominating the list, I do not take it as diversification.

    I been a fans of J-idols since 2007 (Perfume!) and what’s happening in Japan right now baffles me. Even after visiting Japan, I’m still baffled. The wota masturbation fantasy idols are now mainstream? Huh?
    Your article does fill in some blanks but some of the J-idol music are still pretty crappy and the system is designed to make you a super obsessive fan.

    I stay in Malaysia and Kpop has been dominating since 2007. Kpop in Asia is now bigger than Jpop EVER was. Kinda boggles the mind that Japan took so long to warm up to the current Kpop idols.

  9. Roy Berman Says:

    So then, where does that leave the vast majority of the population that doesn’t fit into any of those four demographic groups but still listens to a moderate amount of music? (Without having the time to be voracious consumers of the associated goods, of course.)

  10. JK Says:

    You really have no idea how popular AKB is, and how young most of their fanbase is. Right now its at the point where a lot of the older fans are feeling alienated because of how many teenagers there are.

  11. eric Says:

    >Their singles — produced mostly by European producers like DEEKAY and Alex James from Blur — sound slick and modern in comparison to the stagnant and repetitive J-Pop idol sound.

    >creating “good songs” is not really part of the business plan

    I see the second statement as contradictory. Perhaps you have an idealized definition of “good songs”?

  12. W. David MARX Says:

    You really have no idea how popular AKB is, and how young most of their fanbase is.

    Based on sales, they have to have a mass base that goes beyond just otaku. But the entire model and aesthetic is based on targeting otaku as the leading-edge consumer group. And it worked!

    And despite a giant audience of pre-teen girls, the videos are still heavily eroticized towards older male fans.

  13. W. David MARX Says:

    I see the second statement as contradictory.

    This is true, and I think SNSD are an exception in that they are thinking about song quality and broad appeal as key to their global success.

  14. W. David MARX Says:

    A really minor observation, but I like how SNSD’s songs have a really “light touch” to them despite being club-ready dance pop. They really keep the big rez-synths and drums under control.

  15. W. David MARX Says:

    Apparently, since they started out as 13 or 14 year old idols-in-training, it’s kind of taboo to mention that you like them because you are sexually attracted to them

    I crunched the numbers. They are all around 19-21 now and started in 2007, where they were 16-17.

  16. Dave Says:

    Hey marxy

    Someone posted your story on Arama (Jpop gossip site)

    http://community.livejournal.com/aramatheydidnt/1578511.html

    Read the comments.
    All of them missed the point.

  17. W. David MARX Says:

    Interesting but I wish they wouldn’t just paste THE ENTIRE ARTICLE into the thread…

    I sympathize with most of the comments, but we are writing for different audiences. Wires got crossed.

    I will say, however, that it’s impressive how far the Internet has come in terms of representing all tastes online. Back when I wrote polemical anti-Jpop industry essays in 2005 or so, there wasn’t such a readymade backlash audience.

  18. Roy Berman Says:

    I like how the comments are mostly along the lines of “David is wrong because I and my friends don’t fit into the categories he discussed and therefore his demographic theory is completely wrong!”

    Think they’ve heard of selection bias? It should be fairly obvious that people writing in English on livejournal are practically by definition such outliers in the fanbase of the groups being discussed that they have little to no statistical relevance.

  19. anhh Says:

    I’m sorry to say it but this entry is filled with quite some self-fulfilling prophecies that seem to contradict its spirit. That AKB’s primary audience were Japanese wotas and that they were thought to appeal to them through various devices (closeness on the communication between audience and group, attention to audience feedback to deliver more products) doesn’t mean that this same product repackaged can’t reach other audiences. As has been already said, when they were a wota fantasy, they didn’t sell higher than 40.000, so even if their core design is meant to appeal to Otakus, to say or imply that right now with a more diverse audience, they are still the main audience even if they are only a small fraction of it is a bit off. And they appeal to teenagers also.

    That your reading of J-Idols aesthetics seems to reduce everything to an ultimate factor (sex) to explain behaviours, doesn’t mean that there are other possible lectures for them appealing to other audiences (the moe image can infantilize sexuality, but also is just a way to make face reading more clear and direct, more obvious for some people, more expressive for others, there are more themes in AKB songs than having sex with older guys, there is alienation, sadness, suicide, loneliness, school bullying, melancholy, even in the MVs of their singles, etc.) or that the examples used to explain them are a bit rigged and selected to make-believe the main argument (using “Ponytail…” or “Heavy Rotation” MVs as examples, when there are lots of thems showing different directions or motives to use through their image). It doesn’t mean that is not or not that it could be that way, but they spoil the presentation. And maybe this is missing the midst of the article, but they still are weakness for its reception.

    About SNSD, that their PR machinery is saying that they are appealing to girls bored with J-Pop idols doesn’t mean that that is the truth. Still have to see statistics about their sales that prove that, or for that matter, that not much of their sales come from foreign audience (not only South Koreans, they have a worldwide following, as is the case with AKB and other Japanese idol groups). There is too much hyper-reality about the group and their success (there were for months lots and lots of articles wrote with the same arguments, using the same spin, and exposing the same tirades (like those overtones about Korean people being able to do things that Japanese can’t do) as the one the main entry used above) to not to start to feel that there is something strange about it.

    That they are proposing a more defiant and mature sexuality is another thing that falls in pieces watching more than those two MVs, like the “Cabi Song” or their CMs. Also, there is SDN48, with girls over 20, that maybe falls too much in the gravure zone, but also dismantle some of your conclusions about audiences fearing sexual encounters with women, when most of their sales come from people that also buys products from the other AKB franchises.

  20. Dave Says:

    @Marxy

    Yeah, I remember those articles from Neomarxisme days. A few of your doom saying actually came true. :D
    Should take a look at Cyzo and do a search for AKB48. Some interesting articles over there and it details their rise pretty thoroughly.

    @Ray
    Hahaha. You just encapsulate the whole western fan base of Jpop and Kpop with that quote. If I come down Tokyo again, I would love to meet you.

  21. doodidoo Says:

    This is true, and I think SNSD are an exception in that they are thinking about song quality and broad appeal as key to their global success.

    SNSD and song quality in the same sentence. LOL!

  22. Mita Says:

    Well Marx, it was a great insight that you shared with us.

    But nah, I prefer my Jpop stays Jpop and not adjusting/catching up whatsoever with Kpop.
    And to lyrical diversity that you have mentioned, I think Jpop has more diversity. It’s not always about romance or love, but also about moving forward, fighting for your dream, every day struggle, etc.
    While the Kpop that I’ve listened so far it’s mostly about falling in love, falling out of love, hurting from the love, etc. After awhile, it’ll be quite boring. No matter how good the package is (Package: chic, stylish, long legs, slender bodies, perfect dance, good vocals, etc).

    So, I’ll still appreciate Kpop once in a while. But for the long run, I’ll stick with my Jpop.

    Thank you,
    From someone of little to no statistical relevance ^^

  23. Kozo Says:

    I crunched the numbers. They are all around 19-21 now and started in 2007, where they were 16-17.

    GG may have started in 2007, but if you look at the individual girl’s profile you’ll see that a lot of them have been around much longer…

  24. M-Bone Says:

    Can I propose using “Moe Otaku” of maybe even “ゼロ世代オタク” for this storied group who run screaming at the whiff of anything north of a 12 year old in a bikini?

    If you run the numbers for manga like you do for J-Pop you will find a bunch of different sorts of visions – Mori Kaoru’s 乙嫁語り in Beam, just like the earlier “Emma”, has been a grand seller with a female lead painted in pseudo-anthropological pre-modern “young matron” tones. It outsells the school girl upskirt tripe by a mile. 一騎当千 doesn’t spare the upskirts, but it seems to be all about defined calf muscles snapping some dude’s arm at the elbow. While bodies on display is the reason for being, these women are quite frightening and odoriferous.

    I could go on, but when I look at the “customers also bought” list for 乙嫁語り on Amazon it is stuff like Vinland Saga, Historie, and whatnot – 500,000 sellers and very interesting as historical fiction. There is still a sizable fan culture that goes to Mandarake instead of Tora no Ana. That’s a distinction at least as important as that between CanCam and Koakuma Ageha.

    There was an awakening of consumers here as well. The impact of the pedo otaku market gets exaggerated because fans of more legitimately interesting stuff and the huge number female otaku (who may well be pervs of a very different kind) gets lumped together in a category that associates a really much more diverse side of Japanese pop culture with grass-eaters, body pillows, and men who can’t imagine talking to a three dimensional woman.

    Having said that, I’ll also say that I think Marxy is getting too much crap over his speculation about the AKB48 fanbase. I walked by a line for an Akihabara performance the other day and it was 95% men in their 20s with that Moe Otaku look about them. The place was thick with hooded sweatshirts and stares at the feet. The “37 year-old nerd” thing is just a rhetorical flourish. AKB48 have indeed gotten some mainstream cred based on a convenience store and TV push that sells them nationwide. It won’t last. Most of the people who comment on Arama don’t know where a Japanese cross media marketing blitz comes from, perhaps assuming that it follows the popularity or talent of the artists, and how that kind of thing can even move Koda Kumi albums.

    As for the comments over there, change the names and the medium and it is no different than any number of Manga vs. Manhwa threads. Anyone who needs evidence that Japan Cool exists need look no further than the identity collapse that some fans undergo when they hear that something in another country may be better than something in Japan.

  25. W. David MARX Says:

    I agree that not all otaku are moe-inf(l)ected, but I have been surprised about how moe otaku-heavy 2-ch net culture is.

  26. M-Bone Says:

    That depends where you go on the site as well. Their retro anime discussions can be more like, say, the one that we had about Macross a few years back – are the Zentradi commies? Is Yamaguchi Takayuki far left or far right? Some decent discussion about pre-Meiji history (and a few good tit for tats about war crimes when being netto uyo suddenly became old in 2008 – did you see Yamano Sharin’s book about “the man” exploiting freeters?) also to be had. The difference is that the more mainstream “otaku” consumers are mostly into the narrative products, not the fan culture and fan culture sites like 2ch, and also read books, go outside, shower, etc. Someone dedicated to mad merchandise around had handful of titles is going to have an economic impact, but it is the 7-17 market on one hand and the heavy readers who buy 40+ series on the other, who are a much, much larger, albeit mostly invisible, market presence. The only title in the top 50 for the first half of 2010 that I would consider Moe is K’On at number 46 – and that’s a title that features high school students (little victories) and while I’ve only glanced at it, no sexploitation that I can see. K’On are definitely worth adding to a discussion of otaku and music – last I had heard they sold over 1,000,000 albums and singles, no mean feat for a band that doesn’t exist. It doesn’t mean that they make for a top manga, however.

    We also can’t forget that the main market for 14 year old girls in bikinis manga is still 14 year old boys. You can gauge that easily by comparing the sales of something like Negmia with, say, the token booby series in Champion Red.

    BTW, you should check out the cover of 乙語り Vol. II, the main female character is fireman’s carrying a dead deer.

  27. W. David MARX Says:

    I guess my experience with 2ch is how it’s filtered through the two top aggregators Itai News and Alfalfa Mosaic. The latter especially has a heavy moe slant.

  28. lol Says:

    Initially, I wasn’t going to respond to the article at hand, because people write opinions on their blogs all the time, but after reading the comments, I had to give my two cents.

    You claimed in the comments that “SNSD are an exception in that they are thinking about song quality and broad appeal as key to their global success.” However, in your article, you dismiss the song quality of the rest of the idol groups, both Japanese and Korean. I have to ask if that is a sarcastic joke or not. Surely you can’t be serious in your assertion that SNSD song quality is on another level. Look, I’ve got nothing against SNSD, I actually like them quite a bit, but they are no different than the rest of the idol group acts as far as music is concerned, unless you want to school me on the lyrical depth and breadth of “Gee Gee Gee Gee Baby Baby Baby”?

    Anyway, what prompted a response more than anything was the level of elitism by your regular commenters on this blog, basically insinuating that this “essay” (blog entry) is above and beyond the comprehension of the people on Arama.

    Look, I fully understand selection bias and other argumentative reasoning, but I disagree with the assertions about AKB48 and other popular groups, regardless. The counter argument to me is that, despite how long winded this article was, and despite the tone of having the be-all, end-all facts to the discussion at hand, the truth of the matter is that you delve into exactly zero empirically supported evidence. Any “facts” you include in the article is entirely made up of conjecture and speculation, and unless you can reasonably show that old perverts are buying 500,000 records, I think the burden of proof is on you, not vice versa.

    Sorry, but despite your tone of an impartial observer on a high horse, your observations are no more correct than the observations of those on Arama. You throw around generalizations and attempt to meld them into fact to pretend you have evidence and rationality on your side, but any of the commenters on Arama can make up similar scenarios as you just did (and they are) and have them be just as valid.

    At the end of the day, I’m a fan of both K-pop and J-pop, so I guess I have no real dog in this “fight”, but the tone of the piece and the comments that followed really rubbed me the wrong way.

    Anyway, just letting you know that not everybody saying that your article is full of it is some emotional pre-teen girl venting on the internet. Instead of dismissing their claims, you may want to look into it instead. Acting like an expert doesn’t make you one, after all. Peace.

  29. W. David MARX Says:

    Fair enough. I can at least say that I am proud to live in a world where non-Japanese people love their J-pop enough to get really riled up about a random essay posted on the Internet.

  30. Dave Says:

    Well I can prove that the ridiculous amounts that AKB fans spend on CDs.

    http://livedoor.2.blogimg.jp/hatima/imgs/9/3/93b69cdd.jpg

    The above image show 1 guy buying 400 cds.
    Get a 1000 of this guys and its already 400,000. And he ain’t a teenager….

    To be fair, I been to Don Quijote and AKB does have a varied fanbase.

    But they are still slaves to the Superfans just like most Jpop idols.

    SNSD does not have this most peculiar japanese trait affecting them.

    That is all.

  31. M-Bone Says:

    lol, snark aside, Marxy has provided some numerical evidence for the diverse fanbase for Girl’s Generation in a linked article. The burden of proof is on you or the Arama fans to provide similar evidence for AKB48 given that most of the serious analysis of them to this point (in Japan and elsewhere) has focused on the handshakes and the mass CD buying.

  32. randomcommenter Says:

    Dave, to be fair, that guy bought 400 SKE CDs, not AKB CDs…but I’ve seen plenty of photos of guys collections of 20 or 40 identical AKB CDs, so your overarching point stands. I don’t know if it counts as “empirically supported evidence” (maybe it’s just guys who borrowed 39 CDs from 39 friends, and put them next to their own single CD), but I am reasonably certain that sales of 500,000 AKB albums does not mean purchases by 500,000 AKB fans.

  33. Em Says:

    SNSD does not have this most peculiar japanese trait affecting them.

    ^What do you mean by this? They don’t have crazy fans buying more than one album? How do you know that? Because there hasn’t been any news coverage of it? Are you even familiar with SNSD’s fanbase? Probably not, huh?

  34. W. David MARX Says:

    There should be no debate that AKB48′s fanbase extends far beyond its original core otaku target. This is clearly true. My points are that (1) they rose to fame by starting with otaku aesthetics and (2) the videos and visuals still target the otaku libido despite the fact the group has become mainstream. There is not a good parallel to the beginning to “Ponytail and Shushu” in other low-teen female culture in Japan (or even in the directly-marketing to young girls group of Up Front).

  35. fabledlamb Says:

    Alex/Alexander James who has been producing songs for SNSD is not Alex James, the bassist of blur. Alexander James is a pop producer working mainly for artists signed with Peter Torres Management. He was involved in the production of Run Devil Run and, recently, Hoot.

    I’m also wondering if the vacuum left behind by the disappearance of Tohoshinki who had a massive fanbase of young girls and women at the height of their success (before they had to ‘suspend their activities’ last year) isn’t partly responsible for the popularity Korean girl groups are enjoying with that particular demographic group at the moment.

  36. M-Bone Says:

    To give credit where credit is due, some of the Arama crew were right to bring up Perfume – where do you think they fit, and what do you know about their audience makeup?

    In the area of pop music, I know what I like and I like Perfume. I can’t explain why on the level of music, but when I consider some of the lyrics, One Room Disco seems to be about the post-shojo heroine’s right to her own fun autobiography amidst banality. Would you fit Perfume into the empowering sexuality zone and do you think they are “better” than SNSD? I also note that they effectively become the otakuverse protagonist in a few of their songs (Electro World seems to be about remaking your world with your gaze) which seems to be a very different vibe from most other examples of J female song subjectivity.

  37. W. David MARX Says:

    Perfume is not an idol collective. They were a relatively unsuccessful regional girl-group transformed into futuristic techno-idols thanks to skilled music producer Nakata. They got their fans from a mix of otaku and oshare consumers and did not really sell any sort of sexual idealization as a major part of their package.

  38. W. David MARX Says:

    Damn, I really really wanted that Blur connection to be true! Thanks for the correction.

  39. Leonardo Boiko Says:

    It should be noted that Otoyomegatari is reverse moe—the male lead is 12 and thus eight years younger than his bride. It’s not cheaply exploited as a fetish, though, and that kind of arrangement was not historically uncommon, so I don’t really mind it. Amira has a refreshing dignity to her.

    By the way, people who say present-day manga authors don’t put effort in their art should check out Mori’s textiles.

  40. Chuckles Says:

    K-Idols versus J-Idols? Surprising how a a guy with an analytical bias against the JPop industry on account of its insularity and immunity to change could even countenance a group like SNSD as some sort of great outsider hope – which is a subtle theoretical thought in Marxy’s article. Anything to smash the hegemonic JPop machine – couched as an “alternative”. Ah well.

    Surprising in that if this is some sort of K-Idol vs J-Idol rumble – the ability of the Jpop Machine to clone several AKB48 type groups within a short period of time and thus literally drown intruder groups like SNSD gets virtually no mention.

    SNSD are not that big of a conceptual improvement on the Japanese idol collective, which is why the silly comparisons going on now, and much too early prophecies of some SNSD led Korean wave victory over AKB48 now going on on the net are indeed laughable.

    If this is a rumble, then numbers, the marketing machine and Japanese production edge would likely repel any attempts to significantly alter the content, audience and scope of Jpop idol dynamics for now. I note the differences highlighted in Marxy’s essay – and the angle SNSD is presenting – but they do not justify the optimistic:

    [... Good at least to see the market opening up a bit to offer a diversity of options for aspiration...]

    How is SNSD diversity? I predict that they will absorb the Japanese way of doing things in the long run, fade out – and serve as a foil for clone Japanese idol groups to set themselves up against and hence multiply. J-Idols win in the end.

    The idea that Kpop dominance on the continent (spread by some of these netters), HK, Malaysia, China etc means that Japan is next to fall is so mind numbingly silly – there is zero historical evidence to support this and zero present empirical evidence. Yes, AKB48 is established and SNSD is new, so some say, give them time and presto, they dominate – something that Marxy also subtly implies here:

    [...Girls Generation have worked to tap a latent demand in young Japanese consumers...]

    and

    [...so-called “normal girls” in their late teens and 20s have awoken as consumers to embrace Girls Generation...]

    apparently, as these girls grow and increase in spending power…

    But this overlooks the fact that with a template like AKB48 already in place, the whole SNSD style could simply be absorbed into the entire Japanese pop production machine – and to demise, if underlying facts about Japanese society do not change – perhaps not profitably so but entirely plausible.

  41. M-Bone Says:

    Awesome link – I’m terribly impressed by the art of that series.

  42. W. David MARX Says:

    How is SNSD diversity?

    I do not believe that real diversity like we saw in the ’90s J-Pop market is still possible. SNSD is at least a slightly new sound, and for ears tired of the same cookie cutter Japanese industry production style, it at least sounds fresh. If you have to eat gruel all the time, oatmeal’s a nice break.

  43. statiq Says:

    Commenting after the fact but it seems like a good part of the article is you grinding your axe against the creepier part of the otaku subculture and lamenting about how fossilized J-Pop is right now (we’ve been here before, haven’t we?).

    Even if I agree with you on both points, and even if scratching that itch feels good, I wish your post would have been more about SNSD and less about why AKB48 is bad.

    Feels like you’re approaching a new thing (K-Pop girls group success) with the same old narratives (otaku-moe = evil, J-pop = dead).

  44. W. David MARX Says:

    Unfortunately otaku still = moe and J-Pop still = dead. Hard to avoid those facts.

  45. randomcommenter Says:

    Chuckles: “the ability of the Jpop Machine to clone several AKB48 type groups within a short period of time and thus literally drown intruder groups like SNSD gets virtually no mention.”

    It probably gets no mention because it’s not happening. I live in Japan, but don’t keep up with J or K-pop. The only stuff I know is what’s really popular. I don’t know which companies which groups are with, or what the name of their producers are.

    So, from this position of “average consumerness”: I’ve heard plenty about Girl’s Generation. The only thing I’ve heard about the AKB clones is that they exist. There’s some Enka version, right? Anyway, point is, Marxy hasn’t mentioned how the AKB clones have literally drowned out Girl’s Generation because they *haven’t*. They haven’t even *figuratively* drowned out Girl’s Generation.

    If you’re going to demand that Marxy mentions things like that, you’re going to have to demand that he mention when all the convenience stores in Japan turned into candle factories last week, or the Martian attack on Shibuya last month, or how people have started using full-sized watermelons as cell phones straps.

  46. M-Bone Says:

    A pop news show saying something doesn’t mean jack in the grand scheme of things, but I saw a program the other week that described our times as a new idol 戦国時代 (sengoku jidai). Marxy shouldn’t be criticized for not knowing how this will play out in the future, but it looks like a deluge of these groups is set to begin.

  47. Dave Says:

    Even with all this “supposed” groups selling “a huge number of records”, it seems that the general Japanese music market is still contracting. Even the digital mobile music market.

    http://neojaponisme.com/2010/12/13/2010-the-decline-of-optimism-in-the-japanese-music-industry/

    Looks like nothing has changed…….

  48. W. David MARX Says:

    AKB and Girls Generation are battling it out in a declining market. They aren’t selling that many records, especially when compared to 1998 or something. They are just selling more than everyone else. It’s all relative.

    My thesis however has been that in opposition to the long tail idea, that the Japanese market has been grouping around mass market hits as the market decline rather than spreading thin among lots of microgenres. More later.

  49. Connor SHEPHERD Says:

    OK guys that LJ link blew my mind.

    It is insane to me that American fans of Japanese and Korean music are participating in some bizarre effort to “root” for the one over the other one, halfheartedly pantomiming the kind of new-school nationalism proffered by 2chan and VANK, but without any geopolitical/ethnic “dog” (prejudice) in the “fight” (internet fight).

    LJ people, I’d love to know: is this like a Nintendo/Sega thing, where as soon as you can afford all the idol DVDs you will just get over it? Or will you guys be cutting off pheasants’ heads in front of the embassy, a few years down the road?

  50. Roy Berman Says:

    “LJ people, I’d love to know: is this like a Nintendo/Sega thing, where as soon as you can afford all the idol DVDs you will just get over it?”

    That’s potentially a great comparison. So many fanboy/girl arguments really boil down to that. Sure, you might have a preference but at the end of the day a gamer likes games, and will probably buy every console if they can afford it. Pop idol fans, at least the ones who consume it in a normal consumerist way and not as an obsessive lifestyle fan, might just like idol pop, and the more the merrier.

  51. jasong Says:

    Don’t know if it’s because I haven’t read comments here (or on any blog) in a while but there’s some great material that made me laugh out loud. Particularly:

    “gyaru have their one-step-from-mizu-shobai “trauma-kei” Eurobeat Avex stars”

    and

    “It should be fairly obvious that people writing in English on livejournal are practically by definition such outliers in the fanbase of the groups being discussed that they have little to no statistical relevance.”

    Hilarious!

    Arama once looked at an article I wrote that David commissioned on J-movie actors (including Ninomiya, which was key). The degree to which it was vivisected (and in some cases eviscerated) was fascinating.

  52. Durf Says:

    @JasonG, your piece reposted on LJ in full and blasted by fans who were certain that you couldn’t possibly know what you were talking about is exactly what I thought of when I saw this latest deal. It’s fascinating to me that there are these populations of kids overseas willing to get that worked up about these Japanese corners of the global entertainment industry.

  53. Leonardo Boiko Says:

    > The only thing I’ve heard about the AKB clones is that they exist. There’s some Enka version, right?

    Is this an actual thing or just rumors?

  54. Chuckles Says:

    I’m not demanding anything – just pointing out that if Marxy is going to make like JPop is full of clones: single acts and idol collectives, then its surprising, in this essay that that possibility is not mentioned with respect to the success / prospects of an outside group – a challenger if you will. Remember, Marxy has a problem not just with specific acts or groups, but with the entire industry machine – which, again, produces clones. Its not happening, fine, but remember, this is a basic structural feature of JPop, according to Marxy – so if he is discussing Girls Generation in the entire context of the JPop machine, why doesnt he mention this? Just surprising. No demands.

    I never claimed that such drowning was actually happening, what I said was that such ability existed in the machine and Marxy insinuates that it exists, but its not discussed wrt to the success of Girl’s Generation.

  55. M-Bone Says:

    “populations of kids overseas willing to get that worked up about these Japanese corners of the global entertainment industry”

    It really is nuts. I get hit up for anime recommendations all the time and will occasionally throw in an American film only to be met with “I don’t watch those.” Or a novel, only to hear “I only read manga.”

    It isn’t just a Nintendo/Sega thing, however. Anime, manga, and J-pop all provide life fantasies – Japan is “better” and people cling to the idea of it as a utopia. The video game flames are more about how much you know (specs) or how “real” you are (my mom plays Wii, lol). Part of the attraction for young male nerds is that Japanese pop culture tends to do slutty and chaste at the same time so people get the moral high ground, the esoteric cred at being into something different, the keys to the kingdom (of Japan, 地上の楽園), AND the 12 year olds in bikinis (or man rape). Marxy and Jason’s pieces get bashed (yes, bashed, the majority of the posts over there make no point and we even have teenagers from the UK of US suggesting that Marxy is just another gaijin hater who couldn’t possibly understand Japan!) because they undermine a fantasy Japan and if Japan isn’t perfect, obviously the fan isn’t the super smart master of the global cultural now that they thought they were. You wouldn’t see that much bashing unless the original piece hits an identity nerve.

  56. Dave Says:

    @M-Bone

    The term you are looking for is Weeaboo

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Weeaboo

    :D

  57. gotchi Says:

    SNSD’s music really isn’t that great…it just ends up stuck in your head and the dance choreography becomes infectious like how the entire world was doing the Suzumiya Haruhi anime ending dance on Youtube.

    The Korean music industry is like flooded with all these Kpop idols and they market them so much more as they show up in so many Variety shows + end up MCing a bunch of entertainment shows too. it ends up showcasing so much more of the idol’s personalities and people end up liking them more due to so much of this exposure.

    I’m kinda glad to see these Kpop groups enter the Japanese music industry– cuz I think Jpop needs to consider some changes and innovation and Kpop might just be the thing to jump start some new ideas. I am looking forward to 2NE1′s debut not only in Japan but in America as well.

  58. M-Bone Says:

    Dave, let me hate in detail!

  59. Today In Music News: Mon Dec 13 | Says:

    [...] products are down 5% quarter-to-quarter from 2009. There are still viable mass-market stars of the girl-pop, “pretty boys,” and nerd-exploitation-pop varieties, but fewer and fewer of them can actually attain any meaningful level of popularity. And the [...]

  60. jasong Says:

    @Durf Despite the ‘net rage about who I left off the list and a general dislike of my “tone” I don’t recall anybody demanding the removal of names, at least.

    Often, readers who grew up post-internet go off if you dare “analyze” the contents/personalities that they’ve devoted every waking hour to. That’s not only true of J-contents but they seem to inspire unmatched levels of mania. I assume some of them channel that passion into coming over here and learning the language (and hopefully calming down) — good for them.

  61. Roy Berman Says:

    “the dance choreography becomes infectious like how the entire world was doing the Suzumiya Haruhi anime ending dance on Youtube.”

    At the Kyoto University campus festival a couple of weekend back, I saw on the main stage a group of ~40 cosplay dancers doing choreographed anime dances – including haruhi, which I found a clip of online.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2fjnb3zvZw&feature=player_detailpage#t=128s

  62. Roy Berman Says:

    Sorry, here’s a video of actually watchable quality. Maybe David or someone could just replace the above URL and erase this comment if they get a chance.

  63. Roy Berman Says:

    Errrr – copy/paste fail.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rja3VBXdVQQ&feature=related

  64. Leonardo Boiko Says:

    Weeaboo? Wow, that term is SO 2008, by now it’s almost retro.

  65. lol Says:

    @ M-Bone

    “Marxy and Jason’s pieces get bashed (yes, bashed, the majority of the posts over there make no point and we even have teenagers from the UK of US suggesting that Marxy is just another gaijin hater who couldn’t possibly understand Japan!) because they undermine a fantasy Japan and if Japan isn’t perfect, obviously the fan isn’t the super smart master of the global cultural now that they thought they were. You wouldn’t see that much bashing unless the original piece hits an identity nerve.”

    I’m Japanese, actually, and I was the one who wrote the longest reply. I wrote it because it was factually inconsistent and built on shoddy logic. You can make it about otakus getting mad if you want, but i’ve personally never watched anime in my life, nor do I worship pop music, but the points were asinine, and the condescending tone…hilarious.

    So…try again.

    Anyway, the foreign viewpoint on Japan and the need to express it is interesting. I find that the same thing happens in Korea as well. Many foreigners who live in Korea feel that it’s mandatory to start up a blog and critique Korean daily life from the Western culture mindset, as if they are doing something groundbreaking. It’s humorous to me because all they generally do is whine and complain about Japan/Korea, but at the same time, they are forced to endure it, because many of them are English teachers or something of the sort, and they are English teachers because the standards there are low and they have little job prospects in the USA. Hence, they dwell on misery and start blogs because they have little social lives outside of interacting with other miserable English teachers and then they write things like “Well I have no social life because Asians are racist” or something to that effect. It’s an interesting phenomenon to me. I get a lot of negative feedback about those individuals from “outside” foreigners, as in those who have no interest in Asia, but I ask them what they think about those who go overseas and it doesn’t seem to be positive.

    On a somewhat related note, it’s odd to see foreigners on this blog calling other foreigners, whether it be on LJ or otakus, delusional losers.

    As I am situated overseas in America, I don’t think you guys (writers/commenters here) would be grouped all that differently in western society from those you label delusional losers (otakus?). I have a feeling most of you know this (if you in fact aren’t in otaku denial), and thus are trying to create space between those simply situated or interested in Japan and otakus (negative connotations). That seems to fit with the theme here as well, considering the general disdain in the comments and writing for those who are deemed delusional and optimistic about Japan. Seems that one could also say a large part of the disdain from foreigners comes from insecurity and fear of being associated with those they deem losers, and Japan/Korea/Any Country In Asia, seems to be caught in the crossfire of their mini-pride/disassociation war.

    Interesting views, nevertheless. Misguided, in my opinion, but it contributes to what I had already been observing.

  66. M-Bone Says:

    “and I was the one who wrote the longest reply”

    You also, as far as I can see, ignored the article that Marxy linked about the Girl’s Generation fan demographics.

    “So…try again.”

    Sure, and what about the other 200 posts over there dismissing Marxy’s article in enraged one-liners because he is so BIAS?

    The majority of the posters over there are not “optimistic” about Japan, they are aggressive about defending their fandom. Big difference.

  67. Roy Berman Says:

    “On a somewhat related note, it’s odd to see foreigners on this blog calling other foreigners, whether it be on LJ or otakus, delusional losers.”

    I don’t know if anyone said they were losers. I may have implied a bit of delusion when I suggested that their anecdotal observations of non-Japanese fans of Jpop are of little value in interpreting the marketplace in Japan. That is all. The same argument could very well apply to the individuals commenting here, but some people (like David) are trying to do analysis based on published evidence rather than mere personal observation.

    As for the rest of your rant, I think if you had been reading Marxy or many of the writers here you would realize it applies to a rather different demographic. There’s a big difference between “Bashing daily life” and doing an evidence based analysis of an industry.

  68. lol Says:

    “You also, as far as I can see, ignored the article that Marxy linked about the Girl’s Generation fan demographics.”

    No, I didn’t miss it, but it’s not like any of the “evidence” was a study, nor do any of my points revolve around what their demographics are made out of.

    Again, asinine.

    “Sure, and what about the other 200 posts over there dismissing Marxy’s article in enraged one-liners because he is so BIAS?

    The majority of the posters over there are not ‘optimistic’ about Japan, they are aggressive about defending their fandom. Big difference.”

    Sure, everybody has fandom, but it’s a leap to say they defend AKB48 or Arashi because they are defending an ideal portrayal of Japan. Seems to me they are defending their favorite music groups.

    You would find the same in America for pop artists, would you not? Ever try talking shit about Justin Bieber? Nobody looks at that with wide ranging country idealization overtones.

    Besides, if your only response to my two posts boils down to “well look at the arguments of other people”, then you are basically throwing up the white flag, I think.

    I understand the type you are against, and “normal” Japanese people think those otaku types are losers as well, but it’s a little far reaching to try to connect everything you find odd or stuff you believe is inferior to otaku fandom. Newsflash, fangirls and fanboys defend their pop culture icons around the world.

  69. M-Bone Says:

    You put up the white flag as soon as you contrasted your “Japanese” viewpoint with “the foreign viewpoint on Japan”. You understand what is problematic about this, right? What, for example, is to stop me from using the same logic and saying – “well, you are Japanese so you just don’t understand these foreign fans”?

    It may have been a reach to connect the Arama fans with “defending Japan”, but think about this – there are a fair number of posts over there doing the usual Japan vs. Korea stuff – plastic surgery, etc. That is a bad vibe.

    “nor do any of my points revolve around what their demographics are made out of.
    Again, asinine.”

    Actually, the closest thing that you have to a point in the original post is -

    “delve into exactly zero empirically supported evidence. Any “facts” you include in the article is entirely made up of conjecture and speculation, and unless you can reasonably show that old perverts are buying 500,000 records, I think the burden of proof is on you, not vice versa.”

    Not only is this clearly about the fan demographics – something that you mistakenly deny – It doesn’t work as an argument in the way that you think it does. Marxy has some evidence about SNSD as appealing to large numbers of female fans in Japan. You have no evidence about AKB48 whatsoever. You can call Marxy on his lack of evidence there if you want, but that is all that you can do. It is like you are saying “my lack of evidence trumps your lack of evidence”. I say, at LEAST Marxy had something about SNSD. You want to prove Marxy wrong? Get some facts.

    I’m not actually against anything BTW. If people want to love Japan without ever having gone there, that is fine. However, as soon as people start taking critical writing as an affront to their love and lash out, they deserve a few stern comments.

    Your post is the one exceptioin over there as you point out something worth talking about, but look upthread to my post 26 – I present some numbers to back up an opinion. You should as well.

  70. lol Says:

    Anyway, i’ve wasted enough time arguing this point. The writer of the article said “fair enough” and has let it go, so I will as well.

    As for the rest, I realize you want to defend him, but even your friend or your colleague or your favorite blogger can write a dumb article now and then. It happens.

    None of this likely would have happened if you guys (commenters) hadn’t acted like everybody who disagreed with this post was an ignoramus or a little kid or somebody obsessed with Japan.

    The shock when somebody posted a logical intelligent refutation of the post is amusing, as is your scramble to defend his honor or something.

    Anyway, have fun thinking you know everything about Japan.

    :-D

  71. M-Bone Says:

    It isn’t whether Marxy is right or wrong, it is how he plays the game…. which is to write critically and with evidence.

    I can make your point better than you can with 30 seconds of googling -

    http://www.sponichi.co.jp/entertainment/flash/KFullFlash20101211040.html

    Here’s an article talking about AKB48 marketing now being directed by assumptions about female fan tastes. Plus, the assumption that the “tsundere” archetype is what is driving (gyaru?) fan interest. Now we’ve actually got something to talk about.

    You want to disagree, bring something else to the table.

  72. lol Says:

    My other two posts are still “awaiting moderation”, hence, you didn’t get to see them.

    Regardless, burden of proof is always on the “journalist” attempting to make a factual claim.

    You have to be an idiot to believe the burden of proof is on the reader.

  73. lol Says:

    # lol Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    December 23, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    I am technically a foreign fan now actually, so I think I understand both sides quite well.

    My point was that if your only argument against me is attacking somebody else’s argument, then why am I even wasting my time, because I can’t beat a strawman logical fallacy. Nobody can.

    -

    Prove him wrong? Rofl. Who is the burden of proof on? The guy trying to pass his work off as insightful and/or journalism, or the commenter refuting that argument? If you’re going to write an opinion piece, there has to be something to base it on in order to come to a meaningful conclusion, or else it deserves to be treated with as much seriousness as I showed it. None.

    My entire point to begin with was that neither side has any “evidence” aside from small sample size cases that they would try to extrapolate into wide ranging assumptions.

    For example, I know young women who like AKB48, but what does that PROVE? NOTHING. He shows a video or a screenshot of SNSD fans having young female fans. Great. What does that PROVE? NOTHING.

    It’s EXACTLY my point. We don’t have evidence to support a claim that AKB48 is liked by majority young female fans, but we weren’t MAKING any claims initially. Sorry, but the guy writing the article is passing it off as some type of foregone conclusion with no meaningful evidence.

    I’m not trying to prove shit to you, I don’t have to. When your argument for an analysis based article is “well you don’t have any evidence to prove him wrong”, when people question the fact that no evidence was provided to begin with, you are fighting a hilarious uphill battle.
    # lol Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    December 23, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    @Roy Berman

    -

    “As for the rest of your rant, I think if you had been reading Marxy or many of the writers here you would realize it applies to a rather different demographic. There’s a big difference between “Bashing daily life” and doing an evidence based analysis of an industry.”

    Yeah, that’s the problem. The evidence based part of your post…

  74. lol Says:

    # lol Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    December 23, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    I am technically a foreign fan now actually, so I think I understand both sides quite well.

    My point was that if your only argument against me is attacking somebody else’s argument, then why am I even wasting my time, because I can’t beat a strawman logical fallacy. Nobody can.

  75. lol Says:

    Prove him wrong? Rofl. Who is the burden of proof on? The guy trying to pass his work off as insightful and/or journalism, or the commenter refuting that argument? If you’re going to write an opinion piece, there has to be something to base it on in order to come to a meaningful conclusion, or else it deserves to be treated with as much seriousness as I showed it. None.

    My entire point to begin with was that neither side has any “evidence” aside from small sample size cases that they would try to extrapolate into wide ranging assumptions.

  76. lol Says:

    For example, I know young women who like AKB48, but what does that PROVE? NOTHING. He shows a video or a screenshot of SNSD fans having young female fans. Great. What does that PROVE? NOTHING.

    It’s EXACTLY my point. We don’t have evidence to support a claim that AKB48 is liked by majority young female fans, but we weren’t MAKING any claims initially. Sorry, but the guy writing the article is passing it off as some type of foregone conclusion with no meaningful evidence.

    I’m not trying to prove anything to you, I don’t have to. When your argument for an analysis based article is “well you don’t have any evidence to prove him wrong”, when people question the fact that no evidence was provided to begin with, you are fighting a hilarious uphill battle.

  77. lol Says:

    Bleh, I can’t even post my full response, so whatever already.

    Point being, you’re an idiot for thinking the tripe above constitutes “evidence”.

  78. Aceface Says:

    lol:

    Here’s a friendly advice from another”I’m-a-Japanese-and-the-one-who-wrote-the-longest-reply-on-this-thread”type.

    a)Make your account on twitter.
    b)Leave other commenters alone.

  79. Connor SHEPHERD Says:

    We’re going to be re-running this piece, translated into Japanese, on Goblin sometime next week. We can start all this over again! “lol”さん, feel free to keep commenting over there. I don’t agree with what you have to say, but at least you are not an internet robot trying to sell me prescription drugs. And God knows we need the traffic.

    And please follow Aceface on Twitter! How else are you going to read absurdist screenplays about Tohoshinki’s trip to Senkaku, conveniently divided into 140-character chunks?