Happy 2011 from Japan! For a country which loves fireworks – and if you haven’t been to a Japanese fireworks display, you can’t even begin to understand what this means – the changing of the date is a very low-key affair. On New Year’s Eve, thousands of people cluster outside shrines, waiting. At the stroke of 2011, no “Woo!”. No kissing, awkwardly or otherwise. No songs. No fireworks. People just get on with the business of paying their respects in an orderly fashion. If the shrine has a bell, they might make some noise with that for a bit.
TV, however, is a different affair. Most entertainers have a hectic night, with various family variety specials trotting out something everyone from toddlers to grandma can enjoy. Perhaps no entertainers are busier than those from Johnny’s, aka The Boy Band Factory Dominating Japanese Pop Culture With Suspiciously Mafia-like Iron Fisted Power. That might roll off the tongue better in Japanese.
Just about all of the biggest somewhat-androgynous boy bands from Johnny’s like SMAP, Arashi and one hundred others are slickly packaged products deployed in ads, movies, music videos and variety shows. The Johnny’s web site doesn’t even contain pictures of their stars, such are the lengths they go to protect the valuable image of their commodities.
Want in to the Japanese music biz? Let me give you slightly more than the no chance you have.
What you need to know about pop music in Japan that that English is the coolest language ever invented. If you’re reading this, congratulations! I guarantee you would be much cooler in Japan than wherever you are now. Yes, you, even you. So, songs often employ the use of some English to make them more sophisticated. Like these guys:
Don’t be wet! Get a grip (if you step)
(From today) We are Fighting Men
Don’t think. Feel! Bring it on (don’t think, let’s go)
Do you think you could do better (but not much better)? Looking to add “Boy Band Lyricist (2011-2011)” to your resume? Applications will be graded for curious grammar, awkward phrasing and improper Use of capitalisation.