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Modern and Traditional Japanese Culture: The Psychology of Buddhism, Power Rangers, Masked Rider, Manga, Anime and Shinto. 在日イギリス人男性による日本文化論.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Chart of Idol Calendars for 2006

Chart of Idol Calendars for 2006
Originally uploaded by timtak.
The Japanese love "idols." Idols are beautiful people. The name is appropriate. They are idolized, shared targets of infatuation. They are celebrities that are famous by virtue of being attractive and simply because they are famous.

Often, but not always, they sing. The songs are usually written for them. The songs and the music are often not all that important. They do not necessarily need to have a good voice. Sometimes they may act. At other times they are simply models.

Idols are similar to Western pin-up girls. But they do not necessary show their naked bodies. In fact showing oneself naked usually, but not always, indicates that the idol is not going to be popular for much longer (a notable exception is Rie Miyazawa, who stripped and then went from strenght to strength). They are the dream girls and guys, that the purchasers of their photographs would like to meet.

Idols appear on caledars, and books of photoraphs. They often appear on television programs, usually in a guest role, as well.

In the UK, television guests --on quiz programs and talk shows-- are often simply members of the public. But in Japan it is rare to see members of the public take part. This is perhaps partly because members of the public are too shy and too modest to make interesting viewing.

Idols also demonstrate the Japanese emphasis upon the visual. It is not important that these people are talented at singing or acting so long as they are a feast for the eyes. As well as being simply beautiful in their physical appearance, they are good at striking poses and presenting themselves well. Indeed, sometimes they are not even particularly attractive in terms of their bodily shape but appear attractive by virtue of their poses, expressions, mannerisms, and behaviour. One of the most popular Idols this year is Yuka, shown smiling with a dog. She is not necessarily the most beautiful of idols but achieves enourmous popularity by her character or her ability to present herself in an attractive way. A few years ago the most popular woman in Japan was Hisamoto, a comedienne who acheived almost idol status, not simply because she is funny, and not because she has a beautiful face, but through her dedication to being 'genki,' energetic, childlike, natural, and lovable.

These images are copyright the people that appear in them and the photographers that took them. I am hoping that they are small enough to constitute thumbnails.

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This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.