One of our New Year’s traditions is watching the various music specials beamed live from Japan on the Nippon Golden Network.
As each year passes, the Alpha Japanese Female (AJF) and I recognize fewer of the singers, everyone looks younger and I find myself yelling at the TV , in a geezerly manner, “get those darn kids off my lawn.”
The Japanese music acts seem to be getting stranger and stranger. Submitted for your consideration are a few of the top acts. In deference to your tender ears and even more tender sensibilities, I will not link any Youtube videos.
Here we have the boy group Kis My Ft2. Yes, their name is indeed pronounced Kiss My Foot, Too.
Judging by their performance on Music Station I’d say they can kiss my royal…well, let’s not go there, I have a resolution to uphold.
Now meet the ever delightful Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.
She recently came to Honolulu for a concert at the Waikiki Shell. Nobody knew if she was real or some animatronic doll but she sold the place out and had a huge group of loyal fans fly in from Japan just for the show.
Here’s another shot of Kyary. She is either signing “I Love You” or picking her nose, I can’t tell for sure.
Large girl groups continue to be popular.
No, I don’t mean the girls are large. I mean that the groups have many members.
The most famous is AKB 48, a favorite for almost 10 years and a marketing masterpiece whose 48 young ladies are all under the age of 21.
Don’t mock them; they raked in nearly $150 million in sales last year and were Japan’s #2 highest grossing group. Actually they have four or five teams of AKB 48 each with its own “brand image.”
Their marketing material says the group is designed to appeal to prepubescent girls and older males who purchase the group’s merchandise. That just creeps me out.
Of course success breeds copycats. Other numerically significant girl groups include acts SKE 48, NMB 48, HKT 48, SNH 48 and JKT 48.
I kid you not and that’s just groups that have the number of members listed in their names; there are tons of other girl groups with dozens of performers in each group.
How about Babymetal? Three adorable waifs who like to dress as marauding samurai foxes, among other things, and perform the Japanese version of heavy metal music which doesn’t quite seem right because they are obsessed with using complicated, repetitive hand motions designed to make the singers look “cute.”
In Japan’s fevered and crushingly competitive music scene it’s important to have a distinct look even if the look seems to have no relationship to your band’s name.
Witness the boys from Man With A Mission who parade onstage wearing wolf heads. No doubt crying to the Blue Corn Moon and asking the grinning bob cat why he grins.
For hip hop music, the holiday shows offer Funky Monkey Baby or Maximum the Hormone. Sadly, the group School Food Punishment broke up last year. We miss them much like we miss mouth cankers.
Oh well, I guess the Japan groups really are no stranger than those in other countries. A quick look at the not quite definitive website The Weirdest Bands in the World includes groups such as The Radioactice Chicken Heads.
Other unusual group names that delight and amuse are Anklepants, Army of Gay Unicorns, Autopsy Report of Drowned Shrimp and my personal favorite, Rancid Penguin Molestation which specializes in a musical genre called “pornogrind” and whose marketing materials are too offensive to link to in this silly blog. Sigh.
Max has indicated he is starting a group called The Hungry Maltese who will play for food.
Or maybe that’s just his solo act.