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Derek VasconiJan. 19, 2016 - 08:47PM JST
So, my question is, if you sign a contract to work for a cigarette company, and that contract includes that you can't be a smoker, that's morally wrong? Doesn't signing a contract saying I'm not allowed to smoke violate my right to pursue happiness, if smoking cigarettes makes me happy?
Or how about if you work at a company and sign a contract, which in part states you are not allowed to date co-workers. That is also morally wrong? Or does anyone not see how two co-workers dating could potentially disrupt work and cause problems if those two who are dating break up and can't work together anymore, or worse.
I think equating the idol industry to slavery ignores the fact that these girls signed a contract to agree to sing and dance for a living with a company that wants to project a virginal image. For better or for worse, you may not like that idea or concept, and it might be gross to some, but using the broad blanket expression like "the pursuit of happiness" destroys that company's ability to earn profits with their concept. And one thing that I think needs to be mentioned is that nobody is forcing these girls to sign these contracts. The girls audition on their own, the girls agree to these terms on their own, and if the girl wants to go pursue love, they simply leave the group in any number of ways they choose that is legal. Last I checked, nobody volunteers to be a slave, or freely of their own will signs a contract to be a slave, or is allowed to leave their life of slavery at any point on their own free will.
And yes, there are terrible people that work in the idol industry, just like there are terrible people that work at Red Cross, the U.N, in all factions of government, and even at your local 7/11. But I don't think it's smart nor justified to condemn the idol industry as a whole. It's done a LOT of good for many people in the world. Need I remind us all that the idol group AKB48 still goes up to the tsunami affected areas of Japan even to this day to give free concerts, spread some joy, and they donate money to all the people in the Sendai region. And this was done by very strong-willed girls who I am pretty sure would take offense at being called slaves.
Derek VasconiDec. 10, 2015 - 12:04AM JST
You heard incorrectly. Plenty of young JPOP fans still support AKB. Just look at the Oricon chart demographics of who bought AKB's latest single, which just went NUMBER ONE on the chart, beating Exile for that position. I'd say there are plenty of "young" J-pop fans who still VERY much support AKB. Nothing wrong about that.
Derek VasconiDec. 09, 2015 - 08:47PM JST
I wasn't comparing The Beatles talent to AKB's, as clearly the Beatles got them beat there. Even I'm not that delusional to think AKB is somehow better than them. You are the one who failed to see MY point, in that what I'm talking about is that the level of devotion to the Beatles by their fans is actually a lot MORE fanatical than that of AKB's fans. And honestly, I could give you a list as long as the distance from Japan to LA the number of bands out there in the world, both past and present, who have WAAAAAY more devoted fans that AKB. You were attacking AKB's fandom and calling some of us "deranged" simply because some of us choose to be very awesome fans. You are wrong for saying this about AKB fans, unless you want to apply the same term to Beatle's fans, and anyone else out there who has ever liked a music group enough to spend thousands or millions of dollars following them.
As for your qualifying statement about how you "Know people in the industry," is that supposed to make me believe you any more or any less? I actually WORK in the music industry, especially in the JPOP world, but that has nothing to do with the fact that I am here in JT trying to defend AKB from unfair criticisms, especially when it involves AKB's fans. It's no secret that AKB has people write their songs for them. Guess what, alot of them lip sync at big concerts too! That's Pop music 101, by the way. It's no different in the US with a lot of pop groups, and that doesn't lessen my enjoyment of them any more or less. But regardless, you still have to show some measure of talent, and AKB has plenty of talent to take those songs written by somebody else and make them their own. And as somebody else said here on JT, it's not really about talent anyways, but about watching your favorite idol in AKB go from nothing to something. I mean, some girls in AKB literally can't sing because they are more tone deaf than me, but they bring other traits and qualities to the group. In case you didn't realize it, AKB is more than just singing and dancing... they are a way of life.
And that brings me to you saying something about how I'm measuring the term "successful" with AKB. I said they are the "worlds" most successful idol group, but you have to understand, just because other nations don't have idol groups doesn't mean they still aren't the "World's" most successful group. I'm looking at it like how we here in America have a World Series of Baseball when it's only North American teams that participate in it. But now you are just getting into a matter of semantics and that proves to me you DO have straw legs that you're standing on. So stop while you're ahead big guy, because the fact is you called AKB fans "deranged" simply because they choose to spend a lot of money on AKB and last I checked, that is part of some people's fan experiences, and that's with ANYTHING you choose to be a fan of in life.
Derek VasconiDec. 09, 2015 - 02:15PM JST
Idol groups are alive and well here in the US, so not sure what you are talking about. There are at least three of them here in LA alone.
And as for talent, I think you are selling yourself short if you just assume that nobody in AKB has any talent. Ever hear Wasamin sing? Or Sayanee? These girls can stand tall next to ANY singer in Japan and be respected for their vocal abilities. And they are just two out of several hundred girls in AKB who really can sing, dance, and be considered for gravure shoots on a daily basis.
As for your point about the sousenkyo and how devoted the fans are, that's a beautiful thing to support your oshi that much. I remember not too long ago, there was this little group from England called the Beatles, and there were stories very much similar to what you just brought up, in terms of the amount of money spent on buying everything the Beatles had to offer a fan. In fact, there are those in this world who will pay outrageous sums for Beatles memorabilia. Let me ask you, what is the difference between the fan devotion to that group and the fan devotion to AKB? There isn't any, except perhaps there are "Fans" of the Beatles who have spent literally MILLIONS to achieve a piece of their favorite band, whereas in AKB, not so much. But give it time.
They ARE the world's most successful idol group. They ARE incredible and worth the kind of fan devotion that is legendary amongst wotas, and I'm sure crazy to those outside the AKB fandom who just sit on the sidelinea and judge, much like you do every time there's an AKB-related post on JT. To call fans "deranged" because they choose to spend their money in extravagant amounts on AKB is simply you not understanding what it means to be a real fan of something. The idol world depends on this kind of fan zealotry, and I honestly have nothing but respect for anyone who is THAT devoted to anything in this world. LONG LIVE AKB!!!!!
Derek VasconiDec. 08, 2015 - 10:10PM JST
I actually, for once, agree with the majority of the comments being posted. I am a die hard AKB fan, super passionate to the core, but seeing Justin do this didn't make me mad, or upset. A bit jealous, of course, but I found it to be in good spirits and casual fun. And not to mention, Justin has a good heart, for all the garbage that surrounds him, and the fact that I can't get into his music or see his appeal to the ladies out there. But I've seen him do a lot of great things for his fans and for disabled kids and not saying that excuses him from acting like a bad person in his life or anything, but I still think what he did was done with the kindest of gestures, and not to invoke anger and rage amongst all of us wotas.
So sad Takamina is leaving AKB though. That is actually what I thought about more when I saw this picture. YOSHHH IKUSHOOO!!!
Posted in: Bieber kisses two of Japan’s most popular idols
Derek VasconiApr. 13, 2015 - 07:43PM JST
This is probably one of the absolute funniest and best stories Japan Today has ever carried. As somebody who lives with a Japanese woman that has often gone nuts if I forgot to wash my hands after touching money of any kind, I completely see the dark humor in this situation. Lesson be learned folks: DO NOT MESS WITH A JAPANESE WOMAN WHEN IT COMES TO HYGIENE!
Posted in: Woman slashes husband for not washing his hands after using toilet
Derek VasconiFeb. 04, 2013 - 12:08PM JST
Sorry, forgot the link: http://www.tokyohive.com/2011/03/which-akb48-members-earned-the-highest-annual-income/
Posted in: AKB48 singer shaves her head as act of contrition for dating
I had mentioned that the girls in AKB48 would be set for life, but I wasn't talking about the ones in the lower echelons of the group. They obviously aren't getting paid anything. But the top girls get paid AWESOME wages every year. When you add up how much the top girls get year after year, YES, they are millionaires as I said. I did my research too. Check the link at the end of this post. Not to mention, many of them HAVE gone on to do commercials and tv. The ones that get kicked out or stop being in AKB48 before maturing into the group, they have had baaaad luck in their post AKB48 careers. We all know some of them went into porn and God knows what else lol. BUT I think what is an even bigger reward than money is the prestige and honor and pride it is to be in a group that is so recognizable in Japan, and that's saying something considering their girl next door image! I would kill to be able to be that accessible to fans who actually would like me and respect what I do. Sure, they have sicko perv fans, but that's in any type of performance medium. I feel for Minami san because maybe her dream is gone, but that's how it is in Japan. You sign a contract, get paid a decently large amount of money (if you earn it in the ranks) yearly, and then enjoy the fame and success and most of all, the PRIDE and HONOR of being in AKB48. From being in a band that so many times knew the names and the dreams of EVERY SINGLE FAN standing in the front row at my shows, I can tell you that it's the connection with the fans that is the most rewarding part of being in a showbiz like occupation, and for that reason, I know Minami san probably hurts the most from losing. I'm still a fan though!
Derek VasconiFeb. 04, 2013 - 09:57AM JST
*Betraythetrust!FEB. 02, 2013 - 11:55PM JST
They do not get rich from this.***
What? You're joking right? You don't think being in the insane amount of tv commercials they are in and all the dvds they sale plus all the performances they do that they aren't rich? Yeah right. And even if what you said is true, do you know how many of them can go on after they graduate from AKB48 to highly successful tv, music, and movie careers, not to mention all the print ads they do and radio sponsorships? I mean, it's almost laughable to suggest these girls aren't set for life at least in terms of opportunities, if not in terms of financialy stability. Unless of course they violate the rules they are given.
And as for the other person who asked me if I was ever 20, yes, I certainly was. From 20 to 28, I played in a band and toured the world and devoted my LIFE to music. I gave up a huge piece of my world to do something I loved and I don't regret it at all. If anything, I wish I was still doing it now. But when I was doing my best to be in a successful band, I couldn't have any kind of normal relationship. It just wasn't possible. So trust me, I know about commitment and I praise any of the girls in AKB48 or ANY idol group that do their best to uphold the fantasy image they are selling. It can't be easy and my heart goes out to Minami san for acting like a normal human being, but she was given a DREAM CHANCE that many people only wish they had. I think what I'm having a hard time with in all of this is that so many people are saying something is wrong with Japan somehow that Minami san felt she had to shave her head to say she was sorry. I think I would do more than just shave my head if I just had realized my dream opportunity just got flushed down the idol toilet because of what I did, but then again, we will never know for real how Minami san really felt about everything.
Derek VasconiFeb. 02, 2013 - 11:02PM JST
While my heart goes out to Minami san, I'm looking at it like this:
A talent agency wants to sign me because of my natural good looks. They offer me GOD knows how much in money. They tell me either officially or unofficially to NOT DATE so that I can live up to the idea of what an "Idol" is in Japan. I would not only sign the contract, but I would sign it in BLOOD and not even THINK of dating another human being until my contract is up. If I was given an opportunity like this where I could be on television commercials, be part of AKB48 and be popular all over the entire world, and yes, be loved by sicko old dudes and also hopeful teens and even some not so bad fans in between, then yeah, I would give up just about anything for a chance like Minami san had.
On the flip side, Minami san probably felt the same way at first, but maybe it got tiresome for her. Maybe she was lonely. Maybe this was all part of a dramatized act to get more interest in AKB48 (although God knows they are BEYOND popular now as it is so I don't see this really being true). Whatever her reasons were, that dream of fame and being in the spotlight wasn't as big for her as it would be for some other people.
So really, at the end of the day, would any of you NOT sign the contract that says no dating until you are done being an IDOL, which is the anti-thesis of dating? I bet the only people that would answer they wouldn't sign a contract like this are the ones that have never lived on welfare, never had a dream of being in the spotlight, or are just plain self-righteous or don't possess the narcissistic gene that all actors and singers and famous people tend to have, which usually is what drives them to do crazy things like sign contracts that say give up your rights to first love in the first place. Just saying people enough with the bashing of Japan and the way Japan works....walk a mile in somebody's shoes who has a dream like the girls in AKB48 do, and you'll realize it's about a chance to do something outside the boring confines of society and be part of INFLUENCING society, for better or worse.
Derek VasconiDec. 14, 2012 - 12:32AM JST
Does anybody here find it strangely curious that this happened only a few days after North Korea breached Japanese airspace with its rocket? Hmmm, lets see, China has the veto power in the U.N. Council that it's going to be delegating with over what happened with North Korea. China doesn't want to piss off North Korea or lose its support to them, so it creates a classic distraction that will allow the U.N. to get upset with China over what it just did and voila! "We'll if you're going to be like that, Mr. U.N. council, then I'll just say no to whatever you propose to do about North Korea." I mean, doesn't anyone see how this could possibly be what is at play here? China didn't just "fly" over Japan's airspace. I love the Chinese almost as much as I love the Japanese, but sometimes I just wish I could take the Chinese over my lap and spank them for playing this 5 year-old games lol.
Posted in: 8 fighter jets scrambled after Chinese plane flies over disputed islands
Derek VasconiDec. 08, 2012 - 04:59PM JST
I think it's imperative to bring up a huge point about China and their CONTINUING atrocious acts they are engaging in TODAY. One word people: TIBET.
I agree with what one person wrote, that during the Mao regime, hunger was a driving force for some of the brutality that occurred in that era. I also realize that Chinese people today do suffer if they try to speak out and do something about their government's disgusting attempt at hiding their crimes against Tibet, but what Japan did was act like an army hell bent on destruction DURING WAR. And yes, war is awful. My heart breaks for all the Chinese who were savagely raped, brutalized, and murdered during the Nanjing slaughter, and yes, it sucks that there are Japanese government officials who deny this ever happened. BUT guess what? The whole world back then was doing some pretty awful things to each other. I'm not saying that because a war was on that what the Japanese did was ok, but many of those Japanese soldiers were in the same position as the Chinese common people are today: If they didn't go along with what was happening at the time, they too would have been killed or their families put to shame.
But Tibet? What is China's excuse for this? It is probably one of the worst atrocities in terms of aggression on a population of people by a government anywhere in the world, yet the Chinese government of course all turn a blind eye to it. So you know, before Chinese officials get all riled up about what happened 70+ years ago, maybe they should look in the mirror and realize they have just as much blood on their hands. Free Tibet, then we can start talking.
Posted in: Agony endures 75 years after Nanjing Massacre
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