Our “Tokyo Idols” Encounter! We Stumble Upon The Dancelicious “Pop Idol” Dance Phenomenon!


Welcome To The “Tokyo Idol Festival!”

I wanted to share a musical performance phenomenon underway in Tokyo – one that my wife Alex and I happened upon when we were in Tokyo in 2016!

First, according to wikipedia:

“in Japanese pop culture, “idol” is a term typically used to refer to young manufactured stars/starlets marketed to be admired for their cuteness.”

That “cuteness” is a cultural phenomenon in Tokyo – look at the crowd at this Tokyo Idol festival!

tokyo-idol-festival

Here is a YouTube video from “The Tokyo Idol Project” – and gives you an idea of what this phenomenon looks like up close:

The TOKYO IDOL PROJECT (TIP) started in March 2015 as a new project to introduce the “idol” culture of Japan to the world, using various forms of media such as TV, video streaming, events, radio, magazines, newspapers and various websites.

tokyo-pop-idol-models

The Making Of A “Pop Idol!”

These young women are terrific dancers, great performers, and upbeat entertainers.

As wikipedia points out:

“Idols are intended to be role models. They are supposed to have a good public image and be good examples to young people. Idols aim to play a wide range of roles as media personalities (tarento), e.g. pop singers, panelists of variety programs, bit-part actors, models for magazines and advertisements.”

tokyo-idol-festival-video

My wife Alex and I came across auditions for female “Pop Idols” at a park in Tokyo…it all began when we were wandering in Ueno park and found an amazing water lily pond:

tokyo-water-lily-pond

The best part of this pond is when I took a panorama shot on my iPhone – and asked Alex to stand on one side of the pool until she was out of camera shot, then jump to the other side…this is what we ended up with:

tokyo-water-lily-pond-panorama-alex-duda

Yes, Alex puts up with a lot from me:

At one end of the pond was an outdoor amphitheater, and we heard some very energetic pop music inside:

tokyo-ueno-park-pop-idol-auditions

Our view was partially blocked, but signs were everywhere that there was a TV audition underway, and the stage held a number of excited young contestants as they rehearsed for their live show that was scheduled for later that day.

Apologies for the uneven quality of my filming, but I wanted to capture it on the fly with, as you will see, unpleasant stagehands watching:

Well, as you can see, this stage hand was NOT that happy to see guys watching! Still, it just shows how fascinating this competition is!

tokyo-japan-pop-idols-tv-show

The biggest annual idol concert festival is the “Tokyo Idol Festival”, which has been held since 2010. More than 300 idol groups, totaling 1,500 idols performed – to an audience of more than 80,000!

tokyo-idol-festival-video

I found something similar when I was in Seoul South Korea…these shows are really popular, and K-pop groups are as well.

Oh, and bacon-wrapped hot dogs sold on carts are also hugely popular, and delicious too!

Here is a look at that trip to Seoul, including my G4 Host Morgan Webb standing on the infamous “Bridge Of No Return” at the North Korea border:

Tokyo was an incredible adventure as well, especially sitting in the iconic “Lost In Translation” bar:

Park Hyatt New York Bar Tokyo

This was the scene where Bill Murray talks to Scarlet Johansson in “Lost In Translation” – see more of the hotel here:

That was just one of many great musical adventures to tokyo, like our night singing along with a golden gai bartender/musician:

Golden Gai bar music

My son Jeff found this great bar, and the bartender/musician sang an original song for us!

See more of that fun night here – including that performance and more of our wild night here:

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Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Let me know what you think of the “Tokyo Idol” phenomenon!

tokyo-idol-models


Categories: Art, Books / Media, Exotic Travel, Japan, Memoirs, Music, Pop Culture, Talent/Celebrities, Tokyo!, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir, TV Show

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 replies

  1. You were in the right place at the right time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Haha, that’s funny I’m learning something new about culture where I originated! Great post John!👍

    Liked by 1 person

  3. An interesting phenomenon and clearly hugely popular! Thanks for the bacon dog in korea)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi John, I am sure these girls have a lot of fun with these productions and it is good for their teamwork and other skills.

    Like

  5. I watched the video all the way through, and concluded that perhaps you can have ‘too much of a good thing’. I also noticed that the audiences were manily composed of men, no doubt enjoying an endless parade of dancing teenage girls. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Like

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