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