I had no idea where to start with this blog post, I think because my field site is anime I don’t really know of any “celebrities” as such. I’ve written multiple and deleted them because they didn’t make sense so finally I decided I’m just going to Google “Japanese celebrities” and go from there. On the Wikipedia page for “List of Japanese Celebrities” there is an extensive list of “male idols”, which is relatable to my field site because it is focused on otaku, which I guess you could consider the “fangirls” of anime. Finally I came across Arashi, a Japanese boy band, that upon further searching I realised I’d seen hundreds of pictures of on my Tumblr dashboard.
The reason I found it so problematic to find how they present their public self is because they don’t have their own Twitter’s or Facebook’s or Instagram’s. Instead there are pages and pages of fansites dedicated to them (also a lot of the pages I found were in Japanese). Arashi was created by Johnnys Entertainment in 1999 and are essentially the One Direction of Japan. They have had their own TV drama as well as hosting a number of variety shows. Through the variety shows they’re presented as good natured, funny and most of all cute. When searching Tumblr you get similar to results as if you were to search any other boy band, pictures with captions like “so adorable”, GIFs of them interacting with each other whether it’s doing something funny or something “kawaii” and multiple posts of people that “can’t even” (aka fangirling/fanboying).
I feel like I made this weeks way harder than it was supposed to be in that I couldn’t find any way that they present their public self. But maybe that’s the point, being part of a talent agency means that their self-image is chosen for them, the company presents them as a whole and united group. It raises the similar questions that are also associated with a group like One Direction “are they really like that or is this for publicity?”
Any thoughts on bands being formed by agencies? Do you think they’re legitimate or being forced to present themselves in a particular way?