Musicians and love. That’s a tricky combination.
Especially in Japan.
And especially when it comes to jpop and jrock.
I’m not speaking of the love between musicians and their fans, I’m speaking of the musicians’ private relationships.
When you think about it, how many jrockers do you know having a girlfriend? Not that many I would guess and there’s a reason to that. Pop- and rockstars play a character. They are supposed to be available, be something that the fans can dream about. The fans are supposed to feel and think “I might have a chance…!”
Simply said, if you want to start a career as a musician in a jpop or a jrock band, you simply must keep being single, or keep your relationships extremely secret, depending on your management’s rules.
In an early stage, most bands have very little free will. The management decides their concept, their looks and their music. They might even set up the rule “You are not allowed to have relationships.”
Why is that so? Well, this is not explained from a romantic point of view and I usually choose not to think about it – but it’s because of fame and money. “Available” musicians are appealing musicians. Appealing musicians attracts a lot of fans and fans bring a lot of money.
Some musicians can break free from the rules though. That’s when they are big enough to become independent. Like Miyavi for instance.
He is one of few jrockers that has gone public about his relationship. In his case, he married the photo model Melody. I’m sure he lost some fans in the processs, but he was successful enough to take that risk. They even have two daughters today: Lovely and Jewelie (adorable names, right?)
I came to think about this when I mentioned AKB48 the other day (in a post about Kiryuuin Shou).
Approximately one month ago, a young girl shaved her head and cried in public; on Youtube. Her name is Minami Minegishi and she has been a member of AKB48 since its founding. At that time she was only 13. Today she is 20.
AKB48 is an extremely popular jpop band in Japan and consists of 88 members. They are divided into groups and perform every night. When I walked through the streets of Tokyo, I saw pictures of them everywhere. There was even entire stores dedicated to the band.
The girls in AKB84 are supposed to be innocent and available. The whole business idea is based on that. The target group is otakus and the music is not that important. Some of the girls can hardly sing. The lyrics often insinuate sexual subjects, like the title “My schooluniform is getting in the way” etc. The business-model is very clever but too complicated to describe here and now.
Since the “availability-factor” is so critical, it’s not that surprising that one of the most strict rules within the AKB48 organization is: no boyfriends what-so-ever!
But this girl, Minami Minegishi, fell in love and spent a night with a boy. The other day, she was captured on film by a paparazzi and the secret was exposed.
To express her remorse, and as a penance, she shaved her head and asked for forgiveness in a video clip that she posted on Youtube. It’s heartbreaking to see. She wanted to keep being a member in AKB48 and she was deeply sorry.
These kinds of things make you think, right? What would you choose: