Nov 7, 2009

Male VS Female Idols

Posted by Liamers At 9:32 PM 2 comments
Japans idol industry is a huge money making business that started in arounf the 60's. And since then there have been a multitude of idol types to choose from, singers, actors, entertainers but the main deciding point is to wether, follow male or female idols. To somepeople who might be new to the whole idol world, they might think that an idol is an idol and that being a man or woman shouldn't make a difference. To some who have followed idols for a few years will see very distinct differences in male and female idols.

Female idols as a general rule tend to be aimed at men. Female idols can begin their career from as young as 5 years old and can remain one up to their 30's. It is believed that the peak of an idols career is usually between the ages of 16 and 20, this obviously varies from idol to idol, for example, Morning Musume, when new girls arrived after winning auditions they were roughly 12-14 years old. These girls would enjoy approximately 5 years of being a top idol, they would then be graduated from the group in their early twenties to join H!P as a soloist, for the bulk of the soloists this lead to a career into obscurity.

The appeal of female idols varies slightly from company to company but they are all based on roughly the same recepe of portraying an image of an entertaining, loveable, cute and innocent girl. This image is easily mantained by most in their teens and early twenties, but as idols get older they would naturally want to experience life which might not fit the idol and may cause a scandal. So after a certain age most are graduated from whatever group they are in or are just graduated from idol status, this ensures that if the girl did something risque it would not tarnigh the companies reputation ensuring that legions of more idol worshipers would continue to support idols coming from that company.

The main audience that female idols are aimed at are male fans ranging in age from teens to as old as you can get. Of course there is also a following of female fans, but the companies managing female idols market them to appeal to men. This is all fine and dandy, but there are 2 types of male fans of japanese female idols. One is the everyday joe soap listener who likes them, knows them, supports them by buying their merchandise. And the second is a group of avid fans of the idols called Wota [a name given to a class of otaku that are said to be obsessed with idols]. These fans not only buy the merchandise [some do so in bulk to support their idols even more], but at concerts they perform dances and chants at the concerts. To most fans of japanese idols, these wota are understood as just big fans of the idols. To people who may be ignorant of the whole idol/wota thing, this can be seen as creepy and sometimes perverted as wota may be up to 60+ in age. This then places a stigma on males who follow female idols wether they be young, old, innocnt or perverted [never really the case]. A fan is a fan and should not be judged as a group based on a mere impression given off. I have never heard of females being thought of weirdly for being a female idol fan.


[AKB48] Japanese female idols showing off their youth, one of the main aspects that attracts male fans

Male idols perform the same basic roles that female idols would by acting as singers, actors, etc. Their main difference to female idols would be thier audience and social acceptance. Male idols are usually hired by companies such of Johnny's Entertainment at about 15. There they are groomed into the oerfect idol. These idols differ from female ones in that their main target audience is girls. This achieved by creating groups with pretty boys with typical boy band hair as well as adding slight [in some cases extreme] fanservice. Fanservice is seen more in male groups than in female ones. These aspects along with good singers, great choreography and production gathers female fans in their tens of thousands. It is socialably acceptable for teen girls to scream and cry over male idols, but is somewhat frowned upon the other way around. This allows greater freedom for girls to CRAZY over their hearth throbs. This freedom may also help in the super high slaes of male groups singles, where as the stigma of being a male fan of female idols may shame them enough into not admitting they like them at all. To add further insult to inhury for male fans. To be a male fan of male groups is seen to be weird and is often requarded in a homosexual light. This leaves men in between a rock and a hard place, either be labelled as a creepy pervert or be called gay [for most fans this will just go right over their heads and wont care what people say as long as they enjoy the music etc.]

Akanishi Jin [KAT-TUN] a prime example of a male idol (its the hair :P)

To make the message clearer here are 2 vids that show music videos for a male and female idol group



This is KAT-TUN a male idol group under Johnny's Entertainment. Though this group is more on a rock kind of side of the scale it is a good example. The group is made up of 6 good lookin fella's that sing very well, dance very well and have an overall professional atmosphere. Once you get past the small tid bits of fanservice the music is actually pretty damn awesome. Great vocals, great instrumental and not something that would on first glance be aimed specifically for girls.



In this video we have a female idol group under Hello! Project. These 7 girls are a prime example of female idols. They are young [dressed in school uniforms, a big thing in Japan], are sweet, innocent, everything a wota could want in an idol. Now when you look at this video you could probably guess that they were idols due to their age, music type etc, but you wouldn't suspect it being aimed mainly at men, but it is.

Both groups are idol groups, both appeal to different sexes in the eyes of the comapnies but both sound and look nothing alike.

In conclusion, its down to personal taste. I have been a H!P fan since 2007 and have loved every bit of it, though I have been the subject of some confusion here in Ireland over the subject of young japanese girls singing, but I got over it and am still enjoying their music. Recently however I have been listening to male idol groups mainly KAT-TUN simply because I really like the music, I am very easily to see past the fanservice for their female fans and enjoy the music and PV's. But when I first began to explore their music, the subject was seen with aprehension with some male wota, which in turn made me feel a bit guilty about listening to the music. But I very quickly started to not give a shit and listened to them caus I enjoyed it.

Kinda went a bit off topic there but meh, I needed to vent. So if you agree, disagree or have an opion please comment

2 comments:

  1. Dran says:

    Great post Liam.

    I don't really get the appeal of the male idols myself. I'm not even sure if half of them ARE men. :p

    But I guess the female fangirls find us wota to be odd too.