In Japanese pop culture, Idols (アイドル, aidoru, from english idol) are media people (singers, actresses, models etc.) young, mostly teenagers but there are many older women in this medium, with a cute and innocent image.
Idol is a separate category from traditional Japanese artists. Idols sell an idea of youth image combined with musical talent. Idols are intended to be the ideal object of love for crazed fans. These fans usually buy everything related to them including CDs, accessories, pay to meet them in person and take pictures.
To become an Idol, it is not enough to be talented and beautiful, it is necessary to accept to live a ruled life since they are prohibited from consuming alcoholic beverages and cigarettes. In addition, they cannot be involved in any type of scandal and they also cannot relate affectionately while they are under contract with the producer. Why so many rules? Because doing these things would spoil the “fan fantasy” that dreams of dating them even if it sounds like something strange.
There are also differences between solo singers who have a little more “freedom” in their private lives than those who are part of a group like AKB48 and NMB48. These groups have many members and are divided into cities and teams, each of which has a different role. Some teams appear on album covers, others perform frequently, record separate clips from the main album's music, and so on. The most popular groups are AKB48, Momoiro Clover (ももいろクローバー), Morning Musume, ° C-ute, NMB48 among others. From solo singers who generally also work as models and Seiyu we have Haruka Tomatsu, Tamura Yukari and others.
In addition, we have group singers who also pursue solo careers like Miyuki Watanabe, and finally independent solo singers like the famous Kyary Pamyu Pamyu among many others, as a rule, Idols who belong to groups like this when they get older go on a solo career giving space to new members since these groups are always in constant change.
Idols have become a great passion even for young perverts, just search on YouTube or google image for Japanese Idols and you will come across thousands of sexually appealing photos, or even supposed photos…
The phenomenon emerged in the early 1970s due to a boom in the popularity of the French film called Cherchez l'idole ("In Search of the Idol") that appeared on Japanese cinema screens in November 1964. Actress Sylvie Vartan, who played the lead role, became extremely popular. The term “idol” became used for girls, most between the ages of 14 and 16, who were just starting their way to stardom.
Influence on Japanese Animation
In addition to Idols influencing the entire media and causing repercussions. exist countless animes, manga and games that influence girls to dream of becoming Idols. Several anime show what life is like for an Idol, for those in love on duty. The best known are The IDOLM @ STER, Love Live! and Wake Up, Girls!
Idols are very popular in Japan, there are thousands of groups spread out, of all tastes and styles. It will depend on whether people like idols or not. Some foreigners may not understand young people's passion for Idols. For that you would have to think like a Japanese and understand the language.
To finish we will leave below some videos of famous Idols.
Article written with the help of Lucas Ribeiro Machado of the page Nintendo, Apple and Japanese Culture.