Walking down the streets of Tokyo, it is difficult to escape the gaze and the voice of the ‘idol’ girls - Japanese pop singers. They are everywhere, looking down from advertising panels and singing out of shops’s loudspeakers. With an innocent virgin look and piercingly high-pitched voice, they are the ultimate expression of Japanese cuteness.
The loss of innocence in a child star can be a subject of intense curiosity anywhere in the world. And there is little doubt that the showbiz world has profited from the titillating effect it can have, especially with a girl in transition of becoming a woman.
What’s peculiar to Japan where there is an entire industry dedicated to this subject is the sheer scale and the social acceptance. ‘Idols’, called with the English word whether successful or not, have been one flourishing industry in the prolonged recession. They not only dominate the music scene but have also permeated every outlet of pop culture. Their media exposure is not limited to gossip articles in tabloids but extends to live broadcast of their events on major terrestrial channels, interviews, columns, analytical articles on broadsheets.
The streets of Tokyo are saturated with their image advertising mobile phones to job search magazines. A recent poll ranked ‘idols’ the second most popular profession among girls. Idols are not only popular among their fans but also endorsed the general public.