Tag Archives: AKB48

グローバルポップグループ「NOW UNITED」 ⽇本代表メンバーを! (応募締切2⽉23⽇)



グローバルポップグループ「NOW UNITED」の


1次審査<メール> :メールにて(応募締切2⽉23⽇)

If you're a young Japanese woman who's got talent, try your hand at joining this super global pop group. Apply by February 23rd.
If you’re a young Japanese woman who’s got talent, try your hand at joining this super global pop group. Apply by February 23rd.

株式会社XIX Entertainment (本社:ロンドン、プロデューサー:サイモン・フラー)は、世界デ

ビューを控えているグローバルポップグループ「NOW UNITED」の⽇本代表メンバーを募集するオー

ディションを、⽇本国内向けに開始いたしました。「NOW UNITED」は、スパイスガールズやアメリ












グローバルポップグループ「NOW UNITED」の⽇本代表メンバーとしてデビューするチャンス

新しいグローバルのポップグループ「NOW UNITED」は既存のグループとは異なり、踊りや歌だけ










2次審査<リアル> :サイモン・フラー来⽇!1次審査通過者を対象に、




nowunited@mitsui-ag.com へオーディション申請⽤紙と共に









MAIL : nowunited@mitsui-ag.com


なぜ「NOW UNITED」に⽇本⼈メンバーを希望しているのか?






⽇本はポップカルチャーでもダンスカルチャーでも常に最先端にいます。「NOW UNITED」はクール







Ladies of Japan: Last chance to be “The New Spice girl!” or World Idol! Apply By February 23rd!

Remember the Spice Girls? (Like a AKB48 but with human rights and a decent salary)—Well, the man who launched them and produced the show American Idol, is creating a new global group, Now United, and he’s looking for a Japanese woman to join the team.
If you're a young Japanese woman who's got talent, try your hand at joining this super global pop group. Apply by February 23rd.
If you’re a young Japanese woman who’s got talent, try your hand at joining this super global pop group. Apply by February 23rd.
The  initiative is led by LA-based British entrepreneur and producer Simon Fuller.  Simon is well known for having launched the Spice Girls, having produced the TV show American Idol, and also worked with many other famous global artists like Annie Lennox (Eurythmics), David and Victoria Beckham, etc.
Simon Fuller is in the midst of putting together a global pop group, the first of its kind in the world, and he is looking for talented members to join from 11 countries around the world.  He has prioritized Japan as a top priority, recognizing it as a market of exceptional talent and importance, and would like to conduct casting in Japan to find a member to join this group.  Applicants should be 16-19 years of age (we have a little bit of flexibility to go 14-21), with dancing and singing skills, and not already signed to a management company/agency.
We will have an audition event in Tokyo on February 26th.  We are currently accepting applications in advance for this, and applicants can submit either online through the Now United website, or to this team directly: nowunited@mitsui-ag.com
Follow the links below for everything you need to know.
If you're a young Japanese woman who's got talent, try your hand at joining this super global pop group. Apply by February 23rd.
If you’re a young Japanese woman who’s got talent, try your hand at joining this super global pop group. Apply by February 23rd.
The final members selected for the group will receive professional vocal and dance training in LA (all expenses paid of course), and then later this year the group will launch globally with a major record label and then begin touring internationally.

AKB48: A Microcosm Of Dark Corporate Japan. Sexual exploitation of child labor is sooo cute. (Book review)

akb48 black companies

One of the first things you’ll notice about the Japanese – men AND women – is the apparent lack of awareness regarding issues like gender and racial discrimination, worker exploitation, social injustice and other stuff that have western observers of our culture taking one look and scratching their heads. That stuff about a member of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly yelling out harassment remarks to a female politician while the Assembly was actually in session? I regret to have to tell you that such incidents are way too familiar to the average Japanese to sink in below sea level. It’s only when someone else (i.e., a westerner) is looking at us that we come to our senses and profess to be shocked. Otherwise, well, we’re too busy working and being exploited and having our Constitution rewritten to suit the hawkish inclinations of the current Prime Minister. But I digress.

Meet The New Zegen 女衒 (Sex merchants)  Same As The Old Zegen 

AKB48 aren't just a band of teenage girls creepily sexually exploited by a money-grubbing management team that includes an ex-yakuza associate, they're also symbols of how badly workers in Japan get screwed over--in every way.
AKB48 aren’t just a band of teenage girls creepily sexually exploited by a money-grubbing management team that includes an ex-yakuza associate, they’re also symbols of how badly workers in Japan get screwed over–in every way.

Shohei Sakakura, author of “AKB 48 and the Black Companies (AKB48と日本のブラック企業)” – is one of those rare Japanese with the mindset of a western intellectual. As editor-in-chief of Posse magazine, Sakakura first alerted the public to the presensce and prevalance, of black companies.  Until then, most of us thought it was kind of normal in a Japanese way, to put in “service overtime (サービス残業)” hours, meaning we accepted the fact of working in the office until dawn without getting paid it. We also accepted getting laid off without notice, no maternity or paternity leaves, discrimination against women, sexual and moral harassment in the workplace, poor wages and did I mention no overtime pay? 

To the Japanese, work proffers its own reward and justification and with news of the unraveling global economy we were grateful to be able to work at all. Of course the majority of the Japanese KNOW exploitation exists, and that this was one of things that was wrong with the country and the rest of the world. This is why we have so many “izakaya (pubs)” around – where else to drown our sorrows  but in beer stains? 

And now AKB 48, in case you didn’t know, is the brain child of Yasushi Akimoto, aka the King Midas of the Japanese entertainment industry. Everything he touches has turned to gold – unfortunately, the gold stays firmly tucked in his pocket without benefitting the girls he ruthlessly expolits. But there it is – the man certainly knows how to make a yen from peddling idoru fantasies to love-starved males with glasses and bad skin.  

Who IS Akimoto anyway? Sakakura’s book doesn’t do much digging about the man – he just assumes that the Japanese know who Akimoto is (we do) and leaves it at that. Suffice to say, Yasushi Akimoto is what 50 years ago many older Japanese would describe as a “Zegen 女衒”or merchant who dealt exclusively in young women. A Zegen was the middleman who bought and sold girls (often with the express consent of the parents) to the sex trade and entertainment industry and too bad for the Japanese that no one bothered to distinguish between the two until the GHQ came along to tell us Nooooo, they were different. (Okay, we got that now.) The GHQ also did much to stomp out the Zegen operating in and around Tokyo but the middlemen simply went on doing what they did, and took on another name: “entertainment producer.” From sex shows and strip houses to brothels and the euphemistically called “bars,” the Zegen had their fingers in all the right pies (yuck), and kept the best for entertainment industry, which had direct pipeline to the yakuza.

Girls from the country, whose parents couldn’t afford to send them to school or arrange good marriages, came to Tokyo in droves and were snapped up by a Zegen producer or another. The lucky ones made it to the TV screen and when that no longer worked, were taken down a few notches to serve as bar hostesses or cabaret dancers, and eventually wound up in a brothel. It was the oldest story in the book, repeated ad nauseum. 

Yasushi Akimoto was a Zegen with a vision – having never been popular in high school himself, he recognized the deep sexual frustration and vast need for sexual fantasies festering in the educated and dateless Japanese male. When he came out with “Onyanko Club” in the mid-1980s, people were blinded by the sheer genius of this man. Here he was, peddling quite ordinary high school girls on TV, who all got up on the studio stage to teasingly sing “oh please don’t take my school uniform off, no-no-no!” to an audience who could never hear such titillating pleas when they were 18 so was totally stoked to hear it now, from a gaggle of winking girls all beckoning SIMULTANEOUSLY. 

Needless to say, the Onyanko went “viral” long before the Internet came along and deep down, we suspected that if Akimoto wasn’t around to appease the Otaku populace with these girls and their pleated skirts, the nation’s sex crime rate would soar drastically. 

Akimoto subsequently married an Onyanko (and he was too smart to pick the prettiest of the lot, but went for a quiet, mediocre type) and settled down in his idol manufacturing kingdom. Then he unleashed AKB 48 to the Japanese public – which basically means 48 Girls in Akihabara. These girls were grass roots level – they had no connections, no prestige, and was willing to work till they dropped. Most telling of all, they were excessively and agressively, ordinary. 

In his book Sakakura lays bare disturbing but familiar facts: Akimoto treats the girls like fast food workers – hiring and firing in bulk, with hourly wages to match. The ones in the coveted “center position” are the prettiest, and supposedly the best dancers with the best paychecks but the vast crowd of girls behind the stars — they’re mired in obscurity. And once the girls “graduate” (i.e., fired) from the group, they’re left with no skills or abilities and their detour into the sex trade is a lot swifter than the days of Onyanko. 

Yasushi Akimoto is a Zegen through and through – he’s found a way to cash in on the criticisms and problems within the AKB, by having the girls sing songs (written by him of course) about revolution, sacrifice and worker exploitation. For Akimoto, even capitalist irony works in his favor. Karl Marx is puking in his grave. 

Sakakura writes that though he’s not an AKB fan per se, he does sympathize with the plight of the girls and sees them as a micro reflection of the huge labor problems that continue to erode Japan’s supposedly peaceful and egalitarian society. And let’s not forget that the PM is a HUGE fan – but then Japan’s highest political leader seems to love it when young people are put in situations where they have to fight and bleed and claw their way to survival. To him, “that’s the true Japanese spirit.” Yeah, right. 

Continue reading AKB48: A Microcosm Of Dark Corporate Japan. Sexual exploitation of child labor is sooo cute. (Book review)

The JK Biz (日本語版)未成年の性的搾取(JKビジネス)と日本の異様な「カワイイ」


This article was originally run for VICE NEWS as (元原稿→)

In Japan, Teenage Girls Folding Paper Cranes Has Taken on a Whole New Meaning



When weekly magazine Shukan Shincho reported on AKB48 management past ties to the yakuza, no one was surprised. The JK Business is a seedy con game and who knows how to run one better than former criminal associates & loan sharks?












クリオネの強制捜査は日本で急増するJKビジネスと警察の闘いの最新局面だ。JKとは女子高生を表しているが、10代の少年を搾取するビジネスもある。我々はドキュメンタリー「売りに出される女子生徒(Schoolgirls for Sale in Japan)」に見られるJKカルチャーを取材した。






「どうして男性が女子高生に夢中になるのか分からない。私たちが無力だからか、自分と同じ年頃の女性の相手をできないからかも。」と19歳のバーテンダー、リサは匿名を条件に我々のインタビューに応じた。リサは世田谷区でガールズバーと呼ばれるようなホステスクラブで働いている。女の子をカウンターの向こうから ―基本的には― 出さないことでガールズバーは風営法に触れるのを逃れてオールナイト営業している。
















JKカルチャーの影響は社会の末端部分に留まらない。先月、ソニーの仮想現実ヘッドマウントディスプレイ、Project Morpheus用に作られたデモ画像では透けるセーターとホットパンツを着た若い白人女性がユーザーにむかって、先生になって日本語を教えてくれるかと尋ねていた。


JKビジネスへの寛容さはおそらく、絶大な人気を誇る少女「アイドル」グループ、AKB48にも繋がっている(アイドルとは公的人格において少女っぽい可愛らしさが強調される歌手、女優、モデル、テレビタレントなどの若い芸能人のことである)。頻繁に入れ替わるメンバー ―AKB48は88人ものメンバーがいて、全員がファンの間での人気でランク付けされている― が煽情的な歌詞の歌を歌いビキニで雑誌の表紙写真のモデルになる。








秋元は日本の芸能界の請負人としてもてはやされている。ベテラン記者の庄司かおりは2014年にJapan Subculture Research Centerの記事で秋元をそれとは違う名で呼んでいる。






この記事によると ―我々VICE Newsも警察筋に確認済みであるが― 芝は背後に暴力団がついた高利貸屋でキャリアをスタートした。警察の情報では秋元は2008年の秋まで暴力団員と付き合いがあった。






AKB48のトップアイドルたちは何百万も稼ぐ事ができるが、残りのメンバーの多くは時給1200円も稼げない。AKBを「卒業」した ―言い換えれば失業した― 少女の多くは結局アダルトビデオ業界で働くようになった。しかしAKB48は日本の芸能界にとってドル箱なので秋元を糾弾する者はほとんどいない。2012年にCNNが行ったどうしようもないインタビューにおいてAnna Corenは秋元にこう問いかけた。「日本社会には10代少女の性的特質の強調が確かに行われていて、食い物にしているという人もいます。あなたの映像では、そういった少女に、制服やビキニやセクシーな下着を着てお互いの顔から食べ物を舐めとったりキスしたりお風呂に入ったりさせていますが、あなたは何らかの形でこの問題に加担しているのでしょうか。」