Monday, March 26, 2012

And In The Other Japan...

...the one that is fabulous, successful and full of youthful energy, a shock: Maeda Atsuko (20) is "graduating" from AKB 48. The gigantic group's pivot point, two-time winner of the title of Party Leader (sosai) announced her retirement/ascension/eviction at the end of the group's concert on Sunday (J and SP -- I cannot help myself: the news sounds so much more poignant and significant en español).

Serious discussions must have already begun on whether the fans of AKB 48 can be brought together for a snap election of a new Party Leader, so as to avoid leaving the group, the fandom, the marketers, the makeup artists, the clothes designers, the lighting crews, the semi-closeted nympholeptics leaderless.

Questions will also now grow ever louder as to whether Shinoda Mariko, the oldest member of the group at 26, should not also announce her departure.

Later - Oh dear, I was pipped by Japan Probe. Oh well.

Later still - And yes, they can sing beautifully, when they try (Link).

1 comment:

Troy said...

I will use this as an opportunity to talk about Japan's youth.

When I was FOB in Tokyo in the early 1990s, there were ~10M 15-19 yos throughout the country. I didn't know it at the time, but this was the baby boom echo.

Since ~2010 this cohort has numbered 6M -- a 40% decline from Peak J-Youth -- and will eventually fall to 4M by 2035 or so.

ISTM that this decline will open up more opportunities for kids to get into the better colleges.

A while ago I thought it would mean that youth-oriented businesses will start suffering, but what might happen is the cities will continue to pull families and young adults from the countryside.

Demographically, the Japan of 2020 is going to be a very interesting place.

Today's middle-schoolers are going to be the young adults of the 2020s, and the first rank of the youth that have to shoulder the baby boom's retirement.

I hope to be in Japan by then, but I oscillate between bouts of pessimism and optimism. I suspect Japan has a better prospect than the US this century, but it's sure hard to figure out.