December 26, 2007

Realistic Heartbreak

Posted in Hello!Project, J-Pop, Mandopop at 5:53 pm by aiwish472

Hello!Project would never work in America.

That sentence may have just crushed your little wota hearts, but it’s reality.

I have experimented with Hello!Project in America. I showed a friend GAM’s “Melodies” song (not video!) one day. He listened for about 20 seconds, then took off the headphones and nearly died of laughter. I don’t see what’s so funny about the song, but there must be something. And then there was the day in Science class when we were talking about music, and one of my (former) friends said, “Shut up, nobody wants to hear about your J-Pop crap.”

After hearing these remarks, I wouldn’t even consider giving them a taste of any of Morning Musume’s music, whether it be an older song like “Memory Seishun no Hikari,” a golden era song like “The Peace!” or something a bit newer like “Kanashimi Twilight.” Let alone anything in between. They would just fall over laughing after 20 or so seconds of listening. *Rolls eyes*

Reading this post over at Radicalpatriot’s blog is just another example of why it would not be a success. If non-Japanese think that the PVs are bad, wait until they see the photobooks, especially ones released by H!P kids…

Morning Musume would not be a success, and neither would other Asian artists. Take a look at Hong Kong actor/singer/idol Edison Chen. He was born in Vancouver, Canada. He spent some of his life in New York City as well, and is fluent in English. However, when he tried to become famous in Canada, he failed because of his Chinese ancestry.

Another big example is Utada Hikaru. Yes, Hikki’s “Exodus” album made it to #1. In Japan, that is…

In the USA, “Exodus” only reached #160 on the Billboard charts. It failed to make a mainstream effect in the United States, and Europe as well. I can’t bear to imagine where Momusu would fall. And Utada’s album was in English! Imagine what some Americans would say if they heard a Japanese album. Oh wait, I already know. What’s this? Why isn’t it in English? I can’t understand it! It sounds weird!

One day in one of my classes, we were listing genres (long story…). One of the lists was genres of music. Me, being the little Japanophile I am, raised my hand and tried to resist from waving it wildly in the air. My teacher finally called on me, and I proudly stated, “J-Pop!” Another student in the room yells out, “Shut up, J-Pop isn’t even a genre! You can’t understand it! Japan sucks!” I wanted to retort, asking him if he had ever even heard J-Pop, but he was sent out of the room. (It kind of frustrated me because I didn’t get to snap back.)

As much as it hurts to say it, Morning Musume could come to America, but they would never be a success, so it wouldn’t help them anyways. I suppose we, the American/European/Canadian/Australian fanbase, need to keep supporting our favorite idols by importing things from Japan, and being proud fans of Morning Musume.

Edit: New blog header! I love that picture, it features my favorite C-ute members. In order, actually, Saki first and Erika third. =D


  1. Kar said,

    I’m surprised that people even know what J-pop is. I could talk about it and people would be like “lulz wuts that????”.

    Generally, when I talk about liking Japanese artists, people seem to understand because, well, I look Japanese. They are all convinced that Hong Kong is in Japan.

    I think even with the right amount of promotion, they would be seen as one of those novelty acts rather than a band that are serious in their music-making, because you know, 9 female teens singing and dancing to upbeat pop melodies is usually Disney’s ground.

  2. Xacur said,

    My city is kind of conquered by anime, and anime music really works in most of the young people. Still they don’t know any jpop apart of anime.

  3. Hyori said,

    well, i am in a Design Class and nearly everyone loves anime and they do like the openings, but somehow they dont like Morning Musume. Whenever i show them a new Photobook, their be like “Ah Sura, you are a pedophile lesbian…we dont want to see that shit..” =/..well i am not pedophile and i am not a lesbian =/…and it was Miki’s Photobook “cherié”..and miki is older than me =/…i dont get these people =/

  4. Craig said,

    It seems to me that you’ve encountered some machismo, racism, and ignorance.

  5. You picked a bad song as an example. GAM’s “Melodies” just didn’t work on many basic musical fronts. How about “Jump” by C-ute, or “Keep Thinking Positive” that capped the brilliant Sexy 8 concert for Morning Musume last May? “Special Generation” by the Berryz? There’s a lot out there!

  6. aiwish472 said,

    @Craig: As much as it hurts to say so, I believe I have too.
    @Radicalpatriot: I have tried other songs, including Kanashimi Twilight and Do It!Now. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to give it another go, though. I’ll try the songs you suggested, thanks! 🙂
    The only reason why I used Melodies was because I was obsessed with the song at the time. XD

  7. Andra said,

    There’s one thing that maybe makes it harder for Momusu to enter the US market than, for example, my country: little state called Finland in Northern Europe. And that thing is English. Here in Finland we are COMPLETELY used to hear other languages and it is not a problem for us. We NEVER dub any movies, they’re always subtitled (excluding children’s, they can’t read after all). Half, if not more, of Finnish musucians (especially those that teenagers listen to) make their music in English even though they have absolutely no connection with any English-speaking country or people (I mean like as relatives). That’s probably because the want to be big also internationally, but still. Also (almost) everybody here speaks English and most of us quite well.

    So, to me this “language barrier” is a very absurd thing, it could never stop any band conquering Finnish music market. Of course it’s a lot easier for English-speaking bands as everybody understand that language here (hell, of course we listen to everything that comes from the US or UK!) but others can succeed also.

    However, I doubt that Momusu would succeed here either. Although Japan is a HUGE fashion at the time (three thirds of the students in my school are anime/manga/j-rock fans or fans of all three (okay, I go to a high school of visual arts so it’s not like this in all Finnish schools 🙂 and probably half of them study Japanese) I’m sure Finland is not ready to accpet underaged girls in bikini photobooks. The concept is wrong though I think the music could work.

  8. Kahori said,

    I totally agree. I’ve learned just to shut up about my taste in music- everyone just thinks ist’s weird. My family think is all sounds the same…

    What would fascinate me is what people would think of things like visual kei!

  9. Erika said,

    That is so sad but true. I was listening to my iPod in school when some of my classmates decided to steal it off me and listen for themseleves. ^-^ It was Namie Amuro’s WANT ME, WANT ME and they all started to make a “wtf” face. But some thought otherwise and thought it was really cool. XD But then they were like “do you understand it?” “No.” “then why are you listening to it?” “It sounds awesome. XD”
    And one agreed with me. It made me happy at least. :p The rest were just blah, stuck with their western music. >_>

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