Mini Book Update: 80s idols

I’m still battling my way through the story of punk and new wave, but I took the time to add two or three paragraphs to the end of the section on 70s kayoukyoku to extend the story into the 80s. I didn’t want to go into too much depth here. The key change between the 70s and 80s was the change from TV talent shows like Star Tanjou! as the vehicle for producing and delivering new stars to using TV commercials, hence the term “CM idol”. Going hand in hand with this is the disappearance of live bands or orchestras accompanying singers on TV performances, perhaps since lots of the newer idols had been chosen for their ability to be cute in 15-second advertising slots rather than actually sing.

Obviously Seiko Matsuda was the most famous and popular. She exemplified the 80s idol as a marketing vehicle, although I don’t think her songs were all that much to write home about.Seiko Matsuda: Hadashi no Kisetsu

Much better I think was Kyoko Koizumi, who recently appeared in the phenomenally popular NHK morning drama Ama-chan playing a woman whose childhood dreams of becoming an idol had been dashed when her manager fucked her over and used her voice to overdub another girl. Koizumi was one of the last big names to come out of Star Tanjo! so she sort of spans the changeover from the 70s production model to the 80s.Kyoko Koizumi: Makka no Onnanoko

Lastly, you can’t talk about 80s idols without mentioning Onyanko Club, the first mass idol collective, the first group produced by Yasushi Akimoto, and the source of all our current horrors. They were quite fun, although given how many of their (by which I mean Akimoto’s) lyrics were just direct invitations to sexual harassment with a very clear message of “no means yes”, it’s makes the group quite an uncomfortable listen sometimes. But then this saucy flirtatiousness was way more part of the 80s cultural discourse than it is in these more austere times. Kyoko Koizumi was notorious for flashing her underwear at every opportunity (not that I’m complaining there), and the flipside of it is that it ran parallel with some real advancement in the social position of women. When Seiko Matsuda had a baby and then went back to her singing career instead of retreating into docile motherhood, it was a scandal, but she trailed the way for numerous other singers to do the same. Anyway, here’s Onyanko Club being saucy:Onyanko Club: Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide

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