Posted by ampontan on Tuesday, October 26, 2010
A HOT NEW idol group of female singers has captivated Japan! They’re called angel girl (Roman alphabet with no caps) and all three of the trio are Chinese–Amy from Beijing, Angela from Changsha and Anna from Taiwan.
Japanese media sources last week reported that angel girl finished first in the 2010 Otaku Goddess contest, edging out the mega-popular AKB48. The group signed contracts with a fashion magazine and record company in May and is planning to release its debut disc in time for Christmas. A photo collection has also appeared, and it’s sold “ten times better” than a similar volume from AKB48.
Meanwhile, in other news, the Japanese public is wondering WTF is going on with all this angel girl malarkey. As a commenter wrote on an Internet site, not only has no one ever heard of them, they’ve left no trace of their activities whatsoever. The Otaku Goddess contest does not exist. The group has never appeared on Japanese television. They do not have a website. They do not have a Wikipedia page. There are no YouTube videos. The information about their contract signings and work on an album comes from the most popular Chinese search engine, Baidu. Yet nothing about them turns up on Baidu Japan. (Baidu, incidentally, means 100 degrees.)
Where did all this come from? It started last week with an Internet post and a two-photo spread on the website of ifeng.com, a Hong Kong-based satellite broadcaster. After appearing on the 23rd, the post got 600,000 hits in four hours, enough to swamp ifeng’s server.
Here’s the Chinese-language post. And here’s one of the photos:
The first line of the sign above their heads is written in Japanese and reads: Defend China’s Diaoyutai (i.e., the Senkakus). The line below that is the Chinese translation.
Clever touch, that.
There were 600,000 hits in four hours for this? Was it the combination of the propaganda, the cheesecake, and the humbuggery of the story of their Japanese popularity that sucked them in? Or is it that in a country of 1.3 billion people, the segment of the population with too much idle time on their hands is higher in absolute numbers than in other countries?
Surely it couldn’t have been the inaptly named angel girl, who look more tarty than seraphic. That Chinese gender overhang must be more serious than we thought. I’m not certain any of them would arouse my fighting spirit as a potential partner for hand-to-hand combat, and that would be conditional on seeing and hearing them in the flesh. But then I’ve never found the faux tough-girl model look appealing.
And why are they conducting their training for island defense in a barn?
Were I Japanese, I might be more amused than upset at this implicit acknowledgement of their dominant influence on East Asian pop culture.
Yes, the exercise is likely just a talent agency’s brainchild for debuting angel girl in the Sinosphere with a brassy splash of publicity. They must be pleased with their success.
Putting that aside, however, this is a bit too creepy for comfort.
Everyone knows that nations can be chauvinistic. We know that nations will try to dominate other nations politically and militarily, particularly their neighbors. We know that some nations will have an exaggerated sense of their own importance. We also know this can have nasty consequences.
But this ominous frolic suggests that a science fiction, parallel universe is being created for 20% of the world’s population. It would be harmless if it were applied only to chewing gum culture, but we all know it’s not going to stop there. Other manifestations of this phenomenon in different situations could create serious problems for everyone, not just the 80% of the rest of us.
If anyone disagrees with the idea that this bears more than a passing resemblance to some aspects of North Korean behavior, but on a much grander scale, please feel free to send in a comment.
Could Amy, Angela, and Anna spread their wings as sweetly as the friends of these redoubtable gentlemen?