The blog of Tokyo based photographer and photojournalist, Damon Coulter

Dancing to a New Tune

Anti nuclear protestAnti nuclear protestAnti nuclear protest

One of the interesting encounters I had at the anti-nuke demo on Sunday was with the teen idol group, Seifuku Kojo Iinkai, who were invited to speak and lead the protest march.

They had all that your self respecting teen-idol group should have: They had their strange, fan-boy dancer out front; they had school uniforms on and they had their smiley but very protective management. What was different however is that their songs also had a message, a massage about the the folly of nuclear energy which apparently got them banned from Fuji Rock festival in 2011.

Stronger messages in popular music or the “talento” media mass-production machine are not something that is common in Japan. To attack the companies or products that advertise on the TV or in the magazines; or to go “off-message” at in anyway can find you lost in the celebrity wilderness. Ask the actor, Taro Yamamoto, who angrily tweeted his feelings against nuclear energy after the problems at Fukushima Daichi and has since found it difficult to find work. It was perhaps a growing experience for him though that allowed his interests to broaden into politics and activism. He even stood for the governor of Tokyo.

How much the teenage girls that sing in this group know or believe in the message they speak is debatable. It could be a cynical attempt to exploit a very particular niche. Yet if it is it seems curiously short-sighted and they cannot get reported on in the usual media. They do have a bit of a history with their pop song containing a message also.

Of course no-one in the media in the west knows or even really cares who they are so these images are not exactly profitable. Still it was interesting meeting and learning a bit about them on the day.

Later. got to rush off now to another job



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