Japan Times interview….and the state of Hello! Project. ^ ^

Momo (@ Momo's H!P Blog) sent me a recent article from Japan Times which I found to be an interesting read and look into the current state of Momusu, their attempted venture into the Chinese market, as well as some cute little tidbits on a few fellow members where the descriptions…'messy' and 'funniest' are matched to particular members…..lol I'm guessing most can figure out whom 'messy' is referring to before laying eyes on the article.

Aichan, Gakisan, and Linlin provide a short candid interview (translated here) and along with the inclusion of a brief history of the group and its incarnations a few other fascinating topics are touched upon. And with a managerial voice present for the conversation it adds a bit of extra insight into the goings on and direction in which the group has taken in recent times. Most notable for me was the talk about Momusu's push into China in their attempt to grow their fan base and possibly rejuvinate sales as of late where it is noted how 'pirating' has really hurt their profitability there and while this is something that one may have guessed as the outcome, it's just really disheartening to hear confirmation of this. And in a time when UFA/H!P is making a strong push into the Western markets and beyond with Momusu's set appearance at the Anime Expo in L.A. ( a most presigious event which will without doubt add to the group's visibility outside of Japan…although I think most know of their existence already in the states!! =) ), Buono!'s appearance in Stockholm!, and I'd gleefully add Berryz Koubou in Hawaii (..although this is an event exclusive to FC members so this one's not really included..(;´□`)! )…..it's a really important time period for everyone in the states to hopefully show their support and I'm more alluding to sales in particular which has been the noted previous 'failure' in China just recently as noted by management in the above linked interview piece.

And while pirating isn't exclusive to any one region by any stretches of the imagination, I just really hope that the U.S. and in light of UFA's obvious realization that 'we're out here too as fans!' does well to show their support so as not to discourage further growth of UFA/H!P outside of Japan as they push for a move westward into our music markets…something that I'm guessing most of us have dreamed of numerous times since becoming devoted fans. Potential improved sales will not only show UFA/H!P that we are indeed 'out here too!' but it'll also in the process give them good reason and potential to further explore the possibilities of engaging us as true fans……..think IFC (International Fan Club! ………(゜∀゜)………。). And it's important to consider that Up Front Agency/International is like any other business, dependent on support as in sales, and in order to ensure that they'll be around further for fans to enjoy it's this type of support that will benefit both our favorite idols and ourselves the fans……hopefully lending itself to continuing the process of bringing them a bit closer to a neighborhood near you~. ^ ^ 

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About MorningBerryz

Lover and free spirit who's interests in Japanese culture and the like are insatiable. I am of pure Japanese/Okinawan descent, love my cats, sleep and am a bit naughty at times :).
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16 Responses to Japan Times interview….and the state of Hello! Project. ^ ^

  1. momo says:

    Great post MB! I agree that piracy is a problem with MM and Jpop artists in general. I make that point clear in my posts that I want people to buy their music, it shows support for MM and it will make them last. It's hard to hear that it's been confirmed from china though. Hopefully they have another plan to get into China, I thought China would do well with MM since Junjun and linlin joined, but it appears they need another idea.But I really hope that MM does well in the US in 4 months. Since there are alot of fans here, I think that shouldn't be a problem. I may not be able to get out to LA, but I know that many MM fans in the US will flock to LA somehow to show their love and support for one of the best girl groups in this world, better than some US acts if I do say so myself.


  2. James says:

    I think Henkka linked this article in wotachat not that long ago (…. Don't quote me on that though XD…) and it's quite an interesting article :)Well I'm doing my part. I just spent a weeks pay on buying H!P stuff :3………. I'm a casual so I don't get a lot anyway, so….. XD I also believe that if they did create an IFC I would go into debt to join it 😀


  3. CK says:

    Here Here MB! It has been said before that piracy has always been an issue for UFA, although as you (and their manager) say I don't think the core of that problem lies in the US or Europe. Especially since there are people like you (and me 🙂 ) that spend far too much money to import their products. And here comes our opportunity to collectively show our loyalty and fanaticism. I hope we make them proud!


  4. I really enjoyed reading this article that you sent and I hope you don't mind that I re-posted the link here. ^ ^ I think it's wonderful how you always show such support of Momusu and music in general. =) I wasn't aware of how sales were going in China so it was eye opening to hear that piracy has really held back the potential market for growth there for Momusu/H!P. It really saddens me. 😦 But like you say maybe they can find a new way to explore the possibilities there. It's going to be huge I just know it has to be~! It's such an unprecedented event really…having an idol group with such a long history and tenure in the music business to finally reach Western shores! I'm so excited for them and fan support will be awesome for sure!! This is truly the U.S.'s chance to show what we're made of when it comes to our love of Japanese artists/idols. ^ ^


  5. The idea of a IFC would me amazing and unprecedented in many ways~! So true though…..a lot of us would be broke! 😮 It would allow attendance to concert events….(*hint* to UFA!…..Hawaii events! please!!) and just imagine the merchandising possibilities that they could explore with unique designs and logos for outside of Japan releases! ^ ^ They do have those for Hawaii where "Hawaii" is included in their logos and designs but they could do so much more if there were a true IFC in existence. I think you're an awesome H!P fan James~!…..and omg! 'a week's pay?!' Tsunky ♥'z you…..I don't know if that helps any though! XD


  6. So true CK…it just saddens me to learn that things didn't go so well in China especially with the introduction of Junjun and Linlin to the group awhile back so I really thought that fans there would embrace them more….just not in so much a 'pirate' kind of way. :/ It's true for all kinds of music though as the internet has really changed everything……maybe I'm too old fashioned? I just always like to own the cover artwork and the goodies that come with releases…..it's extremely expensive though and I do understand that side of the aspect as well. It's difficult to argue on this subject really…..and I know that fans do mean well……..but my hopes are that the fans in the U.S. are different and that UFA/H!P will see this though our purchases and attendance. I really think that their push into the U.S. and beyond can be so successful but it's really up to us to show them just how successful and worthwhile their effort here is being spent. ^ ^ So true♪♪…..but I know that neither of us regrets our spending habits on H!P and J-Pop in general……and I have a very strong feeling that the U.S. and other countries outside of Japan will make them proud! =)


  7. momo says:

    Thats no problem, it gives me some props for my contributions. I wish there weren't music pirates out there but there are people who are like that who download illegally and do not buy the actual single. These are people who show no support at all IMO.


  8. It's really difficult for me to argue with any of this as on one hand I know just how expensive releases are and I know for sure that some fans also purchase some releases as well so their doing the best that they can but your point is also very valid as well. Of course I'd love if everyone could support them truly…but can I be neutral? ^ ^


  9. momo says:

    Well it has gotten expensive, thats for sure. Take for example, the new MM album came out today and is on Japanfiles for less than the CD, it's $9.90 and it's also on iTunes as well, for $9.99. It maybe a digital copy but it does show pretty much the same support as if you bought the actual CD. It is a cheaper alternative for some who are strapped for cash.I'm not sure what to say about your last statement about everyone supporting them truly, fans have different tastes and stuff. I can't seem to think about it the right way, maybe you can help me there.


  10. Rad♂ says:

    As a professional journalist, it is intriguing just how infantile this story really is, and it's simply atypical of Japan Times to do this bad a job. The quotes from the girls all look heavily laundered, fabricated, poorly translated, or all of the above.
    It's also amazing that Japan Times editors appear to be clueless about idol music (or perhaps they've ignored it because it's considered a cult problem in Japan).
    Finally, to blow off Tsunku's music as "hollow keyboard-driven productions" is laughable if it weren't so stupid. Tsunku's songs are mostly fully orchestrated (which sets H!P off from the rest of J-music) and borrow from a universe of different styles.
    And just who nis this guy "Kouichi Nishikata?" UFA needs a better spokesperson. I'm available.
    Sorry, this story just sucked. I guess Japan Times feels as if it has to "get on board" as Morning Musume invades in U.S. in July.


  11. momo says:

    Nishikata is their manager, not just a spokesperson. He has been Morning Musume's manager since September 2008 the article says.


  12. Those are really amazing prices!! =) I'm really happy that Japanfiles and iTunes are offering paid downloads for such a reasonable price and hopefully this can help the music market in heading in a more profitable direction for the artists and their labels. ^ ^ I always think of the individual artists as when anyone purchases their releases fans are really supporting them much more directly then it may seem….as it's their very livelyhood being supported. =) It's such a difficult topic to delve into I guess…….the internet has really created the effects on the music industry as we see today..both good and maybe not so good but I just would like to think that everyone is hopefully trying to do their best to support their favorite artists in ways that they are able to. ^ ^


  13. I do agree with one point you've made, that being their take on Tsunku's writing being most out of touch as I totally agree with you….I think Tsunku's a musical♪♪ genius with most diverse tastes and ability overall. I approached this article by seeing that the phenomenon of Mususu was something quite apparently new to the writer(s) in a sense and how it gave their perspective from a different light of someone new to much of it which is very fresh in a sense and just interesting just to be able to hear such a different take whereas most articles I've come across are written by much more engrossed individuals who have known of Momusu for much longer. I guess I would call it a more lighthearted read in this sense and yes the quotes are being presented in a rather loose sense in terms of overall context of the article, maybe random even but I thought it added a bit of that lighthearted charm to the article.And in regards to you stating that how this article in which I noted to have found interesting, 'just sucked', and whether this is a personal slight towards me….you have every right to your personal feelings and opinions. Unlike you I am most certainly not a professional journalist and I'm just a silly blogger here I know who doesn't hold a candle to anything you've written, just seeing as to how your comment begins I think that's evident as to how you feel. I apologize for enjoying 'infantile' things…I guess it's just me. Your feelings are well understood.


  14. Rad♂ says:

    Oh, please, I was just commenting on the story! Jeez, I would never dream of offending you, and if I did I am extremely sorry about that!
    The fact that the Japan Times even bothered to do a story is great news, actually.
    As for "infantile," that was in reference to how the girls were quoted and certainly no reflection on anyone except for the writer, who clearly had no idea what he was writing about.
    You're the greatest, MB, and please forgive me for any missteps. Take care and may God bless.


  15. Rad♂ says:

    @Momo: I've just never heard of him, and Tsunkuhas historically spoken on behalf of the grouo as long sas I've folloed them.


  16. momo says:

    I guess no one knew who their manager was until now. At least he gives insight in the article. I'm not sure if Tsunku would have done that but I think he would have too.


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