Aina Ashida, Fuku Suzuki, Eisa Ikeda of “Nogizaka” and Yuko Ogura — Why college acceptance is widely reported in the entertainment industry | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Aina Ashida, Fuku Suzuki, Eisa Ikeda of “Nogizaka” and Yuko Ogura — Why college acceptance is widely reported in the entertainment industry

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Mana Ashida (left) and Fuku Suzuki (right) at the school bag presentation. I never thought they would go to the same school for college… (in ’14)

It is not so unusual nowadays for celebrities to go to college, but every year in April, perhaps because it is the season for entering school in general, celebrities going to college becomes a hot topic.

This year, Mana Ashida was particularly in the spotlight, and Fuku Suzuki, who co-starred with Ashida in a TV drama as a child actor, went to Keio University, the same university as Ashida. Eisa Ikeda of Nogizaka46 went to Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, the highest university in the arts. Mochiyui Honda attended Waseda University. Kanon Tani was announced to be going to Waseda University, although the name of the university was not disclosed.

Yuko Ogura, who had applied to several universities as part of a variety show challenge project, was accepted to Shirayuri Women’s University.

Each of these has become a topic of conversation and has been covered by various media, not to mention the Internet.

It is true that in the world of entertainment, academic background is irrelevant, and it has been said for a long time that in the Japanese entertainment industry, it is not necessary for entertainers to have an academic background. It is also a bad preconception, but there is a tendency to assume that entertainers are poorly educated. However, there was a tendency to think that just by hearing the words “college graduate,” they were elevated to a higher grade.

It is true that not a few entertainers had an academic complex. These people often made the news by enrolling in college after they had succeeded, and then becoming both a student and an entertainer. This was a time when a college degree was seen as a kind of status,” said a reporter for a women’s magazine.

Therefore, celebrities’ attempts to take university entrance examinations were often featured prominently, and even in variety shows, entrance examinations were sometimes chosen as a challenge project.

The process of having a celebrity take on a challenge and recording and airing the results is dramatic and does not need to be poorly staged, and it is easy to attract a large number of interested viewers and get good ratings.

“However, it is not so easy to plan projects such as “Itte Q to the Ends of the World” (NTV), in which celebrities physically challenge themselves to conquer the world’s most famous peaks or participate in festivals, because of the budget and risks involved. However, with university entrance examinations, as long as the person himself/herself works hard, he/she can manage. And the numbers were good enough.” (Director of a production company)

However, times have changed. University graduates have a slight advantage when it comes to getting a job at a company, but not as much as in the past. The number of universities has increased dramatically, and it is no longer so difficult to get in if you don’t choose the right one.

The significance of a “college degree” as a status has diminished, and an increasing number of people of this generation do not feel that college is valuable.

Despite this, the topic of celebrities going to college continues to be a hot topic.

There are people who gave up on higher education or left the entertainment industry because they could not balance their studies and work. Ms. Ashida and Mr. Suzuki are praised because they are both working and studying at the same time, and they are “working students,” which Japanese people have loved for a long time.

Moreover, it is not a university that just anyone can enter. Although the number of celebrities who have graduated from or are currently enrolled in universities has increased, it is often the top-ranked or prestigious schools that attract the attention of the public. Just because a person is a college student does not attract attention.

However, “Japan is probably the only country in the world where a celebrity’s university education makes headlines,” said a film writer who also covers international affairs.

In Japan, it is news that a Hollywood actor has graduated from a certain university or has been admitted to a certain university, but in other countries, it is not reported.

In Japan, there is a term called “academic laundering, which refers to the practice of “laundering” one’s academic credentials.

  • Written by Hiroyuki Sasaki (Entertainment Journalist)

    Born in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, Hiroyuki Sasaki became a reporter for FRIDAY at the age of 31, reporting numerous scoops during his time with FRIDAY and later working mainly for weekly magazines. Recently, he has been appearing on TV and radio as a commentator.

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