Breaking Down Fans and Boosting Hit Songs of The Idol Winter Era of Onyanko Club | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Breaking Down Fans and Boosting Hit Songs of The Idol Winter Era of Onyanko Club

50 Years of "Idols" in Japan #3... The demise of singing shows and idol variety shows one after another

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Fuji Television sets up a new image of idols

On April 1, 1985, a program began airing.

It was “Yuyake Nyan Nyan,” a variety show that aired live from 5:00 p.m. on weekdays. It was a variety program that was broadcast live on weekdays from 5:00 p.m. on the Fuji Television network.

It was originally a spin-off of “All Night Fuji,” which was also broadcast late at night on the Fuji Television network, but was switched from being mainly for college girls to being mainly for high school girls in the evening slot. With the popularity of Tunnels, who appeared regularly on the program, the show quickly became popular among junior high and high school students, and Onyanko Club emerged as an assistant on the program.

When the club was first formed, there were 11 members, and each member was given a “membership number,” which they would always use to introduce themselves (eventually reaching 52). Viewers established the number of the number as a set of names and faces.

Early members of Onyanko Club (photo taken in July ’85) (PHOTO: Sankei Shimbun)

In July, three months after the program began, the girls would make their record debut.

Yes, it was “Sailor Undressa Nasai” (“Don’t Take Off My Sailor Suit”).

The title of the song and the lyrics “I want to have sex with you before my friends do, but being a virgin is boring,” were all sung and danced by “normal” girls with smiles on their faces.

In the world of idol song lyrics that has continued since the 1970s, it was not uncommon to hear lyrics about the feelings of girls who wanted to be taller than their friends, but the worldview of this song was not metaphorical and was so easy to understand, yet it was clad in an easygoing “lightness” that fit perfectly with the atmosphere of the time. The Onyanko Club is a milestone in the history of idols.

Onyanko Club’s influence on the history of idols can be seen in many ways other than the impact of their debut song.

Yuyake Nyan Nyan” was a program based on the concept of an after-school club activity. In other words, “ordinary girls” would gather after school at Fuji Television, which was still located in Kawadacho at the time, and engage in idol activities as if they were in a club. For example, “Star Birth! was a program in which the participants, who were of course amateurs at the time, all aspired to become professional singers. They were raw stones to be polished by the eyes and ears of the strict professional judges. Of course, there were also amateurish idols in the 1970s, and the Onyanko members may have been a mix of those who joined the club with the goal of becoming professionals and those who were really just club members until the end.

The novelty of the Onyanko Club is that they did not polish the rough stones into professionals, but rather presented the roughness itself as an attraction. Since each member is in a different state as a rough stone, there is a mixture of members who are good from the start and those who are not so good. This is not a fictional world, but a realistic world where you can find them anywhere, and where you can always see them if you turn on the TV on weekday evenings. This has led to a new image of idols and a new way of enjoying idols that creates a sense of closeness with the fans and viewers. It seems a world away from the days of the Candies, who tearfully appealed, “I want to be a normal girl again.

This may have been a strategy to cover a group of ordinary girls who are not professionalized by numbers.

The No. 1 position on the Oricon chart was dominated by…

Another major epoch in the activities of the group idols was the successive launch of a series of solo and multi-member derivative units in parallel with the group activities. After Sonoko Kawai ‘s first solo debut, “Tears of Marika Love,” solo debuts were made by such artists asEri Nitta, Sayuri Kunio, Marina Watanabe, Sanae Jonouchi, and Shizuka Kudo, and units such asUshiroyubisasaregumi, Nyangiras, and Ushirohair Hikare-tai were also created, with some emphasizing the orthodox and others the comical, and many others the more traditional. The variety of the group’s releases expanded to such an extent that one could probably cover a certain number of idol genres with only the Nyanko Club-related releases.

The large number of releases, both solo and as a unit, resulted in Onyanko Club songs occupying the No. 1 position on the Oricon chart for 36 of the 52 weeks in 1986, and it was not unusual to find multiple Onyanko related songs in the top ten. It is not limited to idol songs.

Many hit songs, not limited to idol songs, have sold slowly over a period of weeks or even months after their release. The Onyanko Club-related songs shifted the emphasis to initial sales, and the “Yunyan” campaign pushed the new songs hard and made it the norm for them to reach No. 1 on the first day of the season. It is said that the short-livedness of hit songs and the fragmentation of fans accelerated at a rapid pace from this time onward.

Another major turning point was the introduction of a system that has become the norm for today’s group idols, whereby a member leaving a group in the middle of a group’s activities was tantamount to disbanding the group, and a new member would join with the word “graduation” and continue to maintain the “box” form of the group. This was a major turning point.

The “Idol Winter Era” Arrives

The ratings for “Yuyake Nyan Nyan” eventually declined, as if the grand cultural festival was over, and the program ended in August 1987.

Viewership ratings also declined for ranking programs that used to feature hit songs from the popular TV series, with “The Top Ten” ending in March 1986, “Yang Yang Singing Studio” in September 1987, “The Best Ten” in 1989, and “Yoru no Hit Studio” in 1990. Night Hit Studio” reached its final episode in 1990. The singing shows and idol variety shows in which idols could appear came to an end one after another, and the places for idols to be active on TV were rapidly disappearing. The “idol winter age” and the “idol ice age” have arrived.

In 1984, the year before Onyanko Club appeared, Momoko Kikuchi,Yukiko Okada, and Yoko Oginome made their debut, and in 1985, when Onyanko debuted, the “gorgeous” lineup included Yuki Saito, Miho Nakayama, Minako Honda, Yoko Minamino, and Yui Asaka. However, as idol singers, they often struggled in terms of sales, and in 1986, a large number of solo Onyanko debutants appeared, and as mentioned above, they dominated the top of the charts.

In 1989, Fuji Television, which launched “Yuyake Nyan Nyan,” launched “Otome Juku” as a talent training course, producing such artists as CoCo and ribbon. TV Asahi began broadcasting “Sakurako Club” in 1991, and the group of the same name is known to have included Miho Kanno andMiki Nakatani, but neither the program nor the group produced enough explosive power to become popular with men and women of all ages.

Perhaps it was not just the emergence of Onyanko, but the continuing curse of Seiko Matsuda.’ The ultimate form of idol appeared in 1980. The methodology of Onyanko Club, which may have been born because the same style of idol image created by Seiko could not be surpassed. The aura and talent that surpasses Seiko’s do not emerge that often. The arrival of the idol winter period may have been inevitable.

Yuki Saito at a press conference at the production announcement of the movie “Snow Break” in June ’85 (PHOTO: Kyodo News)

Rie Miyazawa, Riho Makise, and Arisa Mizuki, born from commercials, TV dramas, and magazine gravures.

Then came the band boom at the end of the Showa era in the 1980s. The bands that appeared in “HOKOTEN” and “IKATEN” replaced idols and became popular among young people.

During the idol winter period, bands that were not only bands but also had an idol-like atmosphere became the face of the times.

These included Rie Miyazawa,Riho Makise, and Arisa Mizuki, known as “3M” from the initials of their names. (The growing popularity of Rie Miyazawa and Arisa Mizuki was due in large part to the influence of “Tunnels no minasan no okagedesu” (“Tunnels no minasan no okagedesu”).

The ’90s also saw the rise of Okinawa Actors’ School girls such asNamie Amuro (with theSuperMonkeys) andSPEED. Turning to the male idol world, SMAP, who debuted in ’91, continued to struggle in the early years of their debut, but in the absence of a singing show, they would carve out a new path by moving into variety.

The end of the long “winter” comes suddenly at the end of the 20th century.

The end of the long “winter” came suddenly at the end of the 20th century with the big hit of “LOVE Machine” and the breakthrough of Morning Musume 。 s breakthrough.

  • Literature Satoru Ota

    Writer, editor, interviewer. He started his writing career as a student and currently writes mainly entertainment articles and interviews for websites and magazines.

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