Shizuko Kasagi? Hibari Misora? Who really are Japan’s “original idols”? A look at idols before Saori Minami | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Shizuko Kasagi? Hibari Misora? Who really are Japan’s “original idols”? A look at idols before Saori Minami

50 Years of Japanese "Idols" #5 (Extra Edition)_There was a woman called "the original idol" in prewar Japan...

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An idol is an idol to be worshipped

  • [Idol.
  • 1. an idol.
  • A person or thing that is worshipped. 3.
  • A target of admiration. A person who has a passionate fan base. Idol singer.
  • (from Digital Daijisen)

What really is an “idol”?

We have reviewed the history of modern idols over the past 50 years, starting with Saori Minami and Mari Amachi, who debuted in 1971, but “idols” existed even before that.

For example, a French movie starring Sylvie Vartan, released in 1963, was clearly titled “Cherchez l’idole” (Search for the Idol). Sylvie Vartan, Milène de Monjo, Charles Aznavour, and other popular French singers and actresses of the time played the roles of themselves, and the song of the same name sung by Sylvie Vartan was a hit (it was also covered by Mie Nakao and The Peanuts in Japan in 1965). (It was also covered in Japan by Mie Nakao and The Peanuts in 1965.)

) Further back, Judy Garland, who played the main character Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” a musical movie released in 1939 and famous for “Over the Rainbow,” is said to have been the origin of the idol-like popularity of the actress. The term “idol” is used to refer to a person who is popular as an idol.

The word “idol” originally meant an idol. Idols that are worshipped religiously are sometimes replaced by familiar figures. This sense of worship and the positive feelings one gets from watching and rooting for young singers and actors in recent years have somehow overlapped, and the highly enthusiastic “push/promoted” existence has come to be known as “idol” in the real world.

The drama “Idol” starring Kotone Furukawa was first broadcast in August 2010. The story depicts the youthful days of the original wartime idol, Asumitaiko (from NHK’s program website).

Asumitaiko, the original idol who gave smiles and courage to soldiers going off to war

Let us go back even further in time from the appearance of Saori Minami mentioned in the first article of this series.

In prewar Japan, there was a woman who is sometimes called “the original idol,” and she had a large and enthusiastic fan base.

Her name was Waitako Asumo. She was a singer who performed at the Moulin Rouge Shinjukuza theater in Shinjuku. Many people may remember that in 2010, the NHK drama “Idol,” starring Kotone Furukawa, was produced and broadcast to great acclaim, depicting her activities. As the signature actress of Moulin Rouge, her singing and dancing became popular, and she was featured on posters for Calpis and Lion Toothpaste, making her a truly “idol-like” presence.

You can see her at the theater (Moulin Rouge), and she was the original “idol you can go see. As depicted in the drama, Taiko’s presence brought energy and courage to the young soldiers of the time, and soldiers going off to war would watch her on stage and shout, “Long live Taiko! and Taiko would gently call out to them from the stage, “We wish you a long and prosperous military career. This relationship is no different from the atmosphere of the idol scene that continues to this day.

Some consider Chiyoko Shimakura to be the first idol singer in terms of the worldview of her songs. From the viewpoint of fans’ ardent support, the Shojo Revue, which became popular before World War II, was also an idol group. There are various theories as to where the “starting point” and the “original” singer, including Saori Minami, should be positioned, but today, Ashiwaiko is often regarded as the “original idol”. Incidentally, Asumasaiko is the “original idol” of Mulan.

Incidentally, Asumasaiko’s career at Moulin Rouge coincided with the time when Shizuko Kasasaki, the model for the heroine in the NHK TV series “Boogie Woogie,” met Ryoichi Hattori at the Shochiku Gakugeki Club (later OSK Nippon Opera Company) and was called the “Queen of Swing” by her many fans.

Shizuko Kasagi, Hibari Misora, and Chiyoko Shimakura…… singers who gained popularity in the postwar era.

After the war, Shizuko Kasagi had a big hit with “Tokyo Boogie Woogie” in 1948 and was called the “Queen of Boogie.

Hibari Misora appeared on the scene, and Chiemi Eri and Izumi Yukimura, who performed with Hibari, were called the “Three Daughters” and appeared in the movie “Janken Musume” (1955), which was popular among a wide range of people (these “Three Daughters” and the “Gosanke” of Yukio Hashi, Kazuo Funaki and Teruhiko Saigo were later called the “Hana no Chu (The “Three Musketeers” and the “Three Families” of Sachio Hashi, Kazuo Funaki, and Teruhiko Saigo were the forerunners of the “Hana no Naka 3 Trio,” “New Gosanke,” “Tanokin Trio,” “Kadokawa Sanjin Musume,” and “3M,” which became popular as three-person groups.)

) Chiyoko Shimakura, who debuted as a singer at the age of 16 and was gaining popularity as an idol, was accused of planning to kill a 16-year-old unemployed boy when she was 19 years old and “Tokyo, yo, oomosan” became a hit.

Here is a list of representative works by young female singers and actresses who were active in the immediate postwar period. This will give us some idea of the position of each of them.

Young Female Singers and Actresses Active in the Early Postwar Period and Their Representative Works

In the 1960s, Sayuri Yoshinaga starred in the movie “The Town with the Cupola” (1962), which was a big hit, and at the age of 17, the youngest actress ever to win the Blue Ribbon Award for Best Actress, and the duet song with Yukio Hashi, “Dattekimete Yume wo Mune” became a big hit in the same year, making her a star. In the same year, her duet song “Dokodemo Yume” with Yukio Hashi became a big hit and made her a star. In recent idol circles, fans of Momoiro are called “mononofu” and fans of BiSH are called “janitors.

In the era of Waitako Asumo and even before that, “idol-like entities” were born in each era. For example, Mie Nakao andThe Peanuts, who gained popularity in the 1960s, sang covers of American pop songs, which was an imitation of the Western concept of an “idol. It was after Saori Minami that the Japanese “idol” was transformed into the “idol” that continues to the present day.

The Essence of Idol is with Human Culture

In “Ukigumo” by Futabatei Shimei, who is credited with establishing the novels of the Meiji era (1887-1990), the following line appears: “No matter how beautiful you see it, you will not be distracted.

<I do not care what beautiful things I see. I have one idol.


Not only is the word “idol” used in this passage, but also the word “principal image” indicates that it is used as an object of worship. This is the essence of “idols” as we know them today, and the very psychology behind “idol promotion” that is no different from that of today’s idol fans. Idols had already appeared in novels written in the Meiji era (1868-1912), long before the advent of “Waiting for Tomorrow” and “Judy Garland.

It may sound too grandiose, but idols, as idols in their original sense, may have been a part of the history of human culture.

The calling of idols’ names on stage, the waving of penlights, and even the more recent “Tiger! Fire! and the unique “wotagei” movements that have emerged among fans of live idols and underground idols in recent years may be seen as a kind of “festival” or “ritual,” depending on how you look at it.

On New Year’s Eve 2011, YOASOBI, together with the contestants in the idol category, performed “Idols” at the “NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen”, bringing out the best of each of them and uniting them into a single performance. Through this spectacular performance, YOASOBI presented the fact that the existence of idols now transcends the boundaries of country, era, generation, and gender, and the persuasive power of this presentation attracted a great deal of attention.

The term “guess” or “guess” has become a popular expression of support for idols, and as long as the essence of the 50- or even 100-year history of idols in Japan remains unchanged, new objects of worship and idols will be born and continue to make history.

  • Text Satoru Ota

    Writer, editor, interviewer. He has been a writer since he was a student, and currently writes mainly entertainment articles and interviews for websites and magazines.

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