Walking down the streets of Tokyo, it is difficult to escape the ‘idol’ girls – Japanese pop singers; they are everywhere, smiling from advertisements and the sound of their voice coming from nearby speakers. ‘Idols’, a term assigned to them regardless of actual success, have flourished as an industry despite the prolonged recession, becoming a mainstream phenomenon worth 1 billion dollars. Every night there are countless idol concerts across Tokyo.
Most fans gathered at those small venues are middle-aged men, some lonely singletons and others, married. Everything about the idols – their high-pitched voice, coquettish dance steps, repeated bowing – is part of the same ritual.
Tokyo Idols is a story of girls trying to grow up in a society where they need to embody innocence, cuteness and immaturity. And their fans – many of whom are becoming increasingly disconnected from real women and real relationships, rely more on ritualised interactions with figures of idealised youth.
- Australasia Premiere