AKB48 'Tsugi no Ashiato'

Feb 18, 2014

AKB48 "Tsugi no Ashiato"

by Patrick ST. Michel

No Japanese music group has been more interesting these past two years than AKB48, but “interesting” doesn’t always mean “good.” Several of the 89-members-and-growing outfit’s most notable moments have been ugly (the Minami Minegishi head-shaving scandal tops that list), but the idol group has ...

The <em>aidoru</em> industry seeks big bucks in numbers

| Jul 7, 2013

The aidoru industry seeks big bucks in numbers

by Kaori Shoji

They say that Japan is suffering from a major shōshika (少子化, plummeting birth rate) syndrome, but a cursory glance at the entertainment industry reveals a singular fact: The young people of this country are well and thriving, and huddled together in mass aidoru gurūpu ...

Rino Sashihara tops annual AKB48 popularity poll

Jun 10, 2013

Rino Sashihara tops annual AKB48 popularity poll

Rino Sashihara on Saturday captured the coveted No. 1 spot within the all-female pop group AKB48 and its sister groups in this year’s popularity vote. Sashihara, 20, who last year moved from AKB48 to HKT48, a sister group based in Fukuoka, southwestern Japan, garnered ...

'Wreck-it Ralph'

Mar 15, 2013

'Wreck-it Ralph'

by Giovanni Fazio

Quick review: This is the zaniest, sharpest animated film I’ve seen since “The Incredibles.” I thought there might be a reason for that, and sure enough, director Rich Moore — like Brad Bird of “The Incredibles” — is a joke-writing alumnus of “The Simpsons” ...

Feb 17, 2013

AKB48 and sexual politics

The tearful video from a 20-year-old female pop group member who "broke the rules" was a disturbing reminder of Japan's troubling gender issues.