Not only was I unaware there were black “idols” in Japan, or black women who wanted to be idols in Japan — turns out, I didn’t know what an idol actually was.

You’d think that after 13 years of hearing the word if not every day, then damn near, that I would get its meaning. But after speaking with Amina du Jean, aka Aminyan, who claims to be the first black American idol in Japan, I realized I’d made the same error people fresh from the outside world tend to make: that Japanized English words always reside in the same lexicon as their English counterparts. They don’t. In fact, according to Amina, it’s meaning is almost the opposite.

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