• SHARE

Idol groups such as the iconic AKB48 are synonymous with Japan. Known for their cutesy, highly choreographed stage performances and film clips, they personify the nation’s pop culture.

But far fewer people are familiar with the subculture that has spawned chika (underground) idols, a phenomenon that has grown at an incredible rate and brought with it some serious downsides.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

PHOTO GALLERY (CLICK TO ENLARGE)