Hi there Request for FYPJ 2

My name is Goh Choon Keat, I am in my final year at Nanyang Polytechnic and studying School of Interactive Design and Media (SIDM).

I am currently doing Final Year Project 2 which would require students to embark on a project to apply our animation strengths in other areas in the workplace.

What I would like to do is to express my ideas of bullying between the fans of idol culture and the detractors of idol culture in general. For the project, I require a mentor from your group to work with.

Japanese Idols in the Japanese Culture are media personalities who are considered attractive and cute or in slightly derogatory terms - kawaii.

The most famous of the idol groups that many people have come to known are AKB48, Morning Musume, Perfume.

Idols are criticized or praised for the following reasons...

The Love Ban that was implemented on virtually every idol groups were seen - by detractors - as restrictor of an individual's humane freedom and the titillation of fulfilling the fans' sexual fantasies by banking on the idol's status as being 'single', 'inexperienced at sex', and 'a symbol of purity'. The detractors stated that the Contractual Purity was made solely so that the idols themselves are always 'readily available' for the otakus; to fulfill their fantasies, mostly sexual ones. The evidence can be seen clearly from an excerpt made in The Verge by Sam Byford.

For all the group's success and ubiquity, they're somehow not quite mainstream — at least, not in the way we'd normally think of the word. I'm not sure I know any Japanese people who would admit to liking AKB48, let alone owning any of their CDs. In fact, I don't know too many people in Japan who buy music at all — and who can blame them, at around $40 a pop? And if they were to buy CDs, it's unlikely they'd go for AKB48, who make music that would be considered impossibly juvenile by just about any standard. Instead, the group has found success by targeting a niche market: the otaku, Japan's unique subculture of nerds and misfits.
With its streets of manga stores and maid cafes, Akihabara is the otaku capital of the world, and it's no coincidence that AKB48 was born there. In a declining music industry, producer Yasushi Akimoto worked out how to strike gold: create a group laser-focused on the one demographic guaranteed to hand over money, no matter what. The otaku proved the perfect fit. Not only did Akimoto make AKB48 appealing enough for people to buy the CDs, he figured out methods of convincing devoted fans to buy the same CD multiple times.
Singles often come with lottery tickets to meet members of the group, or — most lucratively — a vote in the annual AKB48 "election," a giant popularity contest that crowns the leader of the group. There's no limit on the number of ballots, meaning fans sometimes buy tens or hundreds of copies of one single in order to help their favorite member to the top; it puts a whole new spin on the phrase "voting with your wallet." Ballots for last year's election came with copies of the single "Manatsu no Sounds Good!," which went on to sell close to 2 million copies at 1,600 yen (around $20 at the time). The election ceremony takes place at the legendary Nippon Budokan, home to historic performances by the Beatles and Bob Dylan.
All of this means a demographic otherwise marginalized in Japanese society has been granted with extraordinary buying power in pop culture, catapulting AKB48 to success far beyond their limited appeal. As W. David Marx of Neojaponisme proposed in a series of essays, Japan has undergone a cultural shift to a point where "normal" people just don't buy music, leaving the hardcore otaku to exert their dominance. Now, as journalist and ethnographer Patrick Galbraith told The Verge last year, it's all too easy to stereotype otaku culture. And it's true that AKB48, not surprisingly, holds a lot of popularity among young children as well. But the non-obsessive fans aren't the ones responsible for the group's success — the avaricious otaku is where the money's at. Those with the spending power have influenced a poisonous moral norm that's worked its way through Japan, and it's come to a head with the furore over Minami Minegishi.

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·On the other hands, fans and even the idols in question see it as a way to concentrate on the individual's dream without any emotional interference due to romantic connection with another individual. As stated by Yuki Kashiwagi of AKB48 in a documentary 'No Flower without Rain.'
In and interview with us, Kashiwagi Yuki, one of the most popular members of the group told,
“Although I thought it’s unimaginable to find anything that we could reveal more after I watched past documentaries, I think the latest one is the most intensive of all documentary films of AKB48.”
“The documentary contains interview footage of each member. Because even though we have a lot of things in our mind, there rarely is an occasion where we can actually talk about them. So, I think, everybody revealed more than a little honest feelings in the interviews.”
“I was asked about my relationship with Mayuyu a lot. I would like to know what Mayuyu think about AKB48, because we don’t have much chance to talk about serious topics like this.”
She also told about her idea of how ideal “idol” should be like.About LOVE-BAN-LAW, one of the main themes of the movie, she said,
“Because I’ve joined AKB48 since I was 9th grader, I’ve never had any doubt about the concept. It’s just completely natural to me”
Then she added,
“If we get into a relationship, I wonder if fans sentiment to support members will fade.
Relationship, private life, and freedom; I gave up these kind of things because I devote myself to AKB48, because I have hope and dreams that I want to accomplish.
And I would like fans to pay attention to such things and support us just trying to make it.”
She declared, “In order to unify everyone’s mind, LOVE-BAN-LAW is necessary.”
“After giving it a lot of thoughts, goings through a lot of different thoughts, I’ve now reached the idea that idols are those who always put their fans first, thinking what they can do in order to please fans.”
(Reference end)

The problem is, I understand where the detractors have come from. However, that doesn't means degrading a certain group of people and generally look down upon the fans of idol groups in general; there are fans who are civilised like I do and are also worried about the Love-Ban rule taking away the personal freedom of girls.

·Idols see the entertainment industry as a gateway to expand in terms of who they want to be, what kind of fans they want to have - a degree of acceptance - their creative juices, challenge them to a greater height, learning to appreciate life, and to make friends. Most importantly, idols see that their music makes people happy, to tell those people who are down that - 'Hey, lives not perfect, but sometimes a smile is all you need to make yours and someone else's day!'. Fans see it as a way the idols can improve themselves, their quality of life, better social interactions with audiences, building up confidence and fitness, and
·Detractors see idols as ordinary, talentless girls that have their youth sucked out by busy schedules, contractual purity, autotune bullcrap, stupid entertainment shows and whatnot. They accused that every bit of the girls' unique individuality were plainly covered up by 'personas' that they have to act on screen. Detractors also see it as a addition to the already weird culture that is the Modern Japanese Culture, blinded by hate and ignorance about the truth of Japanese Culture in general; they assume it is nothing more than Japanese people isolating themselves and been ignorant about other countries' culture.

·In this case, I whole-heartedly agree with the idol's arguments; why are people denying the girls their wish of being able to expand their horizins and dreams in the industry in general? Haters deemed the idol dream as taking away the freedom of youth and the freedom of choice, life, and free speech in general. However what if the general idea of wanting to make people happy through cheering them up with music, the idea of altruism, the idea of seeing people happy makes themselves happy while entertaining them, and being able to be ready in tackling everyday life problem mentally and physically, are what the idols want in the end? What if this is the idols' dreams? Are the idols simply denying themselves freedom, or are the detractors ended up restricting the idols' freedom ironically?

The attachment below is a compressed files regarding the concept for my idea pitching regarding the unrelenting hatred in idol culture, the bullying that happened between the fans of idol culture and the detractors of idol culture, how the detractors can sometimes bash the fans of idol culture simply for liking things that the haters themselves do not like.

The bullying regarding liking things that other people does not like is very prevalent and people were hurt because of it, espicially the 'war' between the idol culture fans and people who had misguided hatred towards the Japanese Idol Culture in general.

I hope you may take the time to read through the proposal and may hope to seek your co-operation regarding the project. If you have any ideas on the possibilities that I can do (Eg. Animations, Motion Comics, Visual Design,) I will be happy to listen.

Thank you for, your time.
Yours truly,
Goh Choon Keat
Nanyang Polytechnic School of Interactive Media and Design (SIDM)